How to build your own tap tempo pedal

There has been a lot of interest in the tap tempo since I posted about it a couple of weeks ago. I get around 20 hits a day from Google searches for things like “DIY tap tempo” or “how to build a tap tempo switch.”

Many of you have expressed interest in buying one from me, and it’s possible that I could get to work on that during the summer. The end of the school year is just not a good time for me to start working on a project like that.

In the next couple of weeks I’ll be spending a lot of time traveling to the feeder elementary schools recruiting for the orchestra/guitar program. Once that is done, I have to go through all the paperwork of scheduling my classes and determining who is going to play what instrument, what class they need to be in – you know, fun stuff.

Once that is done, I’ll touch base with those of you who have expressed interest and we’ll see where we stand. In the meantime, feel free to build your own. It is seriously the easiest pedal to build. It’s a stretch to even call it a “build.” It’s more like basic assembly. Your soldering can be totally horrible and the box will still work.

Here’s a quick rundown on what you’ll need:

Small enclosure – this is the smallest one that I have found: the Hammond 1590LB
SPST momentary switch – this is a good one
Mono output jack – here’s one
Wire – you don’t have to use copper wire – you can use anything that is conductive, like a paperclip. Seriously, it’ll work.

The first thing you need to do is drill the holes in the pedal. Make sure you leave enough space between the holes. If they’re too close, you won’t be able to fit the components inside. If you’re not comfortable with this, Pedal Parts Plus will drill your enclosure for $3. Once the holes are drilled, install the stomp switch on top and the jack on the side. Finally, solder one lug on the switch (it shouldn’t matter which) to ground and solder the other lug to the tip. Close it up and you’re done.

It’s very easy. The entire project shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes from start to finish.

40 thoughts on “How to build your own tap tempo pedal”

  1. Also…

    The output jack hole is 3/8″
    The switch post hole is 15/32″

    It’s best to put the jack dead center on the side — vertically and horizontally.

    For the switch — if you’re using a square enclosure — divide the top of the shell in half, then half one of those (you’re establishing a 1/4 of the shell face). Make that the level-line for the switch. This will let you drop the switch into the shell as well as fit the jack in, all nice and tight.

    You can see a pic of mine, here: http://www.maurymccown.com/index.php/ozzfest_the_pulse_and_more/

    If you don’t want the jack on the back side of the box, there’s enough space to place it on any side you want (I just prefer the cable to run out the back with the switch at front).

    Hope this helps a bit, too.

  2. question. Are these switches the types that one would use for line 6 pedals? Just wondering because I’m interested in fixing a pedal with switches that seem to need a couple of clicks at times to activate or de-activate.

  3. Probably not. I’d have to crack one open, but mass produced stompboxes often use a level switch mechanism. If I could crack one open, I could tell you — or email me a picture f yours opened-up.

  4. What kind of switch would you need for this to work as an amp footswitch. I have an old fender that I need a channel select switch for, and this looks like a nice DIY project. Would it work as is, or does the switch need to be different?

  5. From the end of the article:

    “Solder one lug on the switch (it shouldn’t matter which) to ground and solder the other lug to the tip.”

    In other words, there should be two lugs on the mono jack and two lugs on the SPST switch. Run a wire from each lug on the switch to each lug on the jack. So, two wires total.

    Look at this picture to get a better idea of what I’m talking about.

  6. Hey if i want to put a polarity switch can someone help me how to?, if you show me schematics or link me to some i would really appreciate it, thanx!!

  7. Hey I have a DD3 keeley mod! It sounds great but no tap tempo!! does this switch also work on that pedal??

  8. I use 2 Boss DD7s on my board. I set one to dotted 8th and one to 8th note. Is it possible to build a tap tempo that could control both pedals at the same time? Maybe I could put two quarter inch jacks on the switch and just run two cables from it?

    I guess I’d be worried about messing with the signal or shorting something out.

  9. You should be able to install two jacks and just double up on the wiring from the momentary switch. Remember that you’re not actually sending any signal into the tap tempo pedal. The pedal is sending a brief signal to the delay pedal, but there’s no sound involved.

  10. What if the Jack i bought has multiple lugs? I dont know where to solder. There are 8 on the bottom.

  11. i tried doubling the wiring to use with two pedals, but it only works every other click. any suggestions?

  12. Hey I am looking at a switch and I need to know if I need a spacific amp i.e. .5amp switch or what. Also if the switch needs to be normally closed or normally open.

  13. Hey, I was all set to order my parts and try this… but I have some twists. I was gonna get a larger enclosure and make two of them, in one box. Then I was looking at the FS-5U (which is what I don’t want to buy). It was a toggle switch to reverse the polarity. I saw on a forum somewhere, a guy said you could wire an SPST toggle to a DPDT switch, and wha-la, an FS-5U. The DPDT has more than the two solder posts. Could you run through how to connect that?

  14. Would the DPDT Switch ( X-Wing ) from Pedal Parts Plus serve the same purpose as the SPST momentary switch from small bear electronics?

    Thanks

  15. There are a lot of questions here that I don’t really know the answers to. I would point you in the direction of the diystompboxes forum. Check it out and see if you can find the answers to your questions.

  16. Hello,

    I just built one but I bought the DPDT Momentary Switch from pedal parts plus. I can’t seem to make this switch work properly. Can you tell me how I can make this switch work.

    Thanks

  17. Im starting to build pedals and i want to add a tap tempo to a tremolo pedal. But i dont know where to attach it.

    here is the pedal im looking at making.

    link

  18. Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple way to add tap tempo functionality to this circuit. You would have to do some pretty radical modifications to the design.

  19. Hi.
    Can you point me in the right direction to find a spst Latching momentary switch? They don’t seem to be as readily available as the non-latching you use here.
    Cheers!!

  20. i’ve figured it out.. i need an SPST Latching switch. i’m trying to make a Tap Tempo that’ll work with my midi switcher. Cheers!

  21. This is awsome and looks easy but would anyone happen to know if this would work for a boss rc-2 loop pedal. Thanks. Mike.

  22. just to be clear…. ‘momentary switch’ means that its quiet? like doesnt make that loud clicking sound when being tapped.

  23. No, momentary means that when you step on the switch the circuit closes, and when you lift your foot the circuit opens. Some momentary switches are loud (like this one) and some are quiet (like this one).

  24. Hi, so this is random but I was wondering if anyone knew how to build a tap tempo switch with an LED that blinks with the speed of the tap. I am building a pedal to control ableton live, and i just need one of my switches to be tap tempo. I can wire it fine to be tap for ableton, but i thought it would be cool to have an LED blink with the tempo. It would involve that same switch being able to wire to the LED and for the LED to blink with the tempo I tap, and continue blinking the tempo after. I don’t know if this is even possible if the LED won’t be connected to any kind of digital board that would remember the tempo like a digital delay does. If anyone has any ideas let me know! Thanks!

  25. Seth, not sure about how to keep the LED blinking in time, I’m sure there must be a way. To have the LED go in time as you tap, you’ll need a DPST momentary switch (I believe). DPST means double switch single pole, so your one control can operate 2 circuits simultaneously. See for example – http://www.kpsec.freeuk.com/components/switch.htm. Then you’d obviously need an LED (in addition to the parts mentioned), drill a hole for the LED and then would wire the DPST momentary switch to both the LED and to the mono output jack. As you step on the switch it would turn the LED on (or off) depending on how you wired it. See also – http://www.tdpri.com/forum/burnt-fingers-diy-effects/222350-tap-tempo-w-led-circuit.html

    If I’m wrong, someone will put you straight!

  26. What if I wanna do a multi out tap? Like connect 2 pedals to the same tap and get the same tempo for both pedals when I push the button?

  27. Love the blog and tutorial here. Actually I used this to build my tap and it works great BUT I discovered one nugget of info that could come in handy. If you are using this tap for a Boss DD-20 you need to purchase a switch that is normally closed not normally open OR purchase a Momentary SPDT switch instead of an SPST switch (someone mentioned that above). The SPDT has an open and closed lead on it. You can choose which you want to use or can install and optional toggle switch to go between the two.

    I realize I’m only about two or three years too late with that but anywho, I thought I’d share. :)

    Best of luck!

  28. Do you need one of those solderizing tools for this? How do you solder? What is a google, and how can it help me? (I thought this was excellent, and will be making one in the very near future. Thanks!)

  29. Hey just for the heck of it.

    If I wanted to put a LED light in the Tap Tempo Pedal how would that work for wiring and all that? Thought it would be kinda fun to have a light that shows the temp you just tapped in. completely not needed but hey why not.

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