Carl Verheyen: Upgrade the Volume Pedal

May 02, 2011
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    For many years I used a volume pedal. In the '70s and '80s it was a popular effect, and I relied on it for live playing and in the studio.  Around 1985 I began to use a Fender Stratocaster whenever I played live, and the proximity of the volume knob made it a lot easier to control.  Eventually I weaned myself off the volume pedal for all my live work, and only used it in the studio.

Recently I had a  pedalboard (yet another!) made for me that is specifically for the studio.  And even more specifically for a certain type of studio work: film and TV scoring, which I do occasionally.  The volume pedal is a key component in this type of work because dynamics are very important in orchestral music.  Those string players actually observe the dynamic markings like "ppp" and "ff."  

I did some research to find the best volume pedal on the market and ended up with the top-of-the-line Boss pedal, the FV-500H. It sounds great and the taper feels perfect. I like it better than a voltage controller, too. It also has a tuner out, which is a nice feature, and  I like the weight of the thing and don’t hear much signal loss when I’m running through it.  

But it got me thinking:  With all the true bypass pedals on the market, why doesn’t somebody make a volume pedal that is true bypass when it’s wide open?  Or a volume pedal with a true bypass switch on the side?  True bypass is the state of the art in pedals, so let’s take the potentiometer completely out of the volume pedal circuit when it’s not in use.  —Carl Verheyen

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