How to Connect BOSS Pedals in the Proper Order to Get the Best Sound Quality

Written by scott shpak
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How to Connect BOSS Pedals in the Proper Order to Get the Best Sound Quality
Foot pedals are a great way to expand the palette of sounds from your guitar. (Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

BOSS, a division of the Roland Music Corporation, has been at the forefront of the guitar stomp box world since the mid-1970s. Its effects pedals have a reputation for quality sound processing combined with rugged construction. Given the wide range of product offerings, it is quite easy to build a pedal board completely from BOSS products. To get the best sound quality, effects should be arranged in a specific sequence roughly divided into four types of effects. This arrangement will serve as a good starting point for experimentation.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Guitar
  • 1/4-inch phone plug patch cables
  • Amplifier

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  1. 1

    Place a guitar tuner, like the BOSS TU-3, first in line. Most tuners mute the signal to the rest of the chain, so this is a simple way to turn your guitar signal "off" as well as serving the purpose of tuning. The TU-3 has the added advantage of being able to power up to seven more BOSS units with an optional power adaptor cable.

  2. 2

    Arrange filter-based effects next. These include equalisers like the GE-7 and wah effects, including the AW-3 and the PW-10. Any effect that you may want the output overdriven or distorted should come in the filter group of effects.

  3. 3

    Connect distortion, fuzz or overdrive devices next. These include pedals like the DS-2, MT-2 and OS-2. Many flavours of distortion and overdrive are available. Compressors and sustain devices should be included in this group. Though they don't add distortion, they may boost the noise floor and therefore should come early in the effects sequence.

  4. 4

    Add modulation effects after the distortion stage. Modulation effects include phase shifter, flangers and choruses, and examples of BOSS models of each are the PH-3, the BF-3 and the CE-5, respectively. Modulation is typically applied over an already distorted sound.

  5. 5

    Add time-based effects last. Effects like delay (DD-3) or reverb (RV-5) are usually applied at the end of the effects group. A noise gate like the NS-2 can help clean up your guitar's sound when not playing by blocking hum and effects noise. Noise gates are the last step in line.

Tips and warnings

  • These recommendations are guidelines and a good place to start. For best sound quality, experiment with the order of effects within each group, as well as changing the order of groups if it creates a sound you like.
  • Some pedals can add much volume to your signal quickly. Use reasonable volume levels or appropriate ear protection to preserve your hearing.

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