Pedals & FX, Setup & Signal Chain

Where to Put The Flanger In Your Signal Chain? (Quick Tip)

Written By :Andrew Siemon

Flangers are a great, bold choice of effect when it comes to striking modulated tones. While they may not be appropriate for every style out there, I love adding flange to my playing to give extra character to my soloing or psychedelic sweeps to my rhythm playing.

But if, like me, you have a whole range of pedals in your setup, where is the ideal place to put a flanger in your signal chain?

Generally speaking, flangers are placed alongside other modulation pedals in the effects chain, after any overdrive or distortion effects, but before delay and reverb. Another great place for your flanger, time-based effects, and other modulation pedals is in the FX Loop (If your amp has one).

In this article, I’ll explain where I like to put my flanger pedal in my pedalboard, and why, and also give you some tips for other alternatives as to where you can put yours. For instance, not everyone has an FX Loop so we’ll cover those people too.

Why It’s Best to Place The Flanger Pedal In The FX Loop

My Vortex Mini Signal Chain - How to Use The TC Electronic Vortex Mini  - 1

The main reason why I like to use modulation and time-based effects in the FX Loop of the amplifier is that it offers more control over all of these effects. This is especially the case when I’m using my looper pedal.

As I explained in my looper pedal guide, I like to record a loop with drive, compression, flanger, and maybe some delay on it, and then I turn those effects off and jam over it.

The only way to really do this is with the effects in the FX Loop, otherwise, when you switch off the effects pedal, it turns off all the FX as well. To me, this isn’t ideal.

As far as I’m concerned, putting all your modulation and time-based effects in the FX Loop is the best way to go, but of course, there are other ways to do it.

If you don’t have an FX Loop, the next best place to put your flanger pedal is with your other modulation and time-based effects, which typically go at the end of the signal chain, after drive and distortion. We’ll talk about this more later (skip to the end).

What You Need to Put A Flanger in Your FX Loop

1) An Amp With An FX Loop

FX Loop on Orange Amp - Where to Put The Flanger In Your Signal Chain
I’ve got the Orange Crush 35RT (on my Product Page) which is one of few smaller practice amps that has an Effects Loop. I used to use a Hughes and Kettner Switchblade but it was FAR too big for a small apartment.

Obviously, one of the first things you need to actually put a flanger in an FX Loop is an amplifier with that capability.

There are some smaller amps that have it, including the aforementioned Orange Crush 35RT and the Fender Mustang GT 40. Be careful because the Orange Crush 20RT DOES NOT have the FX Loop, contrary to what other websites say online.

2) 2 Guitar Cables (Over 10 Feet Long)

I like using right-angled instrument cables like the Ernie Ball instrument cables

Cables like this are great for making space on your pedalboard and also for sitting on your couch, which is often what I do when I play the guitar.

If you’re running cables from your FX Loop, you’ll need a much longer cable. I’m only sitting on my couch by my amp and I need at least 10-foot cables. If your amp is further away, it might even serve you to have 20-foot cables.

3) A Flanger Pedal

I’ve been using the TCE Vortex Mini (on my Product Page) for the last little while and it’s a great pedal for its size and price (I made a tutorial for it too).

There are quite a few flangers on the market, but I chose this one because it’s one of the most popular. There is a bigger version of it too if you’re interested. It has an additional control on it, but I digress. Let’s talk about how to set it up in your FX Loop.

How to Put The Flanger Pedal In Your FX Loop

1) Locate the Send & Return On Your Amp’s FX Loop

FX Loop on Orange Amp (Arrows) - Where to Put The Flanger In Your Signal Chain
This is what the FX Loop looks like on the back of an Orange 35RT

How you set this part up can be a bit confusing when you first start, but no worries, I’ll get you straightened out.

2) Run A Cable From the Output Into the FX Loop’s Return

FX Loop on Orange Amp (Arrows) - Where to Put The Flanger In Your Signal Chain
In simple terms, the Return of the FX Loop is part of the amplifier where you return the signal after it was sent out of the amplifier between the pre-amp and power-amp sections (more on this in my FX Loop guide).

3) Connect A Cable Between the Input of the Pedal & the Send on the FX Loop

Input/Send and Output/Return - Where To Put the Flanger In Your Signal Chain
Normally, I would have the flanger fit amongst other pedals in the FX Loop, but I set it up like this for the sake of illustration.

4) Power On The FX Loop On Your Amp (Optional)

FX Loop Button - Where To Put The Looper Pedal In Your Signal Chain [SIMPLE]
In some cases, your amplifier will have an FX Loop such as what’s seen here on my Switchblade 100W.

Other amps don’t necessarily have a button though, including my Orange Crush 35RT.

5) Connect The Flanger To Your Power Source

Outputs on Isobrick - Where To Put The Flanger In Your FX Loop
Give your pedal some power and then you’re pretty much finished.

I usually turn the pedals, my amplifier, and everything else on last, after I’ve connected all the pedals and set up the signal chain. It really doesn’t matter that much, but it’ll sound much cleaner and safer.

If you turn everything on first and then connect, you get a lot of annoying sounds like static and popping sounds. If you do it this way, it’s a much smoother process.

Flanger - Where to Put The Flanger In Your Signal Chain [ANSWERED]
As a matter of fact, I have everything connected to a power bar which I turn on and it activates everything all at once. This is what it looks like.

1) The Flanger Before Reverb, Delay, & After Drive/Distortion

Where To Place the Flanger Pedal In Your Signal Chain - Example

By placing the flanger after your distortion/overdrive, the flanger’s sweeping modulated effect will be richer and more pronounced. This is because the flanger will be modulating the signal that has already been distorted by your overdrive pedals.

In general, I find it’s best to keep this as a rule of thumb for all kinds of modulation effects, not just flangers: chorus, reverb and delay all sound fuller if placed after distortion. If you place it before the distortion the flanger effect will be cleaner but less prominent.

It’s all about the signal flow. The way I like to describe it is that effects such as compression, EQ and distortion are what you use to beef up and shape the signal coming from your instrument, and then modulation effects are how you decorate and play with it.

There’s no objective ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way of setting up your chain, but this way I feel like I’m getting the most out of all my effects.

Delay After Flanger - Where To Place the Flanger Pedal In Your Signal Chain - Another

Something I enjoy doing is experimenting with the placement of my flanger in relation to my delay pedals. Having the flanger before or after the delay can yield some very different and fun results, which can be good for both lead and rhythm tones.

By placing the flanger before the delay, the signal from your guitar will have the flange modulation applied to it before it enters the delay processor. This means that all your delay echoes and repeats will come out ‘flanged’.

This can give you some great atmospheric swirls with each delay repeat having its own sweeping flange effect. If you use this with a dynamic delay setting, the results can really be pretty impressive.

2) The Flanger After Delay

Where To Place the Flanger Pedal In Your Signal Chain - 2 Example

The flip side of this is placing your flanger after the delay in your signal chain. If you do this, the signal will be affected by the delay echo before the flanger kicks in and your delay repeats will come out ‘clean’.

The whole combined delayed signal will then have the flange applied to it. This can be good for rhythm playing and experimenting with building interesting textures and walls of sound.

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Andrew Siemon is the principal creator for, a website entirely devoted to all things guitar. From repairs, music theory, chords, and improvisation, to recording at home. I've been doing this for 20 years and I've got another 50 in me.

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