How to Add External Volume Control to an Amplifier

Written by matthew anderson
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How to Add External Volume Control to an Amplifier
The volume of a guitar amplifier can be controlled with a volume pedal. (la guitare image by Richard villalon from Fotolia.com)

Volume is an important component in the dynamic of a song. Guitarists in certain situations need to adjust the volume of an amplifier in the middle of a song. Adjusting the volume of the amp using the volume knob is usually impractical for those situations. The easiest method is to add a volume pedal as an external volume control for the amp. This pedal will decrease the signal strength from the guitar to the amp, which will allow the guitarist to directly adjust the volume only using the pedal.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Guitar
  • 2 instrument cables
  • Volume pedal
  • Amplifier

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Plug an instrument cable into the input port of the amplifier and the output port of the volume pedal.

  2. 2

    Plug an instrument cable into the input port of the volume pedal and the guitar.

  3. 3

    Place the volume pedal into a position that will serve as the normal amp volume position. Two good positions for using a pedal as your external volume control is to push the pedal all the way down or halfway down. If it is all the way down, you will only be able to decrease the volume of the amp. If it is halfway down, you will be able to increase and decrease the volume of the amp.

  4. 4

    Turn on the amp.

  5. 5

    Adjust the volume knob on the amplifier to the normal volume you want.

  6. 6

    Press the pedal down to increase the volume of the amp.

  7. 7

    Press up on the pedal to decrease the volume of the amp.

Tips and warnings

  • Practice using a volume pedal as an external volume control for your amplifier on your own before using it in a performance situation. It takes some practice to precisely control the volume of your guitar using one.
  • Always wear ear protection when using an amplifier to avoid permanent hearing damage. Just because you never intend to turn the amp volume all the way up does not mean you will not accidentally slip and press the volume pedal all the way down by mistake.

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