[96] Buffers and pedal order

Date: May 14th, 2008 | Comments : [7] | Categories: DIY.

This is the basic configuration that should work for anyone:

Guitar —> Buffer —> Any pedals —> Buffer —> Amp

The first buffer is providing an interface for the guitar and its long cable to the pedalboard. The final buffer is a line driver for the cable back to the amp. In between, you can put any pedals you like.

The buffers can even be buffered bypass pedals and not specifically buffer-only circuits.

Like any rule of thumb, this one is subject to change based on your guitar, cables, pedals and amp. This is just a starting point: Let your ears be your guide.

Use good quality, low capacitance guitar cords!


7 Responses to “Buffers and pedal order”

[432] ClenchedTeeth Says: 3:25 pm, May 14th, 2008

What capacitance range should a ‘good quality’ guitar cable have?

[433] Kerry Maxwell Says: 7:36 pm, May 14th, 2008

This is the basic architecture I arrived at after much experimentation. I use a DIY dual-loop *true* bypass pedal to select between two *regions* of my board, all feeding into the AMZ Mosfet Boost/ buffer > into passive volume pedal > into amp. I then run most delay/ reverb/ loopers in the FX loop of my amp. The bypass loop allows me to run a germanium fuzz face in front of my board, and switch out everything but the volume pedal, if desired.

[438] Ben N Says: 7:46 pm, May 19th, 2008

The problem is that you can have your front buffer preventing your pickups getting loaded, and your back buffer driving your cable and amp input, but you can still be mangling your tone with crappy bypasses inbetween. In my ideal pedalboard, there is a really good hi-z-in, lo-z-out buffer up front (only a true-bypass vintage-style fuzz can go north of that), then a lot of true bypass pedals–but in each pedal there is an output buffer, so that when the pedal is on, whatever is downstream still sees a nice, lo-z out, but when it is bypassed, there are no extra buffers in the signal path. Then, none of the pedals need to have input buffers, because they always see a lo-z buffered output upstream (unless you’re the lead dog, the scenery never changes :)), and no block output buffer is needed, either.

[669] Laurent Says: 10:12 am, April 16th, 2009

What if you use a bypass loop switch such as loopmaster? Do you still need a buffer before the switch? Let’s take a 10 loop switch for argument sake… with bypass and non-bypass effects in the chain…
Please let me know your advice. Thanks.

[1277] Barry Everton Says: 1:31 pm, August 1st, 2010


I have a TC Electronic G-System and I use the 4 cable connection method utilising the amp’s Input, FX Send and FX Return and the Input, Output, Insert Send and Insert Return of the G-System.
I have a major problem with tone suck as I also use 24-30ft cables between the guitar and pedlboard and between the pedalboard and my amp.

If I were to use buffers and line drivers, where would I place them in my setup??



[2675] ucnick Says: 3:13 pm, March 7th, 2012

FWIW one other factor to consider (depending on how much gain you put on your signal!) is headroom. Buffers typically run on a 9V supply, so if buffer is opamp based with, say, TL07x family, will end up with roughly /- 2.5V to /- 3.5V swing at buffer output due to op amp output swing limitation (determined by op amp type and load). This is not likely to be a problem with front end buffer, which is being driven by guitar signal (in 100 – 200 mV range), but signal at back end after gain fx may hit the ceiling and the buffer will clip, not desirable. Best to use higher supply voltage for the back end buffers if possible, like 12V or 18V, can use the TC962 voltage doubler to provide the higher supply voltage, just make sure the buffer can tolerate it!

[3577] Kyoungsteadt Says: 7:42 am, November 10th, 2012

I use a 6 loop bypass looper/switcher. I wired in an AMZ super buffer using just a single TLO72 inside the looper right after the input so no additional buffer box was needed. This works extremely well. Better than going straight to t he amp with just a cable.


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