What order do I put my guitar effect pedals in?

What order do I put my guitar effect pedals in?


What order do I put my guitar effect pedals in?


The order you would put your pedals in for your guitar are grouped together and put into the following order :


>> Dynamics – including Compressors, Volume, Wah & Pitch

>> Drive – Including Overdrive, Distortion & Fuzz

>> Modulation – includes Tremolo, chorus, flanger, phaser etc.

>> Delay – Delay and reverb, the spatial effects.


It’s important to remember pedals do not really go wrong, or will they stop working if you put them in a different order, they just might not sound the same, they can sound very different. 


I personally like to experiment putting pedals in different orders, trying to make some unique sounds and not sticking to the rules. Theory here provides the basics.


A small starter or practice pedal board with 3 guitar effects in the chain could consist of :


Guitar >> Vintage Overdrive >> Tremolo >> Analog Delay >> Amp


Guitar >> Drive >> Modulation >> Delay >> Amp


The pedals are ‘chained’ together with ‘patch’ cables and guitar leads. A patch cable is just a very short guitar cable, the guitar signal is sent through the pedals and onto the amp.


A drive pedal is something that will give your sound a bit of OOMPH !  It is the gain, as if your amp is getting turned up louder and louder, the audio starts to distort.. A drive pedal does this but without the increase in total volume. If you have a number of drive pedals I would suggest putting them in the order of the smoothest to the dirtiest.


Connect your guitar into an overdrive pedal, then the overdrive chained into the distortion.  Drive pedals stack pretty well to create some sustain and dirt (distortion), one pedal can drive the other and really push it. It’s a great way to create a warm distortion sound from an overdrive, rather than jumping between the 2.


An effect pedal chain example stacking the drive pedals


Guitar >> Baatsin Overdrive >> Uzi Distortion >> Chorus >> Dseed Delay >> SpaceVerb >> AmpAn effect pedal chain example stacking the drive

Guitar >> Vintage Overdrive >> Ultimate Overdrive >> Flanger >> Digital Delay >> Amp




Modulation is the manipulation of the guitar tone, controlling and adjusting the guitar usually by duplicating, phasing, shifting volume and pitch.

When you use modulation pedals after your drive pedals, you retain a stronger modulation effect, this means the modulation is not getting distorted and the effect really will retains more clarity.


Guitar >> Vintage Overdrive >> Tremolo >> Chorus >> Delay >> Amp



If you are using a guitar amp with an FX loop and you rely on your guitar amplifiers drive setting for your overdrive or distortion, then you could put all of your modulation pedals in your FX loop. The FX loop connects your modulation pedals so you get full use of the modulation effect pedals post drive generated from the guitar amp, the modulation effect is therefore applied to the distortion.

Guitar >> Vintage Overdrive >> AMP IN >> FX LOOP SEND >> Tremolo >> Chorus >> Delay >> AMP FX LOOP RETURN >> Amp

The order of the pedals at your feet stays the same, first you take your overdrive pedals into the front of the amp, then take a guitar cable back from the FX loop and join up your modulation pedals, then back to the FX loop on the amp.


>Have a read of our FX Loop blog for more details on an fx loop.


If you are starting out stick with the basic order here first, then move onto using the fx loop.



In the same way as modulation, delay and reverb are often placed in the fx loop as this is after the event of the amp distorting the signal. They do tend to work best at the end.

Of course they work wherever, let your own ears decide.

The order of guitar pedals on your board should reflect the kind of music you like and what you enjoy doing. Use the basic theory and work around them.

No pedalboard is supposed to be the same, so get creative with your tone and enjoy. Pedals are modular, you can try one, try another, put them together, mix it up.



Dave Grant - JOYO Audio UK Posted by Dave Grant - JOYO Audio UK

Dave Grant is the owner of JOYO Audio UK
A family owned distributor and retailer of guitar effects, amplifiers and accessories.
est 2014 Manchester England.

Products related to this article

Related Articles

Watch JOYO Guitar Effect Pedal Tone Demo AC Tone, Classic Flanger & Quattro Delay
We try out 3 JOYO guitar effect pedals in our 'Brian' influenced tone demonstration, an introduction to using the JOYO AC Tone, Classic Flanger & 4 mode Quattro Delay with settings used. For more information on guitar effects & to search for UK retailers, please visit UK Distributor website at: https://www.JOYOaudio.co.uk   ..
What is a Guitar Amp FX LOOP and why should I use it?
If you’ve been playing electric guitar for a while and using guitar pedals, then you are probably getting pretty up to speed with how each pedal interacts with each other and how to get the “best pedal order” to keep your tone sounding good.  First of all there is no right or wrong order and there is no right way or wrong way, so this is just a basic guide and an overview of what a guitar effect loop is and what it does to your pedal & guitar amp tone.   Where is the FX LOOP? You might have seen on the back of your amp, read on forums, or maybe heard a youtuber influence..

0 Comments To "What order do I put my guitar effect pedals in?"

Write a comment

Your Name:

Enter the code in the box below:

Your Comment:
Note: HTML is not translated!
The product is currently Out-of-Stock. Enter your email address below and we will notify you as soon as the product is available.