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The “four-cable method” refers to a way to connect a compatible guitar multi-effects pedal to a guitar amplifier. Some digital multi-effects pedals have multiple inputs and outputs, and allow to route different effects to those different outputs, which allows you send effects to both the guitar input and the guitar amp’s effects loop simultaneously, depending on where the effect will sound best. For example, an overdrive or compressor is generally best in front of the amp’s input, while a delay or reverb will often work better in the amp’s effects loop.

If you have a such a guitar multi-effects pedal, here’s how you set up the four cable method:

  • Cable 1: Plug your guitar to the guitar input of your multi-effects (MFX) pedal.
  • Cable 2: Plug the send from your MFX pedal to the guitar input of your amplifier. Send all your distortion, boost, compressor, and wah-style effects to this send.
  • Cable 3: Plug the send from your amplifier’s effects loop into the return of your MFX pedal. Send all your delay, reverb, and modulation effects into this return
  • Cable 4: Plug the return from your MFX into the effect loop return of your amplifier.

This way, you can route the effects within your multi-effects unit the same way you would route individual stompboxes, but with much less fuss.

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