I recently found an old Dunlop Crybaby Wah pedal that I’d had lying around for the past 20 years. The thing was in horrible shape and I had forgotten I even had it, let alone used it. Since I didn’t really have anything to lose by doing so, I ended up deciding that this might make a good project pedal to modify. That being the case, I decided to go ahead and do the true bypass mod, which eliminates the “tonesucking” that takes place without it (high end frequencies bleed off passing through the pedal), and to add an LED indicator light as the first modification. Here’s the story of how I did it.
This past weekend I finally completed the LED modification I began on my guitar. It’s something I started in (I think) November of last year. It really didn’t take that long, but I was just too lazy to put the finishing touches on it. A couple hours of work late last year got me some LED’s installed under the pickups of my Ibanez RG 220 and a 9 volt battery adapter hanging out the back. It worked and looked pretty sweet, but I had to leave the back cover off the guitar so I could get at the adapter. Furthermore, in order to turn the lights off and on I had to disconnect or connect the battery altogether. As of this past weekend, I am able to satisfactorily call the project complete.
I’ll describe what I did in a little more detail. I removed the strings on the guitar (it was time to change them anyways) and then unmounted the pickup brackets from the top of the guitar. I bought eight red LED’s at Radio Shack and made two vaguely rectangular circuits of LED’s and then tied them to some lead wire. I fed the wire through the same holes the pickup leads came through, then tied them together, put a resistor in place to cut back the current from the battery, attached a 9-volt battery terminal to those and that was that. It didn’t look quite right when I tested it. The light was too direct and obscured. I searched around the Internet a little bit and found a nice article someone else did with this same project and his solution was to cut out two pieces of plastic and layer them with some translucent Scotch tape to diffuse the light. So in the pickup cavities on my guitar, there is a nice layered deal of LED’s, plastic, and pickup on top of that.
That’s the way it’s sat for the past 3 or 4 months. I finally got tired of having the back cover off and having a 9 volt battery hanging out the back, AND having to disconnect the battery if I wanted to use the lights at all. So I got off my butt and stopped at Radio Shack again and bought a sub-mini toggle switch. I got out my drill and made a nice 1/4″ hole in the guitar right between the volume and tone knob, cut one of the leads from the 9 volt terminal and tied the resulting wire into the switch. I then fed the front of the switch through the guitar and bolted it on, voila! Glowing red pickups that I figure increase my shredability by at least 37.9%.