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Version 3.20, 20 May 2000

This FAQ was created by R.G. Keen,
Previous Update 5 Nov 1999

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Contributors
  3. What kinds of effects are there?
  4. Distortion 101
  5. Effects Descriptions
  6. Effects Terminology
  7. Effects Order
  8. Effects Inter-Compatibility - what goes with what?
  9. Bypass, true and otherwise
  10. Powering Effects
  11. Pedalboard Issues
  12. Building Effects
  13. Fixing Broken Effects


This FAQ is a generic answer to the questions which begin:

I have heard of an effect called a DoWhizzer. What is this?
What order do effects go in?
"My Phaser/Blaster/Clinker pedal is acting funny/dead. Can this be fixed/how can I fix this?
"I have (or have a friend who has) some electronics abilities and I'd like to build my own guitar effects. Where can I find schematics for this?"

I have done this for a long time, so I thought I'd write down some facts and some of my opinions. I have tried to weed out a lot of possible-but- difficult things in writing this. Where I simply state that something ought to be done some way, this is usually an opinion based on having tinkered. My opinion is subject to being wrong at times, so if you know a better way, or if I have left out something that is much simpler and easier, let me - and the rest of us - know. I certainly won't be offended at having a mistake pointed out.

If you have something to contribute along these lines, by all means, send it to me or post it.


Many thanks to those of you who have sent additions and corrections including (but not limited to - as our lawyers would say):
Mark Hammer             

David Mourning

Murray Traue  

Jamie Heilman 


Scott Lehman  

Mike Piera    

Return to the Effects Web Page.
R.G. Keen