Volume and wah problems

Dear guitar friends – I want to hear your opinion about an issue I’ve just become aware of … an issue that really started to drive me crazy. I’m thinking about volume and wah problems … It is perhaps a bit nerdy but let’s geek out and enjoy it.

Here’s my volume and wah problems

The angle and the action on my wah pedal has always seemed very natural and as it should be. Maybe I needed a bit of time getting used to the new feel, when it was mounted on my board that’s angled, but it felt natural pretty fast.
But the angle and the action on my volume pedal has always seemed a little to big for me. After it was mounted to my board, I think the problem has increased. Many years ago I decided to drop my high-heeled boots and wear something more neutral, but now I miss the high heels when I want to turn the volume all the way down (which the guitarists usually don’t do very often), but it happens every now and then (yes, when somebody place difficult sheets in front of you … or when we need a break).

After I became aware of this I tried to put something under the volume pedal in the ” heel-position” so the action became smaller, and it felt really really fine and natural, to stop a bit earlier, except for the fact that now the volume isn’t turned all the way down.

My volume pedal with a new stop point felt much better …

So here’s the questions

Since almost every pedal board has an angle the problem becomes even bigger when you mount you volume pedal to a board … but is it just me that think the action on EB’s volume pedal … and some other brands as well is to big and annoying? Do you just love it and appreciate it? … Or what do you do?

When I became aware of this issue, I went to my storage and found my old Vox Tonelab board. The Tonelab has two expression pedals – the first I used as wah and the other as volume pedal. Maybe the action is less than the “normal” volume pedal standard, but to me it feels better and natural.

Volume and wah problems
Soren Reiff’s volume and wah pedals

Maybe I should just cut the outer part of the Voxboard and move the volume/expression pedal to my active board … it should be possible for the right person .

Hope some of you will share your thoughts and experiences about this with me here.

Have a wonderful weekend

15 Replies to “Volume and wah problems”

  1. As you know, I am not much of a guitarist, but I may perhaps offer a thought.

    Instead of introducing a stop-point underneath the moving plate of the pedal, why not change the angle of the pedal itself, by adding a wedge underneath the entire pedal? I realise that this will add height to the rear of the pedal (the end that will be closest to you), but perhaps it may not take a lot?

    Another option could be to cut out a “wedge” in the board itself, thus allowing for the pedals to be mountet horisontically and not at the same angle as the board itself?

    You are most likely laughing at my stupid suggestions right now Soren, and so possibly any other guitar player that read this comment, but know, that at least my intentions were good 😉

    – Henrik

    1. Thanks for your suggestions Henrik!!

      If I add wedge underneath the volume pedal, it will more difficult to move from the wah to the volume, since they will not be leveled anymore.
      If I cut out (for some it might work), the level between the two pedal will also be different, and more important for me, the room beneath the volume, that I now use for my buffer and power supply will diminish … so that’s not an option either.

      But I gladly hear other advises, solutions and reflections on this – Soren

  2. I honestly never had a problem with the different low positions of the wah and the volume. I have the same pedalboard (Emma AmARHyll – I actually designed the thing ;-)) And the same vol and wah. I haven’t thought about the positioning, maybe because I use my volume as a mastervolume (set in after the boosters and drive pedals and before the delay, chorus and reverb), so my level of drive is not altered by the volume. So I’m used to the volume pedal acting as a rhythm level and solo level device, but also for swelling effects, and therefore it is always stuck in a bit of different awkward position all the time. Because of that I don’t expect a certain position, I just got used to the pedals travel. I rarely push the wah to its outer limits, it is usually used within a centimeter, whereas i use the volume wider and sometimes from bottom to top. So having both pedals have the same outer points and travel, wouldn’t make much sense to me anyway.

    1. Thanks Palle for sharing.
      I also have my volume place as you chain-wise – I actually mostly use it for minor regulations if a certain “preset” is to loud for song, else it’s all the way up or down … or used for swells. And It’s especially for swells I get “tired” of the big action … it would be fine with some smaller action for my taste.
      But it’s super nice to hear about peoples use, thoughts and experiences – so again thanks for sharing Palle.
      All the very best
      Soren

  3. Hej Søren
    I have had similar problem,, my advice would be that you re make your pedal board,
    so that all your pedals are angeled slightly, as i believe they are now, and at your right you place your volume and wahpedal total horizontal which gives you “less” heel space, your heel don’t need to go that far back, and then you should try some exercise to strength the used muscles, it might sound silly but i helped me,
    have a great weekend 🙂
    Henning

    1. Dear Henning.
      Exercise is always good 🙂 …
      Considering your suggestion about redesigning the board, with two different angles for the different types of pedals, is off cause a solution, that will help. I’m just not the type of person who enjoys working with this … actually I’m more the opposite, who want fast and easy solutions.
      Would be easier if I could buy a great volume pedal that is build more like the wah, so I could use it in different setups, and on different sizes of boards … “standard” boards.
      But if I don’t come up with another solution I’ll probably end up doing what you suggest.
      Have a great weekend – Soren

  4. I have two boards that I use, and they are both quite small.

    One is a T Rex. I don’t remember the measurements, but it holds a wah, a volume (EB VP Jr. like yours) and a Nova System. It’s primary use is to control a Brunetti 059 via MIDI, and add some basic effects to the loop.
    The board is quite level, as I don’t need the angle for a second row of pedals. Both the wah and the volume feel good… But looking at the EB VP Jr. it does seem to have quite a long sweep. I use it quite a lot, so I do like it giving me a bit of room for error. I find my guitars volume knob to be a bit too responsive at times.

    The other is also a T Rex (Tone Trunk), which holds some basic pedals: Volume (Dunlop VP), Wah, Comp, OD, Delay, Reverb and Tuner. I use that in front of a Dr Z, but it works well in front of most amps.
    I am guessing the board is more or less the same angle, and the VP is pretty close to the EB as well. I am quite content with the angles on this too.

    I was going to get a nice board built, but since I am always changing them I have stuck to these two simple T Rex boards. It holds a power supply underneath, so it can be kept reasonably neat.
    I used to use a larger one with a relatively spacious compartment underneath, but in the end it was just too big and heavy. I do remember thinking that the angle of the pedals was just a little too steep.
    When not taking care (getting excited, it’s a little late, etc…), I would often knock the adjustment knobs while switching.

    I don’t think most pedals are designed to be at an angle, as some of them already are (wah’s for example). I just bought an Ibanez Echo Shifter (awesome pedal) and that is also “facing downwards”.
    I realise that your foot will also come down at an angle, as you are not likely to switch with a completely horizontal foot. It’s still quite annoying, though.

    For this reason, I try and use as little as possible. A pedal looper is a good option, for this… But I will always use a volume pedal.

    As mentioned earlier, a wedge underneath the wah and the VP would be a good option, but if they are to be level, it would raise them considerably. A recess would probably work better, if you can displace your buffer further to the left.

    I have been toying around with a self-made board for some time, and when I get back to it, I will try a few things out, and let you know how I get along.

    Take care. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    Sincerely

    Kasper

    1. Thanks Kasper for sharing with me.
      This is nice … It’s super to hear about yours and others setup – inspiring!!
      I’ll check out the JD volume pedal you mentioning.
      If that isn’t the solution maybe I have to think about rebuilding 🙁
      Well luckily I’m not in a hurry, so …
      Merry Christmas back to you and yours – Soren

      1. The Dunlop VP looks interesting … but some write it takes up a lot of real estate … is it much bigger than the EBjr ??

        1. Looking at the two, the Dunlop is slightly bigger, but not significantly.

          I.e. If you can fit one on to your pedal board, you can fit the other.

          Trying the two out next to each other, they don’t seem to have any significant difference in their sweep either.

          Perhaps it would be worth getting a custom volume pedal made? It’s a really simple pedal… So perhaps someone could manufacture a VP intended for an angled pedal board, bringing the ‘0’ position further up?

  5. Den nemme løsning er at købe en billig plastikpedal, som har en mindre “action”. Men det kan man jo ikke være tilfreds med.

    Mit foreslag er dog et relativt simpelt indgreb:
    Når man skiller pedalen ad, kan man tage strengen, der styrer potmtret af. Her er en video hvor du kan se hvordan http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQ2QyzReVak (pædagogisk?) Hvis du så sætter nogle gummidupper der hvor du har lighteren liggende nu, så kan du stadig indstille den, så den er i 0, når den når ned til hælposition.

    Det har dog det minus at man jo ikke kan skrue helt op for potmeteret, så man får brug for en boost i kæden, hvis man vil have fuldt output ind i forstærkeren.

    Håber det giver mening

    1. Thanks for your link and idea Magnus – I appreciate that.
      As you’re mentioning a smaller plastic pedal isn’t a solution, I’ve broken several og those when I was younger, so …
      Shortening the string in the pedal is a possibility, but I must admit that I’m not happy about the thought of not having 100% signal thru when I turn up.
      Hmmm, it isn’t easy …
      Hope you’ll have a nice weekend
      Soren

  6. I haven’t struggled with the same thing you are struggling with. However, one of the things that has always been struggle using volume pedals in general occurs when I quit using the pedal and try to return it to the same position as before I began using it. It was impossible by feel or sight for me to re-position it to the same spot. That occurred until I got a hold of a Visual Sound volume pedal. They have 10 leds along the left side of the pedal, that light up according to the travel of the pedal. So, if my normal position for the pedal is 3 leds, for instance, it is now easy to always look down and make sure that I return the pedal to having 3 leds on, when I am done using it. The other nice feature of this active electronics volume pedal is that it can provide you with quite a bit of level boost, so if you place it at the beginning of your chain of pedals, you can run them all at the line level of sound (similar to using an EP Booster), and thus you get a much cleaner signal for your guitar and you also push your amplifier’s preamp and get a fuller bite and sound to your guitar. And the Visual Sound pedal itself emits no scratchiness when being used, as the passive volume pedals produce. Good luck my friend!!

    1. Thanks for writing Jim.
      I totally agree with you on returning to the same spot … that’s actually why I don’t use a VP for swapping between rhythm and solo levels – it’s to imprecise.
      I got a pedal same type you’re describing some years ago, and love the visible option – but again the angle on that was terrible, and added to a board would make it useless.
      Concerning the placement in the chain … I prefer personally to have it after overdrives/distortions and just before the delay/reverb units (if you want to know more about why I don this, you can read about my set up here).
      Again thanks for sharing you thoughts … have a nice sunday Soren

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