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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

where to put buffer?

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by andrenighthound, Apr 29, 2012.

  1. andrenighthound

    andrenighthound Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 10, 2007
    Bronx NY
    Hi Y'all
    I got 8 true bypass pedals. Where should I put the buffer?

    Here's what I got on the board in order from guitar to amp:

    Teese picture wah
    Pitch black tuner
    Fy-2 fuzz clone
    Rat clone
    Sans amp para driver
    Chroma chorus
    Tc flashback
    Neunaber WET

    The chroma, flashback, and WET all have a true bybass/buffered bypass internal switch. Which one of the three pedals should I turn on the buffer?

    Thanks for the help.

  2. Tonemonkey

    Tonemonkey Poster Extraordinaire

    Beginning or end ............. or wherever it sounds best ..... that's if you feel you are losing sig..... or top end, otherwiswe why bother.

    Just need to juggle it ...... the ultimate arbiter is the sound coming out your sig chain.

    Interesting that you put the wah before the tuner ...........

  3. andrenighthound

    andrenighthound Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 10, 2007
    Bronx NY
    I think I am losing a little signal. I just switched the buffer on in the chorus pedal which is kinda in the middle of the chain and I'll check it out. I have the wah first only because it's placed on the board first and the tuner is true bypass.

  4. dalandan

    dalandan Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 15, 2008
    both beginning and end preferably.

  5. ruger9

    ruger9 Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 31, 2004
    Hackettstown, NJ
    start at the beginning. The whole idea of a buffer is to NOT LOSE FIDELITY IN THE FIRST PLACE. So just putting one at the end, after the signal has already degraded, isn't how it works. A buffer turns the high-impedance guitar signal into a low-impedance one, which in layman's terms makes the signal "less susceptible to degradation." So you want it in front. 8 pedals you shouldn't need more than the one.

    Now, the catch: [if you do not have fuzz or wah, no nead to read]
    most fuzz pedals and wahs don't like being fed a low-impedance signal. So, my signal chain goes fuzzes->buffer->everything else. I have my wah near the end, because I like my wah after my dirt, but it's far enough away from the buffer that it doesn't seem to affect it.

    But most people put their wah before everything, so that chain would be wah->fuzz->buffer->everything else. But there's a problem with that... unless the wah has a "fuzz buffer" in it (see the foxrox website for explanation and demo video), a wah before a fuzz negatively affects the sound of the wah. So that's a separate problem.

    I have found what works for me, currently, my pedalboard is HUGE because I'm in the process of trying out alot of different pedals, but here's my signal chain:

    rotary/leslie pedal
    wah (mine's true-bypass)

    ...and with the buffer I use, I do have a tiny bit of tone suck... so for me adding a buffer at the end would probably be helpful, but I'm not keeping such a large pedalboard. When I had the Joe Bonamassa wah at the end, it was in buffered bypass mode, and being almost last in line, it's buffer made up the difference, and there was no tone suck. But like I said- it's a stupidly large board right now, because I'm trying out a bunch of different stuff.

    SO- to summarize:
    buffer at the FRONT
    AFTER fuzzes and wahs
    another buffer at end only if necessary


    I put the pedalboard in an A/B looper pedal, switch it in and out, and adjust my buffer's impedance to match where there's no signal degradation. Most buffers are not adjustable like this, which is why I use the Radial PB-1... it's also a clean boost, which I don't use, but the adjustable buffer ("drag" control" ) is worth it's weight in gold as my pedalboard changes size. It's a never-sell pedal for me. Completely got rid of the concern over whether a pedal is true-bypass or not. It doesn't matter anymore.

  6. Frank B

    Frank B Tele-Holic

    Jan 13, 2008
    quebec, canada
    x2 on the beginning.

  7. Modern Saint

    Modern Saint Tele-Meister

    Feb 2, 2011
    So Cal
    Experiment is your best bet. My favorite is in the beginning.

  8. andrenighthound

    andrenighthound Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 10, 2007
    Bronx NY
    I did a lot of testing and experimenting and I notice my tone stayed the most crisp when I had the buffer at the end. I tried it in the middle and it didn't help retain highs. I tried it in front and it made my Fy-2 fuzz sound brighter and harsh. The end of the chain is where the buffer keeps all the highs of the amp's tone when all pedals are switched off. Thanks for everyone's input.

  9. Just Nick

    Just Nick TDPRI Member

    Mar 17, 2012
    Ideally, as close to the guitar as possible. Main reason to put it elsewhere is if you have a fuzz pedal that doesn't like to see a low impedance at its input.

    Just to clarify, signals are not low or high impedance, sources and loads are. But with regard to the question of loss of highs, it's not the impedance of buffer's output circuitry that makes the difference, it's the fact that the buffer electrically decouples your guitar's pickups from any cabling downstream of the buffer--effectively shortening the cable run that "loads" the pickups. After about 20 feet, with most cables and most passive pickups (humbuckers are less susceptible) the capacitance of the cable rolls off a bit of the high end.

    Here's a vid I made that demonstrates the effects of a buffer and also explains exactly why and how they can affect your guitar's tone.

    superbadj likes this.

  10. andrenighthound

    andrenighthound Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 10, 2007
    Bronx NY
    Actually my tone sounds a little brighter but not harsh with the wet pedal at the end set on buffered bypass compared to just running my guitar straight to the amp. I don't know why but it sounds good to me.

  11. Just Nick

    Just Nick TDPRI Member

    Mar 17, 2012
    Yep, doesn't matter too much where on the board you put it because it's function is to reduce the length of cable that is loading the pickups (with cable capacitance). So a few feet more or does not generally result in an audible difference unless you have a REALLY huge board (adding 10 or more feet of cable or something, just in patch cables).

  12. zombiwoof

    zombiwoof Tele-Holic

    Oct 17, 2008
    Tujunga California
    I would use it directly after the fuzz pedal, for the reasons stated previously. I think buffers should be put as close to the front of the chain as possible, but not before fuzz pedals. It doesn't seem to matter much with other OD's/Distoritions, but fuzzes (especially vintage-type circuits like Fuzz Faces, etc.) do not like a low impedance input signal. Just my opinion (and what I do with my buffer pedal).


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