Guitar Pedal Board Layouts

I love guitars and amps. And of course guitar pedals. Here I will share tips on how to layout your guitar pedal board, together with tips, materials, features, and resources.
Wed May 14

Order, Order!!!

So why is there a “SHOULD” in arranging the pedals succession on a guitar pedal board? After all tone is so subjective, no? Well, yes and no. It really comes down to preserving the tone identity of what each pedal can do. Having a not well thought arrangement can choke the life out of your pedals. Here is a guide that seems to be followed commonly by guitar pedal board designers and guitar players:

Guitar Pedal Board Tuner1.      Tuners. Seems logical to place the tuner in the first place in your FX chain since you want unprocessed signal to go in it for correct reading.

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Guitar Pedal Board DOD 440 Envelope FilterGuitar Pedal Board Dynamic WahGuitar Pedal Board Wah

2.      Filters. It would make sense to add these (envelope filters, auto wah, wah pedals, etc.) at this spot. Any dynamically controlled filters are triggered by the signal attack so it would make logical sense to add them as early as possible in the chain so they aren’t limited by other effects.

Guitar Pedal Board Compressor3.      Compressors. Notorious for noise level increase, compressors should also go as early as possible in the signal paths.

Guitar Pedal Board Overdrive4.      Overdrive. Since the overdrive pedals are generating overtones (harmonics), they should be placed here. Don’t feed overdrive pedals with modulated signals since they can easily clash with the harmonics. Unless you are in for some really wacky tone.

Guitar Pedal Board FlangerGuitar Pedal Board ChorusGuitar Pedal Board Tremolo5.      Modulation. It is time to add your flangers, phasers, choruses and tremolo pedals here. They breathe the best here in relationship with the overdrives/distortion pedals ahead of them.

Guitar Pedal Board Volume6.      Volume. Again, the logical place for a volume pedal, since it won’t alter the signal level entering the overdrive pedals maintaining this way the fully affected tone. Also will let the delay finish its job (delay-ing) when the volume pedal is minimized.

Guitar Pedal Board DelayGuitar Pedal Board Reverb7.      Reverbs & Delays. They are the last pedals in the chain since they are hard to tame if placed before overdrives – they can produce spikes in the effect level and upset the overdrives.

This is how I have my pedals ordered on my cool Pedaltrain Junior platform. Following this pedal ordering you can get a decent tone out of your guitar pedal board.