New Project: Loop Switch Pedal Build, Phase 1


o while the Bianchi project is on hiatus while I wait for the frame to be re-painted (long, crow-eating post to follow with more details on that one), I’ve been immersing myself in music again. When I found myself with some Christmas money burning a hole in my pocket recently, I decided to spend it on something that would also allow me to learn a little something about electronics. After really thinking about what I wanted out of my pedalboard—and studying the pedalboard of The Joy Formidable‘s guitarist, Ritzy Bryan), I realized the key to being able to switch on and off an entire bank of pedals at once is a loop switcher.

What is a loop switcher, you ask? It’s a pedal that simply has one or more effects loops built into it. The guitar signal goes in, then is routed through as many effects loops as the pedal has. Each loop could have one or more pedals wired into it. When the switch for a loop is enabled, the guitar signal is sent through that loop, then sent through any successive loops, then to the output, which goes to the amp. Each loop is true bypass, meaning when it’s disabled the guitar signal is not passed through the pedals in the disengaged loop. In my case, I’ll have one loop dedicated to distortion effects, and the other loop with delay and modulation effects. This will allow me to turn on 5 – 6 pedals at once and silence them all instantly with the click of one switch. Great for bursts of noise or to switch a guitar from clean and dry to insane and ethereal. I decided to map out how I’d re-arrange my pedaboard with such a change and here is what I came up with (click to enlarge):


Anyhow, back to that whole shopping thing. I quickly noticed that most of the loop switchers out there cost more than I had to spend. After looking at what seemed like thousands of pedal makers’ web sites, enter Road Rage Pro Gear, a company in Canada who specializes in loop switchers, and who also happens to sell a few DIY kits. I purchased their two-channel kit and was super impressed by their service (they gave me a retroactive Christmas discount refund!) and their documentation. The kit arrived a couple weeks later via Canadian Post/USPS and was nicely packaged. All the parts were securely packed and organized and their cases are nicely milled and designed:


Ever enthusiastic to dive in, I began installing the switches and jacks into the case, ultimately realizing this project would be much cooler if I did some custom graphics for it. So I did a little research. Turns out waterslide sticker paper works well for this, and a company called Papillo makes an inkjet friendly clear waterslide paper. Adobe Illustrator CS4ScreenSnapz001So I opened up Adobe Illustrator and began roughing out some ideas. I needed to match the dimensions of the pedal face, the locations of the switches and LEDs, and most importantly a goofy name.

After some uninspired brainstorming, I settled on the name “Killswitch,” which seemed apropos and was just kitschy enough that I could find some kind of retro graphic to slap on there to drive it all home. Since I’m not making any money off this and it’s a one-off personal project, I did a Google image search and found the perfect image. I then decided a grungy Victorian circus poster motif would be a nice fit. But how to tie it all together? I looked at several of my other pedals and settled on the final design, which I mocked up in Photoshop over a blurry photo of the pedal face. I’m stoked. Once the waterslide paper I ordered arrives, I’ll get it all printed out and affixed, then will clearcoat it. At that point, I’ll be able to dive into the pedal build.


Be sure to check out the finished product!



  1. Bret Van Horn » Bret Van Horn Dot Org » Loop Switch Pedal Build, Phase 2 - [...] I actually finished this project, for which I documented Phase 1 a few months ago. Good news is that…

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