Tap Trigger Pedal

My favorite part of running a custom shop is when I have time to work on these oddball projects. We’ve had a few similar prototypes over the years but decided to finalize the design in what you see on this page. The goal was to create a circuit that triggers when physically tapped anywhere on the casing. Then we can tie that trigger into existing circuits such as turning a pedal on or off (as shown below) or functioning as a replacement for a tap tempo pedal.

So you might be wondering what the point of this is- why not just press the on/off switch on the Boss pedal shown below; or why not just use a standard momentary switch for tap tempo? The simplest answer is preference. Footswitches work great for feet but can be clunky and imprecise for musicians sitting at a desk, keyboard players, or anyone using their hands to activate. Tapping a pad is easier to tap on beat than pushing a foot switch. Drummers can trigger a device by tapping the device with a drum stick. This device is for a very specific purpose and likely doesn’t apply to most guitarists.

A quick run down of the controls on the red tap tempo prototype:
• Big Rubber Pad for tapping
• Sensitivity knob – controls how hard you need to tap to trigger the device
• Red LED – indicates when the device triggers. Great for troubleshooting and confirming the device is firing when expected
• Override Toggle Switch – this functions as a backup for when tapping isn’t needed. This momentary toggle switch will short the tip to ground like any traditional tap tempo switch.
• Output jack – 1/4″ out to connect to control device
• 9V DC jack – very low power draw (a few mA) but does require external power.

Below is what this tap tempo prototype looks like when tied into the bypass switch of a modified Boss NF-1.

A quick function check on a modified NF-1

This circuit board was then trimmed down to be smaller than a 9V battery and fit in the battery compartment of any standard pedal. Below is an install of the circuit to control the bypass of a Boss DM-2W. The pedal should only activated when the pedal itself is tapped and should not be sensitive enough to trigger on or off when the jacks are bumped.

This pedal should activate only when the case it tapped and NOT when the jacks are tapped.
A peek at the circuit board with the smallest sensitivity adjustment trimpot installed in the battery compartment.
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