5 easy pedal hacks
PHOTO: ArtBrom | Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0

Anyone who owns guitar pedals has dealt with power-supply issues and faulty connections. If you have even a handful of stompboxes and use a pedalboard, locating the source of these problems can be frustrating and time-consuming.

Fortunately, there are a few so-called pedal hacks you can perform that make solving these issues, and others, much easier.

One very useful hack involves [1] creating an improvised 9-volt power supply from a standard 5.5 mm x 2.1 mm barrel connector and a 9-volt clip and battery, as shown in the video below.

With a device like this, you can easily power up a pedal that requires a 9-volt supply, even if it doesn’t take batteries. Simply plug the barrel connector into the pedal’s power input, and you’re in business. This can be especially helpful if one of your wall-warts stops working during a gig and you find yourself without a spare. It’s also a quick and easy way to power up a pedal without hunting for an adaptor, or having to remove the back of a case that doesn’t have a quick-change battery compartment.

In the same video, guitar instructor Phillip McKnight demonstrates how to [2] remove glue residue left on pedals from stickers or Velcro pads and [3] how to prevent the Velcro pads from damaging the bottom of your pedals. He wraps up his four pedal hacks by showing [4] how you can make a handy diagnosis cable from a cable end and alligator clips to find shorts in your pedal board’s signal chain, test speakers and much more.

If you want to try a more modern power source of quick pedal power, [5] creating a portable power bank could be just the thing you need. Though they’re designed to feed smartphones with 5 volts, power banks can be paired up with a USB adaptor that boosts the voltage to the 9 volts required for most guitar pedals.

Of course, you’ll also need a barrel plug to fit your pedal. Ionic Audio’s 5V USB to 9V DC Converter will do all this for $25. There are other options out there as well. Just be sure the converter steps up the voltage to your pedal’s requirement, and that the barrel plug is the standard size (5.5 mm x 2.1 mm). Check out the video below for a demonstration of Ionic Audio’s adaptor in use with a power bank. — Christopher Scapelliti