I do a lot of pedal switching. I have an RJM mastermind MIDI board which controls an Axe FX.

I have two common problems when hitting a foot switch: Timing and Accuracy.

Timing I would hope is self evident, lack of accuracy occurs when my foot misses a switch or accidentally hits a switch other than the intended.

Are there any exercises or routines out there for practicing the timing and accuracy of footswitches? How do others tackle these issues?


I don't do a lot of this, but I do a little (mainly looping), and what I've found helpful is:

  • I imagine it as just another instrument, like a drum that nobody but me hears, that I have to hit at a precise time.
  • I still do that even if it doesn't actually have to be that precise. So, even if all I really need to do is switch something on sometime between bar 2 and bar 3, I still choose a precise spot in the rhythmic grid to do it, and do it there every time. If there's more than one to do in sequence, this creates a foot rhythm that's the same every time.
  • I figure out exactly how that foot rhythm meshes with the other things I'm doing (playing, singing...). If it's hard to coordinate them all, I practice just one at a time separately against a metronome till it's automatic, then put them back together (initially at a very slow tempo).
  • I pick the bar or two that's hardest to spend most of my practice time on. It's tempting when I mess up to go back to the beginning of the song and start over. Especially if the effects build on each other somehow, it may seem necessary. But it's not. You can even set the pedal aside and practice by just tapping your foot on the ground in the approximate spot where the switch will be.
  • I practice at least once in the footwear I'll be performing in. It shouldn't really matter much, but it's just one less variable to worry about when I'm nervous.

This may all sound a bit tedious. But I find if I invest some time up front to break the tricky parts down methodically, I end up getting them polished a lot sooner.

  • Sounds like great advice. I'd already considered a lot of what you say one way or another so at least I know I'm on the right track! Thanks. – Ralphonz Sep 24 '17 at 9:42

Same way you practice hitting the right notes at the right time I suppose! Practice it slowly, but right. Taking a full-speed run at it and getting it wrong never helps. You're just practicing doing it badly.

  • Yep. It's basically part of the instrument and must be practiced as such. – Todd Wilcox Sep 23 '17 at 12:47

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