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Microphone Month 4

How Pedal Stacking Effects Tone

Q: Good article on the pedal stacking. In your experience with professional guitarists have you seen the best results with higher gain pedals before medium gain pedals in the sequence or to sequence from lower gain pedals into higher gain pedals?

A: In our experience, it works better to run higher-gain pedals into lower-gain pedals. We’ve found that pushing a high-gain pedal even harder with even a low-gain pedal results in a muddy sound.

Of course, this is all subjective, and you can surely find a guitarist who will tell you the exact opposite. There are also many other factors that play into this: it really depends on the particular pedals you are using, how much gain you are dialing in on each pedal, how hot you are running each pedal’s output level, and the tone you are getting from each pedal.

So, ultimately, our advice is to try it both ways and see which works best with your particular pedals, the settings you like, and the music you are playing. Also try various different tone and gain settings on each pedal. You might find that using a brighter low-gain pedal into a darker high-gain pedal is ideal, or perhaps the opposite will work for you.

This is definitely fertile ground for experimentation — you never know what tonal gems you might stumble across while trying different combinations of pedals and settings. Enjoy!

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