Effects Makeovers

Like many, I’ve tried out a few Joyo pedals. Whilst the idea of these Chinese clones benefiting off others’ designs isn’t so great, when the circuit in question is very well-publicised and available in kit-form, then you can’t really blame them. Case in point is the TS9 clone they have, the Vintage Overdrive. Just about every pedalmaker has a version of this circuit, and it turns out the Joyo one is very good. There are a few other pedals they do that seem to get high praise – the compressor, the “Ultimate Drive” distortion, their phaser. I’ve got a couple, and I don’t feel guilty – I’ve spent enough money with the Strymons of this world and will continue to do so. Of course, there are bunch of companies doing these cheap pedals with the one thing that has always bothered me is how they look (in fact, check out my database of pedal clones). The answer: effects makeovers.

First, disassemble and put all the bits safely away in a plastic bag. Then I strip the paint. I’ve done this with sandpaper and more recently with a wire brush attachment for a drill. Once the paint is gone, I do a sand with anywhere between 320 and 600 wet and dry, before then finishing them off with grades up to 1200.

Once that’s done, you have a couple of choices. I’m quite happy with the raw aluminium look so I seal the pedal with a spraycan clearcoat metal sealer – just a couple of light sprays. If you want colour then this would be the time to prime and then spray your choice of colour on, probably with an automotive paint.

Now the fun bit: designing your new look. Somewhat strangely I’ve used Powerpoint and simply dropped png images onto a page, and made a “frame” the size of the pedal. With a bit of trial and error I manage to line up all the holes.

Next step is getting hold of some water-transfer paper (there’s lots on ebay). I like to use laser (as I do when making guitar decals) as you don’t have to seal it before use. With inkjet you need to spray it with a clearcoat. I’ve never done it so not sure how it all works.

Now you’ve got your paper and the design file, you want to find the appropriate printer to get it done. If you work where there’s a laser printer, just run your paper through – making sure the image is printed at 100%. I’ve also taken the paper to copier shops – with only one time proving a disaster as their machine wrecked the stuff.


By the time you’ve done this your pedal housing is ready for action. After cutting out the decal, simply place it in some luke warm water for a minute or so. Wipe the top of the effect box to make it damp (try and avoid drops of water on it as you have to work them out from under the decal). Then simply slide the decal onto the top, carefully working out any water underneath. Let it dry for a couple of hours, then cut away the decal material that’s over the holes with a scalpel. I’ve not bothered with any more seal coats after this, so then simply reassemble and your effects makeover is complete!

This one didn’t work as well – the paper got jammed in the printer so I salvaged what I could!

1 Comments on “Effects Makeovers

  1. Pingback: 101 Effect Pedal Clones - The Cavan Project

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