How to repair your guitar effects pedal
Friday 17th of April 2009 01:53:24 PM
By: Jake Farey
See how to repair your broken guitar effects pedal. Use our in-depth guide and little care to fix your pedals without resorting to expert attention
We thought it might be useful, in these hard-hit times, to gently acquaint you with the idea of repairing some of those derelict fuzzes and wahs that seem to fetch such a healthy price on the net. If you’re not in the mood to sell, you can still feel the warm glow of restoring an old friend to life and perhaps recreate the buzz of when you first bought it. At worst, it’ll occupy a rainy afternoon and save the cost of an hour at your local repairer’s. We’re dealing with a simple battery-powered circuit that isn’t likely to bite, smoke, or go bang if you do something wrong. These tasks don’t need a microscope or surface mount device soldering gear, so anyone who can find out the basics of how to use a meter and a soldering iron can expect to get their dead pedals working.
Unbending the ToneBender
Our patient is a Colorsound Tonebender from the 1970s (pic 1), a popular fuzz at the time and still widely used by retro fans. This clean, non-working example is unlikely to need any obscure or awkward work on its casing. It's dead on one throw of the footswitch, but okay in bypass, which means the jacks and the footswitch are in order. As always, what's still working tells us a bit about what isn't.
The first step is always a close visual inspection, so we need to remove the cover. This is easy – all that fixes it are two screws through the side (pic 2). With these removed, gently prising out one end will free the cover, which is a firm push-fit. With the circuitry to view, examine the board, jacks and wiring for visible breaks or discontinuities ('disco's', in tech jargon). This might seem simplistic but a pedal lives on the floor, often in the dark, and can be on the receiving end of a size 12 Doc Martin – so mechanical breaks are common.
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