Effects Loops - What is it? How do you use it?
Traditionally, players plug their pedals directly into the front of the amp. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, if you typically play with a dirtier, more distorted sound, modulation, delay & reverb can become muddy very quickly. In this case, an effects loop may be for you.
An effects loop allows players to play effects between the preamp section and power amp section of an amp. This allows for a cranked distorted sound while maintaining a pristine modulation, delay, or reverb signal.
Your guitar signal hits the preamp section first. That’s where the initial amplification and tone shaping takes place. After the preamp, the signal hits the power amp, where the signal is amplified further before hitting the speaker.
There are two types of effects loops - in-series & parallel. In-series pushes the entire amp signal through the effects loop and then through the power amp. Parallel is where the amp splits the signal into two - one goes into the speaker unaffected, the other goes through the effects loop. Parallel effects loops allow for more control over the sound, as you have the option to blend the two signals.
On the back of the amp, there are two jacks, labeled SEND and RETURN. The SEND connects to the INPUT of the pedal(s) to be placed in the effects loop. The OUTPUT of the pedal(s) in the effect loop connects to the RETURN.
PRO TIP: If you use your amp’s distortion, insert a clean boost or volume pedal in the effects loop to use as a solo boost!