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Jim dunlop volume pedal review & volume adjustment fix

July 15th, 2009 · 18 Comments

This article was meant to be a Dunlop volume pedal (GCB-80 is the model) review but as it turns out, it will be a how-to-fix-it manual as well…

Let’s start at the end – this pedal has one “tiny” problem -it does not allow no volume at all, but rather the pedal starts from some volume (still, very audible, especially if distortion effect applied) to full. It’s kinda weird that the pedal does not fully do, the only thing it’s supposed to do – control the volume.

From visiting a few forums I’ve learned that this is a known issue among people who bought it and most people were pretty disappointed . But, thinking about it again, maybe it’s how the manufacturer intended it to be, low volume for rhythm parts and then break into heavy parts with full volume. In this way, you can never mute the guitar , you got minimum and maximum set.

Anyway, this was no good for me , cause I needed a volume pedal for mostly guitar effects, such as whaling sound (Mark Knopfler’s  “brothers in arms” for ex.) and so on. It is more practical to use a pedal then messing with the guitar volume knob, although the pedal does take some time to get used to.

So, I looked here and there, and found out there is a remedy to this, but no explanation whatsoever on how to do it. But, at least now I knew that the potentiometer inside can be adjusted. It’s not a technical or electronic limitation, or malfunction etc.

Before we get into how to fix it, you probably ask, why didn’t I return it?
Well, the pedal itself is very sturdy, built from solid aluminum. It’s heavy too which is great cause you don’t want a light pedal that will flip over if you pull the guitar cable a bit or slightly kick it with your foot (I also have the Dunlop cry baby wah wahâ„¢ (GCB-95), so I was familiar with the built quality). So, it’s stable. It looks good. The pedal movement up and down is very smooth and accurate, and the sound is neutral, with no noise what so ever. potentiometer (the electric component that varies the volume) is said to have a million cycle life span. Mine has 999,800 cycles left 😛

FIXING the volume pedal step by step

In simple words, the pedal is just a volume knob actuated by your foot. This volume knob in the pedal, was not set to the minimum it can be set to, but it starts from some volume. What you want to do, is open the pedal, and reset the volume knob (which is a gear) fully clockwise – to volume off.
This is how you do it:


Unscrew the 4 screws at the bottom

This is how it looks inside. we got the white plastic grommet (1) that pushes the arm (2) on to the gear (3)

This is how it looks inside. we got the white plastic grommet (1) that pushes the arm (2) on to the gear (3). The cream colored paste you see is grease, don’t wipe it, leave it as it is.

4_Jim_dunlop_volume_pedal_r open the screw a bit (1) and put aside the grommet. Now you can disengage the arm (2) from the gear (3), push it gently to the right side as shown while you keep the pedal closed (arm 2, has come to the end of it's travel) , like as if it would be when your foot lowers the volume (look at the next photo). When the arm is down, rotate with your hand the gear (3) fully clockwise.

Do this step when the pedal is set to minimum. The arm (2) should be as in the photo, at the end of it’s travel (way down)- you will keep this pedal position throughout all the steps . Open the screw a bit and put aside the grommet (1). Now you can disengage the arm (2) from the gear (3), push it gently to the right side as the arrow shows. When the arm is disengaged, rotate with your hand the gear (3) fully clockwise.


remember to keep holding the pedal in this position. Front pedal side, the one with the HIGH GAIN logo, should be fully opened.


Follow instructions. If you see you can’t set the arm (2) with the gear (3) when the pedal is fully open (like in previous photo) , close it just a tiny bit, as much needed to engage the gear/arm teeth together. When you’re done, turn back the grommet on to the arm, and tighten the retaining screw, don’t over do it, just tight enough to secure the grommet. One important thing – the arm (2) should engage with the gear freely (3), if you see you’re using force to engage them both, skip 1 tooth and it should engage perfectly.

Before you put on the back cover, test your pedal.

Before you put on the bottom cover, test your pedal.

So, to buy it or not? that’s up to you. after this quick fix that took me about 5 minutes (with photography) I got a great volume pedal. If you think you know what to do, and you got the idea, then this pedal is recommended.

Jim dunlop  GCB-80 volume pedal on


Tags: DIY (do it yourself) · Music · Musical Instruments


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