The Guitar Effect Order

Guitar effect ordering isn't rocket science and there's no exact regulation to follow here. Below is the generic effect order that is correct for most situations.

Anyway, a lot of things will depend on your liking and style.

Use the effect chain diagram below as a starting point and feel free to play around with different effects placements.

For an instance:
the Noise Gate can also be plugged before the Reverb or Distortion. Many guitar players put the EQ and the Phaser before the Distortion too, although putting the Distortion after the Delay or Reverb usually produces unwanted "liquid" sounding.

Anyway I've seen some guys put the Distortion after the Delay on purpose in order to create some kind of a weird noise, when they were recording a track.

Generic Effect Order

Noise Gate
Pitch Effects
(Pitch Shifter, Harmoniser, Vibrato, Octave Effect)
Wah/Envelop Filter
Modulation Effects
(Chorus, Flanger, Phaser, Tremolo)
Delay (Echo)

Now I'll show you an example of how to apply this chart to a real situation. Let's say you have three effect pedals: the distortion, chorus, delay and a tuner.

Going from the top to the bottom of the chart and skipping the effects you don't have, you'd connect the pedals in the following order:

1. The guitar plugs into the tuner,
2. The tuner plugs into the distortion,
3. the distortion into the chorus,
4. the chorus into the delay,
5. the delay into the amplifier,

although the guitar tuner isn't really an "effect" and it's not supposed to change your sound. The best place to put it in the effects chain is right after the guitar before any other pedal. This way it will work in the most efficient way, because modified sound from the other effects won't interfere with the pitch recognizing mechanism.


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• Correct Effect Order

Note that if you have a digital multi-effects processor, you don't have to learn about ordering. The effects in these units are arranged in the right way right out of the box.
If your amplifier has an effects loop, the order still remains the same, while the effects from the top until the pitch shifter go between the guitar and the amplifier and the rest of them (including the pitch shifter) go between SEND and RETURN of the effects loop.