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When too many pedals wreck tone?

toast487

Member
Messages
269
Maybe this is a dumb question to ask on TGP, but is there a point where having too many pedals will destroy your amp tone when all pedals are off even if they are all true bypass and dedicated buffers are placed at the beginning and end of the chain?
 

captainbrew

Member
Messages
134
I don't think there's a magic number. It really depends on the type and quality of the pedals.
Use your ears and compare the sound you get plugging straight in vs. through all your effects and judge for yourself. That's the only way to tell if you're losing a bunch of signal/high end/clarity etc.

Really though, if you're happy with the sound you're getting don't over think it and just play and enjoy.
 

tibbon

Member
Messages
1,151
Unless you're arbitrarily trying to plug in a large number of pedals, no. I've seen boards with 30+ pedals that sound good. Does it sound absolutely the same as going direct to the amp? No, but everything is a trade off. Would the audience notice? Hell no. Its all in your own head.

I also don't get the odd relationship people have with buffers. A buffer in a pedal is evil, but strategically putting buffers in your chain is good. A buffer that's always on is evil, but having "always on" pedals is good.
 

swellguy66

Member
Messages
147
If you have a lot of pedals that aren't true bypass, yes. Even having a lot of true bypass pedals can suck tone. Two ways to solve it: bypass looper or a buffer.
 

tibbon

Member
Messages
1,151
If you have a lot of pedals that aren't true bypass, yes. Even having a lot of true bypass pedals can suck tone. Two ways to solve it: bypass looper or a buffer.
So wait, quite often pedals that don't have true bypass have a buffer instead. You say pedals without true bypass will suck tone.

Then you say a buffer will help.

Everyone understands what a buffer actually does electronically right? Its just a unity gain amplifier.
 

AJBoy238

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
191
Thats why I use true bypass strips. I only have 3 pedals in the direct chain, the other 12 are in loops so when they're off they don't cause problems.
 

78deluxe

Member
Messages
5,355
Maybe this is a dumb question to ask on TGP, but is there a point where having too many pedals will destroy your amp tone when all pedals are off even if they are all true bypass and dedicated buffers are placed at the beginning and end of the chain?
Without a doubt....but there are way to many variables too provide any specifics.
 

sanhozay

klon free since 2009
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
11,829
the more you place between you and your amp - if it's a good tube amp - the more disconnected your interaction with the amp will be. that means a few things:

1/ mission accomplished
or
2/ you have to arrange & compensate to restore & preserve the connection as best possible
or
3/ you lose something & gain something different
or
4/ you got the gig

if you play swing or chicago blues then a elaborate board is probably not required. if you are rocking blues like hendrix or clapton then a board is probably gonna be essential.

if you are playing in a cover band with a tuner and a boost then you're either wearing a cowboy hat and playing a tele or you just don't give a damn about recreating different tones.

all valid.
 

justonwo

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
3,690
Get a bypass looper and problem (if there was even one to begin with) solved.
 

guitarz1972

Member
Messages
4,769
OP, describe your rig (list your pedals, what amp and guitar you use, what power source and cables you're pulling) and maybe we can help you a little better. As others have said, too many variables to say for sure.

In a word, No there isn't a set point in the game like that.
 

Blues Lyne

Member
Messages
3,466
So wait, quite often pedals that don't have true bypass have a buffer instead. You say pedals without true bypass will suck tone.

Then you say a buffer will help.

Everyone understands what a buffer actually does electronically right? Its just a unity gain amplifier.
Op-amp buffers are usually unity, but my understanding is that most transistor buffers are less than unity gain. It might not be noticeable with one transistor buffer, but it's possible to lose enough gain with multiple buffers to make it noticeable. In addition multiple buffers can add noise. Keep in mind some pedals have multiple buffers in the signal path even when bypassed. Not all buffers are created equally, and some sound better than others. There are differences in their input and output impedance.

Then again, I haven't worried about that much on my board. I don't have any buffers before my dirt pedals, but have multiple buffered pedals after.
 

oxtone

Member
Messages
5,023
I have 11 (mostly true bypass) pedals on my board, including 4-5 overdrive pedals. Today, I stopped at Twin Town Guitars in Mpls., and tried the Lehl "Sunday Driver", a dedicated buffer/boost. It sounded very,very good. I always get good compliments on my tone, but I wonder if the Sunday Driver would improve
it some more, at the end of my chain?
 

CaptainAwesome

It definitely is a stupid username
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,912
I don't think there's a magic number. It really depends on the type and quality of the pedals.
Use your ears and compare the sound you get plugging straight in vs. through all your effects and judge for yourself. That's the only way to tell if you're losing a bunch of signal/high end/clarity etc.

Really though, if you're happy with the sound you're getting don't over think it and just play and enjoy.
I think this sums it up - that and I gotta agree with a Captain!
 

chervokas

Member
Messages
6,839
Maybe this is a dumb question to ask on TGP, but is there a point where having too many pedals will destroy your amp tone when all pedals are off even if they are all true bypass and dedicated buffers are placed at the beginning and end of the chain?

There really should be no change in your tone once you have that first buffer in there and it's followed by all true bypass pedals switched off. The first buffer is loading the guitar with its input impedance and that and the capacitance load of the cable between the guitar and the buffer is very much determining the upper harmonic peak and roll off of the guitar system. The output of that buffer, which, presumably is fairly low, probably around 1K ohm, is driving the line to the amp and in most circumstance you probably gain nothing even from having that second buffer at the end of the chain.

Now, there could be impedance issues between pedals when when some of them are switched on. But with all true bypass pedals in bypass after a buffer, you shouldn't have any discernable change in the guitar's frequency balance or signal level. That's the whole point of putting the buffer at the front of the line in the first place. It's not really about the amp tone, it's really about the guitar tone and how the loading of the guitar affects it's output.
 

Manicstarseed

Member
Messages
746
When investigating loopers and buffers I came across an article where it recommends 3 or less (high quality)buffers in a pedal chain. I just switched out my MXR Dynacomp for a Barber Tone Press (buffer to true bypass). Now I have (2) buffers in the chain and noticed the high end difference going from 3 to 2. With two buffers, I am satisfied with the "pedal-off"tone. My set-up has (5) pedals in front and (2) in the loop.
 

tylermoss

Member
Messages
132
Unless you're arbitrarily trying to plug in a large number of pedals, no. I've seen boards with 30+ pedals that sound good. Does it sound absolutely the same as going direct to the amp? No, but everything is a trade off. Would the audience notice? Hell no. Its all in your own head.
:beer This. If it sounds good, it is good.

I also don't get the odd relationship people have with buffers. A buffer in a pedal is evil, but strategically putting buffers in your chain is good. A buffer that's always on is evil, but having "always on" pedals is good.
Well said! Also, an "always on" pedal is a "buffer" in it's own right. Just one that REALLY colors and degrades your "original tone"
 

cubistguitar

Member
Messages
5,924
Sometimes one or two stinkers can make the chain less useful, a true bypass loop box can fix this. Careful use of the buffers either in something you own, like a delay, or a buffer in a separate box can help too.
 

JTL

Member
Messages
848
Saw the title of this thread and immediately thought "... you might be a Praise & Worship Guitarist."
 




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