Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Installing a Vibrato Footpedal On A Fender Pawnshop Excelsior
It seemed like a good idea because the on-off switch can be a little out of reach when you're playing. As I've already voided the warranty on my Excelsior in numerous ways (tone control and red pilot light) I figured this would be a good contribution to the group.
The first thing you have to have is a footswitch like the Gretsch-ed footswitch that I got from the irrepressible Dirk Newton, who a lot of you know if you're in central Iowa.
The first step was to open it up and see what we had. There are a blue and a green wire that go to the switch mounted on the back of the vibrato control. Desolder these. The next thing to do is get a plastic Cliff type jack that is not grounded to the chassis. They're inexpensive and easy to find.
Next drill a pilot hole through the chassis and open it up with a step drill to mount the jack, but don't mount it just yet. It's best to start your pilot hole from inside so as to allow sufficient clearance and avoid damaging anything like your circuit board.
Next, solder your blue and green wires to the pins that connect to the contacts that get lifted when you put a phone plug in the jack. Mount the jack next to your 500k tone pot like mine has. I had to use a smaller pot than I had initially, so this required a few minutes to hunt thru my junk box and find a smaller 500k pot.. If you are using an Alpha pot this should cause no interference problems.
At this point you should power up your amp, plug in your footpedal and make sure that your footpedal hookup is operating properly. You can temporarily insulate the jack with a shop rag because there's voltage down there. Then you can power down, clip the pins on the jack that you're not going to use to get them out of your way, mount the jack permanently, make sure nothing's touching anything, recheck everything for proper function, and reinstall the cover.
Now, your footpedal controls the vibrato, and if the footpedal is not connected the vibrato won't work.