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What is a cheap way of reversing pedal order in live performance? That is, from In->A->B->Out to In->B->A->Out? I've looked at effects switchers but they seem to cost more than my pedals do.

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If you're looking for a DIY method, that would be a latching 3PDT (3 pole double throw) switch, which comprises three two-way switches, flipped at the same time with a single button. You also need six jack sockets (main in, main out, sends and returns for both pedals), and a chassis. Then you need to solder, machine and assemble it together.

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Buy a second copy of either pedal A or B, whichever is cheaper. Then put them in A -> B -> A or B -> A -> B order, and you can choose in which order to switch one of A and one of B on.

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    This solution is inflexible (it can't switch any pedals other than the one you bought two of), so it's probably better to get a switcher unless the price difference is really significant.
    – Edward
    Apr 16, 2023 at 3:20
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    @Edward yes, but it might be the cheapest non-DIY method, or even the cheapest, if the OP is not skilled in DIY or doesn't have access to tools. Moreover, switching the order of the effects seems a very specific problem, the OP may not need it for other effects. Apr 16, 2023 at 13:56
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The reason they are expensive as it is not an easy thing to do - you need to sort out impedance matching, balancing wet and dry signals where necessary etc.

You should just accept that if you have multiple pedals you need to pay money for a switcher - worthwhile looking at a fully featured one, rather than just one that swaps A and B, as the cost increase is incremental and you may find that in future you want to switch multiple pedals and orders.

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If you only want to switch the order for two, then yes, depending on what you mean by cheap. Else it is not simple because there are many many combinations. Digital FX's can do this but it is not practical in reality.

In most cases though you do not want to switch the chain. E.g., effects typically have an order so B->A won't necessarily make sense.

There are switches that can be wired up to swap the order. E.g., some guitar pickups have switches on them that can reverse polarity and it is effectively the same wiring.

While it is not difficult to make some circuit that can handle the switching using relays or other switches (you could use JFETs and such but it may effect the single), you still have the issue with combinatorial explosion, cost, etc.

The real question is "Why do you want to switch"? Most FX's that are linear won't really matter which order they go in (ideally). These include EQ's, reverbs, choruses, etc. Most of the time they go in a specific order because it sounds best.

Hence, for the most part, you won't need to switch the order. If you are looking for a specific sound such as putting verb before distortion then you can probably get the same effect by putting a compressor after the verb or doing some side chaining stuff.

Basically the entire point of digital FX units is their ability to do everything virtually allowing for much more creativity and ease without additional cost (but of course will never be the same as analog pedals and amps).

My suggestion is that unless you have a real good reason it is best to spend your time doing other things that are more relevant. Most "guitar switchers" also let you do any combination. All they do is let you "insert" pedals in the chain more easily. Most digital FX pedals make this very easy and cheap to do.

It may be better to get a digital pedal and use with external FX's as this gives you the best of both world more or less.

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    I appreciate claiming that there are no rules in one question and telling that the OP should not do what they're asking for in other.
    – ojs
    Apr 16, 2023 at 14:13
  • @ojs it's quite simple. Most things established were with trial and error and honing in on the most practical and useful ways to do things through experience. If a person has no clue what they are doing they shouldn't break the rules but learn from others. To claim that when one says "don't break the rules but break the rules" is such an oversimplification as to be nearly criminal. No one is saying it that way but the people who hear it that way. Someone who understands there is more complexity to life won't worry about such assinine ways of thinking by reducing everything to a point. Apr 18, 2023 at 3:04
  • The use case here is switching two Loopers so they can feed into each other but a more common example is switching a wah and a distortion/overdrive pedal
    – empty
    Apr 19, 2023 at 16:45
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    Note, for an effect order not to matter, they must be not only linear, but also time invariant. Choruses are not time invariant, neither loopers are. Apr 19, 2023 at 22:03

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