Sunday, February 2, 2014

Effect Pedals & Trap doors

Face it, whether you are a boutique amp snob or not, you've probably bought an effect pedal. The cost to performance value is often low and therefore you get more for your money. It would be nice to have a quiver of amplifiers to call on for each song but that is not practical nor inexpensive. The economy changed in 2008 and is slowly recovering, as a consequence of the world financial disaster, we all started buying effect pedals. Why? You can get a refreshing new sound for $150.00 instead of mortgaging your future with the purchase of a $3000.00 amplifier. The primary proof of this phenomenon is the big box Christmas catalogs that grew from 5 pages of effects to a swath of 40 pages of effects. Enough history; where's the cool stuff??

Enter the trap door. Some pedals, though not all pedals, have niffy adjustments under the panel. Some of the adjustments are obvious and others not. Look up the specifications for your specific pedal or look under the hood yourself.

Some things to beware of:

  1. You might need to use a plastic screw driver.
  2. Using a proper ground lead is prudent.
  3. Note the initial settings on something that can be retrieved easily. 
  4. Know your home position.
  5. Know that each guitar, amp and multi-effect combo will react independently with your adjustments.
  6. Keep notes - Amps, guitars, likes, dislikes and yes - indoor temperature and % R.H. (look up germanium transistor gain drift as germanium performance has some temperature dependence compared to silicon transistors).
  7. MODIFICATIONS - BEWARE! - Even the most reputable modification house can screw up and the original manufacturer will not warranty a pedal that has been modified - Nor should they warranty a modification. Be smart.
  8. See #3 through #7 and due diligence. 
Modified EXH Memory Man

Modified poorly soldered Ground wire
Nice job!
Cool Trap door adjustments!
Insult to injury - The modifier crushed the pot shafts. NEVER TRY TO FIX in the manner depicted. The shaft will fracture when pried open

Unmodified Cool Trap door pedals!

Front Plate

MXR Carbon Copy Face Plate

Trap door!

  Trap Door - Blue square trim pot!

****Take notes and remember that changing guitars, pickups, amps, foot pedal chains will affect your tone. It would be unrealistic to think you can make changes; then swap out pedals like light bulbs without some affect to the end signal. 

! Don't make adjustments with the pedal plugged into the wall because you can be electrocuted and you can die!

Have fun and hope have fun chasing tones!

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