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Ernie Ball Volume Pedal

EBVpJrString

You can see it can’t you? The weak link in the Ernie Ball Volume Pedal?

There are actually two weak links: tone loss and the strings and spring.

I corrected the first one by getting my pedal from JHS. They cure the tone loss by installing a buffered splitter. This gives the player two isolated outputs, one for the tuner and one for the guitar out. Gets rid of noise, tone loss and improper signal load. They even put in a cool LED light.

A few days back, as I was working through a set for this coming weekend, my volume pedal started misbehaving and then the string broke. In the picture above, there are actually two runs of string with one end hooked on the bottom of the foot pedal and the other end hooked to a spring. One run of the string had severed near the potentiometer midway between the spring and the foot pedal.

The potentiometer had also worn out — lots of scratching and noise.

I guess that is one reason why Ernie Ball puts this up on their website. And one for the potentiometer as well.

CordSpringKit

If you use this pedal, you will need this kit. They thoughtfully provide the instructions for installing the kit here.

Unfortunately, I could not get this kit delivered in time for the gig this weekend. And, to be honest, I have had lots of issues with Ernie Ball Volume Pedals over the years.

Off I went on a bit of a mad dash to get a new volume pedal.

I picked up the Mission Engineering VM-PRO. It is buffered, includes an isolated tuner out, although with the need to run a special adapter, and seems to be built to a very robust standard.

MissionVMPRO

I put it on the board last night.

Some feedback for the Mission Engineering folks. A few of us do put our pedals on pedalboards. Could you do a wee bit of reengineering on the bottom plate to allow for Velcro strips?

The bottom of the pedal contains four rubber foot mounts secured by four screws and a battery cover that extrudes over the cover plate. I thought it would as simple as removing the four mounts and securing the bottom plate simply by reattaching the four screws without the rubber mounts. And then I would just put a few Velcro strips on the bottom plate and attach it to the board.

Wrong.

The screws do not fully secure flat to the plate as they are too long without the rubber mounts. The screw heads are not flat so they leave a ridge at each corner — and the ridge is quite a bit higher because the screws aren’t fully engaged.

I had to remove the battery plate completely so that the unit would stay reasonably flat against the pedal board.

Nowhere near a flat surface at the bottom of the pedal but I managed to get it to work. I’ll scour around for some flat screws with a shorter throw but really, a pedal maker like Mission Engineering should have anticipated this use case.

The pedal itself is very smooth and passes the tone as expected. The throw is not as long as the Ernie Ball pedal so I am finding it a bit of a transition to get the same feel for swells. I tend to use a volume pedal almost exclusively for ambient parts. The distance from volume off to volume on is quite short in comparison to an Ernie Ball volume pedal. For me, I would have liked more travel in the pedal. Maybe it is something that I will get used to over time.

Otherwise, quite pleased with the pedal. Things were sounding pretty bad with the old volume pedal until the string finally broke. Then things were not sounding at all.

Putting the Mission Engineering pedal on the board made a huge difference to the sound: clean, pure guitar tone.