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Guitar pedals are an often-essential part of an electric guitarist’s equipment, and you might be wondering why anyone would want to remove the rubber feet. After all, they came like that, so shouldn’t we leave them be?
That depends on how and where you intend to use your pedals.
Say you do want to remove the rubber feet. What is the best way to accomplish this?
Fortunately, removing the rubber feet from guitar pedals is relatively straightforward. Most rubber feet easily come off by peeling them away with your finger, and the stubborn ones typically come off with a little added force by a butter knife. Additionally, some may be screwed in and require a screwdriver to remove them.
There are other ways to remove the feet and reasons you may want to remove them in the first place. Let us dive a little deeper into these nuances and reasons below.
Why Remove The Rubber In The First Place?
Guitar pedals are often pricey. You have spent your hard-earned money getting a brand-new (or used) guitar pedal, so why mess with it?
To answer that question, we first have to know why many pedals come with rubber feet (or some rubber) on the bottom in the first place. The primary function of rubber feet on guitar pedals is to help reduce the potential of moving around on the floor when using them.
If you are keeping your pedals on the ground and you often play on potentially slippery surfaces like hardwood, linoleum, or concrete, keeping the pedals as is makes a lot of sense. I could even see this if you used them on carpeted surfaces, although the rubber wouldn’t be as much help on these surfaces.
However, most players who are playing at different venues or have multiple pedals would likely have (or at least need) a pedalboard to ensure all the pedals are in their correct spots. Putting your pedals on a pedalboard is the biggest reason why you would want to remove the rubber in the first place.
Keeping the rubber feet on the pedals can make it difficult for them to be securely fitted onto the board. The rubber feet create an awkward surface to apply the Velcro to; as a result, your pedals will likely shift and even fall off over time.
Of course, you do not have to attach pedals with Velcro. Many guitarists use zip ties to secure their pedals to the pedalboard. If you choose this method, you won’t need to worry about the Velcro issue.
However, the rubber feet could still impact how flush the pedals are with the board when using zip ties. I prefer using something other than zip ties on pedalboards because I like to mix and match a lot, and zip ties make doing this inefficient.
You do not need to worry about Velcro damaging your pedals either, as it can be easily removed if you ever wish to remove it.
Now that we have covered why we might want to remove the rubber let’s look at how we can accomplish this.
How To Remove Rubber Feet From Guitar Pedals
Generally, removing rubber feet from the bottom of guitar pedals is a straightforward endeavor. However, it depends on the type of rubber on the bottom.
As you can see from the picture below, the rubber on the bottom of the guitar pedals can come in different styles.
The pedal on the left shows what a pedal without rubber feet looks like.
The pedal in the middle has four tiny rubber feet, one in each corner. These types of rubber feet are very easy to remove, usually with just your fingers, but sometimes something with a bit more leverage, such as a butter knife, is needed.
Another common type of rubber backing is like the style on the pedal on the right of the picture, with a good portion of the back covered. This type of covering can be a bit more difficult to remove, but that largely depends on the quality of the pedal.
For example, I have a very low-budget bass distortion pedal with a rubber backing like the one on the right in the picture above. The rubber was of a much cheaper quality than the one in the picture, and the adhesive was not secure. On my first attempt to remove it with my fingernail, it came right off the pedal’s back.
The pedal in the picture on the right is a BOSS brand pedal, and these pedals are notorious for their rubber backing to be difficult to remove. The quality of the rubber and the adhesive on these pedals are of high quality. However, they will still come off fairly easily with a bit of elbow grease and a flathead screwdriver or butter knife.
However, it would be best if you were careful not to scratch the bottom of the pedal, as that could potentially decrease the resale value, although usually not by much.
You should be aware that typically, once you remove the rubber, you will not be able to reapply it unless you use some type of glue, which could get messy. However, replacement rubber is available.
There are also some cool companies like Small Bear Electronics that sell metal enclosure cases for pedals, which can serve as an alternative for messing around with the rubber backing and rubber feet.
Pedals with the small rubber feet tend to be more cumbersome and awkward when arranging a pedalboard, so I usually remove the rubber feet for those types of pedals. However, for pedals like BOSS or many of the Ibanez pedals, I don’t usually worry about removing the rubber as they don’t cause too many issues on my pedalboard.
One word of caution if you do keep the rubber on the bottom is that Velcro adhesives tend not to stick as well or last as long on rubber surfaces compared to metal, so if you are looking for longevity on your pedalboard, it might be in your best interest to remove all of the rubber on the back of your pedals.
Lastly, removing the rubber feet or other rubber setups from the bottom of the pedals does not typically affect resale value, so if that is one of your primary concerns for not removing the rubber, you shouldn’t worry too much about that.
Removing the rubber or not removing the rubber on your pedals is completely a personal preference. You need to determine what your goals and main uses of your pedals are and go from there.
I remove the rubber on some of my pedals, but on others, like my BOSS pedals, I typically keep the rubber on as they don’t really get in my way.
A great deal of my playing is done in my home studio, and I am frequently only needing one or two pedals at a time, so I don’t usually have pedals on my board, which means the rubber backing doesn’t affect my playing much.
I hope you found this article useful and helped you to make a decision on whether to keep the rubber on your pedals or remove it.
Hi everyone! I have been involved with music most of my life, beginning in grade school with the trumpet. I am a largely self-taught multi-instrumentalist (drums, guitar, bass, and starting the piano and violin). I currently play drums in two rock/folk cover bands and write and produce many genres of music in my home recording studio. I am also an avid guitar and drum collector.