How To Build A True Bypass Loop Pedal

How To Build A True Bypass Loop Pedal

If you’ve ever wanted to build a simple true bypass loop pedal, it’s not as hard as you think! Also, building one is very cheap as it only requires a handful of components and a box.

 

Along the way, we’ll also discover how to add a tuner out and master bypass. These advanced features are super useful if you want to build something a little more complex and flexible.

 

You could buy something premade like the simple Radial BigShot EFX True Bypass Effects Loop Switcher or even a more complex looper like the JOYO PXL4.

 

However, building a true bypass loop pedal that meets your needs is actually quite simple when you know what you’re doing.

 

 

What Tools Do You Need?

You need a few tools including a soldering iron, solder, and wire cutters. If you have a vice, that will help to speed up the process. Also, it’s worth trying to find a piece of wood to work on.

 

 

You Need These Basic Components

All 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. Not only does this cut down on the time you need to spend, but also ensures the consistency of holes.

 

 

Single True Bypass Loop Pedal

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 wired it all together, you’ll need an enclosure and an LED socket. Again, start with this option as the more complex versions of this circuit are just this one multiplied.

 

 

Double True Bypass Loop Pedal

Double True Bypass Loop Pedal

 

A double looper is just two singles joined together. 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 sockets.

 

 

Double True Bypass Loop Pedal with Tuner Out/Mute

Double True Bypass Loop Pedal with Tuner Out Mute

 

Now, 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 LEDs, 3 x Resistors, 1 x 2.1 mm DC power socket, and wire. Also, you’ll need an enclosure and 3 x LED sockets.

 

 

Four True Bypass Loop Pedal with Master Bypass

Four True Bypass Loop Pedal with Master Bypass

 

Trying to figure this configuration out, took me a while. 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 sockets.

 

 

Four True Bypass Loop Pedal with Master Bypass and Tuner Out/Mute

Four True Bypass Loop Pedal with Master Bypass and Tuner Out Mute

 

As a highly complex configuration, I’d recommend building each loop on a breadboard and testing as you go. Once you’ve got it working, 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 LEDs, 6 x Resistors, 1 x 2.1 mm DC power socket, and wire. Also, you’ll need 6 x LED sockets and a super large/custom enclosure.

 

 

Success stories!

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 any. So, here are some readers’ pictures of their success. Enjoy!

 

reader true bypass looper

36 Comments

  • Hi Ashley,
    awesome job…I’m intending to convert a Blackstar amp selector pedal into a 3 loop bypass pedal, so super useful.
    One thing…can’t find what the power source rating should be for your build (9v, 12v,?)

    • Ashley Saunders says:

      Typically 9v (as per the standard guitar pedals) but depends on the LEDs and resistors. Glad you found it useful!

  • Jason says:

    This is super helpful! Thank you!
    Hope you don’t mind a question: Is the power just for the light? Will the switch work without power (minus LED and resister)?

    • Ashley Saunders says:

      Thanks! Always happy to help! Yes, your right, it only needs power for the LED(s). So you could build one without power, LED and resistor.

  • Mike says:

    Any particular resistor value? Looks pretty straight forward. I may have missed that value in the article. Can’t wait to try it.

    • Ashley Saunders says:

      Hi Mike, really depends on the LED you’re using. I believe typically you could use a 100K resistor with a 5mm LED. Hope that helps!

  • Mark Morrison says:

    Hi Ashley!

    Thanks so much for this info! I built a 5 channel switcher (1 tuner/mute). Used the new switches with LED rings built in and it looks great. Also found a guy on ebay that makes colored nylon washers so I could color code the jacks with the LEDs. Hit a snag with an all metal DC jack (I had handy) until I realized it was not made for center negative and was grounding power to the box. Switched to a plastic jack and it’s working great. Experimented with resistor values for my desired brightness and discovered the green LED was brighter so I needed a higher value for that one to match the others. Now I just need to rewire the pedalboard as things have shifted a bit. Love to send a picture. Looks awesome and I couldn’t have done it without you.

    Thanks again,
    Mark

    • Ashley Saunders says:

      Mark, Thanks so much for this. I’d love to see a picture (happy to add it to the article!). Hope you have a cleaner sounding guitar rig thanks to the looper! Ashley

  • Mike says:

    Do these diagrams configuration ground the input.? To eliminate signal bleed over into the bypass.?? Think I read something about that some where.? I’m going to diy a 6 loop switcher without any master bypass or tuner and I’m trying to get my head on straight before I start..thanks.

    • Ashley Saunders says:

      You need to connect all the grounds to a single point. Good luck, please send me a photo when you’ve built your true bypass looper! 🙂

  • Ken Gibson says:

    What resistor value would you recommend for 3mm 12v leds thanks

    • Ashley Saunders says:

      Hi,

      I’d try a 390 ohm resistor. If that’s not bright enough then try 340 ohm or 440 ohm if too bright. But 390 should be perfect. Let me know how you get on!

  • Arthur says:

    Hi Ashley,

    I followed your example for a double true bypass looper and run a build of it that actually works great when I have all jacks connected to something, it is practically noiseless, but if I did not connect one of the loops it produces a loud and crazy hum, it doesn’t matter which of the lopps are not in use if I Don connect something also just a patch cord to the loop it really hums but if just connect a pedal or a patch on the empty chain it works great. Maybe it is an expected behaviour but I am curious about why this happens.

    Thank you a lot!

    • Ashley Saunders says:

      Hey Arthur, That’s really cool. Thanks for letting me know that you enjoyed building and using a true bypass looper. I think, Arthur that you might have a ground issue. Are all the grounds connected together? Also, you can try adding a ground wire to the enclosure (so long as it’s metal!). Please Let me know if that works?!

  • Arthur says:

    Ashley, you are right it was a grounding issue and a really silly actually, I decided to use closed 6.35 jacks, like used on pcb boards the ground issue is that because I accidentally drill my stomp box to close to the edges for the input A and for the output B, I decided to turned them inner side and I soldered the connection to previos – next ground on the chain in a distinct ground pin of the jack , this kind of jacks have 2 ground pins that only closes the ground line when the jack is in use, and that interruption in the ground line was the origin of the hum, I just bridged them and right now is totally noiseless.

    Thanks a lot for the help!

  • Paul says:

    Hey! Thanks so much for these layouts, definitely making one of these for my next project! Just noticed that the resistor comes AFTER the led in the single bypass, though BEFORE the led in all other diagrams. Is this right? Am I missing something that makes the single work differently?
    Greatly appreciate any help, and thanks again for making bypass so accessible!

  • Paul says:

    Thanks!

  • Yuval Yifrach says:

    Hן Ashley
    this looks great and I am looking forward to building one myself.
    one question, could you explain how you are connecting your pedals to the Four True Bypass Loop Pedal with Master Bypass and Tuner Out/Mute.
    would be great to understand how you are using each to the buttons in relation to the pedals connected.
    a video of you using the looper, would be fantastic
    thanks
    Yuval

    • Ashley Saunders says:

      Hi Yuval,

      I’d wire up the 4 loops with gain based pedals first, then modulation and finally delay. Next, I’d wire the tuner to the specific output.

      Hope that helps!

  • Richard Hermsen says:

    Ashley, thanks for this, it looks absolutely great! I just succesfully build a first version on a breadbord. Just running into one thing: My boss style power adaptor is centre negative (i guess most pedals count on a centre negative power supply). Your schematics count however on a centre positive supply.
    Can I just use my negative tip supply, do the build as per your schematics (and just flip the leds)?
    Just wondering what this would do to the input and output signal because the positive ground gets send to the amp.
    Can you please advise?

    regard Richard from the Hague, Netherlands

    • Ashley Saunders says:

      Hey Richard,

      As your only powering the LEDs, the standard center neg power supply will work. I must have written that wrong when drawing up the diagram. Please send me some photos when you’re done.

      Ashley

  • Jake says:

    I built this schematic exactly the way it says for the dual looper and tuner bypass but I can’t seem to get it to work. I don’t know if it’s a parts problem. Are their stereo jacks needed in certain spots or certain capacitors?

    • Ashley Saunders says:

      Hi Jake, sorry but I can’t help without seeing what you’ve done. I do hope you’ve found a solution tho. 🙂

  • Frank says:

    Hey thanks for all the info, I read in the comments that all grounds have to come interconnect. Is that ground coming from the negative DC power input? Also do you have to ground the enclosure at all. Last thing, is their a way to change the pedal order with the switcher without requiring your pedals (ie: putting delay before gain or stacking overdrives differently) or is it only capable of going in the order you wire the jacks and plug in your pedals?

    • Ashley Saunders says:

      Yes, you want to loop all the negatives together. I haven’t explored your other question, so I can’t help you wire two loops to a single switch that allows you to change the order. I’m sure it possible.

  • Frank says:

    Thanks Ashley really appreciate the response. Do you have to ground the
    Enclosure at all?

  • Mihkel says:

    Hey! I have a weird question… i cant wrap my head around this problem i have. Is it possible to wire together an A/B looper and a single looper seen in this post, under a single switch. How would one work that out exactly…

    https://www.taydakits.com/ckeditor_assets/pictures/521/content_dha14v3_wiring.png

    http://www.ashleyjsaunders.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Single-True-Bypass-Loop-Pedal.png

    I need both of those under a single switch

  • Ryan says:

    Thank you for taking the time to put all of this together.

    Do you happen to know how the wiring would be done for an A/B+C switcher? By that I mean two switches, with the first :
    switch selecting either A or B (say clean in A and overdrive in B; as indicated by two LED’s and whichever toggle is selected lights up) and then the C switch (e.g. modulation and delay) being added/cascaded as a toggle on top of the A/B?

    Hopefully that made sense. Im basically trying to be able to select either clean or dirty with an A/B and then having a second switch to add on delay.

    Thanks!

    • Ashley Saunders says:

      You could build a true bypass loop into an A/B switcher. Another way to do it is to wire the A/B with a send and return (rather than only a send). This way, you can easily flip between two pedals. From there, you could have a true bypass loop for your mod/delay pedal. Hope that makes sense!

  • Cory says:

    Thanks for the layouts, it’s a huge help. Quick question, does the pedal connected to loop 1 flow into loop 2 and so on? Like if I had an overdrive connected to loop 1 and a chorus in loop 2, would this worked the same way as if I used patch cables to run the drive into the chorus pedal?

    • Ashley Saunders says:

      yes, all pedals are connected in series. So if you have an overdrive in loop 1, chorus in loop 2, delay in loop 3, that the order the signal will flow thro. As a simple solution, you can’t change the signal path without moving pedals around. Hope that makes sense!

  • Cory says:

    Yes thank you! I wanted to make sure this was the case before I wired up the foot switches in the enclosure as my plan is to run my loops starting #1 from right to left. Looking at it now though it appears your already doing that since I guess technically we are looking at the wiring from the back side, not the actual top of the enclosure.

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