It is a problem that many guitarists have probably faced - tone sucked up and lost through a jungle of tangled cables, pedals, and power adapters. All running to a messy surge protector. But I have seen the light and now I want to share my success story with other musicians who may still be having the same problems.
Cables carry your signal so you should use a good cable that is made by a reputable manufacturer. Aviod buying cables from your local music store that have their name and phone number on the side. They are just money pits designed to make them money and leave you with a mediocre product. Buy a good cable, but not too long. From Mogami, PRO CO, or Monster. My personal choice is Pro Co because quiality meets value. Not only should these good cables connect your guitar to effects/pedalboard, but they should also go to your amp. Many of these cables are gold plated and have many professional features that you will appriciate in the long haul. Many also carry lifetime warranties.
Are you a victim of Heterocableonpedalboardus? Then you need to get organized and get some good high quality patch cables. If you are reading this you probably have a mixture of low-end patch cables on your pedal board. All you have to do (although it is a little expenisve) is go on the internet and buy George L's solid brass right angle plugs and .155 vintage red cable. Make sure you get the .155 plugs too. These custom cables options are solderless and sound great. Eric Johnson uses George L's for his pedal board and guitar. This will make you look very professional with the ability to make the cable the exact length you need...plus they sound god-like. The plugs themselves carry a lifetime warranty.
The Order Of You Effects In The Chain. Does It Matter?
Yes, it does. And anybody who tells you different is wrong. As a rule of thumb (and trust me this has been tested over several years) you usually want to have the general flow of the signal like this:
01. Volume Pedal 02. Wah-wah Pedal 03. Distortions/Overdirve. If you are using extreme types of distortions put those in front of all the others. Same with overdrive-distortion combination pedals. 04. Modulation. This is up to you to dictate. Personally I put my Chorus first, the flanger second, then my delay last. Ring Modulators should go before your delay also. These same principles apply for a Theremin too.
Powering Your Pedals
All I can say here is... If you serious enough about making good music buy the Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 2. I know it seems like a lot of money but it is a good investment. Also, all of your pedal will have the same amount of power instead of one pedal having almost a dead battery and so on. A dying battery in a cluttered singal path will suck tone. There are also two SAG switches that can be used to emulate dying batteries (some effects sound good with batteries that are about half way depleted).
My Testimony And Personal Take On It All
I play Jazz, Blues, Latin you name it. I dont have alot of crazy effects in my chain but I am big on different kinds of overdrives. That can clutter up a signal. Applying the above stated tips made my pedal board sound and look professional. I can set up now in less than 2 minutes, because all of my effects remain plugged in. Here is my rig in full detail:
01. Fender 50's reissue strat 02. Ernie Ball Mono Volume (the big one) 03. T.C. Electronics Line Booster/Distortion 04. Electro Harmonix Linear Power Booster 2 (modified to have LED and True Bypass as well as DC jack.) 05. Nobels Overdrive Special (awesome German-designed pedal) 06. Ibanez TS9 Keely TS808 Mod 07. DOD FX60 Chorus 08. BOSS DD3 Digital Delay 09. Alesis Midiverb 2 Reverb Processor 10. Left output of midiverb: 1966 Vox Pacemaker or 1963 Haynes Jazz King 11. Right output of midiverb: 1964 Fender Princeton with the white knobs.
The Princeton drives a Leslie 18 tone cabinet.
I know all this sounds like a lot but it isnt really that much. I can set it up and tear it down in less than 10 minutes. If you have any questions you are welcome to email me. I just figured this page would help someone. Thanks for reading if you have gotten this far. Mail me if you have any questions, Eric.