Ernie Ball Volume Pedal mods now available!

Mercy Seat Effects volume pedal modThe Ernie Ball VP and VP Jr. are found on countless pedal boards of professionals, amateurs and everywhere between. The concept is a simple, tried and true solution to a number of guitarist needs. However, within its simplicity lay a new type of problem. That problem is of course what most guitarists have come to call “tone suck.”

Right off the bat I want to make something perfectly clear. It’s something that I have talked about a few times on this site and in person with other players and it is very near and dear to my heart. YOUR rig and YOUR tone is what you make it. There’s no such thing as an industry standard. YOU are in charge of the sound that emanates from that speaker. When you like what you hear don’t let anyone tell you it should change. That said however, if you are looking for ways to improve your tone and you’re not sure what to do, read on!

Ok, back on track now. Where were we… oh yeah, “tone suck.” Here’s a quick explanation of how the volume pedal works. You’ve got your input, output and tuner output. Inside the pedal itself is simply a volume potentiometer that is turned up and down by the rocking of the foot control. Pretty simple. The design of the pedal however leaves a little to be desired. In order to offer the player the option of using the volume pedal AND the tuner output, your signal enters the input and is immediately split. Signal is sent “through” the volume pot and also to the tuner output. Big deal right? Well, it actually is. Here’s why.

This is called a passive parallel split. Instead of isolating the tuner output, it is wired in parallel with the through signal. Your guitar pickups are considered a high impedance output signal. Basically it means on it’s own, unless you use active pickups (battery operated stuff) the pickups have low signal strength. That’s why you use an amp! So when you use the volume pedal your already weak signal is now being split in half. Now add in the use of the tuner out and you introduce an impedance issue as the tuner is now dragging some signal along. Yep, that tuner output is kind of a brat!

However, do not fear! There is a solution. The Mercy Seat Effects VP mod introduces a buffer circuit that will isolate your signal before it is split. In essence, your signal comes in the input and hits 2 isolated buffer circuits. The first isolated circuit then sends that signal through the volume pot and now has the strength it needs to continue its journey to your amp while the second isolated circuit sends your signal to the tuner out. Wooty wooty. This is by no means a new idea. Plenty of other builders/modders offer a similar mod. Some charge $100, some charge $35… I charge $45-$65.  I can’t imagine paying $100 for a mod done on an $89 pedal… but hey, some people have more money than they know what to do with. I CAN say that the Samson buffer/splitter is top notch. So what are you getting for your hard earned 2 score and 5 (that’s 45)? So glad you asked.

You get: the installed Samson buffer/splitter, a superbright LED for MOJO points and a DC jack to power it all. I have an additional option that includes changing out the 250K volume pot for a more suitable 25K pot.

Here’s what you DON’T get: a new (read: supplied by ME) Volume Pedal, a power source, increased libido and/or increased talent. Those you will have to supply yourself.

Oh, that reminds me, your former passive Volume Pedal is now active. That means you’ll need a power source. Any standard negative center, 9V Boss style barrel power source will do. This includes but is not limited to VooDoo labs Pedal Power, DC Power Brick, One Spot, etc.

So, how does this work? Again, I’m really glad you asked. It’s pretty simple really so long as you know how to ship an email and a package.

Order Here!

That’s it! Now get those pedals modded!



  1. Darren Nelsen
    Darren Nelsen December 10, 2012 at 9:56 pm .

    Great article. Interesting mod. I’m curious, does the tone suck happen even if you’re not using the tuner out? Thx.

  2. Zach Coleman
    Zach Coleman December 25, 2012 at 3:40 pm .

    Hey man. I want this mod done to my VP JR, but how long would it take?

  3. Juan Carlos Marquez
    Juan Carlos Marquez February 26, 2013 at 4:59 pm .

    I have a VPjr that the string broke on it. Would you be able to fix the volume pedal string as well as the mod? How much would you charge?

  4. Tim Maas
    Tim Maas July 8, 2013 at 5:59 pm .

    After the mod is done is it still possible to replace the string?

  5. Andy Elliott
    Andy Elliott September 13, 2013 at 12:15 am .

    Do most actually run their tuner on their board into the “tuner out”? Or have it somewhere else in the chain?

    Thanks for the great articles! Been reading all afternoon.

  6. jt reyes
    jt reyes October 23, 2013 at 12:28 pm .

    Hey! I would love this mod! Heck of a deal! Text me ! or call! 9516922992

  7. Christopher Lamson
    Christopher Lamson November 25, 2013 at 2:34 am .

    Can you sell the mod as a DIY kit?