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DetroitBlues

Effects Loop - Yes or No?

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Posted (edited)

While I'm slowing working on building a similar pedal board to Paul Gilbert, I have taken notice of one glaring fact of his setup versus my usual setup.

Paul does not use an effects loop, even if the amp has one.

His effects chain is also unique where he puts the Uni-Vibe and Phaser in front of the dirt pedals, then runs chorus into delay into reverb, followed by a boost.

By modern conventions of pedal chain standards, Paul Gilbert's has a rather unorthodox method of pedal chain order.

There are 2 pedals in my chain I could easily keep in my tuner and noise suppressor in the effects loop.  (The noise suppressor is fantastic for noisy/hissing amps or 60 cycle hum from electrical/lighting interference).

But I am strongly considering removing most of my modulation effects from the effects loop to plug straight into the front of the amp.

What are your thoughts on this?

 

Edited by DetroitBlues

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Do you want to modulate the overdrive or overdrive the modulation? Both work, just up to your preference.

I used to run everything into the front of an overdriven jcm800, it sounded good. Then I got into amps with fx loops and run time based and modulation devices through the loop and it sounded good. Then I rediscovered banging everything in front again and.....I dont think there are any rules.

 

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A while ago I was wondering how to have a pedal board with the option of modulation effects either in the FX loop or direct into the amp. The solution I came up with can be seen on the top left of the board, the little black switch box.

The signal chain is as follows. Guitar -> TC Polytune -> Crybaby (not shown, leads on the right) -> Deja Vibe -> Zendrive 2 -> switch box out (>) -> Supa Trem - MXR Chorus -> Volume pedal (not shown, leads on the left) -> MXR Carbon Copy -> TC Ditto -> switch box in (<) -> amp.  Pedals in blue are the ones that can be switched in or out of the loop.

Referring to the wiring diagram...

Using the loop (green arrows), overdrive etc. (1) is connected to the amp input (6), amp FX send (5) connects to the input for chorus/delay etc. (2), the output from chorus/delay (3) connects to amp FX return (4).

Using direct (red arrows), overdrive etc. (1) is connected to the input for chorus/delay etc. (2), the output from chorus/delay (3) is connected to the amp input (6).

Hope that makes sense!

pedalboard _1.jpg

pedalboard _2.jpg

3PDT switch fx loop direct.png

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Posted (edited)

I had a couple previous amps that had effects loops.   I know which pedals to send and all the supposed positives of using the effects loop.  I always hated the volume drop and especially how they changed the tone of my amp.  So when I had effects loop amps, I never used them.... everything straight in the front.  If the Edge can run all his effects into the front of his Voxes, and Fender Tweed Deluxes, I am not why effects-loop-tone-suckers are necessary.
 

Now my four vintage Fenders and my Headstrong Lil’ King don’t have effects loops.... and I love that.  
 

I doubt I will ever buy another amp again.  If it can’t be done with this haul of amps and my pedals going in the front, then for me it should not be done.

Oh, I forgot to answer your question... hell NO.

Edited by Kuz

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On 7/23/2020 at 8:39 PM, Kuz said:

I had a couple previous amps that had effects loops.   I know which pedals to send and all the supposed positives of using the effects loop.  I always hated the volume drop and especially how they changed the tone of my amp.  So when I had effects loop amps, I never used them.... everything straight in the front.  If the Edge can run all his effects into the front of his Voxes, and Fender Tweed Deluxes, I am not why effects-loop-tone-suckers are necessary.
 

Now my four vintage Fenders and my Headstrong Lil’ King don’t have effects loops.... and I love that.  
 

I doubt I will ever buy another amp again.  If it can’t be done with this haul of amps and my pedals going in the front, then for me it should not be done.

Oh, I forgot to answer your question... hell NO.

I'm going to rework my board tonight to be all up front.  I've got a few new pedals I need to add correctly as well as figure out the wire routing and power requirements.

One thing I don't like is some pedals that have the input/output on the top rather than the sides.  That is a little annoying.

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3 hours ago, DetroitBlues said:

I'm going to rework my board tonight to be all up front.  I've got a few new pedals I need to add correctly as well as figure out the wire routing and power requirements.

One thing I don't like is some pedals that have the input/output on the top rather than the sides.  That is a little annoying.

No way to get around that, it's a jigsaw puzzle to fit them all on your board.

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On 7/23/2020 at 6:39 PM, Kuz said:

I had a couple previous amps that had effects loops.   I know which pedals to send and all the supposed positives of using the effects loop.  I always hated the volume drop and especially how they changed the tone of my amp.  So when I had effects loop amps, I never used them.... everything straight in the front.  If the Edge can run all his effects into the front of his Voxes, and Fender Tweed Deluxes, I am not why effects-loop-tone-suckers are necessary.
 

Now my four vintage Fenders and my Headstrong Lil’ King don’t have effects loops.... and I love that.  
 

I doubt I will ever buy another amp again.  If it can’t be done with this haul of amps and my pedals going in the front, then for me it should not be done.

Oh, I forgot to answer your question... hell NO.

Not a fan of effects loop either, and if an effect doesn't sound good going straight into the front end of my amp, or doesn't play well with other pedals, I just don't use it. It's not worth the hassle. 

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Seems like the effect loops came in back when everybody had to have racks.  Then the racks went away and everybody has pedal boards but the loops are still here.  What's up with that?

 

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Posted (edited)

One of the potential problems encountered when using pedals in an effects loop is that there can be a mis-match in the signal level and impedance between the fx send and the pedal input - the fx send is often "line level" (fine for rack units) while the pedal input is "instrument level" (for a much lower signal than the fx send). Also the pedal output may not be large enough to drive the poweramp (fx return).

My 633 Drive King gets round the problem by having the loop being switchable between "pedal" and "rack" (line level). The loop can also be bypassed. If I'm using the pedal board in my previous post with the Drive King, I set the loop to "pedal". If I'm using my TC Electronic Nova System I set it to "rack" and use the "line" input on the Nova System. My personal preference is to have the modulation/delay efffects in the loop.

i suppose it comes down to how you get your overdrive sound - from a pedal or from the amp.

Edited by bobmeyrick

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8 minutes ago, Vanschoyck said:

Seems like the effect loops came in back when everybody had to have racks.  Then the racks went away and everybody has pedal boards but the loops are still here.  What's up with that?

 

I still have a Rocktron Intellifex (though I don't use it). One day it will be as sought after as a vintage Tube Screamer... 😁

  • Haha 1

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3 minutes ago, bobmeyrick said:

I still have a Rocktron Intellifex (though I don't use it). One day it will be as sought after as a vintage Tube Screamer... 😁

I still have my 1980'ish Tube Screamer and I maybe use it every ten years or so.

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For years I played with a ...it's hard to say "cover" band, because we didn't play top 40, and didn't have that "just like the record" ethos.. that , but played a bunch of tunes with very distinctive guitar sounds, which I tried to catch --chorus, leslie, slapback, etc.  For that gig I found it very useful to run all that stuff (rotosphere, replex, etc.) through the loop and just have overdrive in front of the amp.  Otherwise, it seemed my tone/attack got sucked away.  I was mostly playing a Rivera at that point, and not only does it have a switchable loop, but also level controls for the loop, so, there was no problem with the bottom falling out when I hit the loop.  The loop worked well for that gig.  When I had Fuchs rebuild my old Music Man, I insisted he build it with a switchable loop, because I thought I really needed it.  He wasn't a fan of the idea, but he did it. 

I haven't had a need for all that stuff in years, or for anything as heavy and loud as that Rivera, (or the modded MM) so, for the 6-8 years, when I work with the kids in the funk ensemble I direct, it's usually just volume pedal, wah and overdrive in front. 

Now I just have to remember to bring a short cord when we actually perform (when that ever happens again), and replace the 40ft cord I use at rehearsals and that lives in my pedal board case, for when I need to get out front and center of the band with horns and then vocalists (something else not likely to happen again soon).  That long cord does its own tone sucking --but, in rehearsal, the responsiveness of my rig is usually the last of my concerns.  

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@111518.  It's always great to hear from you, Larry.  I know those kids miss their 'funk-meister' teacher...and his old fashioned coil cord guitar cable.   

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23 minutes ago, Gitfiddler said:

@111518.  It's always great to hear from you, Larry.  I know those kids miss their 'funk-meister' teacher...and his old fashioned coil cord guitar cable.   

Thanks, Tim.  Not a coiled cord --I haven't had one of those in quite a while-- but a very long straight cord. 

It was a bizarre and sad moment back in early March: had a great band, lots of seniors, including several who had been in the band since their freshman or sophomore year, a couple of good gigs under our belt and a couple the kids were really excited about nailed down for the last weeks of the semester, then, at our last rehearsal before Spring Break, the kids got the announcement on their phones that they were not coming back after the break.  We played a couple of our favorite tunes, and that was it.  I'm still not over it. 

I was a little surprised that the ensemble was not cancelled for the coming year, but it's going to run.  I'll have some kids on campus, and some participating remotely.  It's going to be a challenge, but I try to model the ensemble on a working band, and so just like working musicians we'll have to figure out how to reinvent how we prepare and "perform."

Sorry for hijack. 

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Posted (edited)

@111518.  I hope the kids took LOTS of cell phone pictures and recordings of their last time together.  If so, maybe start another thread to share them with us here.  They will cherish their time together and with you for the rest of their lives.

 

Now back to your regularly scheduled effects loop discussion.  I've never used the effects loop in my Heritage Victory Head, but I will make a go of it. 

Edited by Gitfiddler

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