Repair Your Footswitches (SPDT, DPDT, 3PDT)




Building your own guitar FX is fun (and mostly cheap). They have to sound nice, look nice and of course: work well. I have built several guitar FX for me and my friends, which all sound nice!

After a while some of them came with footswitch problems. You had to click the footswitch several times before the sound came through completely. If not, it sounded like you turned the volume down, so the signal was very weak. This happened in both way, with the FX on and the FX off. Annoying!

You can do two things: Buy high quality footswitches (can be very expensive!) instead of these economical footswitches, OR fix it yourself! I fixed like 10 switches, and 8 of them did work again after using this method (And they still do!)

You will need the following tools:
  • Screwdriver (Flat and star)
  • Welder
  • Clipper
  • Pincet

I used economical style (X-wing) footswitschs, but I think it'll work for almost every sort of footswitch. I'm not responsible for any damage to the footswitch, your tools or yourself! You can void your warranty of commercial guitar FX!

Step 1: Isolate the Footswitch From the FX

Remove the screws from the backplate. Then create a picture of the current wiring, it's a lot easier if you put the switch back later. Remove the nut from the footswitch on the front of the FX. The switch will come loose. Remove all wires by desoldering them.

I left the red wire in place because It doesn't go anywhere.

Step 2: Break the Switch Open

The switch is held together by 4 clamps on its body. Bend all clamps a bit up by using a flet screwdriver. If you only bend one side, you'll get problems putting it back together. Carefully open it and put the parts away.

Step 3: Cleaning

Clean the metal plates and put them back in on their place. Use a pincet to do this the fastest way.

Step 4: Filling Up the 'pushers'

I believe the switch won't work proberbly after a while because the metale plates make bad contact. To make sure they will, you need to fill up the holes behind the pushers.

You can use some paper to fill it up, but make sure they lay flat by pushing it with a stick that will fit in. After you filled the holes, gently put the pushers back in place.

Be carefull! If you use to much paper, the footswitch won't work anymore. Find out yourself howmuch you'll need.

Step 5: Put It Back Together

This might be a tricky step, but it'll work. First put the pusher back on it's place. If you you can simulate the clicks by moving it up and down, it'll work. If not, you have put too much to fill the space of the pusher.

Put the white plastic pin and the spring back on its place (Picture 2 and 3). Then gently put both sides together and bend the clamps back on their place with a clip.

Then install the switch back on it's place (Step 1 reversed), but do not tight the nut; give it a test run first.

Step 6: After the Repair

This repair worked out succesfully for me!

If it doesn't work, try again. If the switch doesn't click at all, you proberbly have used too much paper for filling up the holes, or the metal plates are out of their place.

I hope I can help someone by offering this instructable!



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    8 Discussions


    1 year ago

    I'm glad you could fix it :)


    3 years ago

    Hi buddy!

    I'm trying to hack a latching DPDT into a momentary DPDT.

    do you think that is possible? can I "Break" the latch?

    Thanks in advance!


    9 years ago on Step 6

    yeah it didnt work for me but mine only had lil metal thing and 1 of the lil black things, the switch was for my marshall mg 30DFX it was for my DFX but i guess it doesnt work on mine becasue it never did


    12 years ago

    can you put up some pedal-making instructables?

    3 replies

    Reply 12 years ago

    May know this already, but General Guitar Gadgets seems like a good place to start . I don't mess around the guitar much anymore, but was tempted to make the ITS8 (Tube Screamer 808 Replica) esp. since you can order the printed circuit board pretty cheap there (the full kit is not so bad $$-wise seeing what real 808s go for).

    Good luck.


    12 years ago

    this might work. I tried thisbut my amp is at the place we parctice. So I will let you know how it went. tbc.