Hi there,
I am a guitar player with a nick for electronic sounds. For some years now I have been thinking to use modular to process my guitar, basically using it as an incredibly powerful effect box to do all things that I difficultly can with my pedalboard: freeze, sample & resample, filter, chop, etc....

Now I am finally deciding what I need to get started into this whole thing.

I am looking on the best starting modules to put in between my guitar and amplifier:
-input module for guitar (amplification) - ears
-output module for amplifier (attenuator) - doepfer a-138d
-power - tiptop audio uzeus
- doepfer wasp filter
- mutable clouds (I know it is discontinued, anyone has any idea on an alternative?)
- morphagene (expensive! cheaper alternatives?)

...and then I need advice on which control modules to put to control these beauties (vca's? pamela? sequencers?)

as said, I need advice on the minimal setup to start into it and have some fun.


One thing worth noting: Pittsburgh Modular had a stompbox Eurorack cab until a few years ago. Here's the page: https://pittsburghmodular.com/patch-box/ It's discontinued, but if you look around in the usual used gear locations, you might turn one up. While it doesn't hold a lot of modules, it would make for an excellent foot controller for a bigger system.

Hi lugia,
Thanks for the input, I knew already about the pittsburgh, but i am actually looking forward towards having controls at hand and not at foot! :)
Lately I was having most pedals raised for that reason.
Would you have any idea if the doepfer's attenuated output could be quiet enough to be run into a guitar amplifier?

I would think so...however, I'd also be concerned that there was a potential mismatch if the idea is to plug the modular right into the amp. While the A-138d is designed to be used with stompbox send/returns, plugging it directly into an instrument-level input might cause both some overloading and impedence mismatching. For that reason, you might want to look at a load-matching device such as Radial's Tonebone Dragster to correct any issues in that connection.

And admittedly, I'm not 100% sold on using the A-138d for that purpose anyway. It's not bad as a send/return, but I think there's better and, more importantly, smaller candidates for that out there (Malekko, Bastl, etc). As far as outputs go, though, get something that has some isolation on it (ground loop hum issues between synth and amp are a very real possibility!). But looking a little further, I do see something of a problem with using the Ears module as an input. For one thing, it has no direct input jack for a 1/4" plug. It's also intended as something of a contact mic module...not exactly what's called for here. My suggestion would be to look at Sputnik's EF/Preamp instead; this offers impedence matching for instruments, has a full-on envelope follower, decade-switched input preamp level control, and the proper sort of jack to hook in directly to the modular.

I agree with Lugia, ditch the Ears for something like Sputnik's EF/Preamp or consider a Doepfer A-119 Ext., they're easier to come by. Skip the138-d and look at conventional 1/4" outputs like a WMD Pro Output. I'd also add at least a few VCA's, reverb and delay.


Thanks a lot for the useful comments guys, highly appreciated!
I was definitely not aware of the possible grounding and impedance problems that I could have gone into.

The sputnik and wmd inputs and outputs look really perfect, but I am afraid they also are a bit on the expensive side for starting off.
Given that I could easily use a conversion cable between the jacks especially in the output, do you think I could use something like the malekko 8nu8r as output attenuation module?

For the input I am thinking about it, since ears has envelope follower but no 1/4 jack in, while the doepfer a-119 has the opposite problem if I remember well

I haven't tried what you're trying to do with an 8nu8r.
The A-119 does have an envelope out and a gate, as well as audio out.

If money is an issue the minimum setup I would recommend is 1/4" input and output modules, the Wasp Filter and an Erica Synths Pico DSP and a few VCA's. Next I'd get an Envelope generator and LFO to see how they effect the sound. You may want distortion or a different filter. I like the Erica Synths Dual drive for distortion. Basically refine the sound you're getting to the amp.
It's likely going to take a bit of experimenting to get through this process.

The Morphagene and Clouds are useless if you don't have sounds you like. I wouldn't get them until you get sounds you like going to your amp.

Also, search Google and YouTube for "Guitar through Eurorack" to see what other people are doing.

Good Luck!


I've seen a few posts regarding Eurorack as a guitar processing rig. Has anyone successfully pulled this off in a live set-up? I ask because modular is a very hands-on format requiring at least one hand and guitar almost always requires two. How do you go about tweaking a Clouds module in the middle of a song?

I can see using modular for post processing especially if you're reamping the signal through modular. But I'm most curious about the ergonomics of actual use rather than being able to theoretically put it into practice. I'm not a guitarist by trade and it's for my own edification.

Hi Ronin1973,
I do not have a modular setup yet, but as a guitarist using my guitar pedalboard at hand level for years, I feel I can answer you at least partially:

Depends on what you intend to do.

In my case, I liked to sample my guitar either with a looper at my feet or with a sampling pedal at my hands, which I would activate with my picking hand after the picking action (I use no plectrum, which probably helps). After that, I would manipulate the samples/loops with my hands.

If you intend guitar playing in the most common sense, then a foot-controlled setup is definitely better, but if you are into sample and hold manipulation, hands level controls are great.

In addition to this, my idea was using the guitar signal's envelope/gate along with a couple of expression pedals to control some things hands free.

I would be interested to see how anyone actually did that too in a live situation.

I have been experimenting trying to get my guitar to work with eurorack, and I have to agree that it's quite difficult.

Essentially it requires setting up the patch first, and cleverly, so that you can control the rack with minimal effort when it's time to record. I use the Planar2 to switch between settings, as I can bump the joystick very easily. I also use Ears as an envelope follower, and the CV from that gets patched into Felix (which is a buffered-mult with attenuvertors on each outputs), which sends the expression basically to all the parts of my rack.

Well so far I've not made anything musical out of it yet... basically setting up takes too much farting around with the sound design and tuning and things. Tuning your guitar with the eurorack is a PITA. At this stage, I'm learning this totally new workflow of doing all the knob-twiddling first, fine tuning the range, and then linking it up to controllers so I can use my feet to control the synth.

Interesting... Do you run your rig into the pa or into your amp?

Interesting... Do you run your rig into the pa or into your amp?
-- nlscelli

I run it into my amp, and also split the signal into a USB audio input for recording, and I use monitor speakers. I don't have a PA since I don't gig, just mess around in the studio for now.

Overall my opinion on eurorack as a guitar effects is that standard pedals are probably better and more powerful (and loads cheaper)... However, having all the patching options will let you make different and interesting sounds.

About the expense I certainly agree ;)

What do you use as an output module to run the rack into the amp?

About the expense I certainly agree ;)

What do you use as an output module to run the rack into the amp?
-- nlscelli

Intellijel 1U Audio I/O module. With the 1U 1/4 jacks installed on the right side of my rack.

You should definitely check out Strymon AA.1
Works very well with guitar pedals