Boss FS-6 Clone: Build Your Own

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This is an explanation of how to create your own Boss FS-6 footswitch.

Most Roland guitar amplifiers and many Boss effect pedals require a footswitch in order to be used to their full potential. However, the only branded product is the Boss FS-6 (or FS-5). This is a fine product; high quality, sturdy and very useful. The FS pedals have 2 major drawbacks. The first is that they are expensive. The second, and to me the most important, is that they are HUGE!

This first became an issue for me when I got my Boss RC-3 Loop Station (shout-out to my beautiful wife Angela for the awesome Christmas present). In order to make the most of this looper you need a double footswitch. On a pedalboard, the FS-6 takes up 2 times the space of the Loop Station itself. Well, that dog just don't hunt.

So, I began doing some research, and some shopping, and decided to go my own way. Here is how I did it...

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Step 1: Boss FS-6 Clone: Materials

Here is what you will need:

From MammothElectronics.com:
1. 2 DPDT Momentary switches #800-1001, $3.90 ea.
2. 2 SPDT Shorty Toggle switches #800-1008, $1.78 ea.
3. 2 Shorty Toggle switch covers #, $801-T2-0001, $0.30 ea.
4. 1 1/4 in. stereo jack #610-1001, $0.70
5. 1 Enclosure #500-1000, $9.07, with choice of color

From Ace Hardware (if you are bothering to read this article, you likely have these things in your garage):
1. Quality soldering iron
2. Red & Black wire
3. Wire clippers
4. I also highly recommend springing for a soldering station. If you are into this kind of thing you will get your money's worth over time.


Step 2: Boss FS-6 Clone: the Plan

This is the schematic for the footswitch we are going to build.

The basics:
You need the footswitches to be DPDT (Double-pole, Double-throw) and the toggle to be SPST (on-off-on). This allows the footswitch to be switched between 'normally open' or 'normally closed'. My RC-3 Loop Station needs 'normally closed', but since we are trying to make a solid clone, we want it to be able to switch like the FS-6.

The FS-6 itself uses sliding switches, which are elegant, but ultimately very challenging to execute neatly in a home workroom, so it's toggles for us. Be sure you buy the short toggles so they are not in the way when you step on the footswitch.

You also need the DPDT switch to be momentary, meaning that it doesn't latch when you press it. It opens, sends the signal, then closes again. Here we can not match the FS-6. The original Boss can be switched to be latching or non-latching.

Final note on the switches: I recommend the x-wing style soldering lugs for the switch. It gets pretty tight inside the enclosure, so you will need a low profile.

Next, we need a 1\4 in. stereo jack, also called TRS (Tip, Ring, Sleeve) in order to accommodate 2 switches. You can also use this footswitch for a device that only has one lead. In that case, only the switch wired to the tip will be active.

Finally, you need your enclosure. If you are unable to download the real schematic from this site, you should be able to copy over the dimensions and details to some graph paper, or use Visio like I did. I bought my enclosure from MammothElectronics.com, where you can order them already painted. Awesome.

Step 3: Boss FS-6 Clone: Soldering Switches and Toggles

Alright, let's get busy.

1. Cut wires
a. 2 x 2.5 in. red
b. 2 x 2.5 in. black
c. 2 x 5 in. red
d. 2 x 5 in. black

2. Solder
a. small red to top of switch and top of toggle
b. small black to bottom of switch and bottom of toggle
c. long black to middle of toggle
d. long red to middle of switch

Step 4: Boss FS-6 Clone: Soldering the Stereo (TRS) Jack

Now we will complete this circuit with the stereo jack.

1. Solder
a. wrap the end of the two black wires together
b. solder black wires to the Sleeve lug (ground)
c. solder red wire 1 to the Tip lug
d. solder red wire 2 to the Ring lug

Step 5: Boss FS-6 Clone: the Enclosure

This is the cool part that everyone will see, so be careful.

First, tape your template to the enclosure with some masking tape. Take your time to make sure it is on perfectly straight. Cover the whole paper with the tape to prevent scratching with your drill.

Drill the holes:
1. Switch holes - 1/2 in. bit
2. Toggle holes - 7/32 in. bit
3. Jack hole - 1/4 in. bit

Don't get crazy with the drill. Use a fast, but controllable speed. Make sure your bit is centered on the schematic. Start slow to make a small dent to guide you in for the big finish. Take it easy. If you botch it here, you will be unhappy, and if you think like me, will soon be ordering up a new enclosure to try again.

Once the holes are drilled, use an air canister and blow out any metal shards. Then remove the tape, and blow out any left over shards. Don't wipe, you don't want to scratch that finish now after having been so careful with the drill.

Step 6: Boss FS-6 Clone: Assemble

Now we put it all together.

Take a close look at the space you have. Plan it out by bending the wires around neatly before actually installing in the enclosure. When you are set, install and tighten down the nuts. Make sure you have the washers in the right place, or you might short out your circuit.

Once installed, have another look at your wires. Arrange them so they are out of the way of each other, and so they look pretty. When you are satisfied, attach the bottom panel and screw it home.

Step 7: Boss FS-6 Clone: Finish

Congratulations! You have just created a very stylish, compact and functional, dual momentary, normal open/normal closed, Boss FS-6 Clone, footswitch!

I hope you had fun with this project. I did. Now, plug in and go Rock & Roll.

19 People Made This Project!

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68 Discussions

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jhewitt3

8 weeks ago on Step 1

This DOES NOT have both latching and momentary options, if using for the BOSS KATANA series you need dpdt LATCHING, not momentary.

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dust2524

11 months ago

Can anyone tell me how this works with the Boss Katana? Just finished building it for fun and plugged it in the footswitch input using a TRS cable and am kind of confused as to what each footswitch/toggle does. Thanks in advance for any answers.

5 replies
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jrk373dust2524

Reply 11 months ago

Hi there,

I'm sorry, I'm not familiar with the Katana. :(

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jrk373jrk373

Reply 11 months ago

A second thought...if the Katana manual has any info on what a foot switch would do, this probably does the same thing.

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kukimonsterjrk373

Reply 2 months ago

I have a Katana and this build does not work.
The Boss FS-6 has both Latching and Momentary, which is switchable.
This project needs latching footswitches, so DPDT on on rather than DPDT on (on).

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dust2524dust2524

Reply 10 months ago

I was able to find DPDT latching footswitches. Hopefully I can get this functioning properly.

989DA871-8B4C-4CA7-9D74-0686493D1326.jpeg
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Edwin0dust2524

Reply 11 months ago

Same here. Got it all together, DPDT Momentary switches and

2 SPDT Toggle switches etc.but it works weird, it doesnt stay on the chosen channel and can't go back to 'panel-only'.

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mjonnn

4 months ago

Using with Katana 50. Channel and bank switching.

IMG_20190507_192712.jpgIMG_20190507_192754.jpgIMG_20190508_223451.jpg
1 reply
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IvAnH94mjonnn

Reply 2 months ago

Is it the same scheme as the clone fs-6?
Does it work without LEDs?

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mjonnnRinyS

Answer 4 months ago

Just done the same job. See my post on here somewhere!! Wiring schematic ... as main article for the footswitch (you can dispense with the polarity switches) For totally isolated (from footswich circuitry) LED wiring , see my rough diagram!

IMG_20190507_192712.jpgIMG_20190507_192754.jpgIMG_20190508_223451.jpg
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memorabowls

Question 5 months ago on Step 1

after you build the peddle how do you work it.
i need instructions for my old brain, using it on an rc30
thanks

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mjonnn

Question 5 months ago on Step 4

Similar question to one below but I can't find definitive answer. I want to use the FS-6 Clone on a Boss Katana 50 . I assume that latching switches are needed (as instructions on the real FS-6 indicate latch option ) Also I am not certain of the function of the toggle switches for my purpose (no need to change polarity) I wonder if anyone has successfully made a CLONE FS-6 with use on a KATANA 50, Thanks in anticipation, Instructables - great site!

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BenH303

8 months ago

Thanks - thats inspired me to try something based on this but I could do with some help if anyone can give me a guide.

What I need is to control 2 loop pedals as sample play back devices where I can easily;
1- Start / Stop and Sample Select for each pedal with the simplest switch pressing possible
2- Ability to stop one pedal and start the other with one switch (think SOLO but playing from start of sample not just a Solo you'd see on a mixing console that just mutes the rest of the audio tracks)

What would I need to do to point 2? Is there some way to 'batch up' the control pulses sent to the pedals to automate a STOP to one and a START to the other?

Thanks in advance and apologies if this seems daft...

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BenM90

3 years ago

Great instructions, mate, thanks. Must have done something wrong though. On my AC33, one switch works as rec/play/overdub and the other has no effect at all. Any ideas?

2 replies
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SeanA99BenM90

Reply 8 months ago

are you using a stereo cable? That's what this is designed for

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jrk373BenM90

Reply 3 years ago

When I first built it, I found I had the toggles backward. Maybe just try different positions with toggles?

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mikija

3 years ago

I tried to build something similar, but before, I tested how the FS-6 is working with my DR-3 rhythm machine. Well, not exactly as I expected. The left switch starts the rhythm, but does not stop it and the right one does not toggle through all the patterns, onlsy some of them.

I checked the DR-3 Manual and found that one or two FS-5U can be used with this device, and not FS-6.

I wonder what should I change in order to make DIY version of FS-5U (x2, with two separate outputs and short toggle switches). An advice will be appreciate.

Thanks.

2 replies
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UpiWmikija

Reply 2 years ago

Many of the FS-5U and FS-6 reviews claim that the FS-6 is simple two FS-5Us joined together

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SeanA99UpiW

Reply 8 months ago

right. and as this FS-6 has a stereo line plug, it's using the tip for one, and the middle for the other. To get the effect of 2x FS-5U pedals, you'd use a stereo to 2x mono Y cable, and the mono plugs would each operate one of the functions for that mono switch output.