Organize Your Guitar Pedalboard

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Setting up and finding a good way to organize your guitar pedalboard is not the funniest task but is a necessary evil. A pedalboard can be a musician’s best friend or worst enemy, depending on how it is set up. If you’re not careful, you can quickly become overwhelmed by the amount of pedals and cables cluttering your board. This can lead to missed notes and botched performances. In this article, we will discuss how to organize your pedalboard for optimal sound.

Pedal Order

There are a few things to keep in mind when organizing your pedalboard. First, consider the order of your pedals.

Order of Pedals on Pedalboard


The volume pedal should always be the first pedal in your chain. This is because it will control the overall volume of your sound. The last thing you want is for your sound to be too loud or too quiet in the middle of a performance.

If you are looking to experiment with your sound, you can also try adding the volume at the end of your chain. This tip to organize your guitar pedalboard will remove the trail from reverb and delays. The dramatic effect of playing massive, heavy guitar sections with a studio-like fade out while on stage is impressive.


The compressor should be the second pedal in your chain. This is because it will help to even out the volume of your signal. A compressor can be a great tool for taming wild peaks in your playing. It can also add sustain to your notes.

The output of pedals that follow compressors, such as drives, may need to be tinkered with because compressors work by balancing the signal and adding gain to it. After dialing them in, you’re good to go. Drives can benefit from the smooth response and ‘fatter’ sound that compressors provide when they are placed in front of them.


The Whammy pedal should be next in your chain. This is because it can add a lot of expressiveness to your playing. You can use the Whammy to add vibrato, pitch bends, and other effects to your sound.


The Wah-Wah pedal should be placed after the Whammy pedal. This is because it will work best with the sounds that the Whammy pedal produces.


It is possible to achieve a fuller, more compressed tone by smashing the input of the drive pedal ahead of your distortion. Note that drive and distortion pedals are two different types of clipping. You can learn more about different pedals to add dirt to your sound in our Drive vs Distortion pedals article.

Distortion Pedalboard Placement

If you’re using distortion pedals, they should usually be placed after the drive pedal and ahead of modulations and delays. Placing distortion after reverb or delay on your pedalboard can result in jumps in volume and give you a muddy tone. This is because delays and reverb copy the signal and distort it to make it sound louder. The cleanest break between repeats is achieved by placing them before.

Guitar Pedalboard Order


After distortion, place modulation pedals such as chorus, flanger and phaser. Modulation pedals work best when they are placed before delay and reverb. This is because they can create a more unified soundscape. If you place delay and reverb after modulation pedals, their sounds will become more distinct from one another.


The delay pedal should be placed after modulation pedals and before reverb. This is because delay pedals create a space for your sound, and placing them after modulation will muddy up that space.


The reverb pedal should be the last pedal in your chain. This is because it will add the most amount of depth to your sound. Reverb is often used to create a sense of space in your sound.

When using multiple reverbs, it can be helpful to place them in different places in the chain. For example, you could place one reverb before the delay and another after the delay. This will give you more control over the soundscape that you create.

Since a lot of reverb and modulation pedals often take up a lot of real estate on your pedalboard, consider using some with a small footprint such as the TC Electronic HOF Mini Guitar Reverb.

Additional Pedalboard Placement Tips

While the order of pedals that we’ve suggested is a great starting point, it’s important to experiment with what works best for you. Remember when you organize your guitar pedalboard, every musician’s setup is different and will require a unique approach.

Here are a few additional pedalboard placement tips to keep in mind:

– If you’re using a lot of modulation pedals, try placing them all in one row. This will make it easier to control their sounds.

– If you’re using a lot of distortion pedals, try grouping them together. This will make it easier to switch between different types of distortion.

– If you’re using a lot of time-based effects, try placing them at the end of your pedalboard. This will make it easier to control their sounds.

– If you’re using a lot of pedals that require power, try using a power supply direct to your pedalboard. This will make it easier to connect and power all of your pedals.

Conclusion for How to Organize Your Guitar Pedalboard

So, there you have it! We hope this article has helped you to organize your pedalboard for optimal sound. Remember to experiment with different pedal placements to find what works best for you. And if you have any questions, feel free to ask us in the comments section below.

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Hi, I am Dan your host here at Sound Check Music Blog. I have been a guitar player for the last 35 years. Although I no longer get to play live shows I am still active in the recording industry. I look forward to sharing with you some great gear reviews.