Pedals Crash Course for Harpists Pt. 2

Pedals Crash Course for Harpists Pt. 2

In our previous blog, we discussed all the different types of pedals. Now let’s dive into how to connect them to step up your playing!

Introduction

All pedals require a power source, and much to a beginner’s confusion, requirements may differ from pedal to pedal. It's essential to check the specific voltage requirements for each pedal, as using the wrong voltage can damage it or affect its performance. Besides their power requirements, you should also consider where each pedal goes in your chain to achieve the effect you want.

Powering them up

Most pedals typically operate in a standard voltage of 9V DC, while others can range from 12V-24V. Many pedals come with power cables out of the box. You can power up your pedals using individual cables, a daisy chain, an isolated power supply, and even batteries (but this is not usually recommended). If you only have a pedal or two, you are best off with just using their individual cables. 

Once you start growing a collection, it will get cumbersome to deal with all the different cables and finding outlets for each - this is where the daisy chain typically comes in. A daisy chain is one long cable with many inputs, allowing you to connect multiple pedals in one. Keep in mind that daisy chains are only in one voltage, so if you have pedals with different requirements, make sure you have separate cables for each voltage. 

For pros with more complicated setups, they may run into issues with noise when using daisy chains. Typically, this demographic opts for isolated power supplies. These are pieces of equipment that include multiple outputs and combine different voltage levels, making them a total package. The common belief amongst musicians is that the sound quality when connected to a power supply is much cleaner than with daisy chains. If you’re reading this and are already clenching your wallet, don’t worry! Power supplies are not necessary for the beginner. 

Connecting 

To connect pedals to your Harp·E, simply connect a quarter inch cable directly from your instrument to the input of the first pedal in your chain (more on this below). If you only have one pedal, use a second quarter inch cable to connect the output of the pedal to your amp. If you have multiple pedals, you will need multiple short quarter inch cables to connect them all together. The last pedal can connect to your amp as normal. 

Pedal chains

Let’s say you have a reverb pedal, delay pedal, loop pedal, and distortion. In what order do you connect them? Does it matter? You bet!

Every pedal processes whatever sound is coming into it, not just the instrument’s signal, and if the sound comes in processed by an effect, it’ll process that as well. For example, if your first pedal is a long spacey reverb and the second is distortion, the distortion will distort the entirety of your spacey effect, creating a muddy wall of sound. If you are looking to instead make your distorted harp echo like it’s in a big hall, you want to place it before the reverb in your chain. 

There are some common practices when it comes to pedal chains, but these can always be changed depending on the effect you are going for. Typically, delay goes before reverb since musicians usually want to repeat the instrument sound, not the echo sound. Distortion will be commonly found in the beginning to create the cleanest sound possible and minimize feedback. Reverb tends to go last, or second to last if you have a looper, since musicians typically want all their effects to echo together. Loopers should always be at the very end so you can loop with all your FX. Most other pedals land somewhere in between. 

Experimenting where your pedals lie in the chain is one of the most fun aspects of having them! We encourage you to play around with your pedals and find the arrangement that suits you.

Back to blog
  • Pedals Crash Course for Harpists Pt. 2

    Pedals Crash Course for Harpists Pt. 2

    In our previous blog, we discussed all the different types of pedals. Now let’s dive into how to connect them to step up your playing! Introduction All pedals require a...

    Pedals Crash Course for Harpists Pt. 2

    In our previous blog, we discussed all the different types of pedals. Now let’s dive into how to connect them to step up your playing! Introduction All pedals require a...

  • Pedals Crash Course for Harpists Pt. 1

    Pedals Crash Course for Harpists Pt. 1

    Welcome back to another electronics guide! Today we will demystify guitar pedals to help you make the best choices for all your playing needs. Introduction FX/Guitar pedals are invaluable tools...

    Pedals Crash Course for Harpists Pt. 1

    Welcome back to another electronics guide! Today we will demystify guitar pedals to help you make the best choices for all your playing needs. Introduction FX/Guitar pedals are invaluable tools...

  • Amps Crash Course for Harpists

    Amps Crash Course for Harpists

    Amps, PAs, cables, guitar pedals, preamps, power supplies, loopers… Is your head spinning yet?  If you’re like most harpists new to the world of electronics, you may feel overwhelmed at...

    Amps Crash Course for Harpists

    Amps, PAs, cables, guitar pedals, preamps, power supplies, loopers… Is your head spinning yet?  If you’re like most harpists new to the world of electronics, you may feel overwhelmed at...

1 of 3