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REQUEST: FX Guide Signal Chain Guide
by AlphaScorpious on 2012-06-17 20:27:19.2940

I'm sure that I'm not the only person who isn't an audio expert who'd like to see an FX guide. Mainly, where in the signal chain should certain FX be. And what FX should be before or after other FX.

Re: REQUEST: FX Guide Signal Chain Guide
by spaceatl on 2012-06-17 21:44:20.6420

I suggest that you perhaps start here if guitar rig oriented chains are what you are after:

pick some of your favorite artists...The graphic layouts are really quite good and will give you a very good idea of what most folks put before and after the amp model and specific chains...Some of this can get really subjective and approaches vary depending on the specific type of tone your are after, music style etc...

Re: REQUEST: FX Guide Signal Chain Guide
by jimsreynolds on 2012-06-18 09:32:34.9270

As Space says, VERY subjective and there is no 'right' answer. 

If you are looking for a guideline though,

  • ODs/Distortions and Wahs generally sound better before the amp. 
  • Delays and reverbs generally sound better after the amp
  • Choruses, flangers, phasers and other modulations can go either side.  They sound cleaner after the amp but can create interesting sounds before the amp also.
  • EQs can be interesting either side.  Some quality hints here -->">">
  • Pitch shifters and harmonisers generally work better when early in the chain
  • Weird wobbly filters .... well just try them (or see where they are placed in the HD Demo patches that use them)
  • Noise gates.  Front of the chain (for a noisy guitar) or directly after the amp (to cut high gain hiss).
  • Compressors ... either side, again.  

The chain in the link here mirrors my usual go-to chain ...">">

Re: REQUEST: FX Guide Signal Chain Guide
by Akeron on 2012-06-18 10:16:30.4480

Some years ago I bought an issue of the (now defunct) "sister" magazine of Guitar World, i.e Guitar One, in which Bob Bradshaw explained the ordering of effects, citing famous songs. I don't know if some back issue of that magazine is available  online (very unlikely), but if you're able to find it, that is a nice reference guide. There was also a book (I never owned) which claimed to reveal all Jimi Hendrix effects "secrets", can't remember the exact details. Don't know if some bookstore still has it, it's an old book.

Re: REQUEST: FX Guide Signal Chain Guide
by meambobbo on 2012-06-18 15:12:17.5030

i agree.  the whole thing you have to realize is about how distortion and compression work.  generally an amp introduces both to the signal.  The nature of compression and distortion is affected by the dynamics and frequencies fed into them.  So EQ'ing before the amp distortion will alter the nature of the distortion. distortion effects and EQ's can take advantage of that, making the distortion more or less fuzzy, or emphasizing frequencies that make the tone smoother or more biting, etc.  a mod effect can do some crazy stuff before distortion, as it tends to cause the peak frequencies to change over time - so you get both the mod effect and variations in the distortion tone.  EQ's after the amp act the same as amp controls - they adjust the final bass/mids/treble, etc. in the tone.  I use EQ's in front to "sculpt" the distortion tone, and behind to dial out unwanted frequencies or boost/cut some aspect of the tone.  for instance, boosting bass in front the amp will make distortion more muddy and farty but behind the amp just makes the tone really bassy and boomy.

a compressor before an amp distortion will cause a stronger signal to hit the amp, even as it sustains, causing there to be more distortion, even on sustained notes.  in contrast, a compressor after amp distortion will cause less dynamics and more sustain, but the distortion tone will not be affected.  So if you play soft, the note will be easily heard and sustain longer, but it won't be as distorted as when you are picking the strings with all your might.

shifting pitches after distortion can sound a bit digital compared to in front of distortion.  but keep in mind distortion distorts differently on intervals vs single notes.  For smart harmony, you often want to sound like two guitars playing in harmony, rather than one guitar playing intervals.  then you want the smart harmony behind the amp.

wah is traditionally in front the amp, but if you want the rage against the machine bulls on parade sound, put it behind the amp.

volume pedals before the amp basically act like a guitar volume knob - it controls how much distortion you get then it starts rolling off volume, similar to the amp's gain knob.  behind the amp, a volume pedal linearly (or something like that) alters the final volume without affecting the amount of distortion in the tone.

Re: REQUEST: FX Guide Signal Chain Guide
by samuelito2011 on 2012-06-18 18:15:18.1150

i love this link bro! i never seen it before! Well done!

Re: REQUEST: FX Guide Signal Chain Guide
by AlphaScorpious on 2012-06-19 19:26:35.5370

Thanks guys, that helps. The guitar rig pages are pretty cool.

Re: REQUEST: FX Guide Signal Chain Guide
by spaceatl on 2012-06-19 22:01:51.4570

I have a good many of them from the late 80s early 90s...Let's see if I can find an old Bob interview...Those were always very helpful to me...

I wish I had not cut up the entire Hendrix issue and wallpapered my wall with it...

Re: REQUEST: FX Guide Signal Chain Guide
by Akeron on 2012-06-20 04:54:34.8540

I have the issue I'm talking about right here but don't know if I can scan the pages and put those online for you. Even if the magazine doesn't exist anymore there are maybe some copyrights left...

Re: REQUEST: FX Guide Signal Chain Guide
by spaceatl on 2012-06-20 08:20:40.8940

No worries...I think I might have a pdf of it some place...Some years back Guitar World had a back issue viewer and that one was in there...I think I grabbed it, but I don't remember where I stashed it....Those old rags trip me out...

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