DIY Guitar Amp Footswitch

Amp Channel Switcher Pedal

If your guitar amp has more than one channel, odds are, you can use a footswitch to swap the channels at the press of a button. Most new amps will probably come supplied with a special footswitch. However, if it doesn’t or if you’ve purchased a used amp off of eBay/Gumtree, it makes sense to have a channel changing footswitch to unlock your amps full potential.

Purchasing a footswitch, especially a branded one, can be fairly expensive considering the components needed to actually build one. For less than £8 you could build your own single switch guitar amp footswitch or double switch amp footswitch for around £10.

If you’re new to electronics and have never used a soldering iron before, this would make for an ideal first project.

You can check out my soldering guide here.

There are very few components needed and the parts you will be using aren’t that sensitive to heat and can take a real beating.

Let’s run through our options, shall we?

Single Switch Guitar Amp DIY Footswitch

A single button guitar amp footswitch is perfect for changing between your clean tone and your amps dirty tone. This comes in a really small enclosure and will take up next to no space on your pedalboard. Plus, once you start using it to change your guitars channel, you’ll wonder how you got by, before it.

Items Needed

Here’s a list of the items we’ll need to build a single switch guitar amp DIY footswitch:

  • 1 ¼ Inch Mono Jack Input
  • 1 3PDT Footswitch
  • 1 Hammond 1590LB Enclosure
  • 2 Small Lengths of Wire

Wiring Diagram

Below is a wiring diagram of how these components fit together and what the pedal will look like once you’ve finished it.

As you can see, it’s a super simple build that doesn’t require much soldering and you could put it all together within an hour.

Build

To get started with this build, get all of your pedal components together and lay them out in front of you. This will make them easier to grab whilst you’re in the flow.

Get your soldering iron turned on and while you’re waiting for it to warm up, let’s strip the shielding off the end of your lengths of wire with your wire strippers. Removing the plastic shielding will expose the metal wire which you will use to connect between the parts. 

Once your soldering iron is up to temperature, we can get down to preparing all of the components and tin them with a bit of solder to make soldering your wires to them much easier.

As this build only requires two wires, you can go ahead and start off with these. Solder one wire to the sleeve and the other to the tip. Check out one of my wiring diagrams to help you decipher which is which.

With the wires attached to the input jack, it’s time to connect them to our footswitch. As you can see from our wiring diagram, the wire coming from the sleeve goes to terminal 6 of our footswitch and the wire coming from the tip of the jack input goes to terminal 9 (directly below 6). It doesn’t matter too much which way round you have the footswitch as long as the tip wire goes to the bottom right terminal of your footswitch and the sleeve goes to the terminal directly above it.

Before you add this to your enclosure, test it out. This is a good practice to get into as it will save you lots of troubleshooting time in the future.

If it works, excellent! Lets go ahead and put it into its enclosure. If it doesn’t work for some reason, go back and check your solder joints to make sure you have solid connections. Add a bit more solder if you’re not sure.

This pedal only requires two holes for your enclosure. One for the jack and one for the footswitch. The jack input will require a 10mm hole and the footswitch will require a 12mm hole. A good step drill bit will make tidy work of this but if you’re using a standard drill bit, you may need to run a file through the holes to smooth out any rough edges.

After the holes have been drilled you can assemble everything in your enclosure. Make sure all of the nuts are tightened. You don’t want anything to wiggle around when your using it. If the wires are too long, simply desolder the connections from the jack input, trim them down to the necessary length and reattach them. I’d suggest detaching them from the jack instead of the footswitch as the solder lugs on a jack input are generally much larger and easier to work with.

Give it another test and everything should work perfectly. The only thing left now is to decorate it to stand out on your pedalboard so you can make it out from your other pedals.

Double Switch Guitar Amp Footswitch

Amp Channel Switcher Pedal

A double button guitar amp footswitch is perfect for changing both amp channels and amp banks. For example, I use the left-hand switch of this pedal for my Boss Katana 50 to change the channel and the right to change the preset of that channel. This comes in a small enclosure and will take up very little space on your pedalboard but once you start using it, you’ll wonder how you ever played your amp without one.

Items Needed

Here’s a list of the items we’ll need to build a double switch guitar amp footswitch:

  • 2 ¼ Inch Stereo Jack Input
  • 2 3PDT Footswitch
  • 1 Hammond 1590A Enclosure
  • 4 Small Lengths of Wire

Wiring Diagram

Below is a wiring diagram of how these components fit together and what the pedal will look like in the enclosure once you’ve finished it.

As you can see, this is a little more complex than the single footswitch version but it’s still a very simple build that shouldn’t take you long to get working.

Build

As with all builds, to get started with this pedal we should get all of our components together and lay them out for easy access.

Get your soldering iron turned on and while you’re waiting for it to warm up, let’s strip the shielding off the end of all 4 of your lengths of wire. Removing this shielding will expose the internal metal wire which we use to connect the components together. 

Once your soldering iron is up to temperature, we can get down to preparing all of the components and tin them with a bit of solder to make soldering your wires to them much easier.

This is fairly similar to the single footswitch build, with the main differences being the addition of another footswitch and the mono input jack changing to a stereo input jack. The change from mono to stereo gives us an additional connection to the ring of the jack cable.

Taking your 4 lengths of tinned wire, attached one to each of the solder lugs of the stereo input jack. This leaves one wire left which needs to be attached to the sleeve of the input jack meaning you’ll have two wires coming from this one connection.

Take the wire coming from the tip of the input jack and connect that to terminal 6 of your footswitch. Then, take one of the wires coming from the sleeve and attach that to terminal 9 of your footswitch. This will be our right footswitch. 

For the left footswitch, take the wire from the input jack ring and attach that to terminal 4 of your footswitch. This leaves the remaining sleeve wire which needs to go to terminal 7 of the footswitch. This will be our left footswitch.

Before you add this to your enclosure, test it out. This is a great test to do before adding it into your enclosure as it will save you lots of troubleshooting time in the future.

If it works, awesome! If not, odds are you have a poor solder connection somewhere and you just need to take a look to see if any solder connections could be improved. As there are so few parts to this build, poor solder connections will be the most likely issue you’ll face.

Now that we know everything works, it’s time to put it into the enclosure. For this pedal, we need three holes. One for the jack input and One for each of the footswitches. The jack input will require a 10mm hole and each of the footswitches will require a 12mm hole. A good step drill bit will make tidy work of this but if you’re using a standard drill bit, you may need to run a file through the holes to smooth out any rough edges.

After the holes have been drilled you can assemble everything into your new enclosure. Make sure all of the nuts are tightened as you don’t want any movement whilst you’re using it for a gig. If any of the wires are too long, simply desolder the connections from the jack input, trim them down to the necessary length and reattach them. I’d suggest detaching them from the jack instead of the footswitch as the solder lugs on a jack input are generally much larger and easier to work with.

Give it another test and everything should work perfectly. The only thing left now is to decorate it to stand out on your pedalboard so you can make it out from your other pedals.

There we go, a super simple DIY guitar amp footswitch which will help you open your amp up to lots of tonal opportunities. If you hit any issues while building this, please let me know as I’m here to help and answer any questions you may have.

Want Me To Build Guitar Effects Pedals For You?

If you would like me to build any pedals for you, or put a kit together for you to build on your own, please get in touch and I'd be more than happy to help out. Just let me know what pedal you're after and where you're from. 

Get In Touch

Hi, I'm Pete!

I have been a guitar and effects pedal enthusiast since 2005 and electronics tinkerer since 2017.

I’m here to help you begin your journey with building DIY guitar effects pedals. Get in touch with me if you have any questions.

Contact Me

As an Amazon Associate I earn a commision from any qualifying purchases you make from links on my site and I truly appreciate any purchases you make.