Are Guitar Amp Footswitches Interchangeable?

Footswitch is a cool thing to have for your amp. But can you use any footswitch on any amp?

A direct answer to this is no. Footswitches come in different forms. Interchanging them can, apart from not working properly, damage your amp.

Although other people think that if they are of the same model and make this will be possible, it is essential not to take chances. There is no way you can use any other footswitch in an amp. As it’s been said, footswitches come in different forms.

Some footswitches can break connections while others can make connections. Some can change in polarity; others can drop in voltage while others can have an active circuit.

So, interchanging the footswitches cannot work since it can damage your amp.

Some of the footswitches are always in a switched-on position, and they are maintained there, hence making it difficult to interchange. Others are on when depressed or released depending on the design. This simply means that switches are always on momentarily.

What Is a Footswitch On An Amp?

Footswitch, in simple terms, is a tool in the pedal that you can use to turn on the amp instantly. It comprises of one, two or even three buttons. A footswitch makes your work easier since you don’t have to hover around but rather directly to your amp and adjust the switch easily.

The different buttons in footswitches help a lot in the efficiency. The one, two, or even three buttons keep on changing or switching the channels around the amp.

You can keep on playing your guitar without any distractions since you can do the channel switching using your feet. You don’t need to walk over to it to change the switch with your hand.

How Footswitch Works

The primary function of a footswitch in an amp is to control and ensure the efficiency of the amp while in use.

First, you have to plug the footswitch to jack in the top panel of your amp. After plugging the footswitch, select the preset. Select what you’ll want to assign to the footswitch and then press the save button.

Just be aware that the save and press button will keep on flashing rapidly. You can press the exit button if you intend to cancel the operation.

It’s crutial to understand the kind of a footswitch your amp needs. You will know this by simply examining the back of the amp and find the inputs in the footswitch.

Then, you also need to know if each input controls only one or two functions of the amp. By knowing your input, you have to determine how the amp works and which way the wiring should be.

Plug the footswitch in your amp and plug the right type of a jack cable in the footswitch input. It can be on the left side or the right side.

After plugging your cable, you can play your guitar and note the channels that are active. If you happen to have a wire with you, touch the sleeve with one end of the wire and the tip of the jack with another end.

By doing this, you are simply closing the circuit, and your amp should react by switching the channels while you take note of how the channels are changing.

After that, you can now release the wire from the jack cable, but if amp switches back to the previous channel, then it shows that you need on and off button. If your amp stays in the newly selected channel, then you probably need a momentary button.

The momentary button will help you since it closes down the circuit while only being pushed and opens it when released. On the other hand, there is also a maintained button. Maintained button changes between or alternates changes between closing and opening the circuit each time it is pressed.

There must be an inscription for every input for you to know which input controls which channel. You can look or search in the user manual, check online, or you can even open the amp to check the input type.

How To Connect a Footswitch To an Amp

1. Turn Off The Power

First, you need to turn off everything. We all understand that by connecting or disconnecting any effect using power. You will need to cut off power first since it can cause a short circuit and damage your ample.

You should do this in a separable manner and always be extra careful, so you don’t get electrocuted in the process.

2. Connect Your Guitar To The Input

Most of the pedals normally have two jacks, which are inputs and outputs. They are located in different directions or sides of the pedals body, depending on the unit.

You have to locate the input, and the output jacks on the guitar then connect your footswitch to the input. Input reflects then the direction in which the signal travels.

3. Connect The Output To The Input Of The Amp

Ensure you connect the output jack on the pedal to the input of the amp. The cable connecting both the input and output should go directly to the guitar.

Make sure you have enough cables with you, depending on how you intend to make your connection. Connecting to the pedal will require a lot of cables while connecting to the amp will not require that much cable.

So, you have to figure out how you want to connect it and how much cable you need.

4. Turn On The Amp

After plugging on all the required cables, turn on the amp and set your required levels. Make sure you keep your amp unaffected while doing all these.

Understand how it feels and sounds by experimenting with it. Let it flow your way or, in the best term, enjoy every bit of it.

4. Turn Down Other Settings

If you don’t want to blow your eardrums when getting or stomping on the pedal for the first time, you need to turn down all the settings before you activate the pedal.

Turning it down helps a lot, especially in a space where there is an echo. Having or playing it loud can cause you to harm or damage your eardrums.

5. Do Some Testing Or Experiment

If you intend to activate most pedals, you have to step on a button to activate it. There are either green or red lights, which will show you that it is already activated.

Explore it gently while turning it in different just to make sure you feel the sound while playing with various sound effects and volumes. Just play along by activating and deactivating the pedal just to get the sound you like.

Unplug when you are done

Make sure you unplug cables when you are finished playing since leaving cables unplugged may drain your power, especially if you are using batteries to power your guitar pedals.

Always ensure that your amp is disconnected and switched off while you are not using since when they are connected, they keep on draining power even if you are not playing.

6. Start With The Tuning Pedal

Always start with your tuning pedal when you are putting together a sequence of pedals. The first pedal you should connect to your guitar directly, and the last pedal will be the pedal that connects the amp.

Different rules apply to this, but you should always be keen on the tuning pedal. Tuning pedal needs clear and direct signals to work properly. Distortion before the tuning pedal may lead to degraded or distorted signals.

The tuning pedal plays a big role in connecting footswitch to an amp. You have to put your tuner first so that your guitar can stay in tune.

After carrying out all these steps, you can now connect or disconnect your footswitch from an amp without going through a lot hassle.

But all these will also work hand in hand with how knowledgeable you are about guitar, footswitch, and an amp. 


I hope this article gave you an information you’ve been looking for. Amp footswitches are not interchangeable.

There are many footswitches types, with each one doing its own thing. Therefore, carelessly connecting a footswitch to your amp can possibly damage your amp.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it.

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Cheers, and rock on!

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