How to Connect Pedal to Guitar: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners


guitar pedals

With the availability of different types of guitar pedals on the market nowadays, you will probably feel overwhelming like I do when I first shopped for my guitar pedal.

Not understanding the basics of guitar pedals can not only “grant” us, especially the beginners, with headaches but also give the guitar a bad tone.

In this comprehensive guide, I will explain everything you need to know before getting started with your first guitar pedal. You will master the skills of connecting the pedal to guitar expertly in no time.

What are guitar effect pedals?

Before diving deeper into the main topic of “How to connect pedal to guitar?”, let’s walk through the definition of guitar effect pedals.

Guitar effect pedals are devices designed for altering electronic signals and changing the guitar’s tone. These pedals are popular for creating a wide variety of sounds, effects and echoes.

The most important thing is to learn how to connect pedal to guitar properly to maintain the pedals in good condition and avoid shorting the rig.

How to connect pedal to guitar?

pedal to guitar

There are two most common methods to connect your pedals to guitar, including hooking up a single pedal and altering a big sequence.

I choose the former method to introduce you because I think it’s the easiest and most applicable one for beginners to follow.

Here is my detailed guide for hooking up a single pedal to walk you through the challenge of plugging your first guitar pedals ever.

Attach a single pedal

Step 1: Turn off every power source

Whenever connecting or disconnecting an effects pedal, you need to turn off the power supply. Make sure the amp and pedals are completely shut off before making any connections.

The attempts of connecting live circuits can lead to unwanted loud pops burst out through the amp, resulting in the reduced lifespan of everything in the chain. So don’t ever do that!

Step 2: Connect your amplifier with the power source

To ensure your pedals and amp are turned off before connecting, you need to have them plugged in.

This is an easy task but requires a few important things. Normally, I often plug my guitar directly into the input jack on the amp. So remember when you add another guitar pedal into the rig, you also need to change the methods of plugging your guitar.

Besides, you also need two guitar cables for every single pedal you buy, one for plugging into the input of the pedal and the other for plugging into the output of the pedal.

Step 3: Connect your guitar to the input jack

The majority of pedals only provides two jacks, one labeled “Input” and the other labeled “Output”. These jacks are often put in the opposite sides of the pedals’ body.

Determine the “Input” location and plug your guitar into it.

Step 4: Plug the output jack on the pedal into the input of the amplifier

Use a long cable with the length of quarter-inch running from your pedal to the amplifier. The cable connecting pedals to the amp will go into the same input which you often use for direct guitar plugging.

My suggestion is you should go for long cables for both the input and output cables of your pedals. The longer the cable is, the more convenient you are to position your pedals far away from the amp, giving more space to move around.

Step 5: Turn on the amplifier and set your levels

After connecting every cable, turn on the amplifier and set up whatever you like. It’s advisable to avoid strongly affecting your amp when you first try out your pedals. But feel free to experience and feel the pedals’ sounds.

Step 6: Switch off all effect buttons before turning the pedals on

Remember to switch off every effect knobs when you’re trying out a super loud echo. You don’t want to damage your eardrums when trying on the pedal for the first time.

I suggest you should turn down all the settings before activating the pedal and you can always adjust when you play.

Step 7: Experience the pedal

To activate the pedal, you can step on a button below the control settings. You can tell whether your pedal is turned on by seeing the green or red light. Feel free to try out every effect on the pedal while you’re playing to sense the beat and decide which suits you best.

Step 8: Switch off every time after playing

If the pedals are connected, the power will soon be drained out, especially when you use batteries to power your pedal.

Thus, remember to turn off and disconnect all your pedals when you stop playing in order to increase their endurance.

delay pedals

For information on the method of altering a big sequence, I suggest visiting Musical Study of Kevin Deal to understand more because this blog is of great help to me when it comes to experiencing delay pedals – one of the best guitar effects.


I hope this comprehensive guide will make your task of connecting pedal to guitar a lot easier and less stressful. Don’t forget to share your experience with me and other pedal users to help complete this guide more.


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