Ready to throw it all away, maybe even....

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Franklin, Jun 5, 2006.

  1. Franklin

    Franklin Member

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    ....play only acoustic! :FM

    The last two gigs my board went out. I couldn't trace it to a pedal or cable, and since I couldn't just "stop everything" I plugged in straight. The day after the first show I could not find the issue, at all. Everything worked well. At rehearsal, the same thing -no issues.

    On Friday it was the beginning of the show, so since I had issues last weekend I wanted to double check. Everything seemed okay, then right as we are about to start -bam. Hugh volume loss. Can't figure out which cable/pedal it is. So I take off an OD pedal and play guitar>od>amp. Now I'm the kind of player that uses everything in the chain at some point in the night. Since it was one of those 6 band nights we only had 40 mins. Of course the tone was great. I had the amp screaming, but everytime I used to use a certain effect for a tune or solo I was SOL and it really bothered me. No wah, dist or delay. Just OD. I did what I could, but it really messed me up and I didn't have a good show.

    Of course on Sat and Sun I tried to re-create the failure. Nope........
     
  2. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Staff Member

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    The only way to tell what happened is to break it down completely and build it up one thing at a time.

    Faulty tube or cord? Then try one pedal at a time. It sucks, but that's the only way.

    What I do is take my normal setup, but bring a Crate Powerblock as a backup amp and one pedal not on my board (OD; usually the BB Preamp in my case) with a battery inside.... just for nights where what happened to you goes down. It blows.

    FWIW, on my last gig (festival show) first set was great, running my board and wireless into a supplied backline. Second set? Dead. My wireless (that NEVER goes down) was totally screwed. Had a cord sitting on the amp *just in case* and used it on the fly. Whew. What was the problem? Get home, check the wireless... it's fine. These things happen. Sucks, but it is life.

    Always hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
     
  3. todd richman

    todd richman Senior Member

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    Franklin, don't give up-this has happened to all of us. I know what you mean about not being able to use a particular pedal. While the crowd probably would never notice it, it bothers the hell out of the player. Last year, I was doing gigs with my band at the time in Philly-sometimes 4 nights a week. At that time my only effect was a Wah plus the boost from the amp(I was using Rectifiers then or Marshall DSL's), and the Wah would crap out every once in a while-this was when I was using a wah for around 4-5 songs in a 1 hour set. It bothered me a lot but what could I do. I guess a spare wah would have been in order. I would start with all the cables first. I have seen pics of your board- alot of Analog Man stuff which is highly reliable, so I suspect it is a cable. It doesn't sound like an amp problem since you had no issues playing direct or with one pedal. Good luck and hang in there-get an acoustic too!!
     
  4. Franklin

    Franklin Member

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    Thanks! I did try to replicate the issue, them tested every pedal and cable individually. I shook them, put pressure on the jacks and cables, etc. Nothing. I a pretty sure it is a switch or cable issue. I hope the next time it happens I can stop what I am doing and check it out correctly -and not be on a big stage when it happens....

    :)
     
  5. Franklin

    Franklin Member

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    Yup, George L's.
     
  6. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    You've already guessed this, but your two most likely culprits are the George Ls (I don't trust the solderless connections - never have and never will, despite them seeming to be quite popular) and one of your 'true' bypass pedals having a faulty switch. If you tried 'working' the cables and couldn't find an issue I would put a small bet on a pedal switch. This is one of the major things I don't like about mechanically switched pedals.

    'True' bypass pedals that use the very common scheme of running the bypass signal through both halves of the switch in series are especially suspect - this scheme is fundamentally wrong and I have no idea why it's the standard way of doing it, it doubles the potential for switch failure.

    (This is the scheme in which there is a link wire joining the two end terminals of the switch. There is absolutely no need to do this - a diagonal wire running from the center terminal on one side to the other end terminal will do exactly the same thing but with double the reliability; even better is to 'X' wire the two pairs of contacts so it requires a failure in both simultaneously to interrupt the signal, which is obviously extremely unlikely. Why no manufacturer I know of uses this scheme I do not know... it shows a complete lack of understanding of switching logic IMO.)
     
  7. carltonh

    carltonh Member

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    Are there any manufacturers that make such a switch? (Pun not intended.) Unless they can make one themselves, I think most would be limited to switching components already on the market.
     
  8. KBN

    KBN Member

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    +1 on the switch or cable. I have had that happen twice with switches.
     
  9. pullagnm

    pullagnm Member

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    I've had this happen a few weeks ago. It ended up being my ernie ball volume pedal. The output from the volume pedal was messing up. It would drop the signal, or lower the volume. The other thing that happeded was the One Spot power adapter went out. I called them and they said to send it to them, and within a week I had a new One Spot. Great Customer service!
     
  10. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    You don't need a special switch - just to wire up the normal type in a way that doesn't unnecessarily increase unreliability.

    I'll try to illustrate it...

    If the switch terminals are numbered like this -

    1 4
    2 5
    3 6

    The normal scheme is to have 2 as the input jack connection, 5 as the output jack connection, 1 as the effect circuit input, 4 as the effect circuit output, and 3 linked to 6 as the bypass.

    This is wrong because in bypass, the signal must pass through both the 2-3 contact and the 5-6 contact in series. A fault in either will break the signal path.

    If you connect either 2-6 or 5-3 instead, the signal has only to pass through one. I have seen this done on one or two pedals, but not many.

    And if you connect both 2-6 AND 5-3, the bypass path is now far more reliable than the switch itself, since either connection will do the job and both have to fail simultaneously to stop the pedal working in bypass (you can't do anything to improve the reliability when it's on, since the two sides have to be used separately there). This is basically double-redundant switching. I've never seen this done on any pedal - except ones I've wired ;).

    (Math: suppose the failure rate of the switch is 1%, for either contact (chosen for ease of illustration, it's much lower than that really). The failure rate of the standard bypass scheme is now 2%, the rate for the single link scheme is 1%, but the rate for the double-redundant scheme is only .01%.)

    So why do manufacturers insist on using the standard scheme? I really don't know... nor why many don't parallel both halves of any double-pole switch which is only being used for one pole (quite common).

    It's a very simple change which has absolutely no effect on operation or tone but could have a major effect on reliability, and takes only a tiny amount of extra labor.
     
  11. dougb415

    dougb415 Member

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    Ack! S'pose I should get a spare One Spot, or a box o' batteries....
     

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