First DIY Build – Bypass Looper

Here’s where the pedal building obsession started:

Yup, this cute little box.

I’ll try and make this a short post simply because of the simplicity of the pedal.   For those that don’t know, a bypass looper is pretty much a pedal that allows you to turn on an entire loop of pedals.  Why might you need this?  You may wish to turn on more than one pedal at once, so it removes tap-dancing with pedals, or you may have a pedal that still colours your tone even when it’s switched off.  There’s two forms of bypass, buffered bypass and true bypass.

What difference does that make?  Bypass is bypass, right?

Not exactly.  True bypass is as it sounds, it literally bypasses the pedal circuitry directly and directs your audio signal from the input straight to the output.  Buffered bypass adds a buffer (or two) into the mix, to boost your signal electrically (not in terms of volume).  I’m not going to get into the pros/cons of each as there’s a wide variety of articles online that discuss the topic (google it), but simply put it all comes down to tone.

So back to the pedal…

As you can see, it’s pretty basic.  Here’s an exceedingly crude outlay of how it works and what the relevant jacks are;


So, you plug your guitar (or the output of the pedal before this) into the input, output to your amp (or input of next pedal), send goes to the input of the pedal you want in the loop, the output of said pedal goes to the return.  A lot of words for something real basic.  FYI, the only reason it has a DC jack is purely for the LED to let you know when it’s on.  As the pedal is true bypass, it means that the switch works even when there’s no power to it.  Some minimal designs have no LED, and are way smaller than mine.

About the build

As this was my first pedal build, I got it as a kit.   I’d supply you guys with the link, but sadly the website where I originally got it from is now defunct.  No idea what happened, whether the business died or if they changed their name, or what, but I haven’t found it and the list of projects since.  Shame really, had some really interesting distortions and fuzzes I wanted to try.

But I digress, the build itself at the time for me was difficult, but that’s for a number of reasons. Here’s the innards;


Aside from this being my first build, why did I find this a challenge?

Since this pedal, time and time again I have found I royally suck at soldering 3PDT footswitches and DC jacks.  They are a necessity I despise, due to my inability to do them well.  Aside from that, although I’ve done previous projects with audio jacks, I’d never used these jacks before. Personally, I find them really fiddly and awkward to solder, I’d rather have traditional guitar jacks any day.

The important thing is, it worked first time.  Still works now with no issues, which is more than can be said for some projects since.  One day I might desolder it all and do a paint job on the pedal, as it looks a bit bland.  Except for the LED.


In a similar vein to the P-Bass, whilst it might not still be in active use, I’m going to keep it.  Firstly because I never know when I might need it, and secondly because it was the first pedal I ever made.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed a bit of Moose history, where the pedal building began.  Next pedal post will be on my foray into populating a circuit board!


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