Where To Put Compressor Pedal In Chain

EXPLAINED: Where To Put Compressor Pedal In Chain

Whether you like it or not, the location of the compressor pedal in your signal chain should be considered.  Any gain-type effects, such as compressors and overdrives, should be placed before delays or flangers as a general rule.  Another well-established rule is to use the compressor before any overdrive, distortion, or fuzz pedal.  This is why, in order to provide a stronger, better signal to the other effects, most guitarists put the compressor first.

However, some guitarists use the compressor guitar pedals last to increase their signal just before it reaches their amplifier’s preamp.  The disadvantage of this approach is that any hum or hiss introduced by other effects like delay and reverb will be amplified by the output gain of the compressor.  You can sometimes fix this by putting a noise gate in front of the compressor, however the noise reduction will affect the tone quality.  A best-of-both-worlds option may be to utilize a signal booster right before your amplifier and place your compressor first.  Some guitarists prefer the sound of putting their wah or envelope filter in front of the compressor to broaden the frequency range it may effect.  Experimentation with your live sound is always encouraged, but it’s best to start with the compressor.