How To Build A True Bypass Loop Pedal
Under: Guitar Gear
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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!