Mod Type: Aesthetic
Difficulty Level: Easy
What You Need:
• Soldering iron
• Solder
• LEDs (same size
as existing LEDs)
• Replacement clear
bezels (optional)
• Side cutters
• Solder sucker
• Phillips screwdriver

Our first mod is replacing a stompbox’s LEDs. It’s purely for visual vibe, but it’s a fun way to make your pedal a little more unique—and to get your feet wet with some pedal-modding basics.

A light-emitting diode (LED) is a small diode that emits light when a direct current is passed through it. Like all diodes, LEDs have polarity, like batteries, and therefore need to be hooked up properly on their positive and negative sides in order to work.

When I was looking for a pedal that could use some tarting up, I came across a Danelectro Reel Echo. Perfectly cool pedal, but its red LEDs don’t fill me with the requisite visual joy one would like when engaging the sonic glory of a delay. The Reel Echo is particularly good for a first-time LED-mod experience, because it’s large and the LED board is easy to get to. To remove the old LEDs and install the new ones:

1. Open up the beast. This particular device requires removing four screws and sliding the bottom chassis out.

2. Remove the four screws that secure the switch/LED board, then turn it around to reveal the two red LEDs.

3. Use a ruler or calipers to measure them so you can purchase replacements of the proper size.

4. Once you’ve purchased replacement LEDs and are ready to proceed with installation, take a close look at them. See how the two legs go up into the plastic, and one connects to a larger tag of metal while the other connects to a small tag? The larger tag is always the cathode—or negative—side, while the little tag is the anode—or positive—side.

This unit couldn’t be more perfect for this mod, because the board features the diode schematic symbol, which shows you which way the LEDs should be inserted. The cathode side goes in the hole near the base of the diode schematic symbol’s triangle. The anode goes in the hole near the line at the tip of the triangle.

5. Desolder and remove the two old LEDs.

6. Insert and solder your new LEDs—being super careful to get the polarity correct.

7. Splendid—you’re done! (Note that, because the Reel Echo comes with red bezels—colored lens-type covers over the LEDs—I replaced them with transparent bezels that reveal the yellow and green LEDs. Your pedal may or may not require new bezels in order to show your new LEDs.)