Ever thought it might be cool to get into pedal modding but didn’t know where to start? Problem solved. Here, Ben Fulton, CEO and head esigner at Red Witch Analog Pedals in New Zealand, walks you step-by-step through four mods perfect for the budding solder jockey.
By Ben fuLTon
For a certain breed, the very notion of pedal modifications—the process of changing
or altering some aspect of an existing effects
pedal—conjures dreams of creating the ulti-
mate pedal. Something uniquely capable of
providing a portal into uncharted regions of
creativity. Something that inspires gig tales
in the vein of, “Yeah, man, I was about to
launch into my solo, so I stepped on my
custom-modded [INSERT PEDAL NAME
HERE] and … Oh. My. GOD. The heavens
opened … angels wept … and some guy
with excellent hair and a beard gave me the
Arthur Fonzarelli double thumbs up. My solo
changed lives that night. Some say world peace
became a tangible possibility. However, it
would have been nothing without my custom
modded [INSERT PEDAL NAME HERE].”
Or something like that.
At the other end of the spectrum, you’ve
got players who ask, “Why on earth would
I want to mess with a perfectly good piece
of kit?” Which is a fair point, to be sure.
And then there are those in the middle who
are curious and who, maybe—just maybe—
might like to try a few easy or medium-difficulty mods just for kicks. This article is
for those guys.
Though all mods are intended to result in
elevated creative output, they fall into three
categories: aesthetic, tonal, and structural.
Aesthetic mods alter or improve the stompbox’s appearance, tonal mods change the actual sound of the device, and structural mods
improve the pedal’s build quality or reliability.
If you’re ready to take on one or more
of the following mods, please read all the
instructions before deciding if you want to
try it, and only do so if you’re confident
you can complete the procedure. All the
mods work perfectly when executed cor-
rectly, but neither Premier Guitar nor I can
provide support if things don’t work out
right. (Sorry!) Another point to keep in
mind before proceeding is that your pedal’s
warranty will be rendered null and void as
soon as any aspect of its circuit is modified.
If you’re cool with that, let’s dive in.
Soldering Brush Up
Okay, first things first. These mods require
you to open up your pedal and desolder
and solder things. If you’ve never soldered
before, you’ll definitely want to practice a
bunch before dripping molten metal alloys
into your beloved pedal. You can find a very
helpful and thorough soldering tutorial on
You Tube if you search for “How and Why
to Solder Correctly.” For a great clip about
removing solder, search for “How to Solder:
All right, now that that’s all sorted, on to
the fun stuff!