Soren Reiff's pedalboard with the Radial Tonebone Trimode

My pedalboard

Yesterday I did a workshop/clinic on guitar effects in general and I talked about my pedalboard. I often get many questions about my setup, therefore I’ll post a couple of pictures of my current board below, and give a couple of tips concerning how to set up your pedalboard.

Since I don’t have any sponsor deals with any company/brand mentioned here – neither manufacturers or stores are allowed to use my name to promote any product, without prior written consent from me. But you are very welcome to link to this blog or to my site www.sorenreiff.com if you want other people to read about my setup.

Here’re some pics of my current pedalboard

My order of the effects
It can be very hard, if not impossible to figure out how the signal runs through all these boxes from the pictures above – so here is the order.

My guitar runs into:

Buffer – Reiff edition – hand built by Lars Vad
Wah – Cry baby
Tube overdrive – Radial
Compressor – Empress
Booster (and overdrive)
Phaser – Empress
Tremolo – Empress
Chorus – Retro Sonic
Delay – TC electronic
Delay – Empress
… and back to the buffer, that sends the signal to my amp

I have a reverb unit sitting in the effect loop on my amp.

Three tips on how to set up your pedalboard

  1. If you, like me, have spent a lot of time finding a really nice guitar and amp, and you love the sound of your guitar directly into the amp, buy a buffer. Even though I spent many hours checking out the pedals I’ve bought, and was sure that they changed my bypassed signal a little as possible, the overall sound was affected when I inserted just a few of them into my signal path. The clean “true bypass” sound was definitely not the same … it was weaker with less high end and I missed definition in my tone. Setting a buffer as the first pedal with all the other pedals in the buffer’s loop fixed this.
  2. Put your wah pedal in front of your compressor, so the comp can help you in keeping your levels under control, and equal out the frequency boosts that normally appear when using a wah. If you also have your overdrive after your wah, it’ll work kind of the same when soloing or playing rhythm parts with overdrive and wah together.
  3. Put your volume pedal after the overdrives, distortion or fuzzes in your chain – but in front of delays and reverb units. That will make it possible to control several things in “realtime”. If your overdriven lead sound is a little too aggressive you can turn down the level on your guitar and that way your overdrive should clean up the tone a bit. But if your overdriven sound is absolutely like you want it, but too loud, you can adjust the level with your volume pedal, without changing the amount of overdrive … only the level. If you place your volume pedal in front of your delays and reverbs it also allows you to fade in a note or chord, and fade it out again with the tail from your delay and reverb fading out in a very nice way.

I hope you’ll have fun with your setup, and that you can be inspired by this. Remember, that you also can visit my site www.sorenreiff.com if you are interested in reading more about my setup and guitars or anything related to that  … or you can ask me here on this blog, and I’ll try to answer.

All the very best

Soren

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14 thoughts on “My pedalboard

  1. Leif Kjøl

    Tak for dit link til din blog. Meget inspirerende at læse. Lige nu er jeg meget interesseret i brugen af pedaler. Men kender ikke meget til dette område. Dog har jeg anskaffet et effektboard med wha pedal, en lille ekko pedal og en distortion pedal. Lige nu fungere det ikke rigtigt for mig, men øver hele tiden på nye lyde. Men rækkefølgen af pedaler, ud fra det du skriver, er åbenbart ikke lige meget. Hvad kunne du foreslå…og hvad er en buffer?

    Mvh Leif

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Dear Leif.
      Instead of trying to explain in technically terms what a buffer does, its better and easier for you to google: “buffer guitar pedal” and you will get tons of technically explanations.
      In short: if you sound with every pedal in your chain turned off sounds bad or worse compared to putting your guitar directly into your amp you should try to add a buffer to your chain of pedals and hear if there’s an improvement.
      Concerning the order of your pedal I suggest something similar to the order in my chain.
      All the very best
      Soren

      Reply
  2. leir kjøl

    Hej Søren! og tak for svar! arbejder videre med sagen. Har allerede ved at flytte lidt rundt på pedalerne fået en bedre lyd, synes jeg…
    Med venlig hilsen
    Leif K
    PS! håber det er ok jeg skriver på dansk, da jeg ikke skriver engelsk (ordblind) særligt godt…

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Dear Leif.
      Sounds great, I’m glad that you are inspired by my post, and that you can hear improvement by moving around on your pedals …
      All the best
      Soren

      Kære Leif.
      Godt at høre du er inspireret af min post og har glæde af at rykke rundt på dine pedaler. Mht engelsk/dansk er det helt fint fint … svarer også på engelsk for at læsere som ikke er stærke i dansk også skal forstå hvad vi skriver om.
      Ha’ det super
      Soren

      Reply
  3. Mikkel Holm-Nielsen

    Hej Søren!
    Jeg kunne rigtig godt tænke mig at høre hvilke effekter/Pick-ups m.m. du bruger på soloen i “i can’t stop” fra dit Miss you album!
    Mvh Mikkel

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Hi Mikkel.

      Thank you Mikkel for your interest in my music and my sound, hope its ok I answer in english, so everybody can read what we are talking about.
      Thanks for your question about which amp, pedals and guitar I used on the track “I can’t stop” from the Miss you album.

      All guitars on that album was recorded thru my rack setup. I have a preamp from Mesa Boogie called Triaxis – a programable tube preamp, that sound awesome in my opinion. All overdriven/distorted lead sounds and all rhythm guitar sounds are from the Triaxis.

      For that specific solo I use my brown Gibson ES-346 – you can read more about that here with the JB bridge pickup. I also used a Cry Baby wah and then added some delay and reverb in the mix.

      You can also get a overdriven sound that’s pretty close if not the same to the sound I use on my Triaxis, from a cheaper preamp/pedal that Mesa Boogie made years ago – the W-twin – it should be possible to find on ebay.

      You can also check more about all the stuff I got on my site wwww.sorenreiff.dk in danish or http://www.sorenreiff.com in english – check the subpage: toys/legetøj 🙂

      All the very best
      Soren

      Reply
  4. Uffe Gaden

    Hej Soren: Kan du sige lidt om din Retrosonic Chorus ? Det skulle være en klon af en CE-1 uden alt bøvlet, og da jeg har originalen, med alt bøvlet, men også med den fede lyd, kunne jeg godt tænke mig at høre lidt om den.

    /UG

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Hey Uffe.
      Thanks for asking about my Chorus.
      One of the very first pedals I bought was the Boss CE-1, and I loved that for years. But when I started using a stereo rack-setup, I preferred a true stereo. For years it has been TC’s 2290, later on the G-force.
      When I went back to the board concept, I started looking for a chorus that could do the stuff I love from the CE-1 … but without noise, without eating a lot of the pure guitar signal even when bypassed, and a pedal that could use a standard powersupply for pedals. When I first was introduced to the Retrosonic, I was blown away – it was like the CE-1 … but in a up-to-date version. But after a little while, I started getting annoyed since it removed a little high-end. I couldn’t understand this, since it seemed like a very serious product. I took contact to the guy who made it, and asked him about this, and he told me that the first generation of the Chorus’s was like this, since the original CE-1 did this. But the new generation he ships now, ii’s lchanged. He also sent me a link, how to mod the pedal I got, so I didn’t remove any highend anymore and works like the new generation. A technician friend of mine did this mod within a few minuttes – and it works great. If you need a chorus and like your CE-1, you should definitely check this out … I think you’ll love it.

      Reply
        1. admin Post author

          I didn’t use a buffer in the beginning …
          I don’t know if it’ll eat top, if you’re using a buffer, but my guess is that it will since it’s originally constructed to remove a little high end.
          The tech was Søren Siig – but Lars Vad can definitely do it.

          Reply
          1. Uffe Gaden

            Thanks. Since the CE-1 is very primitive, basically you connect your guitar directly to the level pot, causing all kinds of impendance mismatches, and since the Retrosonic is a clone of it, it makes sense. At buffer before it cures it for me, but it does´nt make it true bypass, and since part of your signal is always going through it, you can still hear it. But even making it true bypass does´nt change the size of the thing… It´s my second CE-1, the first one I sold because of the problems and the size, but it really is the best, most organic sounding chorus ever. I got it on DBA for 350.-, and it´s quite a story how it finally got to me.

          2. admin Post author

            Thanks for that info Uffe – I don’t know that much about the technically stuff inside all the things I’m using 🙂
            But I do like True bypass 🙂

  5. Dave Z

    Great advise on the pedal order in your signal path! I had never considered putting the volume pedal after the overdrive/distortion pedals to avoid affecting the overdrive levels. I really appreciate your rack rig and the pedal approach you have discussed in your blog here. Using the buffer as well has also answered some of my questions regarding the tone and signal path. So your thoughts and comments are very much appreciated!

    Reply

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