I had recently noticed an explosion of guitar pedal toppers on pedal boards recently. With the advent of social media and Facebook groups, many of us (53,000 as of last) subscribe to “Pedalboards of Doom. I suspect at first that group started out as a death metal thing, but in the last year+ it has morphed into basically a pedal board knowledge sharing bonanza. Rather than stare at cat pictures and fail videos all day, thousands of guitar players have taken to looking at dozens of pictures of pedals and pedal boards all day long. I could probably write 100 blog posts about what I’ve seen and learned about in that forum.
A few years back I came across these things called barefoot buttons. Basically it’s a giant stomp box button that you put over a guitar pedal switch, and you tighten the set screws on the side to secure it into place. Then you have (as the title says) pedals you can use – even while barefoot! Great concept, except the original place I found those charges $9.95+ for each button. These things look like they are really PRO grade, and there are a lot of artists using them (according to their website, even Steve Stevens). I have never used them, because I have over a dozen pedals, and couldn’t see paying $150 for a bunch of these (says the same person that pays $6 a patch cable for 16 cables).
So I’m watching pedalboards of doom and see board after board have these buttons, and (like clockwork) I think – should I have some of these buttons? Still I didn’t buy any. I was buying some weird thing I needed last week on Amazon and lo and behold I saw some “recommended items” for guitar, one of which was these guitar pedal toppers. The thing that really turned my head was the fact that (it looked like) you could get 10 of them for just $20. So I looked, and looked and looked some more – only to find that there are thousands of them on Amazon for sale of varying color, type, and quality. I think most of us just don’t see them because we don’t know what to search for. Trust me, even when I typed in exactly what I thought I was looking for, I couldn’t find them. Nearly all the good ones I found were completely by accident in related items.
I’m going to tell you not only what your guitar pedal topper options are, I’m also going to tell you what features you might be looking for.
Does it have set screws?: This is one question you might ask yourself. The higher quality ones have anywhere from 1-3 set screws on the side to anchor the button to the switch. One concern I had was – if you tighten the set screws too much, can you squash or ruin your switch? Also if you get buttons with just one set screw can you mount the button lopsided?
Is it plastic or metal?: I think you’re asking here – is it durable, and will it last? This, however, certain helps dictate the cost.
Does it have a rubber o-ring inside the hole?: So if you’re not using the set screw method, either you need a rubber buffer inside to make it fasten nicely and not fall off. I know some don’t have this, and they just tight-fit the switches (which may work, but concerns me).
Will it fit all my pedals?: Most pedals have a universal stomp switch, but many multi-effect units and some higher end pedals have bigger switches some pedal toppers won’t fit. You might want to ask the size question before you buy them. Also the set screw versions might be better if you are worried about fit on bigger switches.
How long will it last?: You might have to buy some to truly figure this one out.
So you can see in the picture at the top of the page, I finally broke down and bought some of these guitar pedal toppers. I bought them on Amazon, and I bought a package of Mooer branded ones because 1.) I’ve purchased Mooer products (and liked them), and 2.) they were only $7 (and a few were glow in the dark). They have no set screws and no rubber o-ring inside, they are snap fit. I honestly didn’t know if these would fit my pedals at all, but I knew I had some Mooer pedals and they would at least fit those (and I was willing to waste $7). Amazon Prime free shipping, woo!
This is what I purchased:
I have to say these worked perfectly! They snapped on tight to all my pedals. I only had 2 complaints – one is that you have to be careful taking them off (you might rip the overlay part of your switch off and have to put it back on). Also (I found) on micro pedals it’s pretty easy to stomp two at the same time if you’re not careful (depending on what shoes you’re wearing).
Good news is – if you really, really like these you can even get a bucket of 100 for $70 (and .70 cents each ain’t bad!):
Even though these cheap ones worked for me, I want to give you some other options to check out. Here are some metal ones made out of aluminum in a nice case with set screws for a very reasonable price:
And here’s a set of 12 aluminum guitar pedal toppers in varied colors, and these ones have the rubber insert inside AND a set screw:
I didn’t know if I would like these on my pedal board or not – but I think they are there to stay now. You might want to get yourself some and try them out as well.