Pedal Order - What’s the ideal pedal order? Are there rules that you must follow?
Buffer > Tuner - It’s always a good idea to place an input buffer at the very start of the signal chain, helping to maintain the integrity of your signal. After the buffer, the most effective place for the tuner is at the start of the chain. This allows the tuner to get the most accurate reading from the instrument.
The placement of the volume pedal is completely subjective. At the beginning of the chain - after the tuner - it serves the same role as the instrument’s onboard volume knob. Filter pedals, like wah, envelope filters, or auto wah are effective after the volume pedal (or after the tuner).
The placement of pitch shifting pedals is also subjective. These pedals like to see a clean(er) signal from the instrument, which *may* help with the pedal’s ability to track properly. In this position, the gain pedals on the board will affect the sound of the pitch-shifted signal.
The gain section of the pedalboard will consist of compression, overdrive, distortion, fuzz, or boost. The order of which is completely subjective and will be different with each pedalboard. Typically, the compressor will be at the front of the gain section. In some cases, the boost will be right after (or before) the compressor, or at the end of the gain section. With each placement, boost pedals will affect the gain section differently.
Typically, you’ll find modulation pedals directly after the gain section. These include chorus, phaser, flanger, and tremolo. The order of these effects is subjective, based on how you want these effects to affect each other.
Time-based effects, like delay and reverb, are found at the end of the signal chain. You want these effects to influence the sound of all of the other pedals in the signal chain. Whether you place the delay first or the reverb first is up to you.
Looper pedals are typically placed at the end of the signal chain, as you want the looper to be able to record the way each pedal affects the signal.
These “rules” are in no way set in stone, and are not meant to be followed to a tee. Experiment with your pedal order and find what works for you!