The essentials

We often spend all our money on guitars and pedals but tend to forget about the little details. The small things that will take your tone to a new level. In this guide we’ll look at a few tips and tricks for making sure that your rig is at its full potential.

The Buyer’s Gear Guides I’ve presented on this site, are packed with guitars, amps and pedals. All with David Gilmour’s tones in mind. Each of the items are recommended based on their quality, performance and tone. It would be a shame if your next purchase ends up in a mess, rather than a neat and tidy setup.

Noise, in all its forms, is often the result of faulty cables, bad powering and pedal combinations that are less compatible. A good tone isn’t just about how much gain you can squeeze out of your fuzz pedals but rather the combination of every cable, string and screw, as well as, of course, your superb playing.  Regardless of its size, a rig should be designed with some thought towards quality and performance.

Quality VS expensive

It’s easy to associate quality with expensive but in most cases, that’s a misconception. Quality should be the best you can afford. Expensive custom shop gear doesn’t matter much if you don’t know how to set it up properly. A modest budget rig can sound, killer with the right approach.

Have patience and build your rig over time. That will allow you to get the best items for your budget and you also get the time to familiarize with the stuff that you’ve bought. This is important because it can change the way you experience tone – good and bad.

Experiment with the settings on your pedals and amp and try different setups on your guitar to match your technique. Finding the right balance and sweetspots will be much more rewarding than owning a fancy guitar that doesn’t suit your playing.

We’ve pretty much covered guitars and amps so let’s focus on pedals and pedal boards. Check out the Buyer’s Gear Guide for guitars and amps for more on all the do’s and don’t, as well as a presentation of recommended models for your Gilmour tones.

Pedal board

bgg essentials pedalboardA good tip is to always keep your pedals arranged and fastened on a board. It doesn’t matter how many pedals you got. Be selective and set it up neatly, with short patch cables between the pedals and proper powering. This will save you a lot of hassle and ensure a long life for your pedals.

You don’t need anything fancy. A small piece of flat wood will do nicely. There are lots of tutorials out there on building your own pedal board as well. Try to make or buy a board that fits your needs and the way you want to arrange the pedals. Keep the board as small as possible but with enough space for all your pedals and powering. Also, keep in mind that as much as a huge board is impressive, it will cost a small fortune to travel with.

There are lots of different models and brands to choose from. I have a couple of boards from Custom Pedals Boards. They make sturdy boards and flight cases on request. You get to design your own board based on your exact requirements, whether it be a flat board, a tier for the back row, custom routing or switch systems. All boards are hand made, super light and the mounting surface is covered with velcro. Check out for more information.

Patch cables

Whatever you do, do not use those cheap multi coloured patch cables. You might think that as long as the pedals are connected, that should be enough but it’s not. It’s a shame to buy a great sounding pedal and use cheap cables that suck the living shit out of the circuit. You’ll lose tone, characteristics and almost certainly get a lot of noise. It’s also important to keep the patch cables as short as possible to ensure the shortest and cleanest path for your signal.

Evidence Audio SISBrands like George L’s and Lava Cable offer a cheap and reliable  solder less system. You buy the length and plugs you need and measure up for your board.

Evidence Audio’s SIS cables have a similar principle. Measure up the lengths you need and fasten the plugs without any soldering. Like all EA cables, the quality is superb and you’ll never have to worry about plugs loosening (which can be an issue with George L’s). EA custom dealers also offer Melody patch cables. This is not for a tight budget but if you have the chance, I strongly recommend checking out these options. See for more info.


Proper powering is crucial for an optimal operation of your pedals and for eliminating noise. Never run your pedals on cheap non-brand adapters and always make sure that whatever powering you use, must be able to deliver the right voltage and ampere for your pedals – especially when you’re running daisy chains.

A good quality multi power supply is one the best investments you can make. Brands like VoodooLab, TRex, Carl Martin and One Spot offer different models for different setups. You can run daisy chains off these as well but some pedals prefer to have a direct feed. Make sure the model has enough ampere and, if needed options for 12V and 18V, as well as 9V, and that all outputs are isolated.


TC Poly Tune MiniIt may be obvious but a tuner is a must and it should be the very first pedal you buy. Nothing sound as bad and unprofessional as a guitar out of tune. There are lots of different models on the market. A Boss TU-3 can be placed either first or last in your chain and double as a buffer and power supply.

My favourite, the TC Electronics Poly Tune Mini, is super fast and its small foot print is perfect for a cluttered pedal board. Be sure to check out the PolyTune Clip as well!


A buffer may not be on the top of your list but it should definitely be something to consider. True bypass is being hyped as the right way to design pedals, which is correct to some extent. True bypass doesn’t colour your signal. However, it doesn’t do anything to drive it either and the more true bypass pedals you got, the longer the signal chain gets and the more tone you lose. Simple as that.

I’m using buffers from Pure Tone Pedals. These are small compact units that fits underneath a tier or at the back of a cramped pedal board. Acknowledging the importance of good quality buffers has done wonders for my tones and I never play or record without one.

Some pedals do have a buffer, like Boss. However, these vary in quality and blending true byapass and several buffered pedals may cause impedance conflicts.

A dedicated high quality buffer will restore and balance the signal. It’s usually placed first in the chain but you can also have it last. One buffer pedal is enough to drive the signal through aprox 100 feet of cable. Read more about buffers VS true bypass in this feature.


Buyer's Gear Guide StringsA fresh set of strings is crucial for getting the tones you want. You might think “mine are fine and how many times do I need to restring anyway?”

Old strings makes everything sound flat and dull. If you’re not aware of this, you’ll end up turning up the gain and treble on your amp and pedals, which means more noise and a whole bunch of other issues.

Your playing frequency, amount of corrosion and preference, determines how often you should restring. Obviously, the more you play the more worn they’ll get and the more your fingers sweat, and the more acidic the sweat is, the more they’ll corrode.

Personally I restring as often as I can but I do prefer the strings to be broken in, so I always restring a couple of days before a show or recording session. Others like the crisp tone of strings right out of the box.

Obviously, your budget will also have a say in the matter but at least keep it in mind. Old strings will make your tone less dynamic and less powerful.

Understandably, this is not an overly exciting topic but the way I see it is that anyone can create impressive tones and learn how to play really well but take your tones further than that. Being able to hear all the nuances in my playing is much more inspiring to me than just listening to buzzing fuzz. A huge part of David Gilmour’s tones is the attention to details and knowing how to make the most of what you got.

Feel free to use the comments field below and share your experience, recommendations and tips!

171 Responsesso far.

  1. Bruno says:

    Hy Bjorn. What do you think about Boss ES-8 and others switcher system?

    • Bjorn says:

      I haven’t tried it but it seems to be a good unit, with the features you need for an efficient system. How it might affect your tone – I don’t know.

  2. Antonio says:

    Hi Bjorn, thanks for your great site, do you know which unit/device David used on ’87 A Momentary Lapse Of reason to split his signal to a dual amp setup? All the pedals are mono… thanks for your help!

    • Bjorn says:

      I’m not really sure. He had several Rane SM26 mixers in the rack, which can be used to mix a stereo output or simply be used as a buffer. There’s also several digital effect processors in the rack, mainly delays, that could have been used to create a stereo signal. The setup changed along the tour and the Ranes was not used on the 88-89 leg, which might indicate that he played in mono but used chorus to create a stereo effect on two mono signals, as he did on the Pulse tour.

  3. Bruno Moreira says:

    Hello Bjorn. What do you think about Jhs little black buffer?

  4. Don says:

    Hi Bjorn

    What gauge strings was David using in the early 70’s (Live at Pompeii/ DSOTM/ Live at Wembley)? I know he switched to the GHS Boomers around The Wall.

    • Bjorn says:

      In the early days, David used Gibson Sonomatic trings on the Black Strat. Later he used Ernie Ball 10, 12, 16, 28, 38 ,48 before settling with GHS around Wall. – Black Strat book.

  5. Jeff says:

    Hello Bjorn hope you are keeping well. Thanks as always for another great article,and for clarifing what is often viewed as a somewhat mysterious subject. Quick question,ihave a reasonably large board,10 pedals.Some are tru bypass,some not. I have one dedicated quality buffer,a Radial stage bug.The first in the chain is a Boss cs2,in your opinion,is this adequate? With a long chain,should i be looking at another dedicated buffer,to have two? Thanks as always for your opinion and time.

  6. Robert W Horton says:

    Hello Bjorn,
    If I have a polytune with the buffer on as my first pedal in the chain, shouldn’t that be enough buffer or should I run a buffer before my polytuner?
    Thank you.
    Rob h

  7. Lozzo says:

    Any idea of what kind of strings (gauge and brand) Gilmour was using prior to The Wall, when he made the switch to GHS?

    • Bjorn says:

      Accortding to the Black Strat book, David used Gibson Sonomatics in the early 70s and then swapped for Ernie Ball 10, 12, 16, 28, 38 and 48s before settling on GHS around The Wall.

  8. mike says:

    Hi Bjorn, new to pedals and using a Princeton Reverb reissue. Have Maxon OD808 overdrive, EHX Ram’s Head Pi, MXR Carbon Copy and Strymon Lex rotary. Thought about an Electric Lady, and don’t know if a buffer or compressor is needed, and what order to put everything in? Regards, Mike

    • Bjorn says:

      A buffer is used to drive the signal and avoid any tone loss, which will happen with long cable runs. It’s hard to tell how much you need one until you’ve added one. Boss pedals have buffers so they will do the job as well.
      A compressor is more of a tool, leveling the signal and adding sustain. I wouldn’t say that a compressor is a must as you can compensate for at least the sustain with a bit of tweaking on the amp and pedals but it can be a handy tool for hencing your tone. Read more about compressors here.

  9. Danny says:


    Thanks for the great information! Where do you recommend placing a buffer on the signal chain?

  10. Manu says:

    Hi Bjorn, I hope you’re doing good. Firstly, I’d like to thank you and congrats for your awesome work on this website. You can’t imagine how helpful it’s been for me. Please keep it up. Secondly, is there any possibility you could gave me and advice to organize my pedalboard? I’m looking for the David’s tones on albums such as “Rattle that Lock”, “On An Island” and “The Division Bell”. I got the following pedals: Demeter Opto Compulator, Green Russian Big Muff, BBE Green Screamer, Lovepedal Vibronaut, Source Audio Programable EQ, EQD Hummingbird Tremolo and a Boss DD500. Guitars: Fender Telecaster (Graham Coxon Model), Fender Stratocaster and PRS Singlecut (vintage bass (neck / HFS/Treble Bridge). Amp: Hughes & Kettner Tubemeister 5.

    I look forward to hearing from you soon

    Many thanks in advance,


  11. Ta Kha says:

    Hey Bjorn, what about the picks David used?:)

  12. Joe Schmitt says:

    Hello, what kind of guitar picks does David use?

  13. Viacheslav says:

    Hi Bjorn!
    What do you think about TC Electronic PolyTune 3 as a buffer pedal ? Can i use it as a buffer?
    Thank you

  14. Carlos Simesen says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    Many congratulations for your work!
    I have been seeing that Gilmour uses the third string of his electro-acoustic guitar, which does not allow him to stretch (for example in wish you where here), do you know what set he uses?
    Thank so much!!

    • Bjorn says:

      Not quite sure I understand the issue but he’s using Ernie Ball Earthwound Light’s on all his steel string acoustics.

      • Carlos says:

        when I see the live gilmour videos I see that the third string is not twisted(no wound string), the Ernie Ball Earthwound Light’s set has the third string wound… you know that?

        • Bjorn says:

          I haven’t studied that but David’s tech, Phil Taylor, mentioned in an interview a couple of years back that David used Ernie Ball Earthwound Lights. Tey might have customized the set… I don’t know.

  15. Lindsay says:

    Maybe I misunderstood something, but doesn’t all this talk of buffers assume that none of the pedals are engaged? I have an Effectrode FireBottle always on. Doesn’t that act as a buffer, and a higher quality one than most of the options on here at that?t

    • Bjorn says:

      The Fire Bottle has true bypass switching so it’s not a buffer like the ones we’re talking about here. The Fire Bottle is basically a pre-amp designed to interact with your pickups and drive the front end of your amp.

  16. Hi Bjorn

    Do you know if the D’addario patch cable kit is any good and on the same level of quality as the Laval or Georg L’s cable kits?

    Thanks so much,


  17. Gabriel Tate says:

    Did you ever try a Truetone CSPT Pure Tone Buffer?

  18. Daniel Brown says:

    Hey Bjørn

    What buffers would you recommend for a more modest budget? (as opposed to the Pure Tone ones you mention here)

    Thanks for your help

  19. RandyRhoads says:

    Hey Bjorn, Do you have to have a single coil equipped guitar or can you have something with dual humbuckers for DG tones? If you can use dual hums, what set would you recommend?

  20. Jeff says:

    However, Bjorn, do you know what strings David uses on the Workmate and his other Tele’s?

  21. Tony strat says:

    Hi, thanks for this great site! do you know which size and type of steel tonebar slide DG used in the Meddle era or nowadays? Thanks a loy

    • Bjorn says:

      Don’t have any specs. Sorry.

      • tom dengel says:

        nice site…let me say this its nice to try to sound like somebody…i my self just bought the ‘keeley dark side’ thats it close enough for me…..if i put all that effort to try to sound like gilmour i be better off putting all that effort into finding my own sound….just an opinion…nothing personal

  22. Emmanuel says:

    Bjorn, which setup (pedals) would you recommend for a traditional les paul through a deluxe reverb for gilmour tones ?

    • Bjorn says:

      I think I’d go for something versatile. Fuzz and Muffs, although classic combos for Fender amps, doesn’t really give you those smooth sustained tones known to Gilmour. You’d need an amp with much more mid range and compression. I’d start with the basics, including an overdrive (Fulltone OCD, Vick Audio Tree of Life, EHX Glove), distortion (ProCo Rat, Mooer Black Secret) and a delay.

  23. Toby Harris says:

    Hey Bjorn
    The empress buffer was like night and day for me….no tone colouration and no noise.One of the best investments I ever made.

  24. Tracy Eaves says:

    Hello, I have three Ernie Ball JR volume pedals, two TC Flashback delays (one set for short delay and set for long delay) and an effects/distortion foot switch. Long delay with volume pedal, short delay with volume pedal and a effects distortion box with a volume pedal. I plan to have a always dry amp and one wet amp with the equipment mentioned above. I already have a active Palmer splitter 1X2 an a passive combiner 2X1 with two volume pots. What do I need to properly set up a pedal board like this. A system similar to Steve Morse. Thank you!

  25. Tracy Eaves says:

    Hello, It appears Steve Morse uses 3 buffers, one for each volume pedal – short delay, long delay and one for effects. How many buffers on a pedal board does one need? Thx

    • Bjorn says:

      You only need one, as it will drive the signal through to the amp. Using more buffers might help balancing a signal but you don’t NEED it to drive the signal. As with anything related to tone, it’s a matter of taste and preference. There are no do’s and don’ts :)

  26. Carol says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    You didn’t talk about picks.
    On my opinion pick is part of the sound (like the strings too)
    Do you know what kind of pick David Gilmour use to ?
    Regards Carol

    • Bjorn says:

      You’re absolutely right! Picks are important and it took me years to find a pick that I’m comfotable with and can’t play without. On the last tour, David mainly used Herco Flex Nylon 75s 1.01mm picks.

  27. Alexis says:

    Hi Bjorn!
    There’s a bit less activity on your site at that time, I assume that you’re working hard and I hope everything is going right for you.

    I just wanted to share my experience about powering. I had for a long time a rechargeable battery to power a large part of my board (2000 mA, was enough to correctly power almost all my effects), and as the battery has only two outputs I had to run daisy chains. Even if I had enough power, the biggest issue was noise. As some noises and interferences are amplified by gain pedals (compressors, distortions, big muffs, drives and boosts), and depending on how the pedals are designed and the quality of the components, those noises and interferences can run through the daisy chain and then be amplified by other gain effects (if stacked). It also depends of the order the effects are powered by the daisy chain.

    On my board gain pedals were powered first, so when I engaged the Polytune Mini with gain effects engaged, I still had enormous noise when strumming a note (even whith hard bypass, meaning that no signal should have run through other effects when the Polytune was engaged).

    I had two solutions: change the daisy chain order, without being sure of the result, or buying a quality multi power supply. I ended with the second choice and bought a Strymon Zuma, a bit expensive but it is of the same quality as their effect pedals, moreover it is very well designed and you can expand it with little units named Ojai. 9 outputs, each one running 9V/500mA, 2 of the outputs can be changed for other voltages. Each output is isolated and regulated (meaning there are interference filters). Since I’m using it my noise issues are gone and I’m able to power my entire board. Each effect is powered independently, except for the modulation because I know they don’t have gain stages and don’t create interferences through the daisy chain.

    So to sum up know your board and effects, don’t go to cheap/bad quality powering systems (there can still be affordable and good quality systems though, try to spot multi power supply with isolated outputs), and try to power gain/noisy pedals separately. This way you will avoid a lot of harm to your tone! ;)


    • Robert M. says:

      The ideal solution for powering up any series of electrical components is to supply each unit with it’s own individual power supply. A power supply unit with isolated outputs is probably the next best solution.

      Many people do manage to get by with daisy chain cords and more power to them. That’s a viable solution as long as the power supply has enough juice to power the entire downstream string.

      I have a board that sports 3 analog Moogerfooger pedals, several tube-based pedals and other assorted units I swap in and out from time to time depending on what I’m going for. The board’s output is routed to a vintage Mackie mixer. What works for me is to use the original wall wart power adaptors supplied. The adaptors are plugged into two power strips – one for the Moogerfoogers, one for the tube based pedals. The other pedals are powered by a power supply with isolated outputs.

      The power strips are plugged into an additional power strip that has 6 individually switched outlets. The mixer and Eventide Space reverb are each plugged into separate outlets on this multi-switched strip. All of the cords and smaller power strips are tucked away underneath the board. The only thing show on the top side are the DC power cables that poke up through the board where the pedals are placed.

      The large switched power strip sits along one edge. Access to that permits me to turn the arrangement on and off in stages. That helps avoid power surges from turning everything on all at the same time. By turning the mixer on last and off first, I don’t get any popping sounds through my speakers/amps as the effects power up.

      That’s what I did. It works for me and that’s what counts. There are many other ways to achieve the goal of producing good clean sound. It’s a matter of experimenting and trying out different ideas until you get to where you want to go.

  28. Andrés says:

    Hi Bjorn
    I have a couple of questions:
    What string gauge does David uses on the lap steel?
    And what’s your thoughts on heavy gauge strings on those cheap lap steels?
    Greetings from Santiago, Chile!

  29. Ryan Lake says:

    Hello Bjorn,
    First of all, thanks for all the great tips. I find myself reading a lot of the content on I’m considering getting a dedicated buffer. I sometimes use a Boss BCB-60 pedalboard. Right now, the guitar feeds the input of the pedalboard, then the signal path is a Boss TU-12EX, Boss CS-2, Fulltone Fat Boost v.1, MI Audio Blues Pro v.1 or v.2, MI Audio Crunch Box v.2 or v.3, maybe a Fulltone OCD v.5, a Boss LS-2, and finally a Mad Professor Deep Blue Delay. Assuming the pedal order seems correct, would you recommend a buffer prior to the tuner? Do you think another buffer should go after the delay? Finally, do you happen to know if there are buffers in the Boss pedalboard itself? The TU-12EX tuner is the smaller unit that fits in the spare pocket on the board, which I’m sure you know already. Thanks for any suggestions.

    Best Regards,
    Ryan Lake

    • Bjorn says:

      Hi Ryan! You already have buffers in the Boss pedals so unless you’ve tested your setup for any conflicts or line problems, there shouldn’t be any need for a new buffer.

  30. Hi Bjorn,

    A quick question about buffer pedals, I have the TC Electronic Bona-Fide and with all my pedals turned off and with the guitar amp on overdrive I get lots of electrical noise, until I turn one of the pedals on and then the noise disappears.
    If I put the buffer at the end of my pedal chain the noise stays regardless of any pedals being switched on.

    Any ideas?

    • Bjorn says:

      The buffer alone shouldn’t make any noise at all, so I’m suspecting either a bad cable, some trouble with the powering or, that there’s something wrong with the pedal. Have you tried unplugging everything and just having the guitar straight into the BF and amp, with no other pedals and no power chain? Tried different cables?

      • Yup – it was a cable, I narrowed it down to the Planet Waves cable that went from my pedal board to the front of the amp – it is one of the ones with one “shielded end”. They recommend that that end goes into the amp, which is ok if the amp is the only powered device, however in this case it’s connected to two powered devices so was amplifying the noise from the pedalboard. I reversed the cable so the shielded end was plugged into my pedalboard and hey presto – problem solved.

  31. Robert M. says:

    After using studio gear with balanced cables almost exclusively for many years, when I switched back to high end pedals last year I was surprised at how much difference upgrading the unbalanced cables made. I went with the Evidence Audio Monorail cable and SIS plugs. I suspect the difference between that cable and the Lava or George L. cables would be nearly negligible. ( I haven’t tried either of the latter two.) The difference for me is the high end Evidence SIS plugs. These are so easy to use and are more reliable than the other two brands as far as I can see.

    Reports you read on the web on all kinds of products these days need to be taken with a grain of salt. People are getting paid to write favorable and/or negative reports – depending on who’s doing the paying. If you take care assembling any of the three cables mentioned, you’re probably not going to have any problem, and will enjoy an improvement in your basic tone.

  32. Brendan R says:

    Hey Bjorn,
    Quick question about the Lava solderless system if you have used it. Some people on online retailers have left bad reviews about reliability and cables shorting out, any experience with this? Also, I plan to get the pedal board cable kit with a few right angle plugs and some straight plugs, I can use a little bit for the patch cables and use a longer length from the same kit for an instrument cable right? Thanks!

    • Bjorn says:

      I don’t have any experience with Lava, so I can’t really tell. I guess what’s important, is that the plugs are relieable and doesn’t loosen over time. It’s the same case with George L’s, although I’ve been pretty happy with them. I’m using Evidence Audio SIS cables at the moment, which I’ve found to provide the best signal and reliability.

  33. Gianluca Piscopo says:

    Hi Bjorn! I’m an Italian guy and I have a question for you. I need to replace the valves of my Laney Cub12R 15W: what’s would you recommend me to install to get a more “floydian” sound rispect the original factory installed? I have to do some other operations to the ampli after the replacement? Thank you!!

    • Bjorn says:

      Hi! I wouldn’t say that some tubes are more Floydian than others. There are vaiations between brands but in general, the differences are very small and you’re pretty much down to nuances. I perefer JJ Electronic tubes and find them a bit more punhcy and cleaner than, say TADs and EHX tubes. It’s also a bout taste and how those tubes sound with the rest of your rig. No need to adjust the bias on the Cubs.

  34. David Du says:

    hi, bjorn, what the best height between the strings and frets on 17th position? mine is 2mm, but not so comfortable to bend on 17th – 19th. what’s your suggestion?

    • Bjorn says:

      Depends on the neck and your technique. 2mm is a good start but adjust it higher until you can bend properly. Make sure that all strings are evenly adjusted to the get right angle/curvage on the full set of strings.

    • Craig says:

      Hi David

      Setup specifications are dependent on your neck radius

      String height at the 17th fret is one of several measurements needed to check in order to have proper comfortable action.

      Other set-ups to check include:

      Action at the 1st Fret
      Tremolo (Gap at rear of bridge)
      Neck Relief
      Bridge Saddles Height

  35. Paul says:

    Been exploring different tones based on choice of plectrum, and haven’t been able to find anything on this site. Nor has it been possible where I live to find much beyond mass produced cheapo guitar picks to play around with. Any recommendations for Gilmour tones on a strat/Laney LH20 combo? I’m a bit amazed at how big a difference a pick can make.


  36. Don Seibert says:

    Bjorn, TC Electronic just came out with a buffer pedal called the Bonafide. Any thoughts on that as a buffer. The Pure Tone is a little out of my budget. Thx, Don

  37. Ronnie says:

    Bjorn you are the man! When you say fuzz does not like buffers, do you mean at all or is a cry baby at the front of my chain into wampler comp>keeley red dirt>Vicks 73 rams head or consider just getting rid of the wah to keep the fuzz as smooth as possible?

    • Bjorn says:

      A Muff isn’t technically a fuzz. When I say fuzz, I mean the vintage circuit germanium or solicon fuzz pedals. They sound best when they can “see” the guitar’s pickups and buffers often make them sound brighter and thinner. Your setup should be fine. If anything, you might be experiencing a slight top end roll off.

  38. Paul says:

    I’m upgrading to Lyric HGs in my pedal chain–after getting huge improvement with them between guitar and first pedal, and between last pedal and Laney LH20 212 combo. Now looking to install EA Siren II in the amp but having trouble finding specific information online. Looks like it takes only one Siren cable with standard speaker crimps on one end. I’m a bit confused, though, about the wires connecting the two speakers. Should these also be replaced with a Siren cable to achieve the full benefit? Do Siren cables even come with crimps on both ends? I don’t see any on the EA website or available elsewhere for sale. Paul

  39. David Du says:

    hi,Bjorn, I always use 09-42 strings for my fender MIA strat, and it seems David Gilmour use 11-50 on his black guitar, i wonder if I can use the same type? i don’t know if this strings may damage the neck.

    • Bjorn says:

      For his Strats, David’s using a 10-48 with a few odd gauges in between. You can use as heavy strings as you want but the tension on your neck will be considerably more even from 10s to 11s so you will have to adjust the truss rod to compensate for any curvage.

  40. R. Merriman says:

    Before I switched to Evidence Audio cable, I called EA and spoke to Tony there. I asked about soldering the monorail cable and he said it’s fine to do that.
    If you use a high quality pancake style plug, that should not degrade the signal quality of the cable, as long as the solder joint is good and clean. If you use a cheaply made pancake plug that uses cheap quality materials that will probably cancel out the investment in the cable.
    The EA SIS plugs are expensive. If you want to use a right angle plug, the SIS design has its advantages. They’re quick and easy to use, for one thing. Soldering takes time. The other major thing is that they can easily be re-used if you change your board setup and need to modify the cable length.
    I needed some insert cables for my studio setup. Insert cables require a TRS plug. I bought one TRS plug and two straight TS plugs for each insert cable (Neutrik plugs) and soldered them up. They work fine.

    • Rick says:

      Thanks for taking the time to reply.
      I finally plunged for the ea plugs and I am amazed with the results,despite spending the kids inheritance :)
      Good to know for future reference that the monorail cable can be soldered though.
      Thanks again

      • Craig says:

        Quick note on the EA SIS

        I now always use a cable tester like the BEHRINGER CT100 when assembling EA SIS cables. I had assembled 10 cables before buying the tester. I was not happy with the tone I was getting so I bought the tester. Sure enough 2 of the 10 had faults (20%). Took them apart and reassembled them they tested ok.

        I have found no matter how careful you are at cutting, when you have to bend the cable and screw on the nut, it is possible to cause problems. I have probably assembled 100 patch cables and I still occasionally make bad ones. Thats why I always test them.

        • Robert M. says:

          When I started re-wiring my pedal board recently I looked but was unable to find the cable tester I have laying around somewhere. Haven’t used it in more than a decade but I saw it somewhere about a year and a half ago. :)

          Anyone who goes to the trouble of assembling their own cables is wise to pick up a few tools, including a decent cable tester. No need to spend a ton of cash for the best you can locate. If you’re a touring or gigging musician, it’s good to have one in the tool bag you carry with you when you’re out performing.

          Since I couldn’t find my cable tester, I used a basic multi-meter to test each new cable I made up. You can look up on the ‘net how to test for continuity. Just touch the two probes to the two plugs at either end of the cable. With a TS cable test tip to tip and sleeve to sleeve, then cross check tip to sleeve and sleeve to tip. A short will produce a reading that differs from the expected 1.0 or 0.0 ohms for each test.

  41. Rick says:

    Hello again Bjorn.
    Can I pick your brains on a little question please.
    I am about to rewire my pedalboard and I am probably going to go with Evidence audio monorail patch cables.
    Do you think using a cheap pancake plug with the monorail ( and do the soldering myself) would be any less quality than using the really expensive ea sis plug?
    Huge thanks as always

    • Bjorn says:

      Definitely. Go for the plugs offered by Evidence.

      • Rick says:

        Cheers Bjorn.
        Eventually I went for the ea sis plugs and I am astonished at the difference it has made :)
        Eliminated practically all the noise and hiss coming from the pedals.
        And maybe it’s psychological but my pedals seem to have jumped up a few notches in quality.
        Huge thanks as always.

  42. Roger Sartori says:

    Hi, Bjorn. I don’t know if you use some, but what volume pedal would you recommend that can modify your tone as minimal as possible? Cheers.

    • Bjorn says:

      I’ve used Ernie Ball for nearly 20 years. Couldn’t be happier :)

      • Roger Sartori says:

        OK, thanks… what’s the model of your Ernie Ball? I read some people had troubles with the earlier versions, including tone sucking… DeArmond has reissued the model 1602… I don’t know… it has a good price but never used it. What about it? And the Boss FV500H? Cheers.

        • Bjorn says:

          I really don’t have that much experience with other volume pedals since I’ve always used EB and been very happy with those… I’ve used several but now it’s the Jr.

  43. Robert (wyldberi) says:

    I like everything that’s behind this article. Good common sense that places the foundations for making music first and foremost. 20 years ago I switched to using rack mounted effects and didn’t look back at any pedals until just recently. In my project studio I always used balanced lines on every piece of gear I could. Don’t remember the last time I ran into a problem with a ground loop, impedance, or level problem until I tried splicing in a few pedals between my front end preamp and my small Mackie mixer.

    Right now I’m running a balanced direct channel output from my preamp to my pedal “board.” I’m using a re-amp box by Radial Engineering to convert the Lo Z output signal to a Hi Z signal that feeds the pedal chain. The output goes through an Eventide Space reverb that works with both low and high impedance levels and then into my mixer. This works well enough at the moment, without using a buffer (because I haven’t yet decided which one I will use) and I haven’t upgraded the patch cables to the Evidence Audio cable I will be using.

    When I get thru auditioning pedals and my pedal rig takes on a more established arrangement, I’m going to furnish the output with a high quality direct box. The re-amp box and the direct box will effectively isolate my pedal board and allow me to plug it into just about anything with no worries. To me, this approach seems to go hand in hand with the use of a good buffer in order to maximize the qualities of instrument tone and saturated effected signal. Why do I not read about this when people write about the mechanics of putting together a pedal system board?

    • Bjorn says:

      I guess what you’re describing is more advanced than what most tutorials wants to cover. There are a million ways to arrange and design a pedal board, from the very basics to the elaborate systems. My best tip, is to always get the best pedals, cables and powering you can afford. Even if that means that you can’t afford more than one pedal a year. Good quality items, which doesn’t have to cost much, will save you from a lot of hassle, noise issues and breakdowns. Direct boxes, buffers etc are perhaps for the advanced but they’re extremely efficient in keeping a tidy board, both in terms of noise and routing.

  44. Tucker says:

    Hey Bjorn, I’m just curious as to what your full recommended signal path would be.

    • Bjorn says:

      There are different opinion about this but I usually line it up this way:
      Fuzz, Buffer (optional), filter effects (wah/whammy etc), compressor, phaser and UniVibe, high gain, lower gain, booster, chorus, flanger, volume pedal, delays.

  45. Daniel Kim says:

    Hello Bjorn I have finally decided to pick up the guitar and I will be getting my first electric guitar very soon and have a budget of 900 flat! I was hoping to get your advice on some of the gears I plan on getting my hands on. I have narrowed my options down with one of the squier classic vibes, although I cannot makeup my mind on tele or strats. I heard the strats lose tuning eaisly because of the tremelo. Personally I am looking to remove it because I do not wish to use it atm. Also slightly leaning towards the 60s if I go with the strat. For an amp I was thinking of going with a Yamaha thr10c. I could not find anything on your website on this particular mini amp(?) So I was wondering if you had any input on this. I live “down stairs” and mostly home morning to afternoon or the evening so I would need a quiet amp to use after 10 o clock. Lastly I’m aware it takes multiple pedels(?) to achieve David’s sound but I was just curious to know if you have a recommendation to start off with that is quite an essential to get that gilmour sound or at the very least something fun to mess around with. I apologize if this is a broad question in itself as I am honestly not familiar with what all those “boxes” do. I guess right now I am more aspired towards WYWH & Live at Pompeii’s sound (such as Meddle and careful with that axe). Perhaps I should hold off on getting a pedel and upgrade something on the guitar?
    Thanks so much for your time!

    • Bjorn says:

      Hi Daniel, sorry for my late reply. I saw your other posts but I wanted to reply. I haven’t tried the Yamaha amp so I can’t really tell but the reviews I’ve seen are promising. You might also want to look into the Laney Cub and Lionheart series and even the Hughes and Kettner Tubemeisters. As for the Squier Classic Vibes, these are very nice and affordable models. Personally I would upgrade the pickups and perhaps also the term system but it will keep you going for now. Trem systems aren’t as stable as Les Paul stop tails, obviously, but be sure to string up properly and adjust the system as tight as you can, without losing the ability to use it. You’ll find some info on that here.
      Which pedals to use, and how many, depends on what tones you want to cover and how authentic you want to be. I recommend that you spend most of your budget on a good guitar and amp and get the pedals later, if needed. Your minimum should be a tuner, overdrive and a delay. That will take you far. After that, you can look into different fuzz or distortions, modulations and specialised effects. Good luck!

  46. Riff says:

    I thought this review might be of interest to Gilmourish readers of the Fractal FX8 into a Laney VH100

    And into a Palmer Fab5

  47. joao bicudo says:

    Hello Bjorn!

    I have a question for you,

    My guitar chain is:
    Strat-mxr buffer-mxr dynacomp-EHX small stone nano-EHX bass big muff-mooer big buff-xotic sl-boss blues driver-mooer blues mood-mooer electlady-mooer ensemble king-ernie ball volume pedal-tc nova-boss rt20 thru a hiwatt t20!

    Do you think should be better to have another buffer after the boss rt20 because of the hight number of pedals in the guitar chain?

    Joao bicudo

    • Bjorn says:

      You don’t need one to drive the signal. The MXR you have at the front and the Boss buffers will drive the signal through but you might consider one last in the chain to even out the signal and possible conflicts between the pedals. It’s not a must.

  48. Peter Hutley says:

    HI Bjorn love your work and I’ve found it very helpful thinking about my own setup here in Sydney Australia. I’m playing guitar in a covers band who also do a show with an Elvis tribute artist, with keys, bass and drums. I recently decided to upgrade from a Boss ME70 multi effects pedal to a pedalboard as I didn’t think my tone was cutting through enough.

    I play a Deluxe HSS Strat or ’52 Reissue Tele into a Blues Junior.

    So based on the effects I’ve been using in the ME70 I’ve set up a pedalboard with its own power supply as follows: AB loop switcher (so 2 guitars can be connected) – tuner – Crybaby wah – Moen Uni-comp – Boss FBM1 pedal (that I already had and use as a light overdrive) – super rat – Rowin modulator with chorus,phase and flanger – Joyo noise gate – Moen analogue chorus – Dunlop Pickup booster (a pedal I already had that I thought I would use to boost the signal to the amp).

    Any thoughts about the order?

    • Bjorn says:

      Hi Peter! The setup looks fine :) I’d place the Dunlop pickup booster first as it’s supposed to interact with the dynamics of the pickups.

  49. Alessandro Borges Cordeiro says:

    Hi Bjorn, Greetings!

    I have a long chain of pedals and felt the need to use a buffer to maintain a good quality signal. My first pedal of the chain is a Mini Dunlop Fuzz Face Germanium. Do you think have trouble connecting the buffer before the Fuzz pedal or It would be better connects after it?

    I thank your attention!

  50. Daniel says:



    i would like to buy a multi effects, my budget is 300 euros – would it be possible to advise me what model to buy, and which would allow me to find the Gilmour sounds – this issue had to be treated already – but I would like your advice !
    Bjorn thank you to you for your great work – sorry for my beginner English – my material used – Fender Mustang III amplifier V2 – Fender Stratocaster Mexican Standard with handle and middle pickups “Vintage Noiseless” and SSL 5 bridge pickup
    Thank you for your answers and tips



    • Bjorn says:

      Hi Daniel! Multi effects comes in all shapes and sizes these days… and price ranges. As I’ve explained in the digital effects processors feature, which model to choose depends on how you’ll be using the unit and what tones you’re looking for. Some are very basic. Other more elaborate, with more effects and user options. Don’t expect one unit to cover everything though. Some are better at overdrive and distortion tones, while others are better at modulation and delays. My best tip is to try a few different models and get one that fits your needs. Do you need an expression pedal? Do you intend to use stand alone pedals? Do you need a lot of different effects or just a handful? Hope this helps :)

  51. Gergely Riba says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    if I have a TC Electronics Nova System with a wah and a expression pedal, should I use buffer as well?

    thank you,

  52. Andrzej says:

    hi Bjorn
    sorry for inconvience I have another one question :
    pls let me know about your opinion about dirt effects order in my pedalboard:
    a) compressor CS-2 or Kelley 2 knobs
    b) Maxon RTD800
    c) Pig Hoof MKII
    d) BD-2 Keeley
    thank You for help Bjorn

  53. Jason says:

    Bjorn! Hope things are going well! I didn’t know where else to put this suggestion, so I thought “the essentials” might cut it…

    Like others around here, I’ve gotten to the point where I really dig your style, and because of your no-nonsense approach to reviews and things like that, I was wondering if, at some point, you could give some general tips (maybe a little bit of gear as well) for those of us who do a little recording at home. I know you’ve given some general recording tips (like mic placement), though I don’t remember if it was a stand-alone article or bits mixed into other gear reviews, but any advice on any brands of small mixers you dig/work for you, whether you record with digital, tape, computer, etc.

    Thanks, Jason

  54. KEITH says:

    Hey Bjorn, and all you Gilmour freaks! LOL! i have been using GHS Boomer 10-46( I think that’s light gauge, for over 30 years, and while I don’t doubt the stories about bent, or rusted strings, however, I change strings often, and have likely purchased several thousand sets, usually by the case, and have never experienced any rust, or bent stri gs. I always exams ne the package, or box when buying by the case, and if it’s in tact, you’re not likely to have issues. I am speaki g of the US, and the strings purchased in otber contries, especially hot, wet climates are probably older than those purchased in large US stores. No real point here other than the fact that I’ve tried most brands, and have never found the tone, consistency, or longevity that the Boomers exhibit, and feel that nothing I’ve tried gets close to the quality: get for about $4.50-$5.00 per set! !hen I was doing stage work, almost every pro I worked for used GHS BOOMER LIGHTS,(10-46), ;f you haven’t tried them, you are missing out on the highest highs, lowest lows, and strings that don’t seem to break nearly as much as any brand I’ve tried. Boomers are a VERY IMPORTANT part of my sound!!!

    That’s my 50¢ worth,, Peace, Keith

    • Bjorn says:

      Same experience here. Never had any issues with them although I’ve probably seen one or two rusted strings in my 15 years of using them. I guess strings are a preference as everything else and I urge everyone to experiment and not just buy whatever is convenient. Different strings can make a lot of difference to your tone.

  55. joao bicudo says:

    Hello Bjorn!

    I’m a bit stuck here!
    I play a strat thro a mxr buffer and the next pedal is the boss cs3 (compressor/sustain) wish have a buffer as well. The TC nova delay nd1 is the last pedal in the chain wish i think is a true-bypass pedal.
    It shouldn’t be better to put the mxr buffer after th TC Nova? And do you advice to make the calibration imput sensitivity? Mostly i play at beddroom levels.

    Joao bicudo.

    • Bjorn says:

      With only one buffer, I’d place it first. That way you guitar signal will be fed correctly through the board. Since you already have the CS3 you might want to move the MXR last to even out any inconsistencies or conflicts within the board.

  56. Chris says:

    Bjorn. Great article as always. I have been building up a new set up and a few pedals for my pink floyd tribute band. I’m basically using a tc electronics g system as the main board with the following pedals attached in the loops (in this order) keeley compressor 4 knob (or mxr dynacomp) > tc nova drive (dist / od) > blackout effectors musket fuzz > boss blues driver (no mod) as a boost (all through a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe). I’m targeting mainly in Pulse / DSOT lead tones and so far Im reasonably happy with the results but always trying to improve. Any opinions on the pedal choices above?

    • Bjorn says:

      Hi Chris! Thanks for sharing :) I don’t have much to comment. The TC stuff is great and hard to beat I think. Combining it with a few other of your choosing makes it even better :)

  57. **Sebastiano** says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    which strings are you using now on Fender Statocaster with singles coils?
    I was using GHS 10-48 but many are with rust and I am disappointed with them.
    I am using another brand 10-46 that is vacum packed and it goes better.
    But anyway I found the 10-48 more “hard” in the bending I am thinking to come back to 9-42…… well I don’t know.

    Could you give your opinion and which one are you using?
    Thanks, thanks and thanks a lot for you suggestion you gave me in the last one year! Great job indeed.
    Shine on.

    • Bjorn says:

      I’ve been using GHS 10-48 since I can remember. They work very well for me. It’s been awhile since I bought a new batch (I always order for at least a year’s worth of sets) but I think they’ve started to seal the packages now.

  58. Brad says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Have you integrated a foot controller into your rig? I have around 10 stomp boxes and am wondering if it makes sense to get one. I’d love to get your thoughts and recommendations.

    Also, have you tried Mogami cables? I use Mogami cables and patches and am wondering if I’ll notice an upgrade with EAs.


    • Bjorn says:

      Hi Brad :) I’m very old school and like all my pedals straight out on a board allowing me to both tweak them and stomp like mad during a show. I don’t have much experience with controllers but there are several cool models on the market, that will allow you to fully customise your setup. Mogami cables has a high reputation among guitarists and studios. I think that what’s important is that you always get the best cables you can afford. People often use a lot of money on pickups and pedals but these won’t sound as good as they could with cheap cables that often drain the signal of high end and clarity. Whether you should go for EA or Mogami is down to preference I guess. I prefer EA :)

  59. joao bicudo says:

    Hi Bjorn!

    Like you said, buffered pedals ( in my case CS3 ) shouldn’t never be placed in front of muff’s or after… In my case, my guitar chain goes to a buffer, tuner polytone, CS3, bass big muff, vox satchurator…etc . So what should i do? I have a crybaby wahwah that i could use, but then i’m just adding another pedal.

    What can you suggest?


    • Bjorn says:

      Big Muffs usually goes well with buffers. They may get a tad brighter, due to the fact that the buffer drives your pickups better, but that shouldn’t be a problem. Test it by plugging the guitar straight into your Muff and then the amp and compare that with the whole chain. Fuzz pedals on the other hand, doesn’t like buffers so you want to keep them separated.

  60. Gil says:

    Hey there Bjorn, as always great job with these tips pages! I am digging the new appearance too ;)

    I run 4 pedals into the front of my clean amp – Luna Overdrive, Mesa Toneburst (Clean Boost), Carbon Copy, and finally a TU-3. I placed the boss at the end because all the others are true bypass and I have 18 ft of cable between pedals to amp (and another 10 from guitar to pedals). I was thinking of swapping out the TU-3 for a polytune, and getting a buffer. What do you think of that? Do these 4 pedals require a dedicated buffer? If so, should I place it before or after?

    Thanks a lot in advance


    • Bjorn says:

      A buffer will drive the signal through to the amp. Whether or not you really need it depends on how you want to prioritise but I think you’ll hear a difference. You should anyway :)

      • Gil says:

        Hey Bjorn, thanks for replying. I kept the TU-3 and my buffer arrived. Problem is my guitar is still at the luthier’s so I haven’t been able to try it out… How does the buffer work out next to BOSS (in this case the TU-3)? I guess it is kind of useless since the TU-3 also has a buffer. I’m thinking of placing them on polar opposites of the pedalboard. The thing is, which do you think should go first and which should go last – buffer or TU-3?
        Sorry for being a pain! :P

        Thanks in advance


  61. Daniel says:

    Hi Bjorn

    What can you tell me about those Planet Waves patch cables. Are they a good option?

    What about the Visual Sound One Spot? It is way cheaper than T-Rex and Voodoo Lab power supplies, but still seems to be a great option. What’s the difference between them?

    Also, when you say “some pedals may prefer individual feeding”, what kind of pedals do you mean by that?


    [Planet Waves are good. Never tried the One Spot power supply. Pedals like a digital delay, UniVibe and multi effects like the TC Nova series usually need to be fed directly and not in a daisy chain. They usually have a higher draw and they also tend to get noisy if they’re in a chain. – Bjorn]

  62. David says:

    Hi bjorn just a quick question, I’m setting a simple pedalboard for live shows consisting of a Boss GE-7, Polytune Mini and an CAE MC 404 Wah. The GE-7 has the sniper mod so it’s quieter and true bypass, the other two pedals are also true bypass. Do I need a Coastalab Buffer at the start of my chain to drive the signal through my 3 pedals or is my pedalboard small enough to go without it?

    [Passive pickups are able to drive the signal undisturbed for about 18 feet. That’s the total of your signal and patch cables and the cables inside the pedals. Any longer and the signal will lose some of its top end and dynamics. I would say that your setup would benefit from a buffer but whether or not it’s a must is up for you to decide. – Bjorn]

  63. Tim says:

    Hi again Bjorn, I sent you a message several weeks ago regarding a distortion/muff/fuzz recommendation. You were extremely helpful; thank you!!! Your site has been fantastic for improving my overall sound. I would love your opinion again regarding my tone. I am playing my Gilmour NOS Strat, a Gibson es-335 59 reissue and a 59 reissue Les Paul through my Mesa Boogie Lone Star Special (at bedroom levels). Right now, I’m mostly just using a Lovepedal Kalamazoo overdrive pedal and EHX Memory Man for effects (keeping it simple, just like you often say). I’m mostly playing through the clean channel but have also been getting some really nice tones through the dirty channel as well. Which effect do you think would further improve my overall tone; the Pure Tone Buffer, the Effectrode Fire Bottle Tube Booster, or something else? Is the Fire Bottle not as effective when using humbuckers? Thank you, Tim

    [Hi Tim! Thanks for your kind words! Buffers and pickup boosters are tool and not effects in the same line as a chorus or overdrive. Unless you plan on running a big board or are struggling with getting the clean tone you want from your amp, then I personally would prioritise other effects or an upgrade of the cables, power supplies or pickups. I think these three are more important for your overall tone than a buffer and pickup booster. – Bjorn]

  64. Angus says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    So you would recommend the TC Polytune? I’ve done a bit of research online and a lot of folks seem to think the Turbo Tuner is the best tuner pedal, but I also see a fair few pros using Boss tuners which apparently aren’t that accurate and suck tone. Would you care to shed some light on the subject for me?


    [I’m using the PolyTune Mini my self and are very happy with those. True bypass and very fast and accurate. Boss Tuners are OK but their buffer can mess up some of your more sensitive pedals. Haven’t noticed any tone loss though, as in top end roll off or anything. – Bjorn]

  65. Lib says:

    Hello Bjorn, and thank you for all these tricks !
    Just a question about the Pure Tone Buffer :
    I’m using a strat With the set EMG DG20, and i can see on the Pure-Tone website :
    “Please note: Buffers are not recommended for guitars with active pickups.”

    Have you notice something wrong with the Pure Tone Buffer and EMG DG20 ?
    Do you think i should forget it or should it really brings a better tone ?

    Thank you for everything on that fantastic website !

    best regards


    [There shouldn’t be any conflicts between them but you won’t get much effect from the buffer since the pickups are practically buffered being active. – Bjorn]

  66. Evel1 says:

    Was excited to learn that I live in the same area as E.A.R.S. Pro Audio and after four years of bad advice from my gigging friends, I took the plug with the SIS EA cables. Sam is a class act and I now swear by the things! No one in their right mind wants spend this much on cables, but if you’re tired of constantly having issues with your board and your tone, invest in them.

    It is literally a night and day difference!! The was by far the best investment I have made for my setup. I’ve listend to you on everything else, I wish I had done so a few years back. They’re very solidly built as well.

    I have also recently switched to the Dunlop Rev. Willy G strings. If you get the chance, you should check them out as well. I have found they’re really to my liking. I rate them right up there with your new album. ;)

    [Thanks! Yep, Sam is a great guy! I’ve been using the Willy Gs on my Tele for a few years now. Love them :) – Bjorn]

  67. sebastien says:

    Hello Bjorn,

    I can see you’re using the T rex Chameleon fuel tank power supply on both Live and Studio Boards .
    I guess you’re daisy chaining on the studio board but not on the Live board because you mention using 2 X Power supplies, which means one output from the power supply dedicated to each pedal, am I right?

    Is it best to do it this way? I mean shall we avoid daisy chaining?

    Myself I have a voodoo Lab power pedal 2 +, but I have to daisy chain because I have only 10 outputs on the power supply.

    What is the rule about daisy chaining? I mean do I have to daisy chain effects by type together, like: distortions together, modulation effects together, delays together, etc etc…. ?

    Best regards,


    [Hi Sebastien! The best way to power a pedal is to use a good quality power supply, like TRex, Carl Martin, VoodooLab etc and power each pedal separately. This way you ensure that each pedal gets the right voltage, ampere and an isolated feed. This also helps keeping noise at a minimum. If you need to daisy chain, be sure to calculate the total ampere for the pedals in the chain and do some tests on the more demanding pedals, like UniVibes and delays. These can often get noisy and lose some of their tone if not powered properly. – Bjorn]

  68. Norman Biddle says:

    Hi Born
    To reduce your signal chain length I thought it would be great to be able to attach all your pedals to a central hub and then select which pedals you want active in the path and in what order. I had a look around and see that these units are called loop switchers. There are many units available to do this but only the switchblade 8f seems to allow swapping of the effects order. In theory you would double the amount of patch cables needed (ie two per pedal) but this could potentially result in a shorter path as all unused pedals are bypassed completely.
    Have you ever tried these units and if so do they work transparently or do they kill your tone. The 8f looks like a great tool but currently costs about the same as the rest of my board combined.

    [I don’t have that much experience with loopers and switchers as I prefer the old school stomping but sure, they will help keep the board tidy and can clean up messy combinations. The quality and user friendliness varies grately but there are lots of options out there. – Bjorn]

  69. Kris says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    What cables would you recommend for someone just starting to build a pedal board. I recently bought EA melody cables for my guitar and a siren II for my speaker. I was thinking of going with the EA SIS but wasnt sure since I will probally start with 3-4 pedals and will probally change their configuration quite a bit until I figure it out. Any recommendations?

    [The SIS are as good as they get so if you’re used to the EA quality I recommend them. You can also cut and measure the lengths you need. A cheaper alternative is the George Ls or Lava. Both are great. I consider cables an important investment. Regardless or what pedals you have or how many, getting the best cables you can afford, what ever that may be, will ensure a good tone, with little colouring, noise and tone loss. – Bjorn]

  70. Dima says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    I’m choosing between George L’s and Lava patch cables. Which would you recommend?

    [Both a very good. Personally I’m using George L’s. – Bjorn]

  71. Jason says:

    Hey Bjorn!

    I’ve been reading up on buffers for awhile and definitely think I need one. Have you ever messed around with the This1smyne buffer? I know the guy hand builds them and they’re very small. The price is a little sweeter than the two you mentioned, but I don’t know how they differ in quality…

    [Never tried it so I can’t tell… – Bjorn]

  72. Hamish says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    Fantastic work on the website! Thanks on the behalf of many Floyd fans!

    I have two questions for you:

    Is the V2 Deluxe Electric Mistress a good choice for The Wall Live tones? Any better options?

    And also what is a good option for a compressor? I have the Marshall compressor at the moment which works fine but is too noisy. Any better options?

    Thanks, Hamish

    [The late 70s and 90s Deluxe is great. The current model is very dark and boomy sounding in comparison. Either the two or the Mooer ElecLady. It’s great! You could hunt down a Boss CS2 off EBay. It’s well worth it. If you can afford one, check out the Effectrode PC2A. The Barber TonePress is also very nice. – Bjorn]

  73. Stephen says:

    @ Roger
    Check out the ISP decimator II G String. It is truly a fantastic Noise Gate that your guitar signal enters before anything else (as the Trigger but then is activated after your desired pedals. Therefore giving it a really accurate signal to act upon. It is pretty much top dog for Noise suppression. I absolutely love mine, actually I already own two for different boards and I am about to buy my third.

    Good Luck! Cheers

  74. Roger Sartori says:

    Hi, Bjorn.
    What about noise gate pedals? Even with good cables, power adaptor, etc., some pedals are quiet noisy… would you recommend any noise pedal? And what position on the chain pedal is more suitable for that? Cheers.

    [Hi Roger! Check out this feature. On the bottom of the page you’ll find a little info on noise gates. – Bjorn]

  75. Denis says:

    Hi Bjorn, I decided to build a WEM starfinder 200 clone. At least the same dimensions and same structure inside cabinet. Cabinet is already built. I will ad picture when speakers are in place and front baffle is on. So I would like to have the cab as a 2 channel split (2 speakers for each input).. Already have 2 Weber Thames for one input. Love the Thames by the way!.. If I buy 2 greenbacks for the second input. What’s the difference in tone between both speakers ?

    [Apart from them having a much lower output you’ll notice a darker tone and a bit more mid range. They’re very different I think. I’ve never tried to combine speakers like that so I’m not sure how they’ll work together. – Bjorn]

  76. Brad Roller says:

    Shoot I loved this article. I think you are like me when it comes to less is more a lot of times, when it comes to pedals. Yesterday, I was asked to fill in at a church for lead guitarist. They wanted some solos and fill ins, just improvising. I approached as you have taught “ok Brad…what pedals will fit these songs best” my board has compulator, dg-2, OCD, RC boost, univibe, volume pedal, delay, and boss rt-20 going into a blues jr. ALOT like an on an island board. But nothing over the top ya know. Well only one song really rocked so I used overdrive. The slow songs that I soloed to, and made fill ins I used only my compulator with a clean signal, I was using my red strat with EMGs btw. I turned my spc to about 4-8 depending on the part and ECG on 1 1/2 and the sound, if I may say so myself was verrrrry nice. The other guitarist wanted to know what I was using because they “loved that tone” they were shocked when I said it was only 1 pedal lol the show was a great success too. They want me to play permanently for them now. So with that said, thank you Bjorn! I wouldn’t have my own great time without your advice and help. It feels good when guitarist, who were playing through orange amps and Marshall’s stacks with les Paul’s, wanna know your secrets ;) lol comes to show less is more! Thanks again for all the help, and I look forward to your solo album! God bless Bjorn!

    [Thanks a lot and thanks for sharing! Congrats on the gig! – Bjorn]

  77. Voodoods says:

    Bjorn, Excellent content as always! I have one question that I haven’t seen anyone ask – please provide details about that gorgeous guitar in the header of this article. It looks like a PRS, and the pickups look like HB sized P-90s. Spill the beans as they say!!

    [Oh… That’s my Radix Deluxe. It’s an Indonesian brand, all hand made and they get a lot of praise around. It’s basically an PRS model with a few modifications. I’ve replaced the stock pickups with Duncan Phat Cat P90s. It’s probably my main go-to guitar at the moment, well for the last couple of years. It both plays and sound incredibly dynamic and much more so than most PRS I’ve tried. Highly recommended :) – Bjorn]

  78. ed goncalves says:

    Basically my studio setup is as follows from guitar-vox V846 handwired wah-Drybell vibe machine-fulltone octafuzz-jam pedals fuzz phrase-xotic ep booster-tc electronic polytune mini-saturnworks buffer-radial aby big shot ab box

    Output A goes into Marshall vintage modern combo (t rex replica in effects loop)

    Output B analogman sunface bc108-mxr 76 script dyna comp-mxr 74 script phase 90-electronic orange pig hoof-buffalo fx power booster-hartman analog flanger- keeley boss ce2 chorus-strymon lex-tc alter ego into a fender twin reverb.

    If you wouldn’t mind sharing how you would order these pedals if this were your setup. I always enjoy getting different guitarist’s opinions on this subject. Greatly appreciate all the hard work you put in for your followers!

    [Seems like a nice setup. Personally I’d place the OcatFuzz and Fuzz Phrase before the wah :) – Bjorn]

  79. ed goncalves says:

    hey bjorn, what are the settings on your buffalo fx power booster? I recently got one to replace my keeley bd-2. Also if you don’t mind sharing your settings that you use with the strymon lex and t rex replica that would be greatly appreciated. Of course it changes depending on many factors but i was just curious as to what “o’clock” settings you use with these 3 pedals. Thanks so much!

    [I like to have a bit of boost from the Powerbooster and just a hint og dirt although not full breakup. It very much depends on the amp and I always have to tweak it depending on which amp I’m using to find the sweetspot. Volume and gain 2:00, treble 11:00 and bass 9:00.
    The Lex: rotor 11:00, horn 3:00, mic 12:00, gain 10:00.
    The Replica is usually set for about 300ms: echo and repeat 12:00, level 1:00, tempo (points) 6. – Bjorn]

  80. Roger Sartori says:

    man, I should stop visiting your webpage… everything you show I want it! LOL
    my last acquisition was the Pure Tone buffer pedal and I must say: IT’S FANTASTIC!
    thanks a lot!

    [Glad to hear, Roger! A good buffer really does wonders for the rig! – Bjorn]

  81. ed goncalves says:

    Hey Bjorn, wonderful job with the new buyers gear guide updates and i especially love the essentials column! I wanted your thoughts on a couple of questions. I replaced my old Colorsound Power Boost 90’s reissue with a keeley blues driver. Should I stay with the BD-2 or keep my eye on an 18v CPB made by Stu Castledine? My other question pertains to buffers. I was wondering what your thoughts are on the visual sound pure tone buffer and the saturnworks buffer. At the moment i own those but im curious if you know of any other good buffers out there. Thanks and continue the amazing work man!

    [Hi Ed! The BD2 is perhaps a more versatile pedal. Especially the Keeley model. It does clean boost and high gain overdriver equally well. The Colorsound can sound a bit harsh when you crank the gain but it also depends on the amp. Personally I prefer the Colorsound for its punchy character but it’s hard to recommend just one. I’m using CostaLab and Pure Tone buffers and I’m very happy with those :) – Bjorn]

  82. Deny Bisson says:

    For me the GHS strings are the best strings I never used. I bought a dozen set of them more than 2 years ago and I still have half dozen in stock.

    I like their tone and I must say they last longer than any other set I know.

    Never had any rust problem on Amy of the sets I used in date.


  83. Bo says:

    So i have a Boss TU3 tuner. Do you recommend that i put this last in my chain? I have two fuzz units at the beginning of my chain. Do you recommend that i put the dedicated buffer before the fuzz pedals? My chain is long… Thank you sir!

    [It’s always tricky with buffers and fuzz. As a rule, fuzz pedals don’t like buffers and you should never place a buffer in from of one or right next to it. On the other hand, a buffer is best placed first in the chain. Either place your fuzz pedals in a true bypass loop or place the buffer last. – Bjorn]

  84. Roger Sartori says:

    Hi Bjorn.
    Behringer makes this pedal board for up to 12 units (model PB1000) which I will consider to be my next purchase. It is relatively low priced (you can find one new for a bit more than 120 USD) and it already comes with its own power source and patches for all pedals. It’s a plastic case, so dust won’t bother you. Cheers.

    [Thanks for the tip! – Bjorn]

  85. Evan says:

    Bjorn, have you had a chance to try Ernie Ball’s Cobalt Slinkies Strings? Seems like snake oil promises, but they’re honestly a massive tone improvement (to my ears, anyway). Higher output, more distinct high end, almost a bit of a hi-fi sound really. And they don’t corrode as quickly, which is great for me since I often go a few months without string changes. They’re even louder acoustically, somehow. Try them out, you may be surprised.

    [Thanks for the tip! I’ll check it out :) – Bjorn]

  86. Huy Tran says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    JUst a quick question about buffers. I only have one buffered pedal in my rig and that is the boss cs-2 right at the front after a polytune 2. If I get a dedicated buffer pedal like the puretone you recommended, should I put it at the front of the chain before the cs-2 to get the best signal possible before it runs through the pedals or should I put it at the end?

    Is the buffer on the boss cs2 good enough at the front? I definitely need the cs2 but if the buffer is rubbish I might get 2 dedicated buffers for the front and back of the pedal chain.

    Thanks for your help as always Bjorn. I know I said quick question but when it comes to guitar stuffs I find it so damn hard to keep it brief.


    Huy Tran

    [Hi! The Boss buffers aren’t crap but not as good as a dedicated buffer, with high quality parts. I use buffers regardless of how many Boss pedals I use because it sounds much cleaner and transparent when you place a good quality buffer in front. You can also place it last but as a rule, I’d say that with one buffer, place it first for the guitar to see the amp. With two buffers, place on first and one last, with the last to balance the signal from your pedal board. – Bjorn]

  87. Koray Kurutepe says:


    I have a question. What is the difference between a boost /line driver and a buffer? Same things?

    Best wishes

    [A boost/line driver has both a buffer and a volume boost. A buffer is just a buffer. – Bjorn]

  88. carlos-Brazil says:

    Unfortunatelly, these “ghs Boomers strings” are not vacum packed. As a result, many of the brand new strings on each package come with traces of rust …

    [Yep, I’ve seen that. – Bjorn]

  89. Gerardo Andrade says:

    what patch cables would you recommend for people on a budget? with 4-6 pedals like buying one patch cable at a time

    [Depending on how tight your budget is, I recommend the George Ls. Get the plugs and the cable length you need. Keep in mind that the shorter the better so you don’t need that much. – Bjorn]

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