How to Use and Effects Loop

Why Would You Need an Effects Loop?

I love vintage amps, in fact, I have a whole collection of them.  You know what sucks about my vintage amps? They were made before pedals were popular.  You may wonder why that sucks, and I will tell you why. None of my vintage amps have built in reverb, so if I want reverb, I have to use a pedal.  I’m not sure if you have ever tried to run reverb into a cranked amp, but It generally sounds horrible. Unless you’re going for that specific effect, you probably going to want to avoid that.

What Is an Effects Loop on a Guitar Amp?

Many Modern amps have these wonderful tools called effects loops.  An effects loop allows you to insert pedals after the preamp section of an amplifier.  This is extremely helpful because it allows you to utilize time-based effects as well as modulation while using your amp’s preamp distortion.  Although, this is not the end-all-be-all of signal-chain. Guitarists like Eric Johnson run their delay and chorus into a cranked amp, and still achieve wonderful results.

What Pedals Go In the Effects Loop?

What kind of pedals can you put in an effects loop?  Anything you want, it’s your rig! Typically, people use time-based effects in the effects loop.  Time-based effects include things like reverb and delay. Think about it, on an amp, the reverb control comes after the drive section.  People also usually put modulation effects in an effects loop. Modulation includes pitch modulation effects, such as chorus, vibrato, phasers, and flangers, as well as amplitude modulations, such as tremolo.

How to Use an Effects Loop

Now that you know the why, and the what of an effects loop, you need to know the how.  How do connect your pedalboard up to your amp with the effects loop? It is simple, but it may take a time or two to get quick at.  From your guitar, you plug into your pedal board. Plug all of your effects that you want before the amp directly into the amp. Then plug the effects loop out from the amp into your effects that you will use in the effects loop.  From those effects plug into the effects loop in.

effects loop

Note: The effects loop in and out can be a little tricky for a novice, so just think of it this way.  Effects loop out is sending the signal out to your pedals. Effects loop in is welcoming in the signal from your pedals.

Have Fun and Experiment

It is important to know how to get the best out of your equipment, and understand how to use it fully.  Experiment with your Effects loop if you have one. Follow the rules, then break them. Most importantly, let your ears be the judge of what sounds good to you.  After all, these are all just tools that you can use to find YOUR sound!

I hope this was helpful in equipping you to find YOUR sound!  If you found this article helpful, please follow Moustache Audio on social media, and take a look at our products here on our website.


At Moustache Audio, we build gear that allows you to dial in something unique to fit your personal playing style.  We want to help you groom your tone, and shape it into the masterpiece that you have always dreamed of.
By |2018-12-11T21:03:49+00:00December 11th, 2018|Tips and How-to|0 Comments

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