Introduction: Removable Guitar Killswitch

Picture of Removable Guitar Killswitch
If you're not ready to drill up your guitar to install a killswitch, here's an easy way to make one that you can take right off if you don't want it.

If you don't feel like reading, you can watch this video. Also, I played a little demonstration in the video.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

Here's what you need to make this.

Guitar Cable
Small Project Box
Electrical Tape
Guitar (Obviously)

Soldering Iron (optional)
Wire cutter/stripper

A note about the button. I got mine at RadioShack. MAKE SURE that the button is usually open. That means that when you aren't pressing it, it's off. If on the back of the packaging the button came in it says "Usually Closed" DO NOT buy that button!

Step 2: Attach Wires to Guitar Cable

Picture of Attach Wires to Guitar Cable

Unscrew the metal casing from one end of the guitar cable. Take off any plastic or rubble protection inside it. Wrap two wires around the things highlighted in red on the picture. To make sure you did it right, plug the cable into a guitar, play a note, and touch the two wires together, if the sound stops, you're doing great so far! If not, make sure you have the wires in the right places.

Step 3: Put the Cable Back Together

Picture of Put the Cable Back Together

Wrap anything that was originally covered in rubber or plastic in electrical tape. Run the two wires you attached under the metal casing and slide the casing back on. This part can be a bit tricky. If the wires don't fit, try thinner wires.

Step 4: Make the Box

Picture of Make the Box

Drill a hole in the top of your project box whatever size the button's packaging says to drill. Mine was 3/8th inches. Also drill a hole in the side of the box. Run the wires through the hole on the side and into the box. Put the button into the hole, then either twist, or twist and solder the wires onto separate pins on the button. Put the top back on the box and screw it back together.

Step 5: Attach It All to Your Guitar!

Picture of Attach It All to Your Guitar!

Now, using duct tape or velcro or something, attach the box on to a place on the guitar you can easily reach. Plug the cable into the guitar and try it out! It's a little tricky at first, but with practice, it'll sound good!

Try moving it to different places! Putting it in the lower left makes it easy to hit with your arm!

If you really like the killswitch and think you're ready to actually install one, check out this Instructable by pandaman0529!


stratattack (author)2011-03-08

The button used turns Off or On when pressed?

000yomama000 (author)stratattack2016-12-07

The button needs to be always open, so that when you press it it will close the circuit.

Trainguyxx (author)2011-11-26

Wow, I can't tell you how great this tutorial is! I have an ok quitar, but i didn't want to drill into it just for the killswitch. I used speaker wire, so it wasn't as streamline, so I had to use electrical tape over the solder-ed spot, but it worked very well none the less.

Thanks for a great and simple kill switch alternative!

jairwhipple (author)2011-02-12

Last night i built your kill switch :) Though instead of a button, I used a toggle switch. It rocks. Thanks for this instructable!

kobezbro (author)2009-11-25

ooh ooh ooh!

i saw you before a couple years ago when i made that cardboard head! i thought you looked familiar!

still have that thing lying around. i put a wig and sunglasses on it and called it Wally.   but thats for another day...

kobezbro (author)2009-11-25

i wouldnt do an invasive switch for my FIRST tele but i would love to start playing around with my second guitar.  I am a Sentimental packrat so i have a first everything that i wouldnt touch. first CD, first CD with that sticker, first CD with that sticker and a mark on it.   i am talking about the same album.

so i would like to do stuff with guitars. i would want to make my own one day but i am young and poor.

oh, BTW you would make a cool teacher.  cause really we are all talking about the rubber thing and not the flux capacity or whatever its scientifically called.

cubester808 (author)2009-10-17

the kill switch works great, but when i put on high gain for a scratching solo like tom morellos, i get a really loud hum, is there anyway to eliminate this?

shop dweller (author)2009-07-02

Cool. You should do a heavy metal cover of "Dr Who"

Pei0172 (author)2009-03-27

Hey Camera, could you be a nice fellow and post the guitar tab for "Jordan", or show me how to play it? I'm having a hard time near the end of riff 1, and pull-offs are kinda hard with my quiet amp. Thanks!

Omega13Shadow (author)Pei01722009-06-07

Go to it has any guitar or bass tab you could ever want.

Flash19950 (author)2008-08-13

how much does the guitar cable cost?????????????????

thisiscastro (author)Flash199502008-08-26

it cost 5.95

peach_fart (author)thisiscastro2009-04-22

lier, i got a 18.5 foot cable at guitar center and it costed almost 50 bucks.

BrandAid23 (author)peach_fart2009-05-26

he isn't a liar.....that just means you spent your money on a more expensive cable.....mine was 8 bucks and something, and the killswitch works the way it should.

rada194 (author)thisiscastro2008-09-05

is this jack above me

BrandAid23 (author)2009-05-26

That's very awesome.....I built this for my SG, and it only costs about 12 works perfectly, and i love using it now!! Thanks!!

Inderpal88 (author)2009-04-23

can't you just get it drilled and stuff at the store?i dont wanna break it!

maxxxem (author)2008-02-16

Can this short circuit your amp? don't you want to open the circuit?

maxxxem (author)maxxxem2008-03-14

Because all your doing is sending the electricty back to the amp, aren't you????

peach_fart (author)maxxxem2009-04-22

electricity goes back to the amp without this killswitch, thats how the signal gets sent.

othertonywilson (author)maxxxem2008-03-20

I would use a normally closed switch in series with the jack. Instead of the normally opened switch in parallel with the jack.

itsachen (author)othertonywilson2008-04-06

noo you want to send the electricity back to the amp but through the ground :D that means that the signal is lost, and u get no sound, when you press the button

maxxxem (author)othertonywilson2008-03-21


jpguitardude (author)2008-08-07

Is there any chance my guitar equip. could get damaged if i make and use it? I'm not worried about the process of making it.

peach_fart (author)jpguitardude2009-04-22

no chance, its just like unplugging your guitar (without the noise). all it does is create a circuit that closes before the power reacheas the guitar.

Canas (author)2009-03-02

This is awesome! I need a killswitch effect for an upcoming show, yet I feared I would have to drill a whole in my Dean. Will be starting this tomorrow after the snow lets up! Thanks!

beauwalker23 (author)2008-11-07

no duct tape! use a suction cup or someting. that would work better and not damage your guitar! great instructible by the way. me and my dad are going to try this tomorrow.

kneecaps (author)beauwalker232009-02-14

alcohol will remove any leftover adhesive left on your guitar. i believe it doesnt damae ur guitar when u put alcohol.

st.paul (author)2009-02-05

i finally got around to making one of these myself using this guide and it turned out great, so thanks for the awesome Instructable! oh and for the wire going from the guitar chord to the project box i used a curly phone line that i liked the look of.

IPlayGuitar (author)2008-11-29

Great instructable, makin it now. Quick question, if you made it with a switch instead of a button could you leave it on?

fearme36 (author)IPlayGuitar2009-01-22


st.paul (author)2009-01-13

great idea. i was thinking about putting it on my bass too! a microphone would be cool too.

4ng3l (author)2008-12-09

nice dude thanks so much

IPlayGuitar (author)2008-11-29

forget the last part of that comment does yours stay off whenever you push the button or is it off just while is pressed in?

It only stays off when the button is pushed in, but you can get a button that you can push to turn it off, then push it again to turn it on, if that's what you want.

guitar guy551 (author)2008-11-23

can u do this with any guitar or cable?

rada194 (author)2008-09-05

what if your top of cord doesn't screw off

Johnne (author)2008-08-18

nice job of esplaining your noninvasive momentary guitar off/on for teaching, everyone has their own way to teach, yours my friend was very cool, kept me interested - as for cost of guitar may purchase these for less than $10bucks depending on quality and length..the cable you used is a nice choice peeples, get a momentary contact switch, a box, size is dependant upon personal choice, wire up to the silver thingy, tape galore, and make awesome new sounds with your homemade noninvasive guitar switchy thingy!

emachine (author)2008-08-11

It's not completly removeble is cause it would just be hanging if you took it off the guitar right?

emachine (author)2008-08-11

Does it matter what size the box is cause i think it would be better with a smaller one

lespaul678 (author)2008-07-30

Yeah.... It's nice that your showing people how to fashion this device, but for future reference, you should spend a little more time learning about what your trying to "Teach" before you "Teach" it, to avoid referring to vital components as "Rubber thing" or "That" and "The thing that looks like this". I'm not trying to flame you, but it makes you look very unprofessional as a "Teacher" Other than that, nice.

Thanks for the tips, I never realized how stupid I sound. The next video I make I will try to use more descriptive language. Oh and nice username.

Bob Bobson (author)2008-07-26

Could i do the same thing with a toggle switch? or should anything be changed (as far as you know)?

megafeltch (author)2008-07-26

thanks a lot it work well I bought a momentary switch for two dollars yesterday and made one 5/5

angelofdeth68 (author)2008-07-17

Thanks! I just built one and it works great! if I meet you in real life I'm buyin you a beer 5/5

captainjohn (author)2008-06-18

Oh, the "Usually On" is called a momentary switch. I asked the guy for one that was "Usually Off" he said they all are until you turn them on. Thought this might help.

captainjohn (author)captainjohn2008-06-22

Does the wire need to be any specific gauge? Not sure if this will affect it or not.

sk8trboipyro (author)2008-05-05

Instead of the black project box, i used an altoids tin. I also thought of maybe connecting wires to the inside of the guitar like on a killswitch that is drilled but instead install a 1/8" jack on the side of the guitar then adding a 1/8" plug on the wires connected to the button. Then you could remove the killswitch and will be able to use more than one cable if you go to your friends house, Etc.

old_bass_masta (author)2008-03-17

I love the finish on your guitar, is it stock or custom?

It's totally stock.

About This Instructable




Bio: Film maker, musician, tinkerer. Living in Philly.
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