Introduction: Simple Volume Boost Pedal Hack With No Electronics!

About: I'm a grad student working on autonomous systems at the Georgia Institute of Technology in the Aerospace Systems Design Lab. Before that, I was a music major for a while! C'est la vie...

I've never been one to use a clean boost pedal. They are expensive, they use up precious milliamps and patch cables, and there are so many other ways to increase your volume without buying a new pedal.

For a while, I used the volume knob on my guitar for a boost, but of course that doesn't work with distortion - it makes the tone cleaner, but doesn't reduce volume unless your tone is already clean. So I switched to rocking my volume pedal back a few millimeters, only pushing it up to full volume for a clean boost. The problem with this approach is that you can never quite be sure you're getting it back to the same place when you come off the boost.

So I put my engineering skills to work and came up with a hack requiring nothing but a quick trip to your local hardware store. You do not need any electronics/soldering experience for this build. In fact, there are a million ways to implement this very basic concept, so feel free to use your own ingenuity to modify and improve what I have done. This Instructable is less of a how-to and more of a free dissemination of a new concept.

Step 1: The Idea

There are two requirements the build must satisfy:

  • Some kind of "doorstop" to keep the volume pedal from rocking back past a certain point
  • Retain the ability to use the full range of the volume pedal when desired

There are a million ways to meet these two basic requirements!

I approached it like this: I needed something sturdy and rigid for the doorstop. I wanted a hinge so I can swing the doorstop out of the way when I want to access the full range of motion. Finally, I needed a base to attach the assembly either to my pedalboard or to the volume pedal itself.

So I bought a hinge from Lowes, and put a bolt through one of the holes to serve as the doorstop. I attached the other side of the hinge to a piece of wood to serve as the base. I attached an L-bracket to the wood base for stability and put velcro on the bottom to mate with my pedalboard. That's all there is to it!

Some experimentation is required to put the doorstop at the right height for the desired amount of boost. I also had to find a way to make the hinge swing to the correct position every time. That's what the black wheel is for. It presses against the wood base when the hinge is at the correct angle and stops the hinge from swinging further.

I keep the pedal rocked back against the stopper most of the time, and rock the pedal forward for a boost. It's quite easy to swing the hinge out of the way with my foot in order to use the full range of the pedal. It's great, and costs much less than a $60 pedal!

Please feel free to comment with any feedback, improvements, or suggestions. It will be fun to see how this idea spreads! Enjoy!