Describing the chain continued…

Describing the chain continued…

Kit Robertshaw No Comment

On to the pedal board(s) and the next link in the chain. I write as an enthusiast, not an expert, and it’s probably best to conduct appropriate research on the topics raised here, before making decisions about your own rig.

It would be worth understanding a bit about how amps work and where to place your pedals in the chain. Guitar amps have two types of amplifier, a pre- and a power. Essentially, the pre-amplifier shapes the tone by perhaps using a graphic equaliser and possibly adding distortion and the power-amplifier simply increases the volume. By the time the signal reaches the power-amp, nothing further will dramatically influence your tone.

The pre-amp can be sandwiched between two sets of pedals.

Guitar pedals fall into two general categories, those that traditionally sit before the pre-amp and which are located before the amplifier’s guitar input, and those which sit after the pre-amp, in the effects loop (if your amp has one). My rig follows a fairly traditional method of placing pedals but you may wish to experiment.

The way I see it, all the pedals that boost (add sparkle and definition), compress (squash into a uniform volume and add a bit of ‘slap’), drive (drive the signal into the pre-amp, pushing/enhancing the amp’s distortion/drive into overdrive), distort/fuzz (adding distortion, fuzz or dirt to the signal) and filter (such as a wah pedal) the signal should be placed before the pre-amp.

All time-based pedals (delay and strictly speaking chorus and flangers) and other modulation pedals (phaser, tremolo, vibrato, vibe, rotary, reverb…) sit behind the pre-amp. The reason for this is because the modulation should affect your tone after the preamp has shaped the sound. The best example is a delay (echo) pedal – if it is placed before a preamp which adds distortion, all the echos will be distorted, if the delay pedal is placed after the preamp, the distorted tone will be echoed.

Of course, everyone has their preferred order and musicians have experimented along the way. Therefore, it’s completely up to the musician how they arrange their board. Have fun trying things out and I’ll let you know my order and the reasons for it in the next blog.

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