ANALOG TOM with ANALOG MIKE
Q & A, Part Three
Greetings pedalheads! Welcome back to
“Stomp School.” This month we’ll conclude
our Q & A segment with this last batch of
reader questions. This was a great idea that
worked out very nicely, so we may revisit the
Stomp School Q & A format again down the
line. In the meantime, if you have any questions for us, please feel free to send them to
let’s answer some questions…
Q: My true-bypass pedal is popping,
A: All pedals with true bypass are prone
to pop a little when the switch is clicked
on, but most are designed to pop the
minimum amount possible. When you first
plug into some true-bypass pedals, they
will pop very loudly until the capacitors
charge up. This will diminish after the
switches are cycled and a few minutes
have passed. Popping may be louder
when pedals are turned up louder.
To test for actual problems, check it with
just guitar > that pedal > amp. Test it with
another amp too; a leaky input cap or
preamp tube on an amp can make a true-bypass pedal pop. The reason to remove
other pedals from the signal path is that
they can cause a true-bypass pedal to pop
if one of the other pedals has a DC leak (bad
capacitor). Also try a new battery or power
supply, as a weak one can cause it to pop.
Q: I am running a clean boost into my over-
drive pedal, but it’s not getting any louder.
A: The order of a clean boost and a dirt
pedal (overdrive or distortion) determines
what the clean boost will do. A clean boost
into a distortion pedal will add more distortion. That’s because the distortion pedal is
already clipping, and it will just clip more
when you hit it harder. That’s also why a small
amp cranked up (or a Marshall on 10) does
not get louder when you hit it with a louder
signal, it’s already out of headroom so it can
only distort more. This is how a lot of us used
the Electro-Harmonix LPB- 1 back in the day,
to overdrive the amp.
A clean boost after a dirt pedal, however, will
increase the volume without adding more
distortion. So put it where it will do what you
want (or get two: one for more distortion and
one for more volume!)
can cause a true-
bypass pedal to pop
if one of the other
pedals has a DC leak
Q: My new pedal with true-bypass is not
turning on! Help!
A: Often a “bad switch” is just a new switch
where the internal rocker has not seated
quite right yet, especially after shipping—it
can get a little out-of-whack. First try to get
the switch set right by turning it on and off
a dozen or so times rapidly. That will usually
fix the switch problem. If not, it’s best to try
resoldering the switch, as that will tend to
get everything flowing well. Touch up the solder joint on the switch with the problem by
adding a little solder to each lug. You need
to do it quickly without heating up the switch
too much. You also need to allow the switch
to cool down a little before doing the next
switch lug. Make sure to use SN60 or SN63
electronic solder with flux, made for electronics, not plumbing solder. That usually fixes a
new switch problem.
Q: Can you modify or repair my (insert $30
plastic happy-meal toy brand here) pedal?
A: The problem with cheap pedals like that
is that they use cheap proprietary parts
(jacks, switches, pots, etc). These often
break and can’t be replaced, as the sturdy
parts that are used in handmade, handwired pedals won’t fit. They use circuit
boards that have all the parts mounted on
them in order to make the pedals cheaply
with machine soldering.
In most cases, they also cannot be modified for true bypass, as they don’t have
free mounted stomp switches with wires
that can be redone. So mods or repairs
on these pedals will cost as much or more
than getting new one, which will probably
break soon as well. We recommend investing in a quality pedal that will last longer
and can be repaired if it is broken, or
modified for improvements.
Well, that’s it for now. Let us know if you
have any questions for future Q & A segments. And, as always, check back with us
again next month for more pedal mania.
Until then, keep on stompin’!
(a.k.a. Analog Tom) is the owner and proprietor of For
Musicians Only ( formusiciansonly.com) and author of
Analog Man’s Guide To Vintage Effects. Questions or
comments about this article can be sent to:
( analogman.com) is one of the largest boutique
effects manufacturers and retailers in the business,
established by “Analog” Mike Piera in 1993.
Mike can be reached at AnalogMike@aol.com.