Intermittent grounding issue with fuzz pedal

Guitar Tricks Forum > Tone and Effects > Intermittent grounding issue with fuzz pedal

primativ

Registered User

Joined: 05/12/04

Posts: 33

So I’ve been having an issue with a tonebender mkiii fuzz pedal of mine.

I’ll switch the pedal on and play for a while and it sounds fine. When I switch it off it will sometimes start buzzing, if I touch my hand to the switch the buzzing stops, so I know it’s a ground issue.

If I switch it back on and off the buzzing goes away which leads me to think the problem is in the foot switch.

Has anyone else run into this kind of issue and do you know of a fix?

#1

So I’ve been having an issue with a tonebender mkiii fuzz pedal of mine.

I’ll switch the pedal on and play for a while and it sounds fine. When I switch it off it will sometimes start buzzing, if I touch my hand to the switch the buzzing stops, so I know it’s a ground issue.

If I switch it back on and off the buzzing goes away which leads me to think the problem is in the foot switch.

Has anyone else run into this kind of issue and do you know of a fix?

Guitar Tech

Moderator

Joined: 02/20/08

Posts: 1011

Footswitch Blues

Hello, primativ;

Unfortunately, you're certainly not the first person to have this problem! Asssuming that your cables aren't the source of this problem (they frequently are), it sounds like your Tonebender pedal has one of three possible issues:

(1) You have a problem with the footswitch itself - this can only be truly 'fixed' by replacing the footswitch itself, but you may be able to temporarily alleviate the symptoms with a quick spurt of CAIG Industies 'D5" spray - this will lubricate and de-oxidize the switch, which may 'fix' the problem, as well as confirming that the switch is failing.

(2) The footswitch is working properly, but not grounded correctly to the chassis of the pedal, because the mechanical connection to the pedal's housing is flakey. This can be corrected by opening the pedal, loosening the mounting-nut that holds the footswittch in place, spritzing the area where the threaded mounting-shaft of the switch passes through the housing with D5, and re-tightening the mounting-nut, so the switch is aligned correctly and solidly 'tight' against the housing.

(3) The problem may not actually be with the footswitch itself, but be with another component (such as, either the input or output jack), which is 'disturbed' every time you 'click' the footswitch. This is more common than you might think... If this is the problem, you should also get the problem to occur, by wiggling or tapping on either of the cables pluged into the pedal. The fact that touching the footswitch with your hand causes the problem to stop, just means that connecting yourself to the pedal's ground-plane interferes with the problem - by itself, this does not prove (although it does strongly suggest) that the problem is related to grounding...

I hope this helps - please feel free to get back in touch, after you've checked out these possibilities.

Stephen White

#2

Footswitch Blues

Hello, primativ;

Unfortunately, you're certainly not the first person to have this problem! Asssuming that your cables aren't the source of this problem (they frequently are), it sounds like your Tonebender pedal has one of three possible issues:

(1) You have a problem with the footswitch itself - this can only be truly 'fixed' by replacing the footswitch itself, but you may be able to temporarily alleviate the symptoms with a quick spurt of CAIG Industies 'D5" spray - this will lubricate and de-oxidize the switch, which may 'fix' the problem, as well as confirming that the switch is failing.

(2) The footswitch is working properly, but not grounded correctly to the chassis of the pedal, because the mechanical connection to the pedal's housing is flakey. This can be corrected by opening the pedal, loosening the mounting-nut that holds the footswittch in place, spritzing the area where the threaded mounting-shaft of the switch passes through the housing with D5, and re-tightening the mounting-nut, so the switch is aligned correctly and solidly 'tight' against the housing.

(3) The problem may not actually be with the footswitch itself, but be with another component (such as, either the input or output jack), which is 'disturbed' every time you 'click' the footswitch. This is more common than you might think... If this is the problem, you should also get the problem to occur, by wiggling or tapping on either of the cables pluged into the pedal. The fact that touching the footswitch with your hand causes the problem to stop, just means that connecting yourself to the pedal's ground-plane interferes with the problem - by itself, this does not prove (although it does strongly suggest) that the problem is related to grounding...

I hope this helps - please feel free to get back in touch, after you've checked out these possibilities.

Stephen White

primativ

Registered User

Joined: 05/12/04

Posts: 33

Thanks for your help. I tried replacing the foot switch but that didn’t fix it.

I was eventually able to fix the issue. The pedal had plastic jacks and needed a better connection to ground. I soldered a wire from the first prong on the out jack to the metal ring between the foot switch and the pedal case. I didn’t solder the wire to the ring but rather wrapped some of the wire around it before screwing the switch on.

Has not had any issues with buzz since.

#3

Thanks for your help. I tried replacing the foot switch but that didn’t fix it.

I was eventually able to fix the issue. The pedal had plastic jacks and needed a better connection to ground. I soldered a wire from the first prong on the out jack to the metal ring between the foot switch and the pedal case. I didn’t solder the wire to the ring but rather wrapped some of the wire around it before screwing the switch on.

Has not had any issues with buzz since.