The folks over at Sweetwater just sent me an awesome pedalboard full of 10 drive pedals that were used in their epic video with Rob Scallon about creating the world’s largest pedalboard. If you haven’t seen that video yet I’ll have a link at the end of this page!
Getting all these new pedals to experiment with got me thinking about all the mistakes I have made with pedals over the years. I want to help you avoid having the same issues, so here are the 8 biggest mistakes that I have personally made when using guitar effect pedals.
Mistake 1: Using inadequate power supplies
I used a daisy-chained power supply like this one for a long time. These can be okay for use at home, or when only using a couple of pedals, but it can introduce a lot of background noise because of how a daisy chain works.
Isolated power supplies like this one cost more, but they can be very worthwhile for reducing the amount of extra noise you hear.
Mistake 2: Using too much cable between pedals or using poor quality cables
Having lots of cable between your pedals will introduce additional noise, and can make your tone sound muffled.
Low profile 6” cables, like these ones by Hosa, can make your pedalboard look tidy and sound great for many years.
Mistake 3: General pedal order
While there are no set rules, one of the rules of thumb is “DDR”. This stands for Drive, Delay, Reverb. Try ordering your drives before your delays in the signal chain, then put your reverb last.
If you are using distortion that is built in your amp, and if you have an effects loop try putting any time-based effects like modulation (chorus, flanger, tremolo), delay, and reverb in there.
Mistake 4: Not experimenting with drive stacking order
If you have multiple drive pedals, they can sound very different depending on what order you put them in. Try changing the order that you place them in and see how they react!
Mistake 5: Not fully experimenting with the pedals you already have
This is very close to issue #4, but I think it needs repeating! Pedals often have a lot of switches, knobs, and other controls. Learn what each pedal you have can do, and try experimenting with different orders of effects even if it’s not the “correct” order you have read to place them.
Mistake 6: Running loads of gain into or after a delay pedal
If you put your delay pedal into the front of your amp, then have a lot of distortion from the amp your sound can become very muddy. Check out the video to hear examples of 4 different ways you can run your delay pedal with audio samples.
Mistake 7: Overdoing the effects
Having too much gain, chorus, delay, reverb or any other effect can make your tone muddy. One trick is to keep dialing back the amount of an effect until it’s not enough, then just slightly bump it up.
Mistake 8: Depending on your pedals to make you a better player!
Pedal effects can be a lot of fun to use and can provide you with different sounds to be inspired by. Twiddling with the knobs and seeking the absolute perfect tone can eat up valuable practice time.
The only thing that will make you a better player is consistent and focused practice!
Find Your Voice
So those are just some guidelines to help you use your effects to the best of their ability and whip your pedalboard into shape. Overall just remember that pedals are great tools for finding your sound but there are no hard and fast rules and experimentation is key.
The World’s Biggest Pedal Board
As I mentioned earlier, Sweetwater and Rob Scallon teamed up and built the biggest pedalboard ever made. You can check it out here:
If you are interested in getting some more pedals of your own - Sweetwater is giving away a full pedalboard! You can find the giveaway details here: