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If you have ever wondered about midi and what it can do for your pedalboard, you’re in the right place.  Midi has been around for decades.  Without going into its history, midi allows a person to essentially grow about 8 more arms and use them all simultaneously on their instrument while playing live.  Less metaphorically, midi is a way to make multiple changes at once on your instrument (in this case your pedals), allowing you to make drastic changes to pedal settings, tempo, saved sounds, expression and much more. 

Imagine you have 8 pedals on your pedalboard numbered 1, 2, 3… up to 8.  Pedals 1, 4 and 5 are on and the rest are off.  You have a bridge coming up and in the space of 2 beats you have to turn off pedals 1, 4 and 5, turn ON pedals 8, 7 and 3 and turn the mix knob of pedal 8 up while turning decay down and the gain also needs to be tweaked on pedal 3 while tapping in correct tempo on pedal number 7.  Impossible! … Unless you have midi.  If you have midi connected to all of these pedals it’s a walk in the park.  

In short, midi equals control.  

pedalboard with midi control


Can any pedal be controlled by midi? 

The downside? A pedal needs to be designed to have midi options and control from the original design process.  If a manufacturer didn’t intend for a pedal to have midi control options, you can’t control that pedal with midi.  Sounds obvious, I know, but it’s worth making this clear.  

The most you can do is get a programmable true bypass looper like a Boss ES8 or RJM PBC10 and turn pedals on and off by turning the loops of the true bypass looper on and off.  This requires you to have each pedal in a 'loop' - wired into the true bypass looper. Now you can turn combinations of loops (and therefore pedals) on and off with one button press. If you run out of loops, you run out of the ability to turn additional pedals on/off.  

If a pedal doesn't have midi you can’t control multiple switches on that pedal, tap tempo, favorite switches, boost options, expression control etc.  You can only turn a pedal on and off with a true bypass looper, or stop playing and make adjustments with your hands… until now! 

We have teamed up with Oscillator Devices to offer midi mods on pedals that, until now, were not designed to operate with midi.  Now we can add a module to the pedal and control anything you can do with the footswitches of that pedal or external (EXP) jacks on that pedal.  If a pedal has a tap tempo jack, 2nd footswitch for a dual overdrive, expression input, hold functions and more… we can now add a midi module to control these different aspects!  All we need to do is make sure there is enough room inside the pedal to house the module and have room for a couple of 3.5mm jacks so we can hook up midi!

We are going to start slowly here and add a couple of pedals to start and add more as time goes on. 

The POG2 Midi mod is already available on our website and the El Capistan midi mod will be live on the site by late April / early May 2022.   

El Capistan and POG2 Midi Mod 

El Capistan with midi

We are starting off this process with the Strymon El Capistan and EHX POG2 Midi Mod.  

The El Capistan can now be bypassed or engaged via midi, the favorite switch can be turned on and off, tap tempo can be sync’d and you can tap tempo on your midi controller and have it update on the El Capistan as well.  All you need to do is make sure it's in Favourite Mode (not expression mode), and that that there is the not-so-patented Goodwood Dummy Plug (GDP) in the EXP Jack (any other plug will do just fine) so you can access the favourite functions via midi. 

The POG2 can be bypassed or engaged and you can cycle presets (the encoder knob) by jumping to a specific preset or banking up and down through your saved presets one at a time.  

Before you ask, yes, you can mod other small box strymons, EHX pedals and many more!

Keep your eyes out for this over the coming weeks on the website as we roll this out one pedal at a time!  Currently the POG2 is on the website ready to go and the El Capistan should be up and ready by end of April! 

In the meantime, email us with questions, comments and examples of the first pedal you would like to midi mod!


EHX POG2 with midi

strymon El Capistan with midi

Strymon El Cap midi controller

Strymon Favourite switch with midi

By Grant Klassen


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