How to Use the Effects Loop in Guitar Amps

By Contributor ; Updated September 15, 2017

How to Use the Effects Loop in Guitar Amps. When playing the guitar, use an effects loop to separate time-based and modulation pedals from your other pedals, such as overdrive and distortion. The purpose of an effects loop is to clarify the tone of the effects pedals.

Locate the "send" output on the guitar amp and run ΒΌ-inch guitar cable into the first pedal you want in the effects loop.

Connect each of the effects pedals you want in the loop with short "jumper" or "patch" cables, if you would like to include additional pedals in the effects loop. Be sure to place each subsequent pedal in the "proper" order to maintain the tone and clarity. An ideal order is: equalizer; modulation, which includes chorus, flanger and phaser; delay and reverb.

Run a quarter inch guitar cable from the output of the last pedal in the effects loop to the "return" input of the effects loop.


When you use the effects loop on an amp, you are sending the signal after the preamp but before the power amp. A preamp is what produces the tone, and a power amp produces the volume. Using an effects loop to route your signal is what prevents a muddied tone. Use the effects loop for time-based pedals. These guitar pedals include the reverb, delay, chorus, flanger, phaser and equalizer. Rearranging the order of the effects pedals will produce a different sound entirely. While guitar enthusiasts argue the proper order for effects pedals, they all agree that you should arrange you pedals according to the effect you are trying to produce.

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