How To Build A True Bypass Loop Pedal
Under: Guitar Gear
If you’ve ever wanted to build a simple true bypass loop pedal then it’s not as hard as you think! We’ll also discover how to add tuner out and master bypass.
While you can buy something simple like Radial BigShot EFX True Bypass Effects Loop Switcher. Or even a more complex looper like the JOYO PXL4. Building exactly what you need is actually quite simple when you know what you’re doing.
What You Need
You need a few tools including a soldering iron and solder, wire cutters. If you have a vice, then that will help to speed up the process. Also, try to find a piece of wood to work on.
All of these true bypass loop pedals have 5 basic components: Mono jack socket(s), 2.1mm DC power socket, 3PDT footswitch, 5mm LED, LED holder and 4.1k resistor [you will need to match this to your LED]. You’ll also need wire and an enclosure. You can pick all of these up fairly cheaply and easily.
I recommend buying a pre-drilled enclosure, especially if you’re building more than one loop.
Single True Bypass Loop Pedal
This is the most basic idea and the best starting point. You’ll need 1 x 3PDT footswitch, 4 x Mono Jack sockets, 1 x LED, 1 x Resistor, 1 x 2.1 mm DC power socket and wire.
Once you’ve got it all wired together, then you’ll need an enclosure and an LED socket. Again, start with this, as the more complex versions of this circuit are just this one multiplied.
Double True Bypass Loop Pedal
This double looper is just two singles joined together. As you can see the output of the first loop feeds the second.
You’ll need 2 x 3PDT footswitches, 6 x Mono Jack sockets, 2 x LED, 2 x Resistor, 1 x 2.1 mm DC power socket and wire. Also, you’ll need an enclosure and 2 x LED socket.
Double True Bypass Loop Pedal with Tuner Out/Mute
This is just a triple looper with the return of the first loop missing! You can use the tuner loop as a mute for changing guitars or for feeding a tuner so you can silently tune.
You’ll need 3 x 3PDT footswitches, 7 x Mono Jack sockets, 3 x LED, 3 x Resistor, 1 x 2.1 mm DC power socket and wire. Also, you’ll need an enclosure and 3 x LED socket.
Four True Bypass Loop Pedal with Master Bypass
This took me a while to figure out. I remember trying to kill time on a flight by trying to solve how to add a master bypass.
Basically, the 4 loops sit within one master loop which allows for them to be bypassed. It’s a really cool idea and super useful if you’re running a few different guitar fx pedals.
You’ll need 5 x 3PDT footswitches, 10 x Mono Jack sockets, 5 x LED, 5 x Resistor, 1 x 2.1 mm DC power socket and wire. Also, you’ll need an enclosure and 5 x LED socket.
Four True Bypass Loop Pedal with Master Bypass and Tuner Out/Mute
This is highly complex and I’d recommend building each loop on a breadboard. Once you’ve got it working, then build and add the next one. You’ll see that I’ve placed the tuner out before the master bypass.
You can use the master bypass function to preset pedal combinations, which you can bring in and out by hitting the master switch.
You’ll need 6 x 3PDT footswitches, 11 x Mono Jack sockets, 6 x LED, 6 x Resistor, 1 x 2.1 mm DC power socket and wire. Also, you’ll need 6 x LED socket and a super large/custom enclosure.
Since writing this post a few years ago, I’ve gotten a few emails from people who’ve tried to build one of the above or their own modified version of it. I’d love to hear from you if you have. So I present some reader’s pictures of their success. Enjoy!