Pedal Switching
(or how I get a pseudo 4 channel amp)
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My setup is really unusual, and some would say it SHOULDN'T work! But basically I count on my Boss Tuner to be the buffer for my effects. It is first in the pedal chain, drives the input of FOUR other pedals, and so far it has worked well. If you try something like this, do some experimenting to make sure that you are not losing tone by splitting your signal to four separate pedals - the impedance of the multiple pedals can suck tone from your guitar if you're not buffered.

Rather than use an effects "chain", I put my pedals in four separate "channels", and then use a series of three A/B boxes to select which channel I want. The reason I do it is that I can change from any sound to any other sound with one stomp. OK, sometimes I have to hit another switch a little before the actual change to prep things, but at the time I need my sound to change, it is just one pedal stomp (example given below). With a typical "chain", I find I always have to hit more than one pedal to get from one sound to another. In my setup, most pedals are always on, with guitar signal to them all the time from a "splitter" I soldered up in a < $1 blue electrical box (shown below).

INPUT --> Split into four channels --> Individual pedal(s) in each channel --> A/B box network to select channel --> amp

Usually a channel is just one pedal, but occasionally I will boost a pedal with another, like boosting an overdrive with the DigiTech Bad Monkey, or a Clean Boost I built. (See Pedals page for details)

Channel 1 is almost always clean, or "warm clean" (a hint of overdrive).
Channel 2 is my normal rock overdrive (One of two Monte Allums modded Boss pedals, or an LED modded Boss DS-1)
Channel 3 varies, but right now it is my Barber Small Fry or modded BOSS OD-3 which I set for a good lead tone on the neck or combo pickup position
Channel 4 is my high gain, modern rock sound (Monte Allums modded Boss MT-2 pedal)

Example of how it works: Say that A/B switch #1 is set for the Channel 1 pedal and A/B switch #2 is set for the Channel 3 pedal. If A/B switch #3 is selecting the output of A/B switch #1, then I'm playing clean. If I stomp on A/B switch #1 then it takes me to my Channel #2 overdrive sound (Follow the red lines below)

On the other hand, if I had stomped on A/B switch #3, it would have taken me to my Channel 3 pedal, which might have been the Barber Small Fry.

If I want to get from channel 1 to channel 4, first I click A/B switch #2 to select Channel 4, which I can do at any time prior to the actual sound switch. That's the important thing - you can do that ahead of time. Remember, as long as switch #3 is selecting the ouput of switch #1, nothing you do to switch #2 matters. But once switch#2 is set to select Channel 4, then as soon as I stomp on switch#3, I am playing channel#4.

I bought several ART switches that do the A/B/Y thing, though I don't use the Y feature at all. Someday I am going to disconnect the footswitch for the Y function so I don't accidentally step on it any more. The picture below shows how my pedalboard is set up. "Channel 1" is no pedal, i.e., clean sound. "Channel 2" is the Bad Monkey (normally off except for leads) into the modded Blues Driver. "Channel 3" is the BOSS OD-3 (yellow pedal). "Channel 4" is the modded MT-2 (black pedal). The A/B box on the right is "switch#1", the one on the left is "switch#2" and the one in the middle is "switch#3" from the diagrams above. Including the Bad Monkey, I can get 5 separate sounds out of this and can switch from any one sound to any other sound with one stomp at the moment I need to change sounds.

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