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Some pedals that seem adviseable in the loop may not like it there. Some just don't have enough output.

Chorus for instance...I tried running a CH1 Super CHorus in my loop and it sucked. SOme pedals actually come with the +4 output so that they will run better in the loop.

I chose the Boss CE20 originally for that very reason.

We need a list in order to help you better.

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in the loop


There are always people out there who are willing to tell you that there is only one correct way to hook up your effects, and that all other ideas are blasphemous and should be abolished. Most of us will by now have learned to ignore these fools and just go with what sounds best to us, but that won't stop them from trying. And in no area is this more apparent than when it comes to how to use the humble effects loop.


Here's a nice one from Harmony Central:


There's a reason good amps have fx loops. Putting all of your pedals in front of the amp is an amateur** mistake. Don't put modulation, delay or reverb in front of the amp, unless you want to either sound bad and/or competely relegate your expensive amp to a simple amplifier of your pedal-based tone


** note: there's nothing wrong with doing this if you *are* an amateur, by the way, and nothing wrong with being an amateur!!! Hell, I'm not playing live right now, so I consider myself one. But if you play live or on recordings a lot, expect great tone, and convenience and reliability are important to you, then this applies.


Good God, where do people get all this nonsense from? First off, no such blanket statement can ever be true at all times, in every rig and with every amp. Second, if there's any "amateurism" to be found anywhere, it's all over that completely clueless statement. The effects loop doesn't magically make all effects sound perfect... and running your pedals up-front will not automaticaly make you sound like poo. Claims like those are just plain stupid and ignorant.


Now, with that off my chest , let's look at the effects loop and what it can (and can't) do for you, shall we? But just to make sure we don't make any "amateur mistakes", we'll start from the beginning...



The art of ordering


This is about which part of the signal chain works best in what position. Your basic guitar-straight-to-amp setup does actually consist of several parts, which functions we need to understand to be able to use (or decide not to use) the fx loop later on. Anyway, here's the basic layout:


o guitar

o preamp (with or without distortion)

o tone controls

o master volume (or channel volume, on multi-channel amps)

o reverb

o power amp

o speaker(s)


Sometimes there will be another preamp stage after the tone controls, where the brunt of the distortion is generated. And on some amps, the master volume is located after the reverb, right before the power amp. But the description above is adequate for the point I'm trying to make - that even the simplest of setups consists of several stages, all performing different tasks. Now, an effects loop is simply a point in this chain where you can insert an effect of your choice. Some loops are located before the reverb section, while others are located after it. Still, a straight insert point like that is called a serial fx loop (because it sits in series with the signal path, breaking out the entire signal out from the amp and to the fx).


Parallel effects loops are more complicated, but the general idea is the same. The difference is that while the main signal path remains intact, a portion of the signal is sent out through the send jack, and whatever is fed back through the return jack is then mixed in with the original signal.


Now, to start thinking about how to use the fx loop, you must incorporate the amp's different parts into the entire chain. When dealing with floor effects pedals, one will usually arrange them in a certain order, to get the desired results from them. Chorus before distortion will sound completely different from chorus after distortion, and so on. It's all about thinking what you want affecting (or effecting, rather) what - do you want your guitar, with phaser added, to be distorted? Or do you want your distorted guitar to be processed through the phaser?


The same principle applies to using the effects loop - the stuff you place there will process the guitar sound, including any impact the preamp (including any distortion generated there), tone controls etc has already had on said sound. So... if you use lots of preamp distortion, sticking a chorus pedal in front of the amp will be the same as placing it in front of a distortion pedal, which you may or may not like. If you do like it, just let it be - you don't need to mess with it any more. But if you want to try it after the distortion, things get a little trickier - since the distortion is coming from the preamp, you can't simply move the chorus to the other side of the distortion box... and here's where the effects loop comes in. By running it in the loop, you are actually placing it after the distortion. Neat!


The difference will be even greater on delay pedals, since adding lots of distortion after them will make the repeats (which generally will play back at lower volume than the actual playing) louder. But that still doesn't mean that you should always, in any situation, use the effects loop - after all, if you're getting all your distortion from a box on the floor, all you have to do is make sure the delay goes after the distortion pedal, and you're fine. On a clean amp, using the loop will only move the pedals you place there behind the tone controls, which will only make a slight difference.


And there are instances where the loop's placement in the chain really works against it. For instance, if your amp happens to have the fx loop after reverb and you stick your chorus and delay in there, you will end up with chorused and/or delayed reverb... which may or may not be what you're looking for. It definitely isn't my cup of tea, though.



So when do I use the fx loop?


Basically, the big divider is distortion. Some effects definitely sound better or more balanced when placed after distortion (such as delay and reverb), while others just sounds different (chorus, flanger, phaser etc). Tremolo before distortion will vary the amount of distortion much more than the actual volume, which may not be what you want. So, here goes:


* On an amp where you use the distortion channel, you may want to try at least delay and reverb in the loop. If you have a tremolo pedal and plan on using it on the distortion channel, stick it in there as well. Chorus, flanger, phaser etc are up to individual taste, and should be experimented with. Also, sticking a booster or eq pedal in the loop will give you far greater control over the overall volume, compared to in front of a distorted preamp.

* On a clean amp (or at least one where you don't heavily distort the preamp), I never bother with the loop. Taking the signal out of the amp (and lowering the level to fit stompboxes, then re-amplifying it again) can damage the tone far more than any benefits you'd reap from moving certain effects after the tone controls.

* If you distort the amp simply by turning it up to ear-shattering volume (as we did in the good old days), don't bother either. A lot of this type of distortion usually comes from the power amp stage anyway, which is located after any effects loop...


One final tip - if you have an amp that has a serial effects loop placed after the reverb, you have the perfect place to hook up a tremolo pedal. That way, the tremolo will most closely mimic that in a good old Fender amp (i.e. tremolo-ing everything, including the reverb), which sounds great!


But don't let anyone tell you that you have to use the loop for certain effects - nothing is that simple, and there are no universal truths!

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You can place the volume in either location. All you pedals will actually work outside the loop, but if you want to use the loop. I would run it this way...


Loop....Flange, Tremelo, Echo


From guitar I would run Volume, crybaby, Phase 90, Fulltone


Note....You can Run the volume in the loop and it will work as an overall volume control for the amp. Run it last in the chain if this is what you want.


Running it as I have described first out from the guitar will cause it to clean up the signal and lower volume just like the guitars own volume knob.


Running the volume last in line before the amp is redundant..Might as well have it in the loop..Same thing happens....The overall signal is lowered and any gain from the fulldrive remains the same.


No rules on the Phaser. I just prefer the tone it gives before overdrive/Distortion.

Same with wah...Before or after the Fulltone is fine. I just prefer it before. But do run the wah after the volume.


My 2 Cents.


My Board BTW...I like showing it off.


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ok thanks for the info. Let's see if I have this right


so go from FX send to delay' date='trem,flange, then to FX RETURN. Then hook up from amp to volume,phase,OD,wah, to guitar Correct?




I thought you wanted the volume in the loop?

Ok...Try this...


FX send to Flange, trem, delay, Volume to FX return


Guitar to wah, phase, OD to amp input.


You can always play with it but that is how I would do it.

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alright well I did it! I didnt like the way my mxr phase 90 sounded or my trem' date=' but i did love how my delays sounded very clear, rather than gainy. Is there anything wrong with have only my delay pedal through the loop?[/quote']

Not at all...

Do it that way if you want.

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alright well I did it! I didnt like the way my mxr phase 90 sounded or my trem' date=' but i did love how my delays sounded very clear, rather than gainy. Is there anything wrong with have only my delay pedal through the loop?[/quote']



Woo Hoo! Somebody did it! After all the great advice and teaching (that's you, Axe), that goes on here all the time, somebody went home, used what they learned to try things for themselves, and made a decision based on their ears. ](*,)


Ya' know, guys, that happens way too rarely... :D


Delays only in the loop sounds just dandy, sir. :-)

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Don't know if somebody said this already (dont really feel like reading the whole thing) but you should conect the "send" jack of the fx loop to the "in" or "input" of your first fx looped pedal, then from the "out" or "output" of that pedal to the "in" or "input" of the next one, and so on... then the last fx-looped pedal's "output" or "out" goes to the FX loop return.


I say this because that's the main concern when people comes asking me about how to use that crazy weird fx loop thingy their new amp has come with.

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