Pedals in front or in FX loop?

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OnTheRopesOnTheRopes Frets: 41
edited January 7 in FX
Guthrie Goven mentions some pedals go straight in the front of the amp and some go in the FX loop. So what effects would/should you put in each?

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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 33959
    Never put overdrive/distortion/fuzz/"amp preamp" type effects in the loop - they can sometimes make the amp unstable and (rarely) actually cause damage. It's safe to run them into the FX return (bypassing the amp's preamp) as long as the guitar goes straight into the pedal (with or without other pedals as well) and the pedal is not connected to the amp's FX send.

    Wah generally doesn't sound very good in the loop, but won't cause trouble. Most other effects can go in either place, although they will sound different depending on how much overdrive you're using on the amp.

    Some pedals don't like the higher signal level in a typical amp FX loop either and will either add unwanted extra distortion, reduce the available volume level, or do other undesirable things - it's not always obvious which ones will be affected either.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • OnTheRopesOnTheRopes Frets: 41
    Lol why is everything so complicated.  :#
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  • PhiltrePhiltre Frets: 787
    For me, everything is in the front. I use a Victory V40 and Fender HRD on clean channel and with loads of headroom. I tried putting the reverb and delay in the loop but it wasn't worth the bother.
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  • GadgetGadget Frets: 619
    Overdrive, distortion, fuzz, compression, wah, pitch shifting and boost generally go infront of the amp, whilst time-based fx like chorus and other modulations, delay, reverb and trem go in the loop if you have one. There are many grey areas though - some prefer everything in front (especially on a clean amp), plus there are differing opinions re. the placement of certain modulations, eqs and boosts.
    I think, therefore.... I... ummmm........
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  • SassafrasSassafras Frets: 12768
    I never use an fx loop so it's safe to say you can put everything into the front of the amp.
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 3660
    If you use the amps drive sound for dirt then any time based effects like delay really need to go into the loop. If you get your dirt from pedals then nothing really needs to go into the loop 
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • OnTheRopesOnTheRopes Frets: 41
    Danny1969 said:
    If you use the amps drive sound for dirt then any time based effects like delay really need to go into the loop. If you get your dirt from pedals then nothing really needs to go into the loop 
    Thanks all
    @Danny1969 a nice concise answer that makes the point very well
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  • OnTheRopesOnTheRopes Frets: 41
    Philtre said:
    Cheers will take a look at that a bit later
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  • TeetonetalTeetonetal Frets: 6043
    Gadget said:
    Overdrive, distortion, fuzz, compression, wah, pitch shifting and boost generally go infront of the amp, whilst time-based fx like chorus and other modulations, delay, reverb and trem go in the loop if you have one. There are many grey areas though - some prefer everything in front (especially on a clean amp), plus there are differing opinions re. the placement of certain modulations, eqs and boosts.
    Chorus, phaser, flanger before for me. Octave down or whsmmy in front other pitch shift in the loop. Trem can be either, also trem fun in loop before and after delay.

    Oh and delay before dirt can be lots of fun.

    It all ball' down to how do you get the sound in your head.
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  • CarewCarew Frets: 9
    edited January 10
    if you use much dirt in your amp, then you may want to put time-based effects (i.e. delay, reverb, chorus, flanger) in the amp's fx loop.
    pedal fiend
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 33959
    It's certainly possible to put everything in front, even if you use a lot of dirt on the amp - some people like that, and it does give a very different sound and feel from putting delays etc in the loop - but if you use the amp both clean and very overdriven you will probably need more than one delay pedal with different settings for each, since the level and feedback need to be very different (much less when going into dirt).

    With mild amp overdrive it's easier and works well - the classic example of delay into light amp distortion is The Edge's sound.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 7383
    Quite a lot of classic guitar sounds are pedals in the front of an overdriven amp - for example how Van Halen used delay or flange. I don’t know when loops started being used but there must have been decades of music made without them.

    For my use I did experiment at one point but for the extra faff and minimal difference in sound it didn’t seem worth it. 
    Dum dum dum, dum dum de dum, dum dum dum, dum dummmm.
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  • 57Deluxe57Deluxe Frets: 5998
    edited January 10
    it also depends on the loop.

    Additionally, sometimes I put a delay in the loop and other modulation in front - subtle differences can help further tailor your desired sound. For instance, some reverb can add additional grunt and EQ to a Drive tone when in front with it - even if the amp has its own onboard Reverb.
    <Vintage BOSS Upgrades>
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  • OctafishOctafish Frets: 1269
    I have tried running modulation and delay in the effects loop a few times and found it sounded not as good as in front and a bit hissy. This was on my Hot Rod Deville and I have heard the effect loop is not that great on it, so that might be it?
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 33959
    Octafish said:
    I have tried running modulation and delay in the effects loop a few times and found it sounded not as good as in front and a bit hissy. This was on my Hot Rod Deville and I have heard the effect loop is not that great on it, so that might be it?
    It's not a bad loop, but if it has a problem it's that there is no volume control after it, so it's effectively wide-open into the power amp - so any noise from the pedals will come out as loud as if the amp was turned up full. You can fix this easily by putting a 'volume box' or volume pedal last in the chain and turning it down, which will also cure the usual problem of the preamp volume controls being too touchy.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 3660
    The Hot Rods loop is happier at line level, I use a GT10 in mine and it's very quiet and behaves well. The reason I use it in the loop is purely so I can have a couple of patches set a little louder for solo's  for the gigs where we don't have a soundman

    The delay before a slightly dirty sound is so good though, as @ICBM mentioned it's the Edges early sound 
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • TTBZTTBZ Frets: 661
    edited January 11
    I use everything into the front of a dirty amp at the minute but with a 2 guitar band I feel I can't get away with using a TS into the front end as a lead boost. So for that I use an eq in the loop with the bass rolled off and mids/highs/level boosted a bit. I like delay into dirt, it's a cool sound.
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  • english_bobenglish_bob Frets: 2319


    For my use I did experiment at one point but for the extra faff and minimal difference in sound it didn’t seem worth it. 

    I find that for many effects the difference between going in front of the preamp or the effects loop isn't minimal. The differences are much greater the dirtier you set your amp, so if you're primarily a clean player it doesn't matter so much.

    Generally, I think most people will experiment at some point, decide on one or the other and leave it alone after that. 

    If you really need to have both options, it's much cheaper to buy or build an effect order switcher than it is to buy two of every pedal. 

    Don't talk politics and don't throw stones. Your royal highnesses.

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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 3660
    This would be an example of the kind of sound you will get with a lot of dirt on the amp and delay \ verb in the loop



    @2:40 The solo . This is an example of what tends to happen if the delay is put before a fair bit of amp dirt  



    Both are great sounds it depends what your shooting for 
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • Danny1969 said:
    This would be an example of the kind of sound you will get with a lot of dirt on the amp and delay \ verb in the loop



    @2:40 The solo . This is an example of what tends to happen if the delay is put before a fair bit of amp dirt  



    Both are great sounds it depends what your shooting for 
    Thanks for going to the trouble. Good examples.

    Plenty of food for thought then, just ordered my first power supply and 2 pedals to start me off, nothing for the loop yet but that will come. Thanks
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  • OctafishOctafish Frets: 1269
    ICBM said:
    Octafish said:
    I have tried running modulation and delay in the effects loop a few times and found it sounded not as good as in front and a bit hissy. This was on my Hot Rod Deville and I have heard the effect loop is not that great on it, so that might be it?
    It's not a bad loop, but if it has a problem it's that there is no volume control after it, so it's effectively wide-open into the power amp - so any noise from the pedals will come out as loud as if the amp was turned up full. You can fix this easily by putting a 'volume box' or volume pedal last in the chain and turning it down, which will also cure the usual problem of the preamp volume controls being too touchy.
    Cheers, that's interesting to know. I always use dirt pedals so probably contributes to everything sounding better in front. I remember modulation (mainly univibe) did not sound as lush in the loop.
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