Buffers VS True Bypass

June 25th 2013 | Posted in Feature Guides | 144 Comments

Buffers vs True Bypass

Few topics seems to stir up so much controversy and opinions as whether true bypass or buffered pedals are the best solution for your tone. In this feature we’ll have a look at what’s really going on as well as a few tips on how to arrange your pedalboard.

This is a rewritten and updated version of a feature originally posted January 31 2011.

Whether you plug your guitar straight into an amp or depend on elaborate pedal boards – tone matters. However, tone isn’t just about squeezing your amp or stomping pedals. Tone is just as much about utilizing the full potential of your rig and regardless of your preferred approach, some basic know-how will get you far in reaching your goal.

The facts
The debate surrounding this topic seems to be incredibly one sided. Either you’re pro buffers or you can’t stand them and insist on only using true bypass operated pedals. But, as with most things in life, it’s not that black and white.

Most guitars deliver a high impedance signal or output. Impedance is a measure of electronic resistance and the longer the signal path, the more resistance there will be. Passive, vintage style pickups has a high impedance while active battery powered pickups has a low impedance. Passive high impedance pickups are able to drive the signal through aprox 18 feet of cable. Sometimes less, sometimes more, depending on the quality of the cable. Active low impedance pickups, on the other hand, are able to drive the signal through at least 100 feet of cable.

Now, 18 feet might seem more than enough but you have to count both the cable to and from the pedal board, all the patch cables and the tiny cables inside the pedals that are bypassing the signal when the pedal is off. Naturally, the quality of these cables matters a great deal. You should also keep in mind that different value tone and volume pots, tone caps, shielding etc will have an effect on the impedance and ultimately the tone.

True bypass
True bypass means that when the pedal is off, with no processing or colouring going on, the signal from your guitar passes through all clean via a separate path outside the circuit.

This means that a true bypass pedal in it self won’t alter your tone but the fact that it doesn’t do anything to drive the signal (when it’s off) through long cables and to the amp, will cause tone loss and alteration. You will recognize this by a noticeable high end roll off and generally a less open and dynamic tone and picking response.

Buffers
A buffer is basically a small pre-amp that will electronically strengthen or enhance the weak high impedance signal from your guitar and help driving it through long signal paths. The buffer is active regardless whether the pedal is on or off.

Contrary to what many believe – and will claim – a buffer will not alter or colour your tone but rather restore the original signal of your pickups. You will notice this by a more pronounced high end and a generally more dynamic and responsive signal.

I'm using the Buffer from CostaLab for all my boards and studio setups. The buffer is placed first in the chain, between the guitar and the fist pedal for a balanced and properly loaded signal.

I’m using the Buffer from CostaLab for all my boards and studio setups. The buffer is placed first in the chain, between the guitar and the fist pedal for a balanced and properly loaded signal.

Hardwire bypass
There is a third option. The bad one. Hardwire bypass, employed by MXR among others, means that the signal is fed through the pedal’s circuit even when the pedal is off. Contrary to both true bypass and buffering, hardwire will affect your tone and cause considerable high end roll off and a generally less dynamic tone. We don’t want that, so let’s concentrate on the two other options.

What’s the difference?
The question is: do you really need to buffer the signal? Well, no one dies and the world will still be a fucked up place regardless of what you do. Some pedals, like vintage style fuzz, don’t like buffers and some guitarists prefer, and even depend on, the high end roll off you get from an unbuffered signal to achieve their magical tones.

The point is though: you should be aware of the consequences of not buffering your signal. The reason is that other problems, like noise and dull sounding pickups and pedals, may occur as a result of a non buffered signal. It’s a shame to buy high quality and expensive cables if you don’t combine this with a buffer. Don’t loose sleep over it but experiment and learn what suits your setup.

Arranging your pedalboard
As mentioned above, one buffer is enough to drive the signal through an average setup containing normal length cables and a pedalboard. Anything else is really redundant. I recommend placing the buffer between the guitar and the first pedal. This will ensure the right load for the pedals. The only reason you might need a second buffer is to have one at the end of the chain to level out possible conflicting loads within the pedal board.

A buffer can either be a buffered pedal, like Boss, or a dedicated buffer unit or pedal, like the CostaLab Buffer. A Boss tuner or compressor first in the chain or a delay last, will do the job but the quality of the buffers used in pedals are of varying quality (even among Boss pedals), so I strongly recommend a single buffer (even if you have Boss pedals on the board). Again, keep in mind that one buffer is enough to drive the signal, so a huge collection of Boss pedals, or other buffers, doesn’t make any difference.

Vintage circuit fuzz and boosters doesn’t react well when placed next to a booster. You’ll notice that they’ll sound bright and harsh, with a thin low end. Make sure these are either placed next to a true bypass unit or, in a loop using a true bypass looper.

I hope this article cleared up a few things and perhaps even gave some food for thought. Please feel free to use the comments field below to share your experience and do share if you disagree with any of the above!

144 comments so far

  1. Giorgio says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Interesting point about the cable brand and lengths: do you really mean to have same length of cables in and out? Does it really make a difference?
    Last week I ordered some 1/4″ Jack to Jack adaptors by Rotosound. I also ordered a few “Monorail’ patch cables by Evidence Audio. Any experience with these items?
    I noticed you use George L’s on your boards.

    [I used Monorails for some time but I'm constantly rearranging the boards and I'm too lazy to order new cables. I have tons of George L's lying around so I'm using these now :)
    What I meant by same cable brand and lenght was that when you're testing the pedals you need the same cable to and from the pedal or else one of the cables will color the tone. If you use a high quality cable to the pedal and a cheap 9m worn out cable from the pedal to the amp then you won't be able to get a an honest tone from the pedal and the test will be useless. In a normal setup one would normally use the lenght that's required and perhaps even different cables however a good rule is to use high quality cables all around and as short as possible for less drain. - Bjorn]

  2. L. de Wit says:

    First of all, I really like your ‘tip of the week’ series. The ‘buffer vs true bypass’ debate tends to be an issue that has been discussed a lot on many internet fora. However, using the right patch cables is something that is often overlooked. So, thumbs up for addressing this point. I too use those George L cables. Furthermore, when I use pedals from one type of brand – MXR, Ibanez, EH, Boss – instead of using pedals from several brands together, I tend to get better tones.

    [The trouble with pedals is that none are identical in terms of impendance etc. That causes a lot of problems but the trick is to consider the whole and not just the last pedal you spent your money on. That as well as good quality cables will help a lot. - Bjorn]

  3. sid says:

    Hi Bjorn!!!! nice tip of the week…so if you´r puting a vintage fuzz after a vox wha that means you´r going to have some tone alterations?? that´s the way hendrix and gilmour use to do it without a tru bypass wah and i reckon the sounded fine. in those day all pedals where buffered hence the noise on live situations!!!

    [The fuzz needs to be first. Gilmour usually had the fuzz first but Hendrix didn't seem to care much and is seen having the fuzz both before and after the wah. It's not wrong though but you get a different tone from both pedals. - Bjorn]

  4. Christopher says:

    Hey Bjorn,
    In my experience in electronics/electrical engineering, I have found the easiest way to compensate for the tone lost by a long/poor quality cable is by putting a 0.82uf capacitor between my tone knob and my output jack. This gets rid of the treble loss caused by poor quality leads, and doesn’t cut low end. It also provides some protection against poorly wired amplifiers. (See what happened to Keith Relf of the Yardbirds) Also, over in Australia, such components cost $1.75 for a pack of 2, and my soldering skills are good enough to do the procedure with the desired amount of neatness.

    Chris

    [Thanks for the tip :) - Bjorn]

  5. Rob says:

    Bjorn is right on, as usual. I have found through exhaustive experimenting, all true bypass pedals with two buffered pedals seems to be the magic recipe, at least for my setup. I have also noticed that I cannot do the reverse wah seagulls effect if there is a buffer in front of the wah. If I move the wah in front of the buffered signal then voila, seagull effect. This is at least true for my setup.

    [That's right. The wah needs to be infront of any buffered pedal. The only pedal you want infront of the wah is a vintage style fuzz. Cheers! - Bjorn]

  6. Steve says:

    Hi Bjorn
    my board is : Boss TU2-Demeter Compulator-Big Muff-Providence Sov2-Boss ge7-providence phaser-Providence Dly80-A/B Buffered box with Boss dd7 to the 2nd channel of my amp (WEM Dominator)
    I also have two buffers in small enclosures built from a technician for a better signal.
    Do you think my chain is rigth ? and where fit the 2 buffers?
    Thx Great Bjorn

    [You'll be the judge of that. Hard to tell when I haven't heard your rig. I'd reconsider the GE7 though if you feel your tones are a bit bright. It has some of the worst sounding buffers among the Boss pedals and I ditched mine after realizing that I used it to compensate for the poor tone it created... a strange paradox. - Bjorn]

  7. alonbo says:

    How can you tell between a buffered and a bypassed pedal?

    [Usually true bypass pedals have a small on/off silver knob that produce a click when stomped on. Buffered usually have a larger switch like the Boss pedals. There's variations on both. Some pedals also have hardwire bypass, which is similar to true bypass but the signal goes through the cirquit and not bypassed. These switches looks like a true bypass switch but are often easier to stomp without the click. - Bjorn]

  8. Toni says:

    Hi Bjorn, great articles these tips of the week!

    Have you heard about the Jam Pedals True Bypass Multibox? I’m considering to get one though I cannot try it first since they are made and sold in Greece (and I live in Barcelona).
    As explained in their web: “True Bypass Switcher takes non-true-bypass effects out of your signal chain and when they are needed they can be reinserted with the switch, while remaining constantly on. It is designed to have the purest, cleanest signal path possible with no signal degradation at all”.
    Too nice to be true? ; ) Any help or hint will be appreciated!

    An other question: I’ve got into my chain a dunlop wah from hell which causes radiointerferences since we moved to an other rehearsal building place where unfortunately there’s a mobile phone antenna… and I’ve tried everything but radio interferences go on (if I power the wah with a 9v battery it improves quitely but it’s expensive, I’d rather use the adaptor), so I’ve been considering (desperately, I know) to get that Jam pedal Total By pass box to isolate the wah… Any thought about it?

    Thanks again for your great help and info!

    [The True Bypass Switcher is basically just a true bypass looper pedal that, as the text says, loops any pedal in/out of your chain. It's a handy tool for buffered and noisy pedals and it can also be used for engaging two or more pedals at once like a fuzz and delay for the funky part on Echoes.
    Sounds strange that the wah alone should pick up such interference. Have you checked the cables to/from the pedal? The looper will probably solve the problem but keep in mind that even a true bypass looper will mean more pedals and cables on your board, which again will drain your signal so it's always a balance and a questions of what's more important. - Bjorn]

  9. david says:

    hi i;m trying to get the best ie gilmour out of my board i have a mxr dyna comp,boss dd3,boss tu2,ernie ball vp jr,micro pog,line 6 dl4,line 6 mm4,big muff,boss,rv5,and getting a vox wah. what is the best way to line them and can give a way to set the tones to be more like gilmours thanks.

    [Try this: wah > dynacomp > muff > mm4 > pog > dd3 > dl4 > rv5 > volume. The tuner can either be placed first in the chain or via the tuner output on the volume pedal. Personally I'd ditch the RV5 and perhaps also the DD3, since you already have the DL4. See this feature for more on the use of reverb. I'd also get a overdrive for both dedicated overdrive tones and for boosting the cleans and the Muff. Check out the Boss BD2 and Fulltone OCD. - Bjorn]

  10. Stevie says:

    I’ve recently added a BYOC true bypass A/B looper to my board to switch between my 2 overdrive pedals, a 3 knob tube driver and a dean markley overlord. the tube driver was fine, but the bypass on the overlord was pretty poor (odd since it’s a butler design).

    as a result my board is mostly true bypass, with 4 buffered pedals – boss tuner and chorus, TC Electronic delay and a Morley wah, and it all sounds pretty good. I will add that quality patch cables are a must, and often overlooked. I’ve never tried the George L’s, but any decent quality cable and jacks are worth the investment as they do make a difference.

    [They sure do. It's easy to forget that although each cable is only a few cm it does matter. - Bjorn]

  11. Josh says:

    Good tips, as always! In my personal experience, I run my pedals in a bypass strip so that each pedal is completely out of the signal path when not in use… Then I have a single buffered pedal at the end of the chain to drive the signal to all the amps. Seems to work nicely that way :D

    [That would be the best way to maintain the signal on a pedal board I guess. I'm too lazy to try that my self but looping pedals (for different reasons) will in most cases improve the tone. Cheers! - Bjorn]

  12. Steve says:

    Hi Bjorn
    probabily I ll ditch my Boss GE7.
    About Demeter Compulator I see in the Gilmour settings is compress 1 and volume 3- is rigth? Is it the raccomanded setting? Does it need to adjust the secret trim pot or it s ok at factory setting?
    thx steve

    [Compressors are a bit tricky because how much compression you need depends entirely on almost all the components in your rig and how they interact with the compressor. David's settings is a good guide but I had to adjust mine slightly with a bit more volume. I used the default trim settings but trust your ears and try different settings for your rig. - Bjorn]

  13. duncan says:

    Yesterday i finally have the time to try all my pedals to See which one is sucking out tone. this is the result:
    Boss…didn´t notice any change of tone (i used the radial bigshot looper)
    cheap Danelectro mini vibe …no tone change at all!!!
    dunlop jimi hendrix fuzz JH2…a little tone change but bearable
    vox wah v847 (mid 90s) BAD stuff here it drooped bass and highs..the good news is with a cheap mod it can be a true bypass
    line 6 true bypass
    electro harmonix true bypass
    I trick to know if your pedal is true bypass is to disconnect the power and if the signal passes when is no power (the wah and the dunlop do that i dunno why been not true bypass ) then your pedal is true bypass.

    [Wah pedals definitely cuts the treble and some bass. - Bjorn]

  14. Paul says:

    Hi guys,
    I’m also finding buffers do make a big difference, where and when they are used. Also the quality of a buffer is hugely different, in say a Boss GE-7, as compared to the switchable High quality buffer in my RJM Midi Effect Gizmo. I’ve noticed a lot of people, including Bjorn are using either a Boss DD2, or a Boss GE-7 as the final pedal/ buffer, before going to the amp. I would imagine the old 80′s Boss DD-2, would have a relatively good, warm sounding buffer. On the other hand a new un-modified Boss GE-7, may use a low quality buffer. I had one modified by Analogman which dramitically reduced the hiss/ noise, but I suspect he didn’t upgrade the buffer. If you want to go the next step up, you can maybe check what type of Dual Op Amp (buffer)is used, and upgrade to a 4558 chip. Or just solder in a socket, which actually also helps reduce potential heat damage, and try half a dozen different Dual Op amps from your local Electronics shop. There are many alternatives you can try, and parts are relatively cheap to buy.
    Its weird that I’m currently finding a buffer works o.k. after my BK Tube Driver, but not after my Vintagefx Colordrive. I’m suspecting problems with my Tubedriver, so don’t quote me on that!
    Regards,
    Paul

    [There's definitely a huge difference between the old Japanese Boss pedals and the new. I can add a DD2 or CE2 any time without noticing any changes in the tone or noise levels but a GE7 or almost any other new Boss pedal only makes it worse. - Bjorn]

  15. Alex says:

    @Christopher,

    do you really mean a 0.82uf cap or rather 0.082uf..?

  16. Curtis says:

    OH NO.. my board is full of Boss pedals right now (tuner, compression, distortion, blues driver, chorus, delay).. but my dream pedal is a Fuzz Face.. am I going to have a tough time with this combination? Any suggestions short of replacing the Boss pedals? Should I consider replacing the Boss pedals?

    [It's not just the pedals that might affect the Face Face. What amp and pickups do you have? Boss pedals will make a fuzz sound brighter and thinner but instead of ditching them you can place the fuzz in a loop or separate chain. - Bjorn]

  17. Curtis says:

    Hey Bjorn thx for the response.

    At the moment my Strat is sporting the factory pickups (I do have my eye on a set of CS69s though). I do own the Gilmour EMG set but haven’t used them in a month or so.

    I’m running a Fender Showman 200W amp.. I just bought it used and I don’t know much about it yet.. but it DOES have the effects loop.

    – Curtis

    [The Showman should be more than capable of handling a fuzz. It's a great classic amp. Try setting it up as clean as possible, about this: bass 50%, treble 50-60%, mids 40% and set the master at about 1/3 of the channel volume. In regards to using a loop I was talking about a looper pedal that would place the fuzz outside the chain of Boss pedals. The idea is that you leave the fuzz on at all times and use the looper pedal to engage it. I wouldn't place a fuzz in the loop channel on the amp. - Bjorn]

  18. Igal says:

    Hey bjorn, ive been following your great resource for a while now and i must tell you
    its one of the best efforts out there, thanks for your massive input and keep up the good work :)

    would you please suggest the right order for my signal chain?

    >fender strat >
    Dunlop wha>mxr phase90>big muff>rat2>ocd>lpb-1>small clone>mxr carbon copy
    > fender blues jr.

    I place the phase early for a more subtle effect and i put the compression after the drives to have some controll over the distortion thus its not in the head of the chain.

    Thanks in advance, Igal.

    [Thank you Igal! I don't see a compressor in the chain but if you have one I'd place it after the wah and in front of the gain effects. This way it operates more naturally. Use the guitar volume knob to adjust the gain from the gain pedals. See this feature for more on how to use compressors. Placing the phaser before the gain effects adds a nice subtle tone, which is great for a slight modulation on solos etc. Try this setup: wah wah > compressor > phase90 > Muff > RAT > OCD > LPB > small clone > carbon copy. Use either the Muff or RAT. Never combine these. You can use both the OCD and LPB to boost the Muff or RAT. You can also use the LPB to boost the OCD. Hope this helped. - Bjorn]

  19. Igal says:

    Thanks bjorn, i own an mxr dynacomp which i place after the gain based pedals because otherwise i have no controll over the distorted signal which i find helpfull in a bedroom setup (aka getting my muff boosted to a screaming mode and then adjusting the volume via the compressor without lowering the gain on the guitar volume knob=screaming distortion on low volume) thought placing it right after the wah gives me a great sustain/output/signal. Would u recommend getting another compressor maybe? Thanks for the advice :)

    [Hard to tell without having tried your rig but if placing the compressor after the gain pedals works for you then go for it :) I still recommend though, that you place it in front of the gains and try to find the right balance between the distortion and overdrive. You should be able to set both pedals for the right amount of gain without losing tone or getting too much noise. Check out this feature for some tips on setting the proper volume on your pedals. - Bjorn]

  20. Erik says:

    Hi Bjorn, this is my first time reading your TotW feature, and I’m looking forward to combing through the archives.

    I recently purchased the Boss GE7 after reading about its usefulness as an equalizer and boost. After reading what you have to say about its poor buffers, I’m reconsidering. I don’t have a boatload of cash, so I’m wondering if you have any input on making the GE7 work or finding a not-too-costly EQ and/or boost replacement.

    I’ve got an Epiphone Les Paul standard (with the pickups it came with) running into a Korg Pitchblack > Boss GE7 > Small Clone > Boss DD7. (It’s not much, I know – just getting started with stompboxes!) I’m also strongly considering acquiring an OCD (between tuner and EQ) and an EB Jr. volume pedal (between Small Clone and DD7). My amp is a Yamaha DG60-112.

    Thanks, and feel free to point out any obviously dumb things that I’m doing :)

    [Well, first you need to consider why you need an EQ. An EQ pedal isn't like a distortion or phaser but rather a tool to shape and tweak your tone if you need that little extra. Perhaps one of your pedals lack some bass or perhaps you need to lower the mids a little when you engage the chorus? EQs should not be something you use all the time. EQs work fairly well as a booster but it's much more efficient to use a transparent overdrive like the Boss BD2, ThroBak Overdrive Boost, TRex Booster etc. These will provide anything from clean volume boost to near fuzz and they also enhance the tone from your amp, especially tube amps. The amp should be the basis for all your tones so I recommend that you make sure the amp is set first and then you add the pedals. A good sounding amp shouldn't require any additional EQ unless you need to fine tweak some of the pedals. In regards to buffers, the BossGE7 is perhaps the noisiest of the Boss pedals and the buffers doesn't go well with other true bypass pedals. Hope this made sense :) - Bjorn]

  21. Kyle says:

    For Toni & Bjorn,

    Wah pedals commonly pickup radio stations, it has a lot of wires that are acting like antenna in the pedal, plus your guitar cable. My pedal does this also, and there is a lot of info on it on the net. I think you have to change one of the resistors to get rid of the radio.

    This is from Dunlop CryBaby FAQ:

    Q: Why do I hear radio stations through my wah pedal?
    A: This is a common occurrence because the inductor in the Wah pedal acts as an antenna. When you are in an area with a lot of radio frequency, the pedal can and will pick up radio stations. It is not very easy to troubleshoot and fix, because it differs so greatly due to the different signals and the varying surroundings. What may work in one region might not work in another.

    The first step in troubleshooting is to find out where in your rig the signal is coming from.

    -First check to see if it is coming in through the AC Adapter. Use the effect with a battery and see if it is coming in through the wall. If it is, discontinue the use of the AC Adapter. If this doesn’t work, then…

    -Second, check to see if it is coming in through the guitar. Turn the volume of the guitar down to zero and see if you still get the radio signal. If yes, you might want to try putting a .0068-microfarad capacitor on the input jack between the tip and the shaft. (The capacitor can be a ceramic or polyester type and voltage rating of any size works.) This will also kill the high end of your sound. If this doesn’t work, then…

    -Third, check the inductor. If you have a metal inductor, you can purchase a shield from us and place it over the inductor with a ground wire that is placed under one of the screws on the PC Board. This acts as both an AC Hum and RF shield. (It is part number ECB99 – and lists for $12.00) If this doesn’t work then…

    -Fourth, open up the pedal and unsolder the black wire from the pot. Slide some Ferrite beads onto the wire and re-solder it. The size, number and shape of the beads depends upon the signal that you are getting, and we have not found any rhyme or reason as to which beads work with which signals. If this doesn’t work then…

    -Fifth, wrap the entire wire harness in Mumetal foil, which comes in a tape format, and hope that that works, because after that who knows!

    Getting radio stations on your wah pedal is unfortunately the nature of the beast and has been since its inception. In some areas it is worse than others. It is especially bad in the Great Lakes region because the lakes act as large antennas sending out the radio signals to all areas – and all wah pedals.

    Let me know if that works, I’m trying to fix it myself here in the Puget Sound area, same problem as the Great Lakes, lots of water nearby and Canadians.

  22. Igal says:

    Hey Bjorn, could you please suggest the optimal chain for such a rig:

    fender strat> dunlop wha>mxr dynacomp>dunlop octavio>ehx big muff>fulltone ocd>rat2>vintage rat>ehx lpb1>ehx small clone> mxr carbon copy> mxr phase 90…

    Both rats are there because i still cant choose one over the other. Thank you.

    [I'd try this: fender strat > octavio > dunlop wha >mxr dynacomp > ehx big muff > rat2 > vintage rat > OCD > hex lpb1 > ehx small clone > phase 90 > mxr carbon copy. Hope this helped. - Bjorn]

  23. Igal says:

    Thanks alot bjorn, ive also recently purchased tc electrnonic’s polytune, does it matter where in the chain will i place it? :)

    [The best way is to use a splitter first in the chain. If you don't care to do that, then place it last in the chain to avoid it interfering with the other pedals. - Bjorn]

  24. igal says:

    hey bjorn, thank you for the advice man.

    would it be wise to use a (cheap) boss mt-2 as a buffer for my rig?
    and if yes.. where would it be wisest to place it… ?

    strat > octavio > wah > ehx big muff > rat2 > vintage rat > ocd > mxr dynacomp > lpb1 > polytune > small clone > mxr phase 90 > mxr carbon copy > blues junior.

    [First of all I think you'd be better off with the compressor after the wah and the tuner either first or last in the chain - preferably on a split. You don't need a buffer and if you won't be using the MT2 that much I'd rather get a Boss delay that would serve some purpose as well as buffering. - Bjorn]

  25. igal says:

    ill get a split for the tuner later this week, but for now at the head of the chain it gives me a weird tone, and at the end it sometimes forces me to turn off a stompox or two because it can’t get the note straight :) so its only temporary there.

    the dynacomp well… i like it better this way after trying both options.

    would you be kind enough to explain why this kind of setup doesn’t require buffering?

    and yet if id like to toy with this noisy little cheap box (mt-2) where would it be best placed?

    [A buffer isn't mandatory but it helps to maintain the signal. Long cables and several pedals means that the signal from the guitar will deteriorate so having at least one buffer in the chain solves much of the problem. However, it's also down to taste. Some people like that slight treble roll off and darker tone. In your case, having only true and hardwire bypass pedals, I think you'd be better off with one buffer but that's only a suggestion. I'd place the MT2 after the Rats and in front of the OCD. - Bjorn]

  26. Kris says:

    Hi Bjorn. Great article.
    I was wondering what you think about the buffer in a Digitech Whammy? I’m debating whether to mod it to be true bypass or not. Mine is a version 4 (newest one).
    Also, in terms of guitar signal, what order would I put a whammy, Wah, and compressor. I don’t know if there are any hard and fast rules on these three. I always hear that each should be first after the guitar.

    [I don't have any experience with the latest Whammy but I guess the buffers are quite OK. There are no rules but the "normal" way of arranging the pedals is: fuzz > wah > wahmmy > compressor > high gain > low gain > modulations > volume pedal > delay > amp. - Bjorn]

  27. Ryan says:

    I’m currently building a new board and I’m curious, is there a benefit to running all pedals through a true bypass looper, AND having a good buffer at the beginning of the chain?

    [Why would you need a TB looper for the whole setup? - Bjorn]

  28. Stephen Ford says:

    Hey Ryan,
    A true Bypass looper can offer a few benefits. The first being having all your pedals switches in line instead of all mixed up and tight, which gets clumsy. Even better is finding a TB Looper that hays the ability to offer multiple effects control with one switch. This saves a great deal of tap dancing.
    The other is that every pedal your rig is running through is starving your amp for signal. A TB Looper keeps pedals completely out of line when not in use, giving better over all tone and less noise. Another added control on many TB Loopers is a Bypass all switch which comes in handy in getting silence with one push of a button.

    As for a buffer…buffers all depend on your rig and its needs but realize that many classic Fuzzes and Muffs DO NOT like buffers in line before them and having a buffer before them also cancels your guitar PUs ability to alter the tone of the Fuzz or Muff via Master Guitar Volume. Therefore if you are using similar pedals and still wish to use a buffer, the buffer needs to come post Fuzz/Muff.

    Alas price point is a big deciding factor, but putting together a rig is never a cheap process ;P
    Good luck, Hope that this helped you with your questions.

    Cheers
    Stephen

    [Thanks for the input Stephen. I agree completely. A good rule is to use as few pedals as possible, good quality cables and proper powering. - Bjorn]

  29. Joel says:

    Bjorn,
    I have 10 pedals. I recently bought a voodoo lab pedal switcher.
    I had hooked up the pedals in the following sequence. TU2, wah, vibe,
    compressor, ts9, boss mt2, EH big Muff, phase 90, dd7, fender reverb.
    Didn’t sound too bad but thought I would try a pedal switcher. Got the VL 4 switcher.
    I thoughts could buffer my fuzz and distortion a few pedals …better than nothing but
    I am not sure this will work. Do I have to isolate all the pedals to get the benefit or can I do a
    partial isolation and have the other pedals run outside the switcher? Suggestions?

    Thanks

    [I have very little experience with this actually. First off, I'd be careful placing the fuzz anywhere near a buffer as it alters the tone. Second, and personally, I'd place the TS9 after the Muff if you're using these together. But again, I don't have much experience with setting up for a switcher so I'd have to do some research to be able to comment. Anyone else care to help? - Bjorn]

  30. Tom says:

    Where should I put the buffer pedal in my setup? Any recommendations on improved pedal order. Also can you recommend some good buffer pedals that have true bypass switching for signal testing?

    Strat or LP > Vox wah(foxrox & TB mod) > MXR dyna comp > TS808 clone > JH-F1 Fuzz Face > Big Muff w Wicker > EHX Stereo Memory Man > Amp

    [The Fuzz should go first. It doesn't like to be placed after wahs... Also, I'd place the 808 after the Muff, unless you really like how it blends with the Muff having it before. Try this: fuzz > wah > dyna > Muff > 808 > mem man > amp. There are lots of buffers out there. The Carl Martin Buff Deluxe, Wampler Clean Buffer, Mach Clean Booster... All of these are true bypass, so I'd place it next to first in the line, after the fuzz. - Bjorn]

  31. Stephen Ford says:

    Hey Bjorn…you would place a Buffer before a Fuzz? I find that that kills the fuzz tone quite a bit and also the ability to adjust the fuzz via the vol nob on the guitar….any thoughts?

    [I'd place it after a vintage style fuzz circuit. There shouldn't be anything before these pedals. As you say, it changes the character. I meant that in my last comment but forgot about the fuzz in the chain. Thanks! - Bjorn]

  32. Dave Adderley says:

    I have a new snow white fuzz and really love the great tone and response. Having a little trouble when I switch it out and I loose a bunch of the volume from the guitar signal? I’m using a MXR boost/line driver right after the fuzz and then into a Wet reverb. Why the volume loss and what can I do to fix this? Thanks, and you make such great sounding pedals Bjorn. I’m in the same town as Donner if anything need be done he can surely help.

    [Not quite sure I understand what you mean... are you loosing volume when you switch the fuzz off? - Bjorn]

  33. Dave Adderley says:

    Yes quite a lot of volume loss.

    [If this happens when you switch it off I would imagine that you've set the volume on the fuzz too high. Try matching the stright volume from your guitar to the amp (no pedals in the chain) with the volume you get with all pedals plugged in but switched off. If this is the same, then you need to adjust the volume of the pedals when these are switched on. If there's a volume drop when all pedals are switched off, compared to a straight signal, then I suspect that there's something wrong with either one of the pedals or cables. - Bjorn]

  34. bob smith says:

    Hi great website, i need help i have a boss hm-2, vox v847 wah, line 6 mm4, DD20, MXR carbon copy, Boss bd-2 and a Trex mudhoney. i was wondering how i should set this up for a Gilmour sound? and also what other effects i should have to get a great Gilmour sound with this setup?

    [I'd arrange the pedals liek this: guitar > vox > hm2 > bd2 > mudhoney > mm4 > dd20 > carbon > amp. How you should set the pedals depends on what amp and guitar you have, whether you play at home or with a band and what Gilmour tones you want. - Bjorn]

  35. bob smith says:

    is there any important pedals i should add to my collection for good gilmour sound? i prefer his sound from pulse, time, momentary lapse of reason, animals and division bell those are the particular sounds i am after when i play at home or with my band

    [Depends on what amp and guitar you have. Check out the gear guides for the albums you're referring to and see what David's been using. For a start, I'd say that a basic setup should feature an distortion, overdrive, delay and perhaps a modulation. Let me know if you need more help for setting up specific tones. - Bjorn]

  36. KC says:

    Hi there (this is an excellent resource by the way)

    I’m considering buying something to boost my solos during live gigs and was considering a way huge angry troll or boss ge 7. My preference woulda have been the way Hugh but I have read the boss option may be better – what would you go for? I play through a mid 90 s Marshall 8240 valvestate with a Morley bad horse 2. So in essence equaliser or overdrive? Cheers

    [I prefer overdrives. You can easily get lost with an EQ but an overdrive allows you to both tweak the frequencies - given that it has treble and bass controls - and you can add some of its character to the overall tone. A booster should also be transparent so that it doesn't colour the tone too much. I haven't tried the Angry Troll but the Pork Loin should do also work nicely. Check out the ThroNak Overdrive boost and TC Electronics Spark Booster as well. - Bjorn]

  37. bob smith says:

    Hi Bjorn, i just bought a gold tolex celestion greenback speaker fender blues junior with the pedals i have described above, im thinking of buying a cs-2 as well to add to the rig is there any other pedals i need for a Gilmourish setup? also im worried about fuzz and big muff pedals in a blues junior how will they sound,etc? how should i have the amp setup? im looking for a more versatile setup for most of Gilmour’s sounds especially the 80′s-mid 90′s sounds. Thank you.

    [The Jr handles Muffs pretty well. Try getting one with a boosted mid range like the Musket or Colossus. Fuzz pedals can be harder to get to work. They usually sound too thin on Fenders. Check out amp setting in this feature. - Bjorn]

  38. bob smith says:

    Also sorry should have asked this in the previous post, im not enjoying my boss bd-2 very much and want to get rid of it would the trex mudhoney work well to boost my future big muff? Thank you.

    [I haven't tried the Mudhoney so I can't really tell. The BD2 should work nicely on the Jr but you need to set the amp up for a warm tone and keep the tone on the BD2 fairly low. Check out the Fulltone OCD or the Wampler Plexi Drive if you want something warmer and that's still able to boost a Muff. - Bjorn]

  39. Dom says:

    Hi Bjorn – my pedalboard chain is this –

    Boss TU 2 tuner – Death By Audio Interstellar Overdriver Deluxe – Xotic EP Boost – Montgomery Appliances Flanger MK IV – MXR Phase 90 – Boss DD-6 Delay – Diamond Memory Lane II

    I recently tried to replace Boss Tuner with the TC Electronic Polytune Mini to save space (the boss doesn’t quite fit on my board), and I also thought that true bypass would be advantageous, as well as being able to tune polyphonically which I like. Also, I had read that the Boss Tuner buffer isn’t the best.

    However, without the buffer of the TU 2, the DBA Interstellar Overdriver lost all of its highs. I was surprised at how crucial the TU 2 was.

    What do you advise I do? I would much prefer to use the Polytune if possible, but I can’t really buy a separate buffer as I have run out of power inputs on my Pedal Power 2, and have no space on my board!

    I wondered if putting the MXR Phase 90 before the DBA IOD would buffer the signal enough to make the overdrive work as normal again?

    Any advice or comments that you have would be much appreciated!

    Thanks

    [As far as I know, the Phase 90 doesn't have buffer so it wouldn't make a difference. Some pedals are very sensitive to which pedals you place next to them and gain pedals especially have a tendency to sound eiether brighter or darker when you place them next to a buffer. Have you tried placing the DBA alone in the chain with just the guitar and amp and compared that with the tone you get without the Boss buffer? Perhaps the difference isn't that big since the buffer will make it brighter anyway. What kind of cables are you using and how long are they? The DD6 should be able to buffer the signal from the pedal board and to the amp so it more a matter of buffering the signal from your guitar and the cable to the pedal board. If nothing works, then you might need to upgrade with a separate buffer or a Boss pedal firt in the chain (could be a compressor) and add a second power sypply. - Bjorn]

  40. Dom says:

    Hey Bjorn, thanks for your reply. With the DBA alone in the chain it (strangely) still suffers from a lot of high end loss, so it must just be a pedal that benefits from a buffered input. With the TU 2 and the DBA as the only pedals in the chain it immediately sounds good again and there is no high end loss. I use 15 ft cables to connect to the guitar to the board and the board to the amp, so maybe that plays a part in why the buffer is v important and makes such a difference.

    In terms of buffering the input to the DBA, would the compressor need to be Boss, or could I use, for eg, a Keeley compressor that’s always on, with a the level turned up a bit higher than unity gain?

    Thanks for your help

    [I would say that the cable is the source of your problems. Some pedals are very sensitive to long cables and suffer a great deal of high end roll off due to the long signal chain. That's why you experience a better tone when the buffer is engaged. A compressor alone won't help. It's the buffer that matters and I don't think the Keeley is buffered. - Bjorn]

  41. Keith says:

    Hey Bjorn, when you play a really large stage at say an outdoor gig, It’s hard to use less than15′ from guitar to board, and board to amp. I think you said the cables should be the same length, and it really sucks to be tied to within 10 feet of your amp. Is there a way of using the 15-18 foot cables, and compensate for the signal loss?
    Thanks Obi-Wan, Padawan EbbRamone

    [No, what I meant was that when you set up the rig and test for possible errors, you should be using the same cable model and length to and from the pedalboard. Even better - the same model but considerably shorter cable from the pedal board to the amp to eliminate as much drainage as possible. If the cables are very different it they will play a factor in your tone and it will be hard to detect any inconsistencies. On a stage you obviously need to use different lengths but keep them as short as possible. - Bjorn]

  42. Stephen Ford says:

    @Keith, you are best off to use TRS cables when running long stretches of cable but to do so you need a signal converter at both ends. I use Hum Eliminator II’s as they serve as a patch bay, a hum canceler and a un balanced to balanced signal converter. When using TRS cables any RFI signals that can enter along the length of the cable will be canceled out at the other end of the cable. Companies like Lava Cable have a wide selection of makes. Mogami is a well known and often used manufacturer of Balanced cables but there are many quality makers out there.

    Cheers

  43. Keith says:

    Man, you guys take such good care of this old Rock ‘n’ Roller, who until recently knew little more than, insert cable into ES335, insert opposite end into Marshall JCM Slash/ Jubilee, crank all knobs and play!
    Thanks all, and especially Stephen Ford, and Obi-Wan Riis. I’ll say it again, Hep me, Hep me, I been Gilmourized! :o)

    [LOL! - Bjorn]

  44. Stephen Ford says:

    Often an ES-335 and an insert cable to a vintage amp is just what we all need! I am a a long time player of ES’s and will always go back:)

    Glad to be of service:)

    Cheers to all

    [Well I've never been much of an ES guy but I have the same affection for Teles I guess. They're really not my first choice but nothing beats the tone when you just plug it straight into an amp and jam all night :) Goes for the same I guess. Sometimes it's just great to free your self from all the pedals and rock :) Cheers! - Bjorn]

  45. Dom says:

    If you use a compressor (which is true bypass) at the beginning of your effects chain to double as a buffer, is it actually as effective as using a true dedicated buffer? Are there impedance issues or other issues with a compressor compared to a real buffer? I have read that just having a compressor and turning up the level slightly is not actually serving the same purpose as a buffer, instead simply amplifying a weak signal. Is this true? Or is a compressor, that’s true bypass, just as effective as a buffer as a dedicated buffer? Thanks

    [Well, no. A true bypass circuit is not a buffer. A compressor is basically a gain pedal so by increasing the volume you'll only amplifying the initial signal. However, a buffered compressor, like the Boss CS series, would act just like a dedicated buffer also when the pedal is off. - Bjorn]

  46. igal says:

    Hello Bjorn, once again thanks for your work, i always find myself coming back here for information even though ive read every artice on gilmourish.com at least twice if not more )
    ive been trying to avoid this question for some time now but ive reached a point where i must seek for help :)
    i have my strat for about two years now and by this time ive collected me a bunch of stompboxes… maybe even abit too much of these thus the confusion.
    i wouldn’t mind droping some of these, nor would i mind using them in any ways possible for any right or interesting purpose in my signal chain to get THE TONE :)
    but i just can’t seem to find the right order/combination nor any fine tuning. “lol”.
    it might be time to go & get me a buffer, or maybe just to drop a few from the pedalboard, or maybe its in the order of things because the distortions seem to interact kind of strange since ive introduced a nady td-1 unit to the singal chain and it sure seem to matter where i plug it, i still can’t figure this thing out in particular though people online are praising it for many reasons and tones.
    ive would like to hear your opinion as to what order and cause should/could i use my stompoxes, and get the best out of them by assembeling the best rig possible.

    08fender ustandart > o.c.d (as a clean boost, because it seems to get muddy any later down the chain and in general as an overdrive oddly enough) > dunlop wah > dunlop octavio > big muff pi (stock unusable edition) > mxr dynacomp (very muddy..) > nady TD-1 (which by intself can sound very nice for warm bluesy o.d or something that reminds a tube driver but it loses all touch when in chain) > us RAT2lm308 (just makes me thin no crunch at all) > us vintage rat (no lm) (which also doesnt quite get there)> nano lpb-1 (which only works after the distorions or else it cuts all high end) > bass big muff (which is great // chained here because it splits my chain it two) :

    dry out > behringer mixer (which also feeds my tc polytune from the phones output) > boss rc-300 (a tone killer and thats it) > fender frontman25 :) (which suprisingly adds bottom end to my final tone. )

    effect out > small clone > mxr phase 90 (which seriously damages the tone > carbon copy (same here) > fender blues junior.

    i also have a boss hyper fuzz which is only good for the booster function as it significantly boosts lows on bedroom levels which my blues junior lacks and boss mt-2 that sucks as it is but in the end it gets me much closer by itself to that desired wall of sound singing sustain/distortion than any of the above all together but ofcourse :)

    thanks in advance, and sorry for the messy question.

    [Hi! Sorry for my late reply. I'll try to keep this short... I think you've overcomplicated the setup. The guitar and amp should give you the tone you need and most of the pedals are spot on David's tones... among others. Now, when things aren't sounding how you want it, it's always a good idea to take one step back, unplug everything and start from scratch. Be sure to set the amp up for the clean tone you want. NEVER adjust the amp to fit the pedals. See this guide for amp setup tips.

    Try arranging your pedals like this: guitar > octavio > wah > dynacomp > muff > rat > ocd > TD1. I'd ditch one of the Rats and perhaps even teh LPB-1. The OCD is a better pedal. Try plugging this into the amp and hear how it sounds. Remember to set the amp first, then the pedals. See this guide for some Muff tone tips.

    The Behringer mixer might be one source to your problems. But keep it if the line to the RC3000 and Frontman works out. The Small Clone, Phase 90 and Carbon Copy should be placed after the OCD or, if you still want to split the signal, use a true bypass A/B splitter box instead of the Behringer.

    You need to figure out the settings of the pedals yourself. This because settings depends on how loud you play, how you combine the pedals, your playing technique etc. None of the pedals you have should mess up the signal, so there's something else that's the source. Try the stuff I've mentioned and let me knoiw if you still have problems. - Bjorn]

  47. Yves says:

    Nice work, very helpful

    I would appreciate your help with the order of the following pedals:

    guitar > axxess buffer > volume > WHAH > comp > MUFF > AC booster > RC booster > GT2 sansamp > 808 > rotophase(vintage) > boss ce-2 > ibanez cs-9 > EH holy grail > TC d-two > EH memory man > amp

    Thank you for all the work you do

    [Thanks! The setup looks fine. You might want to place the volume pedal at the very end of the chain though. Placing it first is like using the guitar volume. Placing it last and it's a master control. - Bjorn]

  48. Stephen Ford says:

    I prefer volume pedals pre Delay/Reverb so the trails can continue as you fade but that may be just me :P

    [Agree. - Bjorn]

  49. igal says:

    im sorry for the me messy message, id sure appreciate your help with the best setup for the next pedals, i just seem to lose definition and punch.

    strat > wah > octavio > big muff > boss fz-2 > dynacomp > nady TD-1 > rat2 > vintage rat > o.c.d > lpb 1 > bass big muff > small clone > phase 90 > carbon copy > boss rc-300 > boss ps-6 harmonist > boss mt-2 > polytune > fender blues junior+frontman25

    thank you.

    [Please see my reply in your first comment. - Bjorn]

  50. Charles says:

    Hey Bjorn,

    From my guitar to my amp I have a boss tu-3, Dunlop cry baby, boss super overdrive, Russian big muff, rogue TB delay. Any ideas of how to get the warmest/best tone out of those pedals? Thanks!

    [What guitar, pickups and amp do you have? - Bjorn]

  51. Charles says:

    Blues Jr stock, 2004 american strat stock pickups. Not the hand wound ones used for the 50th anniversary. Using All monster cables

    [OK, see this feature for amp setup tips. As for the pedals, the settings depends on how loud you play, in what room the amp is placed, what sounds you want and your technique. The Muff can stand alone but you'll get smoother tones if you combine it with the overdrive. In that case, I'd place the overdrive after the Muff. The idea is to setting the Muff up for the desired tone and then adding the overdrive set for clean boost after it. See this feature for some Muff tone tips. Hope this helped. - Bjorn]

  52. Charles says:

    Thanks for the timely responses! You just gained a new regular reader. The sound I’m generally shooting for is that fat SRV tone. I’m thinking bout doing some BillM mods to the Jr. to get a little more bass in my amp. I play in a full band at least once a week in bars holding about 50-75 people so I’ve got my volume up to around 4-5 and my master volume usually around 6-7. Not trying to blow peoples ears out. I use the over drive regularly and have the big muff driving it. I’ll try it the other way around. With the older russian models of the big muff does it really make a huge difference having a buffered pedal in front of it? I also hear that a fuzz should go first in the chain. If that is the case should I run my board guitar->big muff-> cry baby-> overdrive-> delay-> boss tu-3-> amp. That’s my last question thanks a lot!

    [The Muff isn't really a fuzz. Technically it's more a distortion so you can place it anywhere you want it really. Doesn't react to buffers. Cheers! - Bjorn]

  53. igal says:

    Thank you for your answer Bjorn, it helped me immensely.

    i got rid of some pedals, and rearranged the rest from scratch following your adviced and in the end was able to get me some neat animals/dark side/wall tones from that setup.
    i discovered then though, that my blues junior somewhat lacks bottom end… as in.. it is not filling the room enough on low levels.. neither it does on higher volume levels. it just seems undefined and muddy comparing to larger amps ive heard for example fender vm deluxe or such.
    value per money i am considering to get a second hand vox ac30cc2 (at the price of a fender vm model) to fullfill my needs, but i am not quite sure that it is a fitting amp for david kind of tones, would you recommend it as such? i like the clean tone of the fender vm but the digital fx section somewhat irritates :)

    i’ve read in one of your replies that the tube driver needs to be driven hard to get that smooth tone out of it, do you mean that the gain on the pedal itself is supposed to be set high, or that it needs to be driven by some other kind of boost?
    would you recommend getting one? as ive mentioned i have a nady td-1 which gets many compliments online and is even said to be able to produce similar sounds to the tube driver but i am still finding myself struggling with it to get any tone at all.. exept maybe very mild overdrive, any advice in the TD tone would be appreciated :)

    Thank you.

    [Glad to hear that it worked out! The Blues Jr is a smaller amp and may lack some of the frequencies you find in bigger setups. I haven't had any problems with the bass my self though... Have you checked the tubes? Perhaps they need to be replaced? Anyway, AC30 is a great Gilmourish amp. I also recommend that you check out the Peavey Classic 30. Perhaps a bit closer to that Fender tone than the AC30.
    The Tube Driver, and I recon the TD1 as well, needs a loud amp to get that those smooth overdrive tones. What this means, is that when you play loud with a tube amp, the tubes will heat up and produce a boosted tone. It can be clean or overdriven but you want that combo of the boosted tubes and the nearly clipping speakers. This of course, if difficult to achieve on lower volume. That's where the more modern pedals comes in. Pedals like the Tube Screamer, OCD, Plexidrive etc are all designed to capture the tone you get from cranking a tube amp, with or without a booster or Tube Driver. See? You could add a booster after the TD but it wouldn't do much since you're basically boosting the preamp section. Louder volume will boost the output tubes, which is what you want. In the case volume is a problem, I'd simply choose a different pedal. - Bjorn]

  54. David says:

    Here’s the deal with buffers. A buffer is an electronic circuit that presents a high impedance load to the guitar, and a low impedance output. The reason lots of new pedals are made this way is that it’s the correct way of doing things. Also there are no high quality buffers, or low quality buffers, other than noise or distortion. But what you have a higher output impedance than others, or a lower input impedance. That brighter tone you hear with a buffer is the true tone of your guitar; like it, or not. The buffer is preserving the tone that the cable and passive controls remove. But we have gotten used to that tone, and we like it.

    If you plug your guitar into a pedal with a low input impedance, it sucks the high end out of the guitar, and will also sometimes reduce the over all level. Very old effects were made this way, not on purpose, but because the people designing the circuits didn’t know any better, or didn’t care.

    This is the reason why “true bypass became important. On some pedals, they used a cheaper SPDT switch, and left the inout of the circuit always connected to the input jack. All they did was switch the output. This caused treble loss. So true bypass is an improvement.

    The problem with doing true bypass on some effects is you will get a volume drop when the effect is in. This is true of unbuffered wahs. This gets back into the insertion loss from the low input impedance. You don’t notice it when it’s not true bypass because your level is always lower.

    The “problem” with buffers because old “junky” (but cool sounding) fuzz designs, like a Fuzz Face, is that the buffered guitar signal is the true tone of the guitar. But the fuzz often sounds better with the high end from the guitar rolled off. This was a side affect of the low input impedance. So now the buffered signal sounds brighter. The buffer is nit to blame, it’s the poor circuit design of the fuzz. But of course we like that tone.

    I’m not sure why no one has done it yet, but this is not that hard to fix. The input stage of the fuzz can be modified to alter the buffered signal to sound like an unbuffered signal. I haven’t tried it, but it should be doable.

    One thing, with the tube drivers, they have rather high output impedances. depending on what you plug them into, you will lose signal level. A buffer after the TubeDriver is very important. This is a design flaw because the TubeDriver takes the output right off the tone stack, and needs a buffer. I have a BlueTube and it suffers from the same problem.

    Lastly, the reason why it’s good at have at least 2 buffers in your signal chain is that when you have all your true bypass pedals bypassed, you have introduced a lot of cable capacitance into your signal. If you have enough pedals, this will suck tone pretty quickly.

    [Thanks a lot for the input, David! - Bjorn]

  55. Macio says:

    Hi,

    i have a question. I got some buffer pedals in my pedalboard, and no perfect idea how to set them. The idea is to do it that way:
    guitar –> Ernie Ball volume JR (for passivei instruments) –> whammy IV –> fulltone fulldrive –> ibanez tubescreamer –> boss tu-2 —> amp
    effects loop (orange rockerverb 50 which has high impedance output actually):
    send –> mxr phase 90 –> electroharmonix pulsar –> line 6 echo park –> line 6 dl4 –> boss dd-20 –> electro harmonix holy grail –> effects loop return

    what do you think about it?
    I used to hav TU-2 in the beggining of the chain and volume right before the amp input, but i red that it might suck tone…
    thanks!

    [Well, there's a million way to set up the pedals. I've never experienced any tone drain with the TU nor an Ernie Ball VP. Placing the VP after the delays allows the delays to sustain when you lower the volume. It's also acts like a master volume for the whole setup, while the guitar volume is a gain volume. If you have the VP first, and lower the volume, you'll decrease the amount of signal to the pedals... not just the volume. If you're using the amp's gain, then placing the modulations and delays in the loop is fine. If you run a clean amp, then you're better off with all the pedals in the front input. Most loops tend to suck tone and be a little noisy. - Bjorn]

  56. Matteo says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    I was considering to insert in my pedalboard a true bypass switcher by Lehle, which from what I read on the web, is hailed as the ultimate pro switching sytem with no signal loss, high quality components and no coloration to the tone. http://www.lehle.com/frameset.php?country=it&lang=en

    This innovation is caused by the fact that we’re gonna play “Shine On You Crazy Diamond (p.6-9)” and so, I would connect the Strat on one channel and the Slide guitar on the other.

    I’d like to have your suggestions/opinions about it, if there are any other way to achieve the goal; my setup is the following:

    Strat (Dave Allen 69 voodoo blues set PU’s)
    Dunlop Fuzz Face Hendrix signature
    Cry Baby (reversed for Echoes)
    MXR Dyna Comp
    Pig Hoof
    Colorsound Power Boost
    EHX Small Stone Nano
    EHX El.Mistress Deluxe
    Boss DD20 Digital Delay
    Boss RT20 Rotary Simulator

    Between the DD20 and the RT20 there’s an ARTEC AB BOX switch (true bypass) which enables me to send the complete effects chain PLUS the Leslie (RT20) only to the second amp (Vox Valvetronix) or to both the amps (Hiwatt Maxwatt 200W head on 4×12 Hiwatt speaker + Vox Valvetronix) for those tracks on which the leslie sound must be predominant (Any Colour You Like….Dogs..etc…)

    Thank you again for your patience, your site and work is as always an absolute reference point.
    Ciao!
    Matteo

    [Hi Matteo! Thanks for your kind words! I've never tried the Lehle switchers myself, so I can't really tell. From what I've read and heard though, they seem to be quite good and versatile. Your setup looks great! Don't really have anything to add :) - Bjorn]

  57. Lee says:

    Hi,
    I have;
    LTD ec 1000 deluxe
    Crybaby (Orginal)
    Dyna comp (Modded)
    Mooer green mile OD
    Big Muff Pi Bass
    Boo instruments Boost
    Digitech rock distortion
    Boss CE2 chorus
    Mad professor Deep blue delay
    Laney 5w Lionheart

    In this order and have this issue whereby everytime I turn the wah on the tone gets real thin and tinny, to the point where I generally no longer turn it on, is there anything you can see there that I am doing wrong?
    I believe that most of them are true bypass? I use good quality short leads on all of my setup

    Cheers
    Lee

    [There shouldn't be any problems or signal issues with using wah's in this setup. Naturally, the wah acts like a tone knob, so you'll have brighter and darker tones as you move the sweep. The old circuit wahs also rolls off some of the treble but that shouldn't leave the overall signal sounding thin. Are you sure there's nothing wrong with the patch cable to/from the wah, the powering or the pot inside? - Bjorn]

  58. Joe says:

    Right now my pedalboard looks like: TC polytune mini > Crybaby classic > DLS Versa Vibe > AnalogMan modded TS9 > Empress paraEq > amp; FXsend > TCE flashback delay > TCE HoF reverb > FXreturn. When playing an amp without FX loop I just put the delay and reverb in after the paraEQ. Anyway, this is pretty much all true bypass (I think) so would you recommend buffer(s) at beginning and/or end of chain, or buffered (not TBP) stomp boxes such as a a compressor or something else? Also, what would you recommend about my pedal order?

    I mostly play strats, but occaisionally play a Les Paul or something with P90′s. My amps include Vox AC15, Fender Princeton Reverb RI, blackstar HT 5th and a couple of others, I play back and forth between a couple of these for a while (few weeks to a few months) and then switch it up.

    [The setup looks fine. Personally, I'd place all the pedals in front of the amp but if you use the amp's gain stage, you probably want the delays in the loop. Anyway, you don't need buffers but all true bypass pedals will cut some of your top frequencies. A buffer in front of the board and one at the end of the board will bring back most of what you've lost. You could run a couple of Boss pedals or just some dedicated buffers. It's down to taste anyway. Some prefer the darker tone while others can't stand it. - Bjorn]

  59. Dan says:

    Great article, thanks!
    A couple questions:

    1. Is the Morley A/B/Y a good enough split for a tuner? I know when I use A+B, it’s noticeably bad but if I just use it to switch to my TU-2 to tune, will that have a negative affect on my tone?

    2. I just reintroduced a RAT into the mix. I’m using it for a pretty thick, fuzzy tone compared to my normal, light/mid gain. Is it considered a ‘fuzz’ as in, should be first in the chain? Or, even though it sounds ‘fuzzy’, it’s not a fuzz so it doesn’t need to?

    Here’s my setup for the whole picture. ANY input on order is appreciated:
    guitar–>TU-2(?)–>George Dennis optical Wah(I may ditch this)–>JHS Pulp ‘n’ Peel(V3 with built-in JHS little black buffer)–>RAT–>MXR Zakk Wylde overdrive–>JHS Double Barrel–>modded TR-2–>Echo Park–>DL-4–>MXR Micro Amp(recovering some volume from delays and tremolo)–>amp

    [I don't have any experience with the Morley but tuners should be placed in a loop or a separate line for the cleanest signal. The RAT is not a fuzz but a distortion and it can be placed anywhere in the chain :) - Bjorn]

  60. Dan says:

    *FYI
    The JHS Pulp ‘n’ Peel can be buffered or true bypass via an internal switch.

  61. Keith says:

    I typed, and submitted this, but it didn’t show up after it refreshed, so I’ll try again. I just read an article about signal loss with the EB VP Jr. The article stated that the pedal split your signal in half, and if you used the tuner out, it split again. I have the 25k model, for large boards, which he didn’t mention, he only said that it became audibly very noticeable when using 5 or 6 pedals. I have 12 on my board. I think you have the regular 250k pot in yours, have you noticed any real issues? Do you plug your tuner into the VP, or if not, where would you suggest I place the tuner?
    Thanks, and due to how funny your remarks about my GAS problem were, maybe you should try your hand at comedy! :) Keith

    [Ha ha! Yeah, well maybe I should try that... Anyway, I haven't really explored this that much myself. I know that using the VP as a splitter for the tuner is not the way to go but again, I need to test this more. Do you have the link for the feature? - Bjorn]

  62. Keith says:

    I’ll find it, and send it to your email. He used spectrum analysis to illustrate his point, I hope I can find it again!
    Keith

  63. Keith says:

    Hey Bjorn, the article is in your inbox! To all out there, its a compilation of tech articles that would help any player, so I’ll give the address here, if I can, I’m comupter illiterate, but here goes, it’s:
    http://www.jhspedals.com/tech-articles/ It has alot more than just the volume pedal part. It starts with Fuzz 101, and runs the gamut of all things pedal. It even has a section with a video by one of Zappa’s techs, about buffers, and their placement. I believe the video has some spectrum analysis included, but I’ve read so much this week, I may be wrong about the analysis. However, it is a must read for serious pedal freaks like most of us!
    Peace, Love, and Gilmourish, Keith

    [Thanks for the link, Keith! I'll have a look :) - Bjorn]

  64. Keith says:

    Bjorn, I have an actual question that I don’t have a clue about solving. I just had my board built, but realized I had it wired wrong. I want to spilt my signal so I can send the RT-20 to a separate amp, but don’t know how, or where to split it. Originally, I thought if I sent my mono path through the DD-20, I could send one out to the Reeves, and the other to the RT, and out to the second amp. Is there a box that I can put anywhere in the chain to split the signal, and should this box be buffered to boost the spilt signal, and lastly, where would you split the signal to go to the rotatating speaker emulator? I want to be able to use it in at home/ jams in the chain, right at the end, but live, I’d love to have a separate amp as a Leslie, that can be more out front for Animals type tones. I hope I said all that so you’d get what I’m trying to say. If so, what should I do?
    Thank you sir, Keith

    [I think the best option would be a splitter box after the delays. Send one signal to the RT20 and amp 1 and the other signal to a dry amp 2. I prefer true bypass switchers. The DD20 will buffer before the splitter. Check out loooper.com and loop-master.com.- Bjorn]

  65. Keith says:

    Thanks for your answer Bjorn. Now I need to learn how these loopers work. As I’ve stated previously, I’m new to the whole pedal thing. I’ve learned so much in my year on Gilmourish, not even knowing what a buffer was a year ago, and because I learn quickly, and dive into things I’m interested in with all my heart, I think I’ve learned alot about most oedals, and how they work, and affect your tone. However, the links for the loopers you gave me showed me that there’s always more to learn,( as if I didn’t know that life lesson already,haha!), but the first picture that popped up looked a bit intimidating, and I’m wondering if you could recommend a book, or site that explains loopers, from the simple, to full blown board controllers? Also, I assume you meant to split the signal coming out of the DD-20, into the splitter, and the thru,(what you called the dry signal, which I took to mean the entire path, minus the RT.) Into my main amp, and the 2nd out into the other amp so that all the effects, plus the RT go to the second amp. Or, would it be better to have the signal split at the beginning of the chain, wuth the loopers second out having a distortion pedal, and RT only, going into the “Leslie” amp. I guess I’m just trying to find out if the sound DG gets, has all of the effects going through his rotating speKers? Abd lastly,

    [You can split the signal anywhere you want but David, when he used rotating speaker cabs, split the signal after all the effects, including the delays. The rotating speaker would then modulate the entire signal. A splitter is basically a small passive box with one jack in and two outs. Booth of the companies I linked to, offer different customised versions of this but the principle is the same. A looper, has two ins and outs and allows you to place one or more pedals outside your main chain. Check out this interview with Bob Bradshaw explaining his looper and control boards. - Bjorn]

  66. Keith says:

    I did not hit submit! SO! And lastly, I seem to remember that rotating speakers should have some dirt before them, so would this work? The looper from the mono out of the DD-20, or wherever you end up saying after reading this, with one out to the Reeves, and the other to the TSA15H, and then sticking the RT-20 into the faux loop on the amp,( it’s not a real effects loop, but an out from the Tube Screamer, and the return is the actual input to the amp.), which would allow me to have the tube screamer in front if the RT, for the dirt. Is the TS 9 a good way to overdrive a rotating speaker? Sorry to make this so long, but I want my rig to be set up as best as it can be. So, I guesss the only real questions are: Where to learn how loopers work, should a “Leslie” get all of the effects, and does the idea about sticking the RT in the fauz loop on the TSA sound like a viable way to give it it’s overdrive? I hope you understand my post, as I’m thinking this out while writing it. In any case, thanks for all the info you’ve crammed into my brain this! oast year, and pretty soon, I’ll almost know a little about pedals,hehe!
    Peace my friend, Keith

    [See my previous reply, Keith. I recommend that you split the signal after the delay and feed one line into each amp, with the RT20 on one of the feeds. - Bjorn]

  67. Keith says:

    Yeah Bjorn, I didn’t mean to sound like I was asking the same question. In the second part, I was mostly trying to see what tou thought about using that faux loop to overdrive the RT. Isn’t a rotating speaker supposed to be overdriven a bit, prior to the “Leslie”, or in my case the RT-20? Sorry it didn’t come out that way the first time.
    Thanks, Keith

    [OK, well, you don't have to overdrive a rotary or Leslie but those old cabs had tube powered pre-amps, which produced an overdrive when pushed hard by the organ. The RT20 has an overdrive feature but I'd rather use a better sounding pedal - if you use the RT20 alone. I haven't tried overdriving with a channel loop but it might work. But, if you split the signal before the RT20 and feed one of the lines, which has all the Muffs, modulations and delays, you'd want the RT20 clean. Adding overdrive to that already saturated feed will only sound muddy and probably cause a lot of feedback. So again, try different setups and hear how that sounds, but in terms of David's tones, split the signal after the delay, place the RT20 on one feed and have a second dry feed. That works great for me at least :) - Bjorn]

  68. Keith says:

    Hello Bjorn, Since deciding to purchase the 3 knob London fuzz from Michael, I’ve once again put myself in the, ” What am I going to do about that wah?” Conundrum. I am having my old 1998 RMCIII gone through, and restored to it’s original great sound, but I’m considering the FoxRox fuzz friendly mod from analogman, do you know of this, the only mod I’m considering? The Teese pedals are very vintage sounding when you tune them right, but being TB, they definitely don’t play well with vintage fuzz, without this mod. Do you think that’s the way I should go?
    Thanks Gilmourish master, KC, the POSTMASTER GENERAL!

    [Please see my reply to your mail :) - Bjorn]

  69. Keith says:

    Bjorn, didn’t know where to put this one, so it’s here,he he. Do you know what plectrum DG preferred in the early period, and what do you normally use. I had used the Dunlop .60mm nylons for a long time, then went to a slightly thicker large triangular pick that I could modify slightly on one or two corners for a different attack. Lately though, I’ve found I’ve been using the triangular Clayton 1 mm. They’re so much thicker than I thought. I found a few of them lying around, and had no idea they were as thick as they are, until I looked at one this morning. It seems that shen I started playing, I used Fender thins, and the longer I play, the more comfortable I am with a much stiffer pick. I’m curious if that’s the case with others. I guess my technique

    [Not sure what David used back in the early days. I know he used herco and guild at some point - still do. As far as I know, he's been using 0.75 and 1mm. I'm using Dunlop Tortex Jazz 1mm. Always has. I like the picks thick. It adds a slight compression and fat attack. I sometimes also use a coin. It's a trick I picked up after reading that Billy Gibbons used Mexican pesos. Works especially well with humbuckers. - Bjorn]

  70. Keith says:

    Crap, as my technique evolves, my touch gets lighter, as I thought the 1mms I’m using, were .60 at most, but they are so easy to use for pinch harmonics, and I guess I used to depend on the thinner pick for fast strumming, because of heavy handedness that seems to be overcome. I know that’s alot for such a subjective issue, but I am very curious.
    Thanks, sorry about the two parter, I accidentally h!!!it submit, AGAIN! KC POSTMASTER

  71. Keith says:

    Yes, I too used to file a quarter into a pick. I’ve heard of many guitarists who’ve used coins at some point.
    postmaster K

  72. Keith says:

    Yeah, I used the Tortex for quite awhile when they first came out. They gad this really weird one that had three different shapes, one on each side, kinda looked like a stretched out wing of some strange bird. I’ll have to try the Jazz 1mm. I do like the big triangular picks though, and Dunlop does make them in Tortex. I’m not sure why I quit using the Tortex, I used the green ones, which are. 60 I think. I believe I kept breaking them, they’re quite brittle, especially in cold weather, but I bet the 1 mm thickness wouldn’t break if you tried! I’m going to see if they feel right again, I used those probably longer than anything,( not the chicken wings, but the regular small ones), although, something about these Clayton’s feels almost perfect. Okay, enough about plectrum’s
    Thanks Bjorn, you’ve got me thinking, and that’s always a good thing! K~

    [It's always fun to experiment with different pics and it's often an overlooked part of creating a tone. Different gauges, sizes and different kinds of material will all have an impact on the tone. I sometimes use picks with a grainy surface. By allowing the grain to scratch the sring you can add a very pronounced attack. I think The Edge use this trick quite a lot. Try also experimenting with using different angles on the pick. The front point that one normally uses, will create a mild attack, while the sides and the rounded corners will produce a darker tone. Tilting the pick and using the edge, will create a brighter tone with a more noticeable attack. This is great for cleans where you want to add dynamics in the tone. David's using this a lot. - Bjorn]

  73. matt says:

    Hi Bjorn
    This tread makes great reading. Here is my predicament.
    I Have a Marshall JCM900 4100 Duel Reverb running JJ EL34′s its biased to around 36. This sits on top of a 1936 Marshall 2×12. For a long time now I have found this amp to be very treblely and not very warm through the mids, I am looking for those nice silky blues warm classic rock tones, anyway i have been using a Boss ME50 multi effects pedal board but it sucks tone so i have been advised to sell it and go with individual pedals instead. I’m a rhythm guitarist and play a 2003 ’56 Gibson les paul std. I used my lead guitarists Boss GE7 EQ to add some colour to my tone by cutting boosting the mids and cutting the highs and this gave me the sound i have been looking for, But this would mean leaving The pedal in the on position on my board and in an earlier answer you said that was not good?
    The other pedals i have are a Boss OD3 and now i need a tuner. I was looking at a pitch black true bypass or should i go with the Boss TU2 and in what order should i run these pedals
    Many Thanks
    Matt

    [Hi Matt! Sorry for my late reply. The TU2 has a buffer, while the Pitch Black is true bypass. Other than that, they're fairly similar. Leaving the EQ on all the time isn't necessarily a bad thing. If it's there to sculpt the tone you get from the amp, then it's for a specific purpose. However, the best and purest tone will always the that from your amp with as few pedals as possible. - Bjorn]

  74. sebastien says:

    Hello Bjorn,

    I got back to this thread because I do own a couple of Boss pedals, and I’m about to order a CS-2, and a DD-2 on ebay.
    Do you think that those early 80′s japanese pedals do degrade the signal / suck tone?

    And if I may, I’d like to have your opinion about the advantages of using a True bypass looper.
    I don’t have much boss pedals in the signal chain, and I’m planning to use a maximum of 2 at the same time (DD-2 + CS-2), among other boutique pedals that are All 3PDT real True Bypass.

    I ‘ve never used a true bypass looper before, so here’s a newbie question: I know that they prevent from tone sucking when you turn them off (it acts the same way as a True Bypass pedal that you turn off) – not in the effects chain anymore – .
    BUT does a true bypass looper (let’s say with a real tone sucking newer boss pedal attached to it), also preserve from tone sucking when you turn the looper on, to put the boss pedal in the pedal chain again?
    In other words, does the true Bypass looper work also to prevent from tone sucking when it’s on (And has the same impact on tone as if the Boss pedal was Real true Bypass)?

    I’m thinking about using a single True Bypass looper dedicated to each of My 90s boss pedals which are Boss CE-5, Boss CH-1, Boss DS-2.

    I hope I’ve made myself clear….. Not sure tough…

    What would be your recommandation for a good True bypass looper ? Keeley? Wobo?

    Regards, Thanks again!
    Sebastien

    [True bypass VS buffers is a delicate matter with different opinions. It basically comes down to two things. How to get the best signal possible for the guitar, pedals and amp to sound most natural and, second, what do you consider is a good tone. How much drainage can you live with? First of all, buffers doesn't suck or drain tone. They're basically small preamps that are designed to drive the signal of the low output pickups through long cables and one or more pedals. A guitar plugged striaght into the amp with a 0.5m high quality cable will give you the best signal but obviously, we need longer cables to be able to move around and for our pedals. So, the longer cable you use to and from the board and between the pedals, the more drainage there will be. Also, the more pedals you add, the more drainage there will be because a true bypass pedal will have some cabeling inside. This is the facts. The different opinions is about whether or not a buffer will improve your tone (not the signal).

    Some guitarists likes the slightly darker tone you get from long cables and all true bypass pedals. In some cases it rolls off harsh overtones and makes everything seem smoother, while the fact is that it will drain your signal for nuances that could have made your tone sound better. Many people hate the effect of a buffer because they're not used to their signal getting brighter - meaning: more natural sounding.

    Personally I like having a buffer first in the chain and last in the chain. This will drive the signal to and from the board while maintaining a natural siganl flow between the true bypass pedals. It my personal opinion because it seems to work best for my setup. Now, keep in mind that a buffer is active regardless whether the pedal is on or off. This means that a Boss pedal that's not in use, still has an active buffer. This also means that if you have Boss pedals, or other buffered pedals in the chain, you don't need single buffers. A buffered compressor firsth in the line and a buffered delay last, will take care of the signal and drainage. However, you may want to add a dedicated buffer at the end of the board IF you have true byapss pedals in between or after the last buffer. Sorry if this is confusing. Again, it comes down to how much drainage you're willing to accept. Keep in mind that a 20 feet cable at the and will suck a lot of tone.

    Last, some will tell you that any true byapss pedal will mess up your signal. That's not true. Cornish, Bradshaw and other advocates for buffers dismiss true bypass all together but I disagree. What's important is how you arrange the board and chain and how this sounds to your ears. Do your self a favour though - test your chain with and without buffers and hear how that affects your tone. Sorry for the long reply but I hope this cleared up the topic. - Bjorn]

  75. Keith says:

    Hey Bjorn, I have a question based on your reply to Sebastien. I have I believe all TB pedals up to the DD-20, and RT-20, both at the very end of my chain. I also have a large board with many pedals, so should I get a dedicated buffer to put at the input of my board? I’ll need to look at the instructions, but I think the ’76 Dynacomp RI is TB, which were it buffered, I assume would be a great way to start my chain, but I think all of the RI’s are TB. What say you? A buffered Univibe would be a good first pedal, but I’m set on the Vibe Machine, which is another TB pedal. I definitely need the boost, 10 to 14 pedals, all but 2 of them True Bypass. Just curious what you would do!
    Thanks for the gazillionth time, Keith

    [The MXR RIs are hardwire bypass. Not true bypass. You may experience that the 76 sounds brighter with a buffer next to it. Any Boss pedal has a buffer so a compressor or tuner first and a delay or a dedicate buffer, like the CostaLab Buffer, at the end would do the trick :) - Bjorn]

  76. Keith says:

    Could a TU2 placed at the beginning of my chain be the answer?
    K~

  77. Stephen Ford says:

    @Keith…yeah but don’t put a buffer in front of the Fuzz pedals! Especially that sweet MJM you are getting:)

    [Of course! Good point Stephen. Although, I though Keith kept the fuzz pedals on a second board? Perhaps I misread... - Bjorn]

  78. Keith says:

    No, everythings going on the board,( it’s disassembled until I’m done getting my pedals, and chain worked out. I am keeping the volume, wah, and speed pedal for the Vibe Machine off the board. But Bjorn, hardwire bypass still is an unbuffered pedal, correct? So, I should go Wah, Fuzzes, buffer, Dynacomp, distortion, boost, modulation, volume, delays, rotary,right? So could I put the buffered TU-2 between the London Fuzz, and the Dynacomp? Or is there a better chain your opinion, and you as well Stephen?
    Thanks guys!

    [OK, I misunderstood then. I'd keep all buffers as far away from any fuzz as possible. If you intend to use a TU2, then place it in a loop. You don't want to ruin the LF with a buffer that close. Also, I'd place the fuzz in front of the way - fuzz > wah > dyna > distortion > boost > modulation > volume > delays > rotary. If neither of these are buffered, I'd place a dedicated buffer, like the CostaLab Buffer after the rotary. Hardwire is unbuffered. - Bjorn]

  79. Keith says:

    So one buffer, at the end of the chain will be sufficient? And with the FoxRox fuzz friendly circuit, you still say Fuzz First? I keep getting wah first, no fuzz first, etc…. Will having two boss pedals, the DD-20, and the RT cause any issues, they are the last two pedals? And you’re saying I don’t need a buffer at the beginning, only the end of the chain? Lastly, will having both the Si, and the Ge fuzzes next to each other cause any issues? Unless I figure out some Holy Grail, I don’t see them ever being on at the same time! I think I’ve got it down, and I learn it all over at least once every couple months, lol.
    Okay Master, I’ll get it straight, eventually :) Keith

    [Forgot about the FoxRox... need to keep a database of everyone's gear LOL! I haven't tried that mod myself but I'm sure it works nicely. If so, then the wah can go first. No problem having the two fuzzes next to each other as they're both TB. I would't use them together though... too much noise. Better with a booster of some sort.

    Anyway, this TB vs buffer topic may be confusing but apart from the fact that fuzz pedals don't like buffers, there's really nothing you can do wrong. There's no rule saying that you need buffers in the chain or where they should go. I think some of the guides out there are a bit misleading and neglect to mention that it's always up to you how you want to arrange the board. All TB, all buffers, a bit of both... doesn't really matter. Pretty obvious I know but again, well worth mentioning.

    As you know, a buffer drives the signal from the pickups through the cables and pedals to the amp. Unless you plug the guitar straight into the amp with a 25cm cable (or so), there will always be some drainage. The more cable and pedals, the less the pickups are able to "see" the amp and you'll loose dynamics, nuances and frequencies. You don't need to place a buffer first but it helps driving the guitar signal intro the board. Likewise, you don't need a buffer at the end of the board but it helps drive the signal from the board to the amp. Buffers placed inside the chain, whatever pedal that may be, will help drive the signal from the guitar through the board and to the amp but any TB pedal and cables after that buffer, will cause some drainage.

    I think my best tip is to try different combos and listen to how that affects your tone. Apart from the fuzz issue, a buffer won't alter your tone. You will experience that your tone gets brighter, clearer or more open and that some of your pedals may change to some tiny degree but this is actually a good thing. Perhaps you prefer that high end roll off, and that's OK, but what you perceive as brighter is actually the guitar being able to "see" the amp, which means you have a more transparent and cleaner signal.

    Sorry for the long reply. - Bjorn]

  80. Kris says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Beginning of this year I decided to completely change my rig. I bought a new VOX AC30C2x and started with a TS808 and later I bought a Fulltone OCD. I play meanly with my Les Paul (classic) or Fender US strat.
    I have achieved some great classic tones with this setup, but there was still something on my whish list. So last week I bought me a Fuzz, Fulltone ’70 (BC-108C).
    I have done some experimenting to see how my setup should be.
    This is what I found the best;
    Guitar>>Fulltone ‘70>>TS808>>OCD>>Amp
    But I have the feeling that my Fuzz tone is changed by the TS808 buffer (TS off)…
    I hear a difference when I stock my fuzz direct into my OCD, ‘cause I like also the tone when the Fuzz is going through the OCD (on).
    Could there indeed be a tone difference when the fuzz signal is passing through the buffer of the TS808(off) to go in to the OCD?
    I like also the sound when I play through the TS808 (on) into the OCD (on), that is the main reason why I have set the pedals this way.
    I was thinking to create a true bypass switchbox to cut out the TS of the chain when not used, but I was wondering if there is a real noticeable tone difference when doing this?
    Another question I have, what is the normal chain setup for a VOX? Pedals into normal channel or top boost? And keep the channel clean or give it a little dirt tone?

    Thanks to give your remarks!

    [Hi Kris! The answer to all your questions is really just - try different options and listen. There's no wrong way of combining the pedals or plugging them into your amp. It all depends on what tones you want. The TS will change the fuzz, making it sound a bit brighter. Placing the TS in a looper will solve the "problem". Using gain pedals, I think I'd plug them into the normal channel. This will be a neutral basis for the pedals. Cheers! - Bjorn]

  81. Stephen Ford says:

    I am with Bjorn except I still prefer my Wah in front of my fuzz for the more Hendrixy tone. Fuzzed wah has never gotten me there. Obviously you have to get the two pedals to agree to the Wah then Fuzz order but if and when you do it is golden!

  82. Keith says:

    So, my final take from this is, I really can put the wah befote, or after the fuzz, and I shouldn’t really need to boost my sinal until I get to the end, where the buffer will boost the original signal, eliminating most of the signal loss from the TB pedals, and extra cables. And once I put a buffer in the chain, don’t run anymore TB pedals after the buffered pedals. Is this what you meant? So, for my sake, I want to run this past bith you, and Stephen to see if it sounds like a good starting point: Cymbaline>TB Wah with FFT> London fuzz> Si fuzz> Dynacomp> Musket> TC Spark> Phase90>Deluxe Elec.Mistress>volume pedal>analog delay> DD-20>RT-20>amp(s)! And when I add the Vibe Machine, it should be first, or after the Wah? Is that a reasonable chain for so many pedals? I will likely never have them all on the board at the same time, but if I did, is this the way you’d be likely to chain them,( taking into account that there’s no set way that it has to be done.), it seems right according to the sum of what you both have told me you’d do, so I just want to be clear, and sure I’ve got the jist of what you’ve taught me. I’m getting a little forgetful in my old age,lol.
    Thanks guys, Keith,( I’ll figure it out before I retire) Clarke

    [The chain looks great. The DD20 and RT20 will buffer the signal nicely. Depending on what tones you want you can place the Vibe Machine both in front and after the gain pedals. Personally I prefer UniVibes first, after the wah. - Bjorn]

  83. Keith says:

    And to Stephen, and I wanted Bjorn to see this, I too have found since I really started to experiment, that I have been rolling the treble on my REEVES all the way down a great deal of the time. It amazes me just how different, and brighter these amps are than everything I’ve ever owned. Also, about my last post, after rereading your reply, it may help to put a buffer before the board, and since it wouldn’t be next to the fuzzes, but before the fuzz friendly wah, would that be okay? I do run a long, 20′ cord from Cymbaline to the first pedal, I need alot of space to shake my moneymaker, so to speak. LOL
    Okay, I hope I’m getting the jist off it, Keith

  84. Keith says:

    4:37 pm EDT Saturday 4/13. After the hardest day I’ve had at work for many moons, I came home just now, and found something very nice on my bed. A box with a box, with a t-shirt, a red velvet bag, and my AVS LONDON FUZZ!! Only I’m way too worn out to plug it in tonoght. It’s much smaller, anx pedalboard friendly than the pictures looked, About as tall as a Spark boost, and one and a half times as wide, with tiny little chickenhead knobs. Looks like fun tomorrow! !!
    Peace, a very beat Keith

    [Congrats, Keith! Looking forward to your verdict :) - Bjorn]

  85. Vareta says:

    Hi Bjorn, congrats for this excelent article

    I have expanded my pedalboard in order to get more colours and tools, but I have experienced a dramatic loss in signal tone when everything is off compared to the direct signal without any pedals, lets say tha half of the tone is gone .

    However if a turn on my compressor the tone seems to come back

    I don´t want to have the compressor “on” all the time!!

    All pedals claim to be true bypass and in fact I tried and they work without the DC on

    my set up is like this: tc electronics polytune > vox big bad wah > envelope filter malekko > EHX soul preacher > pignose fat drive > EHX big muff > MOOER hustle drive > mooer octave > EHX LPB1 > tc electronics shacker > fulltone dejavibe 2 > EHX microsynth > EHX memoryman

    what would you suggest?

    are the mini pedals (Mooer / Malekko) of lower quality than the others?

    should I leave the LPB on all the time?

    thanks very much
    Vareta Blues (Uruguay)

    [Hi Vareta. Sorry for my late reply. You pretty much answered your own question... :) Expanding and adding more pedals will cause more tone loss. It's just the nature of the whole operation and it will happen even with the best quality parts and pedals. For each pedal you add, you will also add the components of the pedal, patch cables, plugs etc. This means that there will be more components preventing the guitar in "seeing" the amp. Now, a pure signal from the guitar to the amp can only be obtained with about 20cm of high quality cable. Anything more, will cause tone drainage. You can eliminate this to varying degree by using high quality cables and pedals but you must also arrange your pedal board with a firm hand and exclude everything that doesn't need to be there.
    The reason you get some of the tone back when you engage the compressor, is because a compressor will compress the signal and act like a line driver as well. It's basically a gain pedal amplifying the signal. A booster does more or less the same thing. But, as you mention, you don't want these on all the time, so that's where a buffer comes in. As explained in the feature, buffers are basically small pre-amps that will drive the signal through long cables and pedals. A buffer doesn't alter your tone but rather restores the signal from your pickups and drives it through the chain. There's not one way to do this so experiment with different combinations until you've obtained the result you want. As explained in the feature, I prefer a buffer first and last in the chain. Hope this helped. - Bjorn]

  86. Craig says:

    A long run of cable will not remove bass as the article states. It filters out high end. The added capacitance of extra cable has the effect of rolling a tone knob down. This is exactly how a low pass filter works – it introduces a capacitor. On top of this, the extra impedance causes voltage drop, so the amp is not driven quite as hard.

    Warren Hayes of Government Mule actually uses a 100ft run of cable after a certain pedal to make it less bright, and SRV intentionally used long runs of lossy cable for a darker and dirtier sound.

    [It doesn't say that. It says that long cables will drain the signal - gain - and cut the treble. Just like you stated. Whether or not this is bad thing is very subjective. - Bjorn]

  87. Maarten says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    My current setup is: polytune > Zendrive > Fuzzface BC108 > Strymon lex rotary > Nova Delay > TC electronics reverb > EP booster

    Is the fuzzface right in line? I leave the ep booster always on and use last in chain. It’s pretty basic, but can you give any advise on order or buffers?

    Thank you in advance,
    Maarten

    [I'd place the BC108 first in line. The Zendrive is true bypass but you'll get a cleaner signal for the fuzz by placing it first. Personally I'd place the EP after the Zen and the Lex last: fuzz > zen > EP > delay > reverb > lex. Try different combos and hear what sounds best to you. - Bjorn]

  88. Maarten says:

    Can I ask why you put the lex last and the fuzz first. (Btw my fuzz is true bypass).

    Thank you for your fast respons,
    Maarten

    [AS I said, you could leave the fuzz after the Zen since both are true bypass but personally I'd keep all fuzz first regardless for them to receive the purest signal. I think this allows the pedal to sound its best. The Lex is a rotary/Leslie sim and if you had a real Leslie cab you would feed the entire signal, with delays and reverb, to the Leslie. So, placing the Lex last would be the right way in regards to simulating a rotating speaker cab setup. Still, try different combos and hear which you prefer. - Bjorn]

  89. Craig says:

    It seems I completely missed the sentence regarding cheap buffers. My apologies, the article is correct.

    [No worries, Craig. Even I make mistakes from time to time LOL! - Bjorn]

  90. Diogo says:

    Hi Bjorn, very interesting article.
    I got the Les Paul, Epi, and it sounds and feels great, though I’m a bit disappointed. I thought something like the LP would improve on the pickups in the old chinocaster considerably, when it comes to cleaning up the sound with the volume, but no dice. I find I need to roll the volume almost all to zero, even with the split coils (so its a single coil), and its still not quite there. Shouldn’t the Boss BD-2 help a lot when it comes to that? After I read this, it made me wonder if its not the pickups, but “lack of a buffer”? It does sound a tad muddy at times.
    Thanks,
    Diogo

    [Not having buffered the chain can cause a muddy tone but if you already feature a BD2 then your signal is buffered. A dark and what might be perceived as a muddy tone, depends on the tone of the pickups, the amp and pedals. Not sure what you mean by "cleaning up" but in terms of gain, rolling back the guitar volume should clean up most amps and overdrive pedals. However, if you think your tone is too dark then you might reconsider the pickups or perhaps the amp.Try different settings on your amp though and perhaps also consider an EQ or brighter sounding booster. - Bjorn]

  91. Tom R says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Thanks for the article – it’s nice to see a balanced approach to buffers. There seems to be a lot of guitarists who are obsessed with everything being true bypass and buffers being the devils work. I sometimes wonder how much better their rig would sound if they’d just give one good buffer a try! After all, if a good quality well built buffer is good enough for the likes of Pete Cornish and David Gilmour, then it’ll probably be good enough for me!

    I was playing around with a red fuzz face recently, and i really struggled to get a decent fuzz sound out of it. After playing around with a few other pedals, i noticed that my moen univibe clone was giving me a slight volume boost, which made the fuzz a lot better. After that, i took all the pedals out of the chain and just had my guitar plugged into a LBP-1 for ever so slight clean boost then into fuzz and suddenly i had the sound i wanted. I’m not an expert on these, but i think the lbp-1 is doing effectively doing the job of a buffer. Either way, i was stunned how such a tiny change could make all the difference!

    I’ve since got a mooer blue faze which mixed with CPB, moen shakey jimi and a bit of delay is putting me in early 70s heaven. Not sure the neighbours are so keen though. Thanks for your great articles which have helped me get there.

    Tom

    [The LBP-1 is true bypass but when engaged it will at least boost the signal and give the fuzz a bit more balls. Most amps, especially when you run them on low volume levels, needs a bit of boosting and fuzz generally sounds best with a bit of mild crunch added. Cheers! - Bjorn]

  92. Giulio Mazzotta says:

    Hi Bjorn. I have resolved buffer question with a Carl Martin – Buff Deluxe Dual.
    Easy to use have a unique features: 2 buffer with a different impedance and a tuner out.

    First buffer Input: 1M Ohm
    First buffer OutPut : 600 Ohm

    Second buffer Input: 1M Ohm
    Second buffer OutPut : 100 Ohm

    First buffer is used for effect pedal chain at the end , the second only to bring signal at your amplifier.

    Manual: http://www.carlmartin.com/manuals/manual_buff_deluxe.pdf

    Cheers !!

    [Thanks for the tip! - Bjorn]

  93. Daniel says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    all my pedals are true by-pass except: Tube Drive (I think) and the Mistress and recently the RT 20. Sincerelly I don’t have notice that may exist significant difference on signal, execpt with the RT20. Long ago I used Klotz La Grange cables and one day I experiment fulltone cables and I noticed that laGrange are very dark if compared to Fulltone. Since them I have used Fulltone cables (guitar-pedalboard-amp) and Georgel’s (pedalboard)
    Next my pedalboard:
    MP Fire Red Fuzz > Musket > Tone Barber compressor > Rat2 > Tube Drive BK Butler > OCD > MP Tyni Orange Phaser > Mistress Deluxe > RT20 > Volume Pedal 25k Jr > T-Rex Replica.

    All two fulltone cables are 4m, but on stage gives way a little more longer cable to the amplifier a little more away from me!!!

    Leveraging the message, could you tell me what the settings you recomend on Musket and RT20 for the PULSE tones?

    Thank You for all the information on your site!

    [Sorry for my late reply... Depending on your amp settings, pickups etc, try these settings:
    Musket: pre (leave it off or add gain if you don't boost), mids 12:00, focus 12:00, fuzz 3:00 (depending on whether you boost or not), tone 11:00, volume 1:00.
    RT20: mode 1, effect 8-9:00, direct 11-12:00, balance 11:00, overdrive off, slow 2:00. Set the other controls as desired.
    - Bjorn]

  94. Juan Manuel says:

    Hi Bjorn, thanks for sharing this great review with us in all over the world!
    I am definitely trying this at home as soon as i arrive.
    I only have one question, i use a CS-3 Boss Compressor which i place first in the chain, and then i place the EH Big Muff, should i try placing a true by-pass pedal in-between them?
    Thanks for your help in these very tricky issues!

    [Hi Juan! Some Big Muffs reacts to buffers but not all. The only way to tell is to try both ways. You may notice that the Muff sounds a bit brighter with the buffer but that's just the clean tone of your pickups. The question is whether you can live with this and if there's something else that happens to the Muff with the buffer. - Bjorn]

  95. Alan Day says:

    Some good comments here. I read an article that adds to the debate regarding Gold Plated vs Nickel Plated Jack tips. Most of us have experienced that “intermittent thing” where you signal comes back when you “jiggle” patch leads in your pedal board. The cause is often electrolysis between different metals (i.e. Gold and Nickel) As most pedals and guitars tend to use Nickel it therefore (amazingly) makes more sense to use Nickel tipped jacks rather than Gold tipped.
    Also Bjorn – Re the GE-7 – I agree that the stock pedal is dreadful – but I modded mine with a Monte Allums mod and it got A LOT better.
    I often use a FET pre amp up front and it DEFIANTLY combats loss of tops.

    [Thanks for the input, Alan! - Bjorn]

  96. David says:

    I listened to Airbag – Redemption on your Facebook page this morning, nice song with a great solo at the end!
    What do you do with your pedals that are the horrible “hardwire bypass” like the Electric Mistress, Vox Wah and vintage MXR pedals, do you mod them for true bypass or just deal with it?

    [Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it :) I deal with it :) The Mistress isn't that bad actually. Haven't really noticed any change in the tone. The wah and old MXRs are really nasty though but a nice buffer handles most of it. There are lots of ways to deal with this when you're recording and a good EQ will bring life back to the tone. I also use good preamps and compressors to get the best signal possible. Well, best possible for my budget anyway :) - Bjorn]

  97. Mark says:

    Just my opinion on the basics regards patch cables.
    Ive tried the “quick make up” type patch leads and out of curiosity checked the resistance of several newly made up 1 foot patch leads which were reading all around 0.4 ohms.
    After some time the resistance started creeping up to around 6 ohms.
    I could only put this down to slow oxidising of the push connection.
    Since then ive opted for quality cable soldered to Neutriks and quality cable.
    Just thought id mention as its worth checking patch cables for good continuity as a basic.

    [Thanks for the input! - Bjorn]

  98. Diogo says:

    By cleaning up I meant, like having the lead sound, rolling down the volume, and getting a clean, no distortion sound. I still have to mess with the settings a bit, so let’s see. I’d love some PAF replicas, or a tube amp, but won’t be able to get either for a while. As long as I don’t GAS, I will be fine….. Otherwise, great guitar, having a lot of fun, even got some gilmourish out of it!
    Thanks Bjorn

    [OK. Humbuckers don't clean up that well because they have more mid range and higher output than single coils. Even the old PAFs won't clean up as good as the typically vintage style single coils. But, experiment with different settings and hear how your rig responds :) - Bjorn]

  99. Mouloudo says:

    Hey Bjorn nice article as usual!

    I discovered a new pedal called the catalinbread echorec http://www.catalinbread.com/images/echorec1.jpg which is supposed to emulate the binson echorec, thought you might want to check it out :)

    cheers

    [Thanks! Yeah, the Echorec came out earlier this year. Still waiting for someone to send me a pedal for review :) - Bjorn]

  100. Daniel says:

    Thanks for your settings!

    I was not able to match the efffect button with the direct of the RT-20. However in my opinion the RT-20 is the only pedal very slightly changing my sound and I still could not understand if I like more my sound with it or without it! However with this experience came to me another question: the ChorusLab pedal with the mix knob does not end by doing more or less the same as the RT-20 having the PULSE tones in mind?

    Thank you!

    [The ChorusLab is, like most vintage sounding chorus, very subtle. The effect mix control is great for dialling in just the amount of chorus you want but it won't substitute a rotary effect. In terms of a recreating David's PULSE tones, you need both for authenticity. - Bjorn]

  101. Deny Bisson says:

    Bjorn,

    Very interresting topic again. While I was reading posts and comments, I was wondering how much drainage I got with my rig. I haven’t paid much attention whether or not my stomp boxes were buffered, except the Boss BD2 which I knew. So I disconnected all of them and re-connected one at a time until I get the signal trough the amp. As expected, BD2 is buffered, but I was surprised that the TC Nova Delay was too.
    After bypassed both buffered, I got all the TB together and checked the tone. As you explain, the tone is missing some treble, but mostly dynamics. I re-inserted one at a time the buffer and made tone comparison. I must say that I prefer the tone with both buffers for better dynamics and crisp tone.
    One thing I was wondering about splitting signal to feed 2 amps, which I do, without buffer, say with simple Y cord. Would each amp see both cable length (15 ft each for example) and increase tone drainage such as each amp see total cable length (30 ft)?
    I know that splitting at output of Nova delay (one amp in L output, one in R output) doesn’t make difference because its buffered and one or two cords doesn’t affect the tone actually.

    Thanks,

    [Hmmm... Good question. Depends on how you're splitting I guess. With a buffer and Y cable I would imagine that the signal is still buffered but I haven't tried it so I can't tell for sure. Perhaps there are some one here with better technical skills than I who can explain it. Anyway, I have very bad experience with Y splitter cables. Perhaps I've been unlucky but I recommend using a good quality splitter pedal or box. - Bjorn]

  102. Sebastien says:

    hello Bjorn,

    This is the most efficient, synthetic review I’ve read about buffers. THANK YOU!

    Everything is said here:” A Boss tuner or compressor first in the chain or a delay last, will do the job but the quality of the buffers used in pedals are of varying quality (even among Boss pedals), so I strongly recommend a single buffer (even if you have Boss pedals on the board)”. <PERIOD!

    just one more question: I have one brand new pedalboard arranged ala hendrix, with just an analogman Sunface NKT 275 + BYOC true bypass wah + MJM 60's vibe . What would be your advice for the order of effects, and would there be any interest of placing a dedicated buffer at the beginning of the pedal's chain?

    AT last, What should we understand about the "Cable length" debate? I only use High quality cables, but not the same length between guitar and pedalboard (shorter) than between amp and pedalboard (longer). Would it be a best choice to run the same length on each side?

    Thank you again for your work!

    have a good night!

    Sebastien

    [Hi Sebastien! Sorry for my late reply. I'd arrange the pedals as you've listed them. Don't think I'd add a buffer to this setup though as it surely will effect the fuzz. Inregards to cables, quality plays an important role and high quality cables are better equiped to drive the signal through lond lenghts. However, regardless the quality there will alwyas be some resistance and as it says it the feature, 18 feet is aprox the max lenght before you start to notice high end roll off and less dynamics. Less quality cables may show signs lower than that. With the pedal board you've listed, I'd make sure that the cables are of good quality and as short as possible without compromising comfort and the ability to move around. - Bjorn]

  103. Keith Clarke says:

    I guess you thought I died or something, considering I haven’t posted in almost two weeks, maybe more, but I’ve just been catching up at work, after a,month flat on my back. So, I’ve decided on all pedals I will be purchasing, and thus can really figure the correct chain now, please correct anything that isn’t done the way you think, since our gear is so similar. Guitar, Fuzzes, GE then Silicon, Wah( reverse egineered Italian Vox, but TB, Vibe Machine,( this placement I’m unclear on), Dynacomp, Musket, Ram’s head, Spark, Throbak, Phase 90, Deluxe Mistress, VP Jr., Echorec, DD-20 main signal into REEVES from one output of DD-20, and other output from DD, intoRT-20, into TS15H amp. I doubt I’ll ever have them all on the board at once, but if I do, should I have a buffer near the guitar, and where would you put it based on this chain. Sorry so long, but I only want to do this one more time. Please make suggestions for any corrections you may think I would benefit from.
    Thanks Bjorn, nice to be back, THE POSTMASTER

    [Hi Keith! Glad to hear that you're back working :) The chain looks fine. Personally I prefer the compressor in front of the UniVibe. Gives it a bit more defined character. - Bjorn]

  104. dMac says:

    One of the best discussions on buffers is by Jack Orman (fx guru) where he turns on the ‘scope and looks at the actual numbers for true bypass, buffers and their various types (http://www.muzique.com/lab/bypass.htm).

    Also in his blog is a link to a graph that shows how much 10 Boss FET buffers (in the Boss switching) hammers your tone, even in bypass mode (http://www.muzique.com/news/bypass-systems-measured/, and http://rudemechanicaloz.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/including-10-boss-pedals.png).

    Personally, I use a variation of the Klon buffer at the start and end of my pedalboard (google is your friend).

    Don’t forget that if you are using your amp’s FX loop, it may also be buffered.

    Also if I find an effect that doesn’t sound as good in on the board as it does by itself, I try putting a buffer in front of it to see if that helps.

    Don’t be scared of making your own buffer- if you can change the pickups in your guitar, you have all the skills needed to make one. If people want I can do a tutorial.

    [Thanks for the links! - Bjorn]

  105. Ricardo says:

    Hi Bjorn first of all thank you very much for these ‘Tips of the week’. I would like to buy a tuner and I’m between a Boos TU3 (Buffered) or Korg Pitchblack Poly (True bypass) or Polytune.
    The Korg Pitchblack Poly at half price that Boss TU3 (in my country).
    My pedalboar in chain order: Boss CS3 – Rat2 – Boss BD2 – EH Neo Clone – MXR Phase 90 and Boss DD7. Coming soon I want to add a Wah Vox HW another distortion and a flanger, all True bypass.
    You think should be the Boos. I like more the Korg or Poly.
    Thank you very much for your time.
    Ricardo

    [Hi Ricardo! All of the tuners you list are very good so it depends on preference I guess. I've been using Boss for years but I've recently replaced them with the TC Poly. In terms of true bypass VS buffers, since you already have Boss pedals with buffers in your setup, a new TU3 won't make any difference to the actual buffering. - Bjorn]

  106. David says:

    Hey Bjorn i have one question. i found on my local music shop lying on the ground a dusty but not damaged “77´s to 80´s” electric mistress. should i take it?? is the best flanger for gilmour tones?? thanks…

    [Hi David! In case you haven't decided yet... First of all, I would never buy an old Electro Harmonix, or any other pedal, without having tried it first. Be sure to open it up and check its guts as well. Personally I prefer the Deluxe over the original 9-18V. I find it more defined and easier to blend with distortions. I recommend that you try it and let your ears decide. - Bjorn]

  107. Stephan Magott says:

    Hello dear Bjorn Riis,

    I’d like to have your advice for a Tuner.
    I don’ really Trust the Buffers in the boss Tu-2.
    What do you think about the TC Electronics Polytune / small model .
    What would be your choice among the many tuners available on the market ?

    Considering a chain with 6 or 7 effects, here’s how I plan to arrange the beginning of the chain: Guitar / A/B box sending B to the tuner and and A to the pedals chain, wich starts with a dedicated buffer, then after that the pedals….

    As you can see, I’d like to have silent tuning …

    IN you opinion, is it the best way to arrange the pedals ?
    What is your experience with tuners. Should I just put the tuner at the beginning of the chain just before the dedicated buffer, with no A/B box?

    Sincerely,

    Stephan

    [Hi Stephen. I've been using the TU2 for years but other than it being a relieable tuner, the buffer doesn't do much for the signal I think. I've replaced all my TU2s with the TC Poly Mini. They're perfect for a cramped pedal board - tuners shouldn't take up too much space - and they're very fast and accurate. I also prefer it being TB so that know that there's no colouring or unwanted buffering going on. You could place a tuner in a loop but the Poly has silent tuning and it doesn't colour your signal or tone so you might as well place it in the line. I have mine after a CostaLab Buffer. - Bjorn]

  108. Nathan says:

    I noticed you said in another comment that a buffer can help cure the tone loss from the hardwire bypasses in my Electric Mistress and Phase 90. I’m thinking about adding a Boss CE-2 to my board, so to that end, would you recommend placing it before, after, or between the Mistress and Phase 90?

    [Well, I'm not an expert on the technical stuff but your signal will be coloured by the circuit of the hardwire pedals so although a buffer will compensate for the signal loss, there will be some colouring that it won't be able to eliminate. The general recommendation is to place buffers first or as early as possible in the chain to allow each pedal to get the right load from the guitar. In this case, I'd place the CE2 in front of the Mistress and Phase 90. There are different opinions about the quality of the Boss buffers and also between the Japanese models and the current production line. My experience is that no Boss pedal really manages to buffer the signal as well as a dedicated buffer. I'm not quite sure why I'm experiencing this, I'm sure someone can explain, but I think part of the reason is that the circuit it self is often colouring your signal. The GE7, as an example, is notorious for this, which is strange having both buffers and being a tool for enhancing your tone. Anyway, try your signal with and without the CE2 and in diferent places and hear how that sounds. - Bjorn]

  109. Brad says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Is there a difference between having a buffered pedal in the chain in front of your amp, and having one in the fx loop? In other words, can you have all TB pedals out front, and a buffered delay in your fx loop, and be in good shape, or does the recommended “one buffer” need to be before that cable run from pedal board to amp?

    thanks!
    Brad

    [Hi Brad! I don't think you should compare or confuse the signal going into the amp with the one in the loop. The point with a buffer is to drive a high impendance signal from the guitar to the amp. The reason you want to do this is because long cables and many TB pedals (that are not capable of driving a signal) will drain your signal and the tone coming from your amp will be less dynamic and pronounced in the top frequiences. So, with that in mind, a buffer should be placed as early as possible in the chain so that it can drive the signal from the guitar through your cables and pedal board into the amp and its pre-amp stage. If you only place a buffer in the loop, you'll only be buffering the output stage of the amp, which is not going to compensate for the signal loss you'll get into the pre-amp. Whether or not you should place a buffer or buffered pedal in the loop depends on your amp. Check it's specifications whether you already have a buffered loop or not. Whether or not you should use the loop at all is a difference debate. See this feature for more tips and recommendations on that subject. - Bjorn]

  110. Stephan Magott says:

    Thank you !

    Do you mean that you have: 1 – Guitar / 2 – Costa lab dedicated buffer / 3 – TC Poly Tuner mini / and after that your usual effects chain ?

    thank you again !

    Regards,

    Steph

    [Yep :) - Bjorn]

  111. Paulo Aguilera says:

    Hi Bjorn!, i have Boss noise reduction in the loop (and i have roughly 16 stompboxes) do you think this boss Will be enought?

    Thanks in advance!

    [Do a quick test to tell if it makes a difference. Switch the pedal off, strum a few chords and listen. Unplug the pedal from your chain, strum a few chords and listen. Is there a difference? Personally I don't think any Boss buffer does the job as good as a dedicated buffer but how much difference there really is, depends on the over all transparancy of your rig. - Bjorn]

  112. David says:

    Bjorn! i have one doubt. in the “Modulations Post” you state that “(A good tip is to use modulations with care. Unlike overdrive, distortion and delay, a chorus or flanger can sound very dated and out of place if you use them too much or for the wrong reasons. All modulation effects sounds best if you use them for specific stuff and even better, to create unique tones that defines your sound and playing.)”. that means than: 1) the sound starts getting annoying. or 2) the pedal gets damaged.?? thanks!

    [It's just my personal opinion but I believe that chorus, flanger, phaser etc should be used for specific stuff or else all your sounds will sound the same and even, in some cases, out of place. - Bjorn]

  113. Chris says:

    Bjorn, love the site, think I’ve probably read every article about a thousand times. In any case, I’d love your opinion on how I should have my board. Currently I have it set up as Boss NS-2> DOD Milk Box Compressor> Behringer Vintage Tube Monster (great pedal if you haven’t gotten to try one out, fantastic distortion and even better as a booster)> Boss BD-2> DOD Classic Fuzz> Lovepedal Superlead> EHX Black Russian BMP> EHX Memory Toy Delay> MXR Carbon Copy> Behringer Digital Delay (again, not a terrible pedal considering it’s absurdly low price, though I do wish the buffer was a little better)> EHX Holy Grail Reverb (Large body)

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks
    -Chris

    [Hi Chris! Personally, I prefer all the boosters and overdrives after the high gain pedals. If that doesn't work for you, then your chain is fine. However, try this: compressor > classic fuzz > black russian > superlead > tube monster > bd2 > mem toy > carbon copy > DD > holy grail. As for the NS-2, check out this feature. - Bjorn]

  114. Terrance says:

    Hi Bjorn, thanks for the great site as always very good. I have a question re pedal board arrangement.
    I just purchased the Wampler Velvet Fuzz. My first fuzz ever. My current pedal order is boss tuner>Dod Compressor> Dr Scientist The Elements > Boss Blues Driver>Ibanez D7 Echo>boss Tremolo>Boss DD7 . Now that I am adding a fuzz I have concerns about the tuner first and compressors. I will likely drop the blues driver – although could use it. But should I use fuzz first where can I put tuner . Due to power supply I may not want to put itin the effects loop of my amp and the secondary amp which I seem to be using alot has no loop. And compression last or in the middle. I will try all options once the pedal arrives – just wanted a professional opinion,
    thanks again,
    t

    [I haven't managed to figure out if they've tried to solve the buffer issue with this one but from what I understand, the Velvet Fuzz operates like a normal fuzz, which means that you need to keep it away from your buffers. I'd place it first in the chain and in a true bypass loop. Since you have all those buffers, that's really the only way to avoid any issues. Still, do some research or send Wampler a request and ask if the pedal has buffer issues or, try placing it next to a Boss when you get it and compare that with having just the Velvet in the chain. - Bjorn]

  115. Nathan says:

    I saw in the Echoes Seagull tutorial that you said the effect might not work with a true bypass wah? Do you know why that is? I just sent my wah to Keeley to get true-bypassed, hope that wasn’t a mistake.

    [I'm the wrong guy to ask about these technical stuff. I'm sure it's got something to do with the buffer, impedance etc. All I know is that you have to use vintage style ways. - Bjorn]

  116. alex.loudass says:

    @Nathan,

    I had my Dunlop Crybaby modded (standard 95 blah model, now true bypass and reverse switch) and it didn’t change a thing – the seagull is still screaming :) True bypass alone does not change anything about the circuit. I’ve had less luck with Wah models which have switchable ranges.

    Best,
    Alex

    [Thanks for the input! - Bjorn]

  117. Nathan says:

    @Alex,
    Thanks! I’m relieved! It’s a Vox Wah-847, it already had the reverse switch and leds when I bought it. Sent it to Keeley to get true bypass and a vintage yellow fasel inductor. Can’t wait!

  118. Keith says:

    @Alex, Nathan, Bjorn, and all. I just had a very long conversation with Stuart Castledine about this subject, He akes the vintage CPB RIs, and it’s not the switching that makes a wah unable to do the effect. It’s the addition of certain types of buffers, like the FoxRox fuzz Friendly circuit. I wanted to get his vintage 1966 Italian Thomas Organ clone drop in kit, as he winds his own halo inductors. I had been very specific that I wanted to do the Seagull effect, and wanted to have it be Fuzz Friendly, so I could put my Wah before my fuzz. He told me that the Fox Rox, and similar mods, ars a type of buffer that would handle the impedance issues between wah, and fuzz, but would kill the Seagull effect. That’s why cintage wah circuits usually work for the effect, and more complicated, and fuzz friendly wahs do not. It is not the bypass that ruins it, but other added circuits. He didn’t go into detail, and I’m not a tech,YET! However he did say there was a resistor he could add to the output, that would make the Wah more fuzz friendly, without killing the Seagull effect. I strongly suggest looking into his wah, or drop in kits. I think they’re likely as close to that one special year of the most sought after wahs, tge 1966 Vox/Crybaby made in Italy. He’s even adding a reverse toggle for me to go between normal, and reversed jacks. All you have to do is drill the hole, and you can put the toggle where you like. His kits fit Vox 847 cases, so they even look vintage! Or buy his big yellow wah. They also have internal pots for fine tuning.
    Peace, THE POSTECUTIONER

    [Thanks for the research, Keith! - Bjorn]

  119. Keith says:

    Addendum, sorry for all the typos, and his kits fit some other cases. I sent him a gut shot of my 1998 RMCIII case, and he said it would fit, so contact him to see if your case will work, or buy his wah. They’re a tad pricey, but from what I’ve learned, they are likely the best wah availible for that vintage, and vocally sweet sound!
    K~

  120. Keith says:

    I’ll try to repost the basic udeas of the two lost posts. I had not posted for several weeks, so I felt like I was going through post withdrawl, but havs made up for it. I was writing to say that my main board, 16×36, should be finished as soon as I can get the last few pedals, Throbak, Echorec, Ram’s head(maybe), and Vibe machine. The wah kit from Stuart Castledine will complete the board, and then it’s a second power supply away from being wired! However, the second post was about what I’ve been thinking about doing with my JH-f1, and wanted your opinion. I though it might make a good pedal great if I sent it to Analogman,
    and have a matched pair of bc-109s installed, and the pedal tuned like the Sunface! Think that’s a good move? That, and the other pedals are basically saved up for, just waitng fir Castledine to get back from holiday , and I’ll then order the rest of the pedals, and get wiring. Lastly, the Rodriguez, ’68 Les Paul Wine Custom has been started, and my only decision left on it, is whether to go with two “Real PAFs” fralins Gibson style humbuckers, or 3 of his noiseless P-90s. Any thoughts on how to go there? PAF, or P-90? Anyway, sorry, but that’s 3 posts in one, and really would love your opinion on all the questions!
    Peace, Love, and Gilmourish, THE POSTECUTIONER

    [Hi Keith! Can't wait to see some pix once this setup is finished :) I couldn't be happier with the BC109. Use it all the time. I haven't had the chance to A/B test it with the JH-F1 but there's obviously a difference in the tone. How much difference there is to the noise level, dynamics etc is hard to tell without the test. Anyway, I'd ask Mike what he thinks. Perhaps, in terms of costs, it would be just the same to just order a BC109 SunFace from him.
    I'm very much into P90s. Been using both Duncan Phat Cats and D Allen p90s for the new Airbag album and although I prefer the PAFs among the humbuckers I choose P90s over buckers. Personal taste... I haven't tried the noiseless p90s though. - Bjorn]

  121. Oscar says:

    Hi Bjorn!

    Congratulations for your website. It is by far the most complete guitar website on the net. Thank you for that. If its possible i would like your help to put in the right order my pedals. I like to sound in stereo, so this is how i have managed to connect my pedalboard:

    Fender Strat > Volume > Wah > Boss Noise Reductor > (direct***) mxr carbon copy > verbzilla (stereo) > eventide time factor (stereo) > eventide pitchfactor (stereo) > boss slicer (stereo) > jamman digitech (stereo) to console

    ***Also—- Boss noise reductor > (send to) Musket > Multiwave Sound Distortion > Carl Martin Compressor > return to Boss noise reductor

    Is it correct? I would like to know your opinion

    Thank you very much!
    Oscar

    [Thanks for your kind words, Oscar! The lines look fine. Personally I'd place the compressor first though and be careful with those noise gates. Check out my thoughts on that in this feature. - Bjorn]

  122. Aaron says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    I stumbled upon your site and I am astounded at the insight and patience you have to help out all of the guitarists who sent you their pedal board setups in comments to this article. I’d like to get your opinion on my current setup and whether you would recommend to change out the boss and mxr effects to true bypass and bring in a dedicated buffer unit (and which one do you recommend)

    here it is:
    PRS studio > little looper nose pedal (3 true bypass sends/returns) -> ernie ball jr volume pedal (tuner out: boss tu tuner pedal) -> boss DD-3 delay -> tc electronics trinity reverb pedal -> jcm 900

    from the looper:
    1) boss cs-3 compressor -> keeley mod TS-9 tube screamer

    2) greenhouse golddrive -> boss metal zone

    3) MXR 100 -> boss bass chorus (ceb-2) -> boss vibrato -> boss CE-7 EQ (for use as a boost)

    questions:

    1. i see it written often that i need 1 buffering pedal in the chain. is a boss dd-6 from about 10 years ago any good? i was considering replacing it with the memory toy pedal and then i could get something else as the buffer.

    2. if i use less than 18 ft of guitar cable and all 3 sends are off do i even need a buffer?

    3. would you recommend moving to a true bypass chorus, phaser, vibrato and boost pedal?

    4. is the metal zone going to suck away the tone of the true bypass golddrive ?

    thanks !

    [Hi Aaron! Thanks for your kind words!
    1. You may have more than one buffer but one is enough to drive the signal through over 100 feet of cable. Most Boss buffers are quite OK but I think a dedicated buffer, does a far better job. My experience at least.
    2. 18 feet isn't all that much. Keep in mind that you also need to measure the patch cables and the cables inside the true bypass pedals. You might also have conflicting impedance between the pedals. I would say that unless you plug your guitar straight into the amp with a short cable and no pedals, you should consider a buffer for the purest signal.
    3. I don't think you should be too focused on buffers or true bypass. Choose the pedals you think sound nice and place a dedicated buffer first in the chain to drive the signal. That being said, I prefer true bypass pedals and one buffer because then I know that there aren't any conflicts or buffers messing up the signal.
    4. I don't know.
    Hope this helped. - Bjorn]

  123. Keith says:

    For someone who may be able to answer this question. I’ve seemed to by trial and error, found the GCB-95 CryBaby seems to do the Seagull effect perfectly. My question is, does anyone have a schematic for wiring a simple toggle to reverse the in/out jacks? And from what I gather, installing a tpdt switch, for true bypass, does not alter the ability to do the effect, but would certainly keep it from tone sucking when not engaged, so while I’m sure there are hundreds of tutorials on doing the TB mod, I’d appreciate the opinion on which tutorial is the easiest to follow. There may be a video on the reverse switch too, so if anyone knows of one, please send me the links :)
    Thanks, ain’t Wahs a bitch, Keith ( last thing I need, and hardest to find the rigt one) I did manage to get a little earlier G revision in mint, in the box for $35.00 I tried the current I rev, and it sucked really badly!

  124. Brian says:

    Hi Bjorn, I have half my fx between my guitar (stock Strat) and my amp (MKV) and half in the fx loop. I was wondering if the impedances are connected, for example if I put a buffer in between my guitar and amp, would that affect the impedance in the fx loop?
    All my fx are true bypass except my Nova Reverb which I don’t know what kind of bypass it is but I think it’s buffered, no one knows for sure tho, it’s last in my fx loop chain. My Timeline is selectable tb or buffered bypass which is very cool, more pedals should have that, I use tb cuz it’s right before the Nova. I can’t hear any difference at all with it on tb or buffered which must mean it’s a good buffer.
    I have 27ft. of Livewire cable in my guitar>fx>amp input chain, which includes a Tube Driver and The Caprid (big muff) among others. Should I just deal without a buffer in that chain even with all that cable because the Tube Driver is so particular about buffers? There is noticeable loss in hi end with 27ft. tho. I tried the DOD fx40b on bypass (I think it’s buffered but not positive) before the TD & it sounded a lot better without it, but DOD is reported to have some of the worst buffers out there. I will try the buffer in the Timeline before the TD just cuz I know I’m sure it’s buffered and that it’s good.
    One last thing about impedance, is changing the volume just changing the impedance? And contrariwise, does lower impedance mean higher volume and higher impedance mean lower volume? I’m just trying to understand impedance better.
    Thanks!

    [Hi Brain! I'm no expert on this but I'll try to answer the best I can. FX loops vary so you need to check the specs on your amp to be able to tell if it's buffered or not. Placing a buffer in the loop might work but depending on the loop it might not do much either. Whether or not you hear any difference in your tone with or without a buffer depends on the pedals and your cables. With 27 feet I would assume that you'd get some high end roll off but you should trust your ears on that. The need for buffering isn't just about regaining that high end though. The lack of a buffer in a long chain also results in a less dynamic tone and your pedals won't interact as good as they could with your guitar's pickups. It's no straight answer to any of this and the best approach is always to test different pedal combos and arrangements and see how it all affects the overall tone and each pedal. - Bjorn]

  125. Martin says:

    Earlier, I was experimenting a bit with guitar cables. Since I really hate having pedals with batteries to worry about, I started searching around for the lowest capacitance guitar cables available. The George L’s sound good because they have so low capacitance. The capacitive cable in combination with the output impedance of the guitar mics form a lowpass filter (f = 1/(2*PI*R*C)).

    The George L cables have a capacitance of 70pF/m. So which cables would offer even lower capacitance? Cables which are designed to carry lots of high frequency (digital) content, such as antenna cables. Try making yourself a guitar cable with a cheap RG-63 antenna cable. This will give you a capacitance of 34.5pF/m. You can thus run your cables twice as long without losing much of your precious high end. Enough RG-63 for a 20ft guitar cable should cost you less than 10 USD, then add a few bucks for some quality connectors. For 15 USD you’ll have the optimal guitar cable, outperforming the 57 USD George L.

    [Hmmm... Interesting. How's that for noise? Assuming that the cables aren't shielded. - Bjorn]

  126. Keith says:

    Hi Bjorn, very serious question, to which I kind of know the answer, but here goes, and I’d like as many opinions from the community as I can get. I have made two costly mistakes in my gear aquisition in the two years of researching, and developing what even tne board master Stephen says will be an awesome rig. One was paying $140.00 for a RMCIII wah, that is a paperweight, the other, and far costlier, was having a board that is too small custom built ( furniture looks, roadcase durabilty), which cost me $400+ and I can’t see selling it fir kess than $300, but who’s buying? Anyway, now its patch cables. I was lucky to recieve enough cable, and angle jacks to make 10 George Lpatchcords for less than the price of one five patch kit. And while I hear so many rave about them, the truth is, unless you plan on not moving, or in the case of battery only pedals, unplugging them, tgey have at least a 50% failure rate. I though this only happened to me, but a seach of the more informative, and friendly forums,( Gilmourish is is not what I consider a forum), I see that the vast majority of people have the same problem when moving pedals, or simply unplugging. I would love to have a great ser of all Evidence patches, but have a hard time believing that I need to spend hundereds of dollars, for patching my 17 pedals together. I’m done with George L.s, and lijely done with solderless, unless I get lucky, and win the SiS set. Is there a reasonbly priced soldered brand of cable, and low profile jacks that you can reccomend? Stephen says Lava, but they are almost as expensive as G L’s, and I come from the days of $12.00 Whirlwind instrument cables that lasted forever, and a 15′ cable was $12, and no noticeable tonal issues. I do believe good cables matter to some extent, especially on a huge board, but isn’t there a reasonbly priced brand of cable, and jacks, that will not screw up my tone. I have a good ear, and can judge frequencies by ear, from years of running live sound, but have only noticed a negligible difference in oatch cables. Help me Obi-Wan, I need you again. And I know this isn’t a sales site, but is there any way I could put a link to pictures of the unused board up, to try and recoup enough of my investment, so I can have John build me another one, exactly the same, just alot bigger than 16×36?
    If not, I totally get it. Sorry my cable question got so long.
    Peace to all, Keith

    [Hello my young Padawan... Sorry for my late reply... again. You've already spendt a great deal on your guitar, amp and pedals and you say that you have a good hearing. THat should be the answer to your question. Good quality cables does matter! It's not some sales crap or hype but the thruth. It would be a shame to have all that cool gear and not use cables that doesn't do it justice. I'm talking patches, instrument/amp and speaker. The whole lot.
    The question is what's a good cable? There are lots of stuff on this on the net, from raving reviews to meticulous tests and although this is a nice guideline to consider in the end, it's your ear that has to decide. In my experience I think using the same brand throughout gives you the best result. Different brands or designs behaves different with different gear. I have tested super high end cables that I simply didn't like and others that aren't considered as good as sounding better. Some will also choose cables that aren't as transparent because they prefer the high end roll off they cause. Perhaps they choose it deliberately but in most cases I think it's a matter of not quite understanding what happens when you introduce transparent cables in the rig. Allowing the guitar, pedals and amp to really sound pure reveals all sorts of nuances and enhances frequencies you may not like. It requires that you adjust your ears and maybe even your pedals and amp as well.
    If you want to go all the way with your tone then it's a combination of good quality amps, pedals and guitars/pickups, cables, powering and buffering. Expensive cables are fine but they won't do much unless you have lots of obstacles in the rig. Good quality pedals that doesn't colour the signal path and a buffer that will drive the signal from the guitar is crucial, I think.
    In regards to the pedal board. I don't have a place to post pictures but feel free to either link in a post to a gallery or use the Gilmourish.Com Facebook page :) - Bjorn]

  127. Keith says:

    Thanks, you’re right, like I said, I already knew the answer, but neeed you to kick me in the ass! I’m gonna put it off until the 15th, just in case I get lucky, and then I’ll decide what brand to get. I did see a couple of forum posts that said using a little cable cutter like those in kits like planet waves, and some loc-tite, cures most George L issues, but I think it’s time to brush up on my soldering skills!
    Thanks again Bjorn, just needed a little kick to slap me back into reality! PEACE, Keith

    [I have just tested the Evidence Audio SIS, which are based on the Monorail, and I'm very happy with those. The assembly is super easy and much more reliable than George L. They also sound a lot more transparent. Another option, which I've been using for a while, are custom pre-assembled EA Melody. I know lots of people are using Lava and similar and are happy with those but they didn't quite do it for me. Personal taste. I'm still using George L's on my studio/practice board since I constaly change stuff and they're cheap but they also have a bit more mid range than others so I prefer the EAs over George Ls.

    I always get a lot of comments about cables being just a hype or snobbery but if you say that, then I honestly think you don't have a clue what you're talking about. Sure, any cable will do. Doesn't even matter if it's intended to be used with guitars or if you made it yourself. If there's sound then there's sound. Also, I can understand that a tight budget doesn't allow expensive high end stuff but that doesn't mean that it doesn't matter or if you can't improve your tone with better parts. I've seen people with custom shop guitars and high end pedals using those aweful multi coloured patch cables, hundreds of feet of cable in the chain and Radioshack power supplies and they complain about noise, high end roll off and no dynamics in their tone.

    All this being said, good quality cables doesn't have to set you back too much. There's lots of good alternatives on the market and the overall quality of the brands being sold in guitar stores, is high. My best tip, regardless budget, is to get the best guitar and amp possible based on preference and the tones you want and for each pedal, buy a good quality patch cable, that's shielded and the correct lenght. Learn how to recognice a good tone and the subtle nuances, that makes a good tone and you'll be a much happier and inspired guitarist :) - Bjorn]

  128. Keith says:

    Totally agree that buying thousands of dollars of top of the line gear, then buying a $5.00 patch cable is like painting a new Porsche, with a paint brush. But if you consider George L’s inexpensive, I want to get them where you get them. Here, a pack to make 5 patch cables is $60.00, which means I’d pay about the same as I did for my Echorec, and like I said, they’re too undependable for gigging. So I guess I’ll just have to keep trying different stuff, until I can find something about the price of the George L’s, or preferably less, that soynd good, and don’t cut out all the time.
    peace, thanks for the kick, Keith

    [Oh... that's pricy. I buy mine here in Oslo. They let you measure the length you need and you buy the number of plugs you need. - Bjorn]

  129. Stephen Ford says:

    Well said Bjorn,

    I couldn’t agree more. Every part of the system is an integral part, if you spend a lot of money on a great amp, a great guitar, high end effects and then miss to use quality cabling you could have saved yourself a lot of money and bought cheaper gear. In my rig I like very transparent cables everywhere except the lead from the guitar. I like a bit of high end role off. Those classic tones I search for were partially due to the capacitance of the cables that they used back in the day. But with that said, if I used that same cabling all the way through my rig it would be mud by the time it got to the amp. I like the Lava’s a lot for my rig and less so the George L’s. I would love to try the Evidence cables one day! Glad they are working for you.

    Cheers
    Stephen

    [Are you using any buffers, Stephen? If not, how's your signal without? - Bjorn]

  130. Magnus says:

    Hi Bjorn! My wah pedal (Maxxplay glowah) is getting a lot of gain from my Fatboost 3 and I don´t like it – I want to be able to have my Fatboost on the whole time. I like my wah clean! I don´t have any problems with my other pedals exept for the Memory boy and the wah and wonder what you would suggest. Current line up is: Amp>Fulltone Fatboost 3>Malekko Chicklet Reverb>Mooer Trelicopter>Ehx Memory Boy>Boss DD20>Fulltone Fulldrive 2 Mosfet>Fulltone Catalyst>Nose volume pedal>Ehx Freeze>Ehx Micro Pog>MXR Dyna comp>MXR Micro amp>Boss TU2>Maxxplay Glowah

    Thanks for inspiring reading and knowledge/Magnus

    [Hi Magnus! First of all... Is this your chain? Which end is the one coming from your guitar? - Bjorn]

  131. Stephen Ford says:

    Came across this clip by Pete Thorn on cable runs and buffers, for those who wish to geek out a bit and hear some samples, here is the link.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNU5NZQGF2Y

    Cheers

    [Pete's the man! - Bjorn]

  132. Magnus says:

    Amp<Fulltone Fatboost 3<Malekko Chicklet Reverb<Mooer Trelicopter<Ehx Memory Boy<Boss DD20<Fulltone Fulldrive 2 Mosfet<Fulltone Catalyst<Nose volume pedal<Ehx Freeze<Ehx Micro Pog<MXR Dyna comp<MXR Micro amp<Boss TU2<Maxxplay Glowah<Guitar

    [Sorry for my late reply. A wah is basically a filter and treble booster so leaving a overdrive/booster on all the time will cause more gain to the chain when you engage the wah. What's the settings on your amp? Do you keep it clean? Personally I'd rearrange the chain with filter > compressor > gains > modulation > volume pedal > delays > amp but I'm sure you have your specific tones. How does it sound with just the wah and booster between the guitar and amp? - Bjorn]

  133. Igal says:

    Hi Bjorn, once again i find myself in need of your kind and wise advise :)
    After narrowing my dirt on board to 5 dirt boxes(i know its at least 4 too many :) and arranging them every possible way, in a very ocd like manner )
    I found two very nice sweetspots but discovered that unfortunatley i can only use one at a time.

    The boxes are : ibanez ts808 (TB modd) , ibanez ts9, ocd, lmrat2, and the crunchbox for leads.
    And well it goes like this:

    Crunchbox > ocd > 808 > ts9 ( buffer )> rat2 > carbon copy (tb?) > wet reverb neunabrer ( buffer )

    I find that ass odd as it might sound, this chain gives my when all bypassed very good chimey and punchy cleans out of my strat, the problem is i lose the option of boosting the ocd with the screamers which sound glorious , the screamers really make the ocd come alive but placing the ocd after them instead second the chain just somehow makes me lose that mighty clean tone that magically appeared before, which is bit odd because the wet should take or that with its buffer or was i mistaken? Maybe its about the buffer in the ts9 being moved around in return creates creates this effect? i also have carl martin octaswich system (sometimes used to bypass the wah and such) with a switchable buffer in it, placing it first and messing with it in the ocd friendly setup i still couldt get those clean tones.

    How would you arrage those buffer wise?

    I use the crunchbox as my lead and sometimes slightly boost it with the ocd after.
    Thank you.

    [Sorry for my late reply Igal. Pedals and their combination can have lots of different side effects and you might recognise different results on different amps, guitars and with different cables. I'm not an expert on this and again, it's very subjective to each rig but it may seem that you have some conflicts in your setup with the buffers. True bypass doesn't do anything to your sound but the buffers might interefere with each other. What you also hear is that certain effects will react differently to buffers depending on where you place them. Now, this doesn't mean that there's anything wrong, just there aren't any "right" way to arrange a pedal board. Testing and experimenting with different combinations is what makes up the best result. I think, in your case, the only way to get the cleans you want and still be able to boost, without having the re-arrange, is to place a dedicated buffer, like the CostaLab Buffer or similar, in front of the Crunchbox and one after the reverb. This will balance your signal and eliminate any conflicts. - Bjorn]

  134. Traktop says:

    Hi Bjorn, Ive got a couple of questions that need a little explanation. First of all I’ll give some words about my effects pedal chain:
    Fender strat deluxe–Boss cs-2 compressor– Nano small stone– whammy 4– Boss dd-5– Turbo Rat, (modded to true bypass)– Fuzzy Lady germanium– Maxon od-9 (analog man t.screamer mod true bypass)–Boss dd-6–Korg dt10 tuner–Tremulus lune, (tremolo true bypass)–Danelectro Fish & Chips 7band eq–Line 6 dl4, (true bypass)–EHX holy grail reverb, (true bypass)–Hiwatt dr-103.
    I’ve got a lot going on before gain pedals. Compressor for boosting, phaser before to achieve smoother efx, and a gain-choking delay. I use the Rat for crunch overdrive tones and for boosting the fuzz. I’ve got 2 more delay pedals for combining each other to get different rythms , (I’m a real freek for that).
    Reading this entire thread I’ve managed to get more knowledge about buffers, cables, true bypass, etc… So very nice!
    The thing is that of course, my germanium fuzz pedal will sound better first in the pedal chain, (in current possition before explained I was never convinced about the muddy trebbly sound, and the backround noise but first in chain, zero problems and it sounds KILLER), but It would became very boring since I would not be able to boost it with the compressor and the rat, (and none of my gain pedals work well after the fuzz really). I could try putting the phaser and the rat before the fuzz, (both true bypass), but I would loose the dirty choke delay before gain pedal that is so important to me :( and the compressor seems useless to me for using it after my gain pedals.
    To my understanding, the fuzz pedal is waiting to receive a non buffered signal or a high impedance signal in order to work properly , isn’t it¿ I’ve got 3 buffered pedals and 2 truebypass ones before the fuzz pedal in my current pedalboard, so could I try something like the three buffered pedals first followed by a bunch of true bypass pedals to try to get higher resistance signal before going into the fuzz¿ I watched a video on you tube that tried to get over this issue successfully using a knob-tunneable buffer pedal between a boss 7band eq and a germanium fuzz. I know that I could just try, but what I really want to mean is that if the signal impedance can be measured through each signal step that each pedal represent, so I could finally managed to send to the fuzz pedal a previously controlled and measured signal impedance that could manage successfuly.
    And last thing. Maybe you can give me some advice about my signal flow, meaning with this, if you see any “don’t do that” talking about buffer pedals combined with true bypass pedal so my signal would remain cleaner and clearer, (my clean sound suffer when compared to plugging my guitar straight to the amp, nothing to start crying for though…). I don’t care much about the order of the pedals from the Maxon to the last one, as long as the dl4/reverb remains last. Given that those are true bypass, and that I’m thinking on getting rid of dd-6 pedal and the eq pedal, (when my new speakers arrive), do you find that would be nice putting at least one of those two buffered pedal after the reverb, (at the end of the chain), so I can send an improved buffered signal to the cable¿
    Thanks so much in advance.

    [Hi, sorry for my late reply. It's always hard to answer things like this because tone isn't a science. In the end you always need to trust your ears. Fuzz pedals are affected by buffers and they will lose some low end and get a harsh top. But that doesn't mean that there's anything wrong and some actually prefer having it this way and place their fuzz pedals next to a buffer or in the middle of the chain. The only way to get around the "issue" is to either place it first and far away from any buffer or in a true bypass loop. Sounds to me that you have a tone that you're pretty satisfied with and you've done some unusual combinations that's probably created some unique tones. I'd stick with that but experiment with different approaches and see where that's taking you. - Bjorn]

  135. Simon Vanderkerken says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    I recently bought a CS-2. It’s in the beginning of the pedal chain, as it is a buffered pedal.
    Nontheless I lose a lot of high end on the guitar signal, compared to plugging the guitar straight into the amp.
    So, I wonder, how is the quality of this CS-2 buffer? Is something wrong with it? It doesn’t really seem to take care of the signal loss…
    Should I consider putting a dedicated buffer pedal in front of it? Or add another buffered pedal at the end of the chain?

    Thanks for your reply.

    Simon

    [I'm no expert on the Boss buffers. There are different opinions about their quality but from what I understand, most of the older Japanese pedals are supposed to be good. There could be some conflicts on your board with different impedances between the pedals. In my experience, a dedicated high quality buffer will always be the best option. Placing it first will ensure a buffered signal throughout your rig. - Bjorn]

  136. HpW says:

    Hi Simon Vanderkerken,
    Maybe this can be a solution,…… if you not already know it…..:

    How to you Power the CS-2?? Battery, or the old Boss ACA Power Supply? Or do you run it in a daisy chain(One Power Supply for multiple Pedals) with other regular 9V Pedals and a 9V Power Supply?
    Maybe, it’s the Problem that your CS-2 dont becomes enough “juice” and sounds only with 50% Quality, because it needs an old Boss ACA Power Supply….or you have to power it in a Daisy Chain, or with Battery:

    Read the following links about powering older Boss ACA Pedals:

    http://www.bossarea.com/other/aca.asp

    http://www.noisefx.com/article/boss_power_aca_psa

    http://www.rolandmusik.de/downloads/quickstarts/pdf/Stromaufnahme.pdf
    (found it only in German Language, but there is some graphic explanation inside too)

    The only thing i’m not 100% sure about is, if there has to be another Boss Pedal in the chain, or if any other newer other Brands will work too, you have to ask this directly to the Boss/ Roland Support…….

  137. Jason says:

    Hey Bjorn!

    First off, awesome site! I’ve been reading a long time, but usually don’t comment. I wanted to ask you something about the buffers though. I tend to use a bit more cable than I probably need and I definitely think that a buffer is needed. What I’m wondering is, do you think it’s necessary to have a dual buffer (two inputs and two outputs) if my last effect is a stereo output that I use with two amps? Or do you think that a single buffer with a splitter between the buffer and amps would suffice?

    Jason

    [One buffer between the guitar and the first pedal should be enough but but placing one additional at the end of the chain, will also "balance" any conflicts between the pedals and making sure that your amps receives the purest signal. - Bjorn]

  138. Lim says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    All the best in your new solo album!

    I have a question regarding using buffer and the Boss RT20. I just bought a RT20 waiting delivery. Currently my board consist of Boss CS2 comp > Eno Tube Overdrive > DIY Ram’s head clone big muff > Maxz Infinity Overdrive > Maxz buffer/booster > Maxz tremolo > TC Electronics Flashback into Ceriatone OTS Mini amp.

    All the pedals above are true-bypass except for the Boss compressor. Even with the buffered Boss pedal in front, I noticed with the Maxz buffer in the loop driving the tremolo and delays, there’s a tone improvement on the high frequencies. My question is, if I want to retain the pure tone from my guitar, where should I put the RT20 with respect to the buffer and tremolo?

    Thanks.

    [Rotary sims should be placed last or before the delays. Try that and hear how it affects your tone. - Bjorn]

  139. Ben says:

    Yo bro… Wanna lend a bit of friendly advice? Here’s my chain…. Guitar> Original whammy>Original sovtek small stone phaser>Digitech chorus factory>Dunlop rotovibe> tech 21XXL> original dunlop tremolo>Peterson strobe tuner>digitech digi verb> ISP decimator> 5150ii In the effects loop I run a tech21 boostRVB> neunaber WET reverb> Red witch Violetta delay> TC Nova delay which stereo outs to the fx return of the 5150ii and a 6505+ For stereo madness. I have fluffed around for years getting this pedal order so, like, I know the phaser should go in the fx loop but it creates a noticeable volume drop..and the digi verb in front of an overdriven amp sounds daft but I use it for gated reverse verb, more of an extreme effect then a reverb. Any suggestions or advice or other pedals I should look into? I make extremely heavy, super brutal riffage when I’m not making space whale noises. I hate wah wahs. Thoughts?

    [Hard to tell. Since you're using your amps for gain it seems that you're pretty much covered :) Personally, I'm a huge flanger fan, so maybe check out one… :) Since there are a lot of pedals here, I'd also consider a dedicated buffer placed first to drive the signal. - Bjorn]

  140. Ben says:

    Also I put the tuner where it is because it powers other pedals…. It’s a mess of pedals in weird order but due to space and daisy chaining some of them, it has to be this way. Is it worth getting a massive power brick do you think?

    [Always. Isolated power feeds will for sure make your signal cleaner. - Bjorn]

  141. Xel says:

    Hello Bjorn,

    I am quite new to the whole pedal chain concept and i would like to put a few pedals together (just a couple since i’m not fond of huge chains). I have been looking for information regarding buffers and hope you can clarify this for me :)

    Assuming my current rig has no chain ( Guitar -> Amp ), i would like to include a tuner and a TS808. I am sort of worried on whether i should opt for a buffered tuner (such as the TU-3) or try to get a true-bypass one (such as polytune or equivalent) due to the fact that many pedals nowadays have buffers (ts808 being one of them).

    I’m also still unsure if having multiple buffers can affect the tone (imagine a huge chain of boss pedals which are all buffered or several different ones all buffered).

    Now suppose i just want one tuner pedal and let’s say cables are 10ft to the tuner and then 20ft to the amp, would having a buffer vs true bypass tuner affect the tone. Which one? Both?

    Thank you !

    [Anything longer than aprox 18 feet will colour your tone... depending on the quality of the cable etc. Regardless of how many pedals you got, Iæd recommend at least one that's buffered or a dedicated buffer pedal. Having multiple buffers might cause conflicts because manufacturers use different parts, values etc. I'm not sure which is better. The Boss or the Ibanez but since you don't really have any options on the 808, you might want to chekc out a true bypass tuner. Still, don't loose sleep over this. A bad buffer, conflicts between buffers or lack of buffers doesn't mean that your guitar will sound like shit. How this will apply to your rig is very subjective and were talking small nuances. - Bjorn]

  142. Bryan S. says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    I’m still deliberating on purchasing the Effectrode Fire Bottle booster … and with regard to your recommendation to put it first in the chain and also this article on buffers … Will the FB, if left switched on permanently, act as a buffer for the whole effects chain from guitar right through the pedal board and to the amp. Also where would one put the vintage Germanium fuzz .. would the FB mess it up if placed before it. Many thanks as always for your great site and good luck with the new album.

    [Hi Bryan! The FB does have a buffer but the reason you should place it first is that it feature a tube amp input stage, which, when placed next to your pickups, will sound much more dynamic and natural sounding. It won't mess up your fuzz pedals. - Bjorn]

  143. krystoff says:

    Hi Bjorn, nice work, very helpful

    I would appreciate your help with the order of the following pedals:

    guitar > tc mini polytune > volume > wah > boss ac-3 > rockett blue note > boss super chorus ch-1 > mxr carbon copy delay> wet reverb mono > amp

    Thank you for all the work you do

    [How about this... tuner > wah > ac-3 > rockett > ch1 > carbon > reverb > amp - Bjorn]

  144. D.Stonerock says:

    Added some new pedals for some new material were going to be doing…
    I have read so much over the last few days about pedals, buffers, comps, using
    Loopers etc; over the past 10 years I keep simple, like my guitar into amp tone, add
    A little drive ( if need, I like my bassman to do the driving usually) a bit of delay
    And usually a reverb tank, that’s it..well boss tuner..anywho..
    Now I’m one of those guys with pedals, and then a back up pedal..I live in Seattle
    Where everyone has a opinion and makes me question myself..at the end of the day..
    I use my ears..but here I am tonight putting these pedals on a board, spent the money
    On two voodoo power supply’s..figuring out all the Ma for pedals..understanding pro’s and cons
    On sharing power with pedals..and coming across blogs about buffers…so here’s my big question..can I have to many boss pedals in my chain..I orderd a nicer buffer for myself
    And starting to wonder, do I need it? Here is what I’m doing..(with a wired up, 2out TrailerTrash board) –> zvex fuzz (apparently needs to be first) mxr dyna comp –(then above it)into boss eq ge7–boss tu2,into buffer (2in and 2out nose buffer) then into a keeley single looper..(on the 1st channel) going to tube screamer–maxon ad9 delay–volume pedal–amps (2nd channel) going to fulltone 2 –fulltone distortion–boos octave–mxr flanger–mxr phaser–boss tremelo–boss Tera echo–boss dd6–tc looper –back into nose buffer–into looper.

    With George L cables.

    So is there to much buffering here..am I overthinking this..is what I’m doing make since..or have I read to much and just made this more difficult then what it should be..any suggestions are welcome.

    Thx.
    Destonerock
    http://Www.TripLikeAnimals.com

    [It can be confusing. Especially when there are so many different opinions about pedals, buffers etc. Don't overcomplicate things and trust your ears. If it sounds good, then it is good. You have several buffers already so might not be needing any more but you got several different buffers of different quality. A good quality dedicated buffer at the end of your chain will even out any conflicts within the board. The best way to tell whether all those buffers are affecting your tone is to plug the guitar into your amp, listen and compare that with adding one pedal at a time. When the signal changes, both bypassed and with effects on, then you might want to reconsider that last pedal. - Bjorn]

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