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Hooking up multiple guitar effect pedals

   You can hook up multiple guitar effect pedals / guitar effect units together very easily. The output of one effect pedal that normally plugs into the guitar amp, you instead plug it into the input of another pedal. The input is where you would normally plug your guitar into. You can keep adding pedals in the chain. You plug your guitar patch cord into the input of the first guitar effect pedal in the pedal chain and you plug into your guitar amp from the output of the last effect pedal in the pedal chain.

  All the pedals in between the first and last guitar pedal, you plug the output from one effect pedal to the input of the next effect pedal. When you get beyond 5 or 6 pedals you may need a noise suppressor / noise gate pedal to get rid of some of the noise, especially if you are using a lot of distortion.

   The gain knob, sometimes called level, volume or other names is usually some type of op amp design or gain stage amplifying section of the effect circuit that multiplies the gain stage of the next pedal and the next pedal and the next pedal. So usually you will have to cut the gain levels lower than you would normally run them on an individual effect pedal to get a good sound. Otherwise it will be balls to the walls noise that may sound great to you but not to your listeners.

 To get the best bang for your buck you might want to start  with pedals that are different and have a more varying effect compared to each other. This way you get a more dramatic effect and different sounds right away, versus buying two distortion pedals.

  A good progression if you're into rock would be overdrive or distortion first, then chorus, then a wah pedal,  (if you want that effect), then delay,  then pitch shifter or harmonist or octave (if you want that effect), then reverb, then phaser, then look at compressor, harmonizer, pitch shifter, octave, noise suppressor, and flanger. If you only had two effect pedals a distortion and a chorus would give you a good sound.

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 The art of joining  guitar effect pedals together is often referred to as pedal stacking, or daisy chaining pedals, or a pedal train, or an effect stack.

  To join the effect pedals you can use a regular patch cord or you can buy short cords that are available in  6", 12", 18", 24", 36", and  48" lengths. You can also get effect pedal couplers which are a one piece metal unit with two  1/4" jack plugs back to back. If you have a wah pedal or some boutique pedals, sometimes the input jack is higher off the floor than the standard pedal. You can get an offset pedal coupler or Z plug they are normally called, so you still have an all metal,one piece plug, with no cable but one input jack can be higher off the floor than the other.  

   You can also get a pedal board to place your effect pedals on. Some have an upholstered board that lifts out of a padded bag. Usually they come with small strips or a long length of  Velcro tape. You cut off a piece of the Velcro, peel the paper off the back of it, and then stick it to the bottom plate of your guitar effect pedal. Then the effect pedal will stick by the Velcro to the upholstered pedal board. Some pedal boards will come with a few short 1/4" patch cords to hook the pedals up. Some pedal boards  will come with a 9 volt AC/DC power supply that you plug into the AC wall plug, and splitter cables that will split the DC output power from the single 9 volt transformer to multiple effect pedals.

   Some people choose to build their own pedal case. You can buy 9 Volt jumper cables / daisy cables which allow you to use one 9V adaptor plug ( AC/DC adapter) for multiple effect pedals. If you have too many pedals on one adaptor some of the effects may be reduced. Usually the chorus is the first one you will notice a degradation in it's sound quality. It will lose some of it's depth.

  That's when you know it is time to add another 9 volt adaptor and daisy chain cable. If you go that route check the mA (milliamp) rating of the 9 Volt power adaptor. The standard guitar effect pedal adaptor is 200ma, but some go as high as 1,000ma which will power a lot more pedals. You will pay more but it might be cheaper in the long run.

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   Changing the order of your effect pedals will change the overall sound. Take a pedal and try it as the first effect pedal in the pedal chain. Then move it to the second position, then third, through to the last effect unit in the pedal chain. Some effects you won't notice much of a difference, some you will hear a huge difference. It's all subjective. It's whatever sounds good to you.

   If you are using the 9 volt batteries to power your guitar pedals,  instead of an AC adaptor, note that on most guitar pedals, the pedal is turned on by inserting the 1/4" guitar patch cord in the guitar pedal's input plug. It is sort of an invisible on / off switch. Be sure to unplug the patch cords from your effect pedals when you are done to keep the batteries from draining. Otherwise next time you go to play your guitar, you will hear nothing, for one of the batteries in one of your effect pedals is dead.

  If you are using an AC/DC adaptor to power your pedals, it is a good idea to pull the battery clips off of the batteries inside the pedals or remove the batteries from the pedals altogether. This is to avoid battery leakage, which can happen in any electronic device if a battery sits for an extended period of time,not being used. Typically it can take months or years for a battery to leak, but it could happen sooner. When a battery leaks in the battery compartment of your effect pedal it usually corrodes the inner surfaces. If it gets into the effect's circuit it can damage the electronics causing the pedal not to work anymore.

 

                                                                       article by Art Rock / MyCD.ca / Absolute Music

                                                                              copywright Absolute Music 2020 all rights reserved

 

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