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BigShot™ ABY FAQ

What is true-bypass all about?

True-bypass pedals are devices that switch the effects circuit out of the signal path when not in use. In other words, they do not amplify the signal in any way. Some guitarists prefer true-bypass pedals as this gives them the sound as if connected directly to their amps. When a pedal is on, it buffers or amplifies the signal. Non true-bypass pedals (like most Boss pedals for instance) load the pickup causing a tone shift. This is done to eliminate turn-on transients that can cause the guitar amp to pop each time the pedal is activated.

Will the ABY introduce pops into my guitar signal?

Yes and no. It depends on your amp and how much gain (overdrive) you are using. The higher the gain, the more sensitive the input and therefore the higher chance of getting clicks and pops when you switch the unit. This of course is the downside to true-bypass switching. If you want to eliminate any pops, you may want to consider one of our other ABY pedals like the TwinCity or the Switchbone.

How do you eliminate the pop?

By using an active or buffered ABY pedal. The Radial TwinCity and Switchbone are equipped with special circuits to eliminate the pop and Drag control load compensation to replicate the sound as if connected directly to your amp, as if true-bypass. These pedals do not pop when you switch.

Why are there no LEDs on the BigShot ABY?

Our goal was to make the BigShot ABY easy to use and keep it as compact as possible for pedal boards. LEDs require batteries or a power supply. We figured that most players would prefer 'less is more' when it came to wiring or replacing batteries. Most players find that figuring out which amp is on is somewhat automatic, thus having LEDs is not all that important.

Can I use the BigShot ABY to switch between two channels on an amp?

Yes. Many older vintage amps have two channels but switching between them is not possible. Simply connect the ABY as you normally would and send each output to a channel. The isolation transformer and 180° polarity reverse can be used to make sure both channels play in phase.

Can I use the ABY backwards as an instrument selector?

Yes. Just make sure the isolation transformer is switched out.

What is the difference between the BigShot ABY and those offered by Morley, Whirlwind and others?

Most ABY boxes will work fine in many applications. The BigShot ABY simply adds more functionality with the isolation transformer that helps eliminate ground loops and the polarity reverse that solves the phase problems that occur when using two different amplifiers.

Will switching the transformer into the circuit change the tone?

Yes and no. It depends on how you are using the ABY. If you are connected directly from your guitar, then the tone will have to be adjusted to compensate on the isolated amp. If you are connected through a buffer first, then the tone will be pretty much unaffected. Always use a high quality buffer like the BigShot PB1 as this will ensure the tone of your guitar is maintained.

Will adding a tuner affect my tone?

It can. This depends on the tuner. Most will draw some current and therefore add a minute load on your pickups. This can cause the tone to change slightly.

Some tuners cause noise – what can I do to solve this?

The best way to solve clicking caused by the quartz timers inside tuners is to buffer the guitar signal before it hits the tuner. Always use a high quality buffer like the BigShot PB1 or equivalent as this will ensure the tone of your guitar is maintained.

Can I use the BigShot ABY to switch amp cabinets?

No. Simple ABY switchers are not designed to safely switch between amps. We manufacture a specific product called the Cabbone that does this safely. To switch heads, we make one called the Headbone.

Can I use the ABY backwards to combine two pickups or mics together?

No... you cannot use a passive device like the BigShot ABY to mix two microphones or pickups. You need an active device like the Radial PZ-Pre. This has a mix/blend function that allows both inputs to be combined like a mixing console.

Can I use the ABY to mix two guitars and play through one amp?

Plugging in two guitars may work, but it will be like using a Y-jack. As it is not buffered, you could encounter some cancellation and turning up or down one guitar may affect the other.

When the transformer is switched 'in' on output-b, is output-A still true-bypass?

When used individually, each channel is completely separate from the other, so when output-A is selected, output-B is off. If both channels are on at the same time (A+B), you may encounter a slight bit of loading on A, but the effect will be minimal.

Can I use the BigShot ABY to switch between two heads and one cabinet?

No. In order to run a head safely, it should always have a proper speaker load. To switch heads, we build a special product called the Radial Headbone that will do this safely.

If I buffer my guitar signal before the ABY, do I still need a buffer after the signal has been split?

No. A good quality buffer like the Radial Elevator or PB1 will drive the ABY splitter and cable to 15 meters (50 feet) without appreciable noise.

Can two people play guitar using the Big-Shot ABY through one amp channel?

Yes, however as there are no buffers to manage the two guitar signals, they will interact when one of the guitar volumes is turned up or down.