Novice bass question

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by zwkoch, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. zwkoch

    zwkoch You can't do that on bass enthusiast Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2012
    Twin Cities, MN
    I am embarrassed to have to ask this, but nonetheless, here it goes. I run my bass through about 12 different pedals before the signal hits my amp. Of course they aren't always on, and they run into the front of my Mesa M6 amp. My question is, what is the benefit to running the signals into the effects loop in the back of the amp? My limited understanding is that when a signal is routed through the effects loop, the amp basically acts as a power amp, and does not add EQ or color to your tone. I obviously love the Mesa sound, and want it to be a part of my sound. I greatly appreciate any tips or pros/cons of running into the effects loop vs. the front of the amp. Thanks.
  2. markkoelsch


    Sep 6, 2008
    It depends on which effects you put in the loop, or before your amp.

    I would put distortion/overdrive pedals before the amp. Ditto for volume pedal.

    If you have chorus/flange/delay type effects I would tend to put them in the effects loop.

    None of this is set in stone mind you. I would put your drive stuff before the amp. Time based in the loop. Start there, but I would always put the drive pedals before time/modulation effects.

    I used to have several effects, but not anymore. I have one pedal- a Frequency Central Tube Overdive, which is great. I would also like a chorus, but have not found one I really like enough to pay for.
  3. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    +1 and a great answer I think you have to add one pedal at a time to see what the difference in sound would be I have a Mesa M3 Carbine Combo and my loop is very temperamental it seems to hate my favorite pedals.
  4. zwkoch

    zwkoch You can't do that on bass enthusiast Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2012
    Twin Cities, MN
    I really love my tone, and so my question was more academic than anything. I also have he redeemer circuit installed in my basses which keeps the signal pure. I am just curious if I am just missing out on another level of sound by not using the effects loop. Thanks for the input!
  5. Why not just try it?
  6. For bass players that use a clean toned amp there's really no reason for an effects loop. Guitar players who get drive from the amp need a loop so that can put time based effects, like delay, reverb, chorus etc, after the drive stage.

    I set everything before.

    Just watch your gain stages, anything with an output volume. Set them up for the tone you're looking for and then adjust the output volume so that it the same as the input volume (unity gain). Play a note, as it rings step on the on off switch and adjust accordingly.

    To much gain will cause volume jumps when you engage an effect. It can also cause unwanted distortion at the front of your amp and, in extreme cases, damage the input of your amp. The damage would be because you did something stupid for a long period of time, like 5 distortion pedals on at full volume.

    Everything else doesn't matter because it's unity gain, i.e. the output volume is that same as the input.

    Here's why I don't use my loop. They're all different in design and function. Even with in the exact same model of amp they can be slightly different due to variables in components. This can cause wanted noise, function or other issues.

    Generally an effects loop is after the EQ. This can cause side effects in some pedals, add noise in others and some will be fine. You want know until you try with your eq setting and gain settings.

    An the MAIN REASON. ALL pedals are R&Ded and designed before the amp. They'll sound better this way because you'll be using them as the designer worked on them originally.
  7. zwkoch

    zwkoch You can't do that on bass enthusiast Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2012
    Twin Cities, MN
    Thank you so much for the advice. It is very helpful.