Pedals & FX, Setup & Signal Chain

Where To Put Reverb In Your Signal Chain? [SIMPLE] 

Written By :Andrew Siemon

Proper signal chain placement is debatable, including for reverb. Without touching on its interaction with delay pedals, the question is this: should reverb pedals go at the end of the signal chain or in the FX loop?

Generally speaking, it’s best to put reverb in the FX Loop which positions the pedal between the power amplifier & pre-amplifier sections of the amp. This mimics the way reverb was traditionally loaded onto amplifiers. However, most guitarists today put the reverb pedal last in their signal chain.

What You Need To Put A Reverb Pedal In Your FX Loop

How to Use the TCE Hall of Fame Reverb 2

Before you get your heart set on hooking up your reverb pedal to your FX loop, you’ll want to ensure that you’re equipped to do so. To achieve this ideal setup, you’ll need:

1) An Amp with an FX Loop

FX Loop on Orange Amp (Arrows) - Where to Put The Flanger In Your Signal Chain - 1
Here’s the FX Loop on my Orange Crush 35RT on my Product Page A great practice amp to get if you need something small with an FX Loop.

Naturally, the most important piece of gear for this reverb configuration is your amp. If you’re unsure whether or not your amp has an FX loop, take a look at the back.

There are alternate and more complicated methods to achieve a sound similar to that of an FX loop. However, if your amp does not support this feature, it may be best to put your reverb pedal in front of the amp instead which we’ll discuss later.

2) 2 Extra Instrument Cables (1/4″)

I like the 1/4″ Right-angle jacks from Ernie Ball but you don’t have to be particular about it.

For this step of our checklist, we’re going to assume that you already have dedicated cables for every aspect of your guitar setup.

To hook up a reverb pedal into your FX loop, you’ll need two additional instrument cables. They don’t have to be super long, but it’s likely that patch cables won’t be enough to suit your needs. In fact, they’ll definitely need to be much longer.

Both cables are necessary to complete the FX loop and will interact directly with your preamp and power amp. This is to say that you don’t want to settle for your taped-up, trodden-on cables from the previous year.

3) A Reverb Pedal

Me Holding the Hall of Fame Reverb 2 from TC Electronic
I’ve got the Hall of Fame Reverb 2 (on my Product Page) pedal. I have nothing but good things to say.

It goes without saying that you can’t hook up a reverb pedal to your amp’s FX loop without actually having a reverb pedal.

As with other pedals, there are plenty of options for reverb pedals from well-known manufacturers like BOSS, TCE, Behringer, and Electro-Harmonix.

Depending on your budget, you can find these pedals at a range of price points from $45 to about $200.

How To Put A Reverb Pedal In Your FX Loop

Reverb in FX Loop  - Signal Chain
With the right equipment, hooking up pedals to your amp’s FX loop is a fairly simple process.

Before getting started, make sure that your amp is either turned off or has its volume turned down. This will ensure we avoid any jarring feedback or popping caused by plugging in the cables.

1) Connect the “Send” Cable

Hall of Fame Reverb 2 (Input/Send)
Connect a cable from the input of the pedal to the send on the FX Loop.

Using one of our instrument cables, plug one side into the “send” jack at the rear of your amp and connect it to the input jack of your reverb pedal. In the case of the HOF2 from TCE, the output and input are labelled on the pedal.

2) Connect the “Return” Cable

Hall of Fame Reverb 2 (Input/Send) and (Output/Return)
Our second cable will run from the output jack of our reverb pedal, labelled “output,” to the “return” jack at the rear of our amp.

These first two steps effectively establish our FX loop. At this point, take a moment to position your pedal somewhere that works comfortably for you.

3) Toggle the FX Loop On (Optional)

FX Loop - Where To Put The Looper Pedal In Your Signal Chain [SIMPLE]
Your amp may feature an option to toggle your FX loop on or off. My old Hughes and Kettner Switchblade has one.

If this is the case, you’ll see a switch or a button near the send and return jacks or at the front of the amp.

This switch or button tells the amp to use the FX loop or to effectively ignore it. Ensure that you’ve activated your amp’s FX loop and continue.

4) Power On the Reverb Pedal

I prefer using a power supply over a battery. They last forever. The Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 3 + is my supply of choice these days, although, the Isobrick shown here is a good choice too (I own both).

In whichever way you may choose to supply your pedals with power, ensure that your reverb pedal is turned on. Usually, this is done just by having a cable connected to it and a battery or power supply connected.

For most pedals, you’ll see a light somewhere on its surface that indicates whether the pedal is receiving power. With our loop established and our pedal powered, we’re ready to test our setup.

5) Plug in Your Guitar and Turn on the Amp

The exact location you should plug in your guitar depends on whether you’re also using a signal chain placed before the preamp. If you are, you should plug your guitar into the first pedal in the chain. If you are not, plug your guitar into your amp.

With everything connected, turn on your amp or raise the volume and ensure that you hear the reverb effect working. And that’s it.

What About When You Have More Than One Pedal in the FX Loop?

Signal Chain Within the FX Loop - Signal Chain
This is how I set up the signal chain in the FX Loop: Volume Attenuator < Looper < Analog Delay < Digital Delay

If you’re incorporating various pedals into your FX Loop, such as a volume attenuator or a looper pedal, it’s important to consider their setup.

Generally, I place the volume attenuator at the very end and the looper pedal just before it, with all other pedals preceding these two.

If I were to put the reverb in the FX Loop, I would put it after the dealy but before the looper and volume attenuator.

Why Putting The Reverb Pedal in Your FX Loop Is The Best (My Opinion)

The Truth About Reverb Pedal Placement

Technically, reverb is a time-based effect, which puts it in the same family as other effects such as delay. These pedals perform best when they’re placed at the very end of your signal chain or in the FX Loop.

Now, the chain doesn’t necessarily end where the line connects to your amp. The signal sent from your guitar and through all of your pedals still travels through your preamp and power amp.

Especially, if you’re using your amp’s built-in distortion or overdrive, connecting your reverb at the end of the signal chain means you’re still putting it before these conflicting effects.

By placing these effects, such as reverb, in your amp’s FX loop, you’re essentially bypassing the preamp and any effects placed before it.

As noted in the video by Vertex Effects, this is the configuration that amplifiers with built-in reverb effects use. Why? Manufacturers like Fender know that to truly place reverb last, it has to come after the preamp.

Additionally, an FX loop works largely the same as your mainline signal chain. If you’re using several pedals within the FX loop, you should ensure that your reverb pedal is last in line before the signal returns to the power amp.

As you may imagine, this means that the reverb pedal should be the one whose output feeds back to the return jack of the FX loop, although, if you have a looper pedal, it should go last.

That’s how I like to do it, anyway.

Where Most People Put The Reverb Pedal In Their Signal Chain

Signal Chain With Drive/Distortion - Where To Put The Looper Pedal In Your Signal Chain - 1
Here’s a solid infographic I came up with that shows you the most commonly recommended way to set up pedals.

If you don’t have an amp with an FX loop and you don’t have the means by which to change that situation, don’t sweat.

This is by no means to the discredit of using reverb in your FX loop, of course. Just because one method may be popular doesn’t inherently make it the best.

If you choose to go with the option of setting up your reverb and time-based pedals in front of our amp rather than behind (FX Loop), there are some things to consider.

First, you absolutely want to have these pedals at the end of your signal chain. Placing them before other effects like distortion or modulation will not give you the outcome you’re looking for (unless you want that crazy sound).

Me, personally, I would never put reverb before delay, but that’s just me.

Second, if you’re running your reverb before the preamp, you should do your best to have your preamp configured with a clean setup. This will mitigate the negative effects we discussed in the previous section.

Regardless of which setup you choose to go with, reverb is a classic effect that offers a world of depth and complexity to your playing. If you have the option, try playing with reverb in your FX loop.

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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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