Ever wondered why guitar pedals go from right to left? What is the reason for this design? Whether you are just starting out or already playing the guitar like a pro, it is important to not overlook the smallest of details regarding your setup. Fundamental knowledge of your gears and instruments will help you maximize their capabilities while preventing any problems from appearing in the long run.
Let’s say you’re a beginner and after more than a year of learning basic guitar, you are finally ready to take the leap and incorporate some effects pedals to your setup. You have finally graduated from playing basic chords and in order to progress further, you will be needing some gadgets for you to achieve a specific sound.
Novice guitar players aren’t the only ones who are new to using gadgets, as there are advanced musicians out there who have spent years of their careers using only an acoustic guitar or an archtop. Even professional musicians want to upgrade their equipment and experiment on guitar gadgetry to further satisfy their artistic cravings.
At first, a pedalboard setup will seem intimidating for the uninitiated guitar player. However, by understanding the basic concepts of how stompboxes should work together, a lot of issues will be given clarification and mistakes in setting up your gears will be easily avoided.
Basic cable linking for guitar pedals
Before setting up your pedalboard, it is highly recommended that you lay out a plan first to avoid any mistakes. This will provide you an overview of what your setup should function, allowing you to arrange them in a way that will be most comfortable for you.
Don’t forget to research on the basic signal chain that most guitar players follow, so you have a general guideline before you decide to break any rules and experiment on stompbox sequencing.
Even though guitar pedals that go from left to right are quite unusual, you have to be prepared for these kinds of gadgets. Customizing pedals is not an uncommon practice and there might be some left-handed guitar players out there who use custom-made stompboxes that have their input jacks on the left side.
In case you happen to have bought a second-hand “lefty” stompbox from another musician, just be ready with a connecting cable that is a little bit longer than the usual patch cables. The input and output cables will have to go over or under the guitar pedal, creating an “S” pattern that shouldn’t affect your sound if connected properly.
Which side is input on a guitar pedal?
It’s safe to say that almost all guitar pedals have the input jack located on the right and the output on the left side. Because guitar pedals going right to left is the standard that the vast majority of players and designers have agreed upon, it would be illogical for companies to be building pedals with reversed input positions.
You may try assembling your custom stompbox with the input located on the left and the output on the right. However, you will discover how this placing is a total nuisance as soon as the gadget joins the rest on your pedalboard.
Although some guitar pedals have their input and output jacks placed at the back instead of the sides, they are still positioned in a way that corresponds agreeably to the customary right-to-left arrangement.
Why do guitar pedals go right to left?
The main reason why guitar pedals go from right to left is because a vast majority of guitar players are right-handed. Only 10 percent of the world’s population are left-handed so most of the day-to-day objects in our lives are designed to serve the other 90 percent.
This may be a huge inconvenience for the lefty guitar players, but it would be very difficult and costly to produce separate units for them. Left-handed guitars are rare and more expensive because building them will require some extra specifications that only benefit a very limited number of players and instruments.
The same principle applies for gadgets such as guitar pedals. Even though they can be utilized the same way by both right and left-handed guitarists, hooking up and using them with cables is a different story.
The input needs to be placed on the right so that the cable that is connected to the guitar and the first pedal in the chain, will not cross in front of the player. Another factor that needs to be taken into consideration is the orientation of the right-handed workers and designers who built your stompbox.
Most importantly, guitar pedals need to start from the right uniformly, so that most guitarists will be able to set up their pedalboards with ease. Although the tone won’t be affected by the positioning of the input and output jacks, it could get quite problematic if the pedals don’t follow a consistent layout.
There are myths about why guitar pedals go from right to left, including the one wherein they tried to equate it with the direction that Arabic and Hebrew writing follows; although obviously, that seems a bit of a farfetched theory that even people in the middle east will not agree with. Guitar pedals go right to left simply because it is a more ergonomically correct design that will provide convenience for almost everybody on this planet.