Electro-Harmonix Freeze Hack/Mod

// July 24th, 2014 // Gear

The latest addition to my pedal board is the Electro-Harmonix Freeze – a kind of digital sustain pedal for guitar. What I hope to achieve with this is a sort of “pad” under typical acoustic strumming, and the Freeze obliges with a sound sort of like the drone of a hurdy-gurdy. Unfortunately, to use is like the sustain pedal on a piano means stomping on the very loud and “clicky” switch mounted on top of a metal box. When positioned on a pedal board, this would be very uncomfortable (the switch would be approx 2-3 inches off the ground- meaning you would essentially be standing on one leg while playing).

Fortunately, this pedal is DEAD SIMPLE to modify with a jack to connect an external switch to! In use, I plug a sustain pedal for a keyboard into a 1/4″ jack on the side of my unit. To modify the stompbox do this:

1. First, you’ll need some wire and a 1/4″ female mono jack. If you don’t know what kind I mean, you should probably turn back now. Also, you need a drill or drill press with a 3/8″ bit and a soldering iron.

2. Open the case – remove the 4 screws from the back of the case, exposing the Freeze’s GUTS!

Freeze-mod This is the Freeze, exposed! I’ve removed the main footswitch from the case to ease in installing my 1/4 jack on the side.

I didn’t really measure anything before drilling a hole in the case, just kind of eye-balled things. There’s plenty of room in there, and with the main switch pulled out, it’s easy to get the new jack in.

B – negative/ground – this grounds (via the spring connected to the PCB the switch is mounted to) to the case
C – hot
D – my new 1/4″ jack with leads already connected to the “sleeve” and “tip” contacts

3. DRILL your hole in the side (or bottom) of the case in the nice, empty space below the switch. Measure twice and drill once- or just eyeball it. But make sure that there’s room for the body of the jack behind the corner posts (where the back screws go) and around the switch and PCB when it’s in place.

4. SOLDER the lead from the tip connector on the jack to the hot solder pad (B) on the switch PCB- just right there on the back side of the PCB will do. I found the solder on mine melted easily and a nicely silvered wire will bond tight and quick. Solder the sleeve lead from the jack to the negative/ground (C) in similar fashion. NOTE: the “bare” type of 1/4″ jack lets the sleeve ground to the case, so reversing the leads would short things out. An insulated jack like the one used by Electro-Harmonix for the input and output are isolated from the case, so the polarity would not matter, but it’s best to test continuity with a multimeter before soldering things down, ok?

5. TEST – before closing things up, plug your foot pedal in and test things out with a multimeter first, then plug in power, guitar and amp and give it a go

6. Replace the footswitch, tuck your wires in neatly, and screw the back plate back on the case – you’re done!

5 Responses to “Electro-Harmonix Freeze Hack/Mod”

  1. Ricardo Maia says:

    Can you post a video to show how is the freeze working now after the mod?
    Thank you very much for this explanation!


    • jamie says:

      Sorry, I’ve not had time to create a video of the pedal in action, but simply put: it works just like it normally would, except I can step on EITHER the built-in button, OR and external pedal. Seriously, nothing else changes at all. If you want to use it without the external pedal, just unplug it and it’ll work like it did before modification. You can even use the built-in button while the external switch is plugged in. This simply adds ANOTHER button with the EXACT same functionality.

  2. seb says:

    Hallo I have a question – I have connected the parts as in the tutorial but when I plug in my external controller in the EHX Freeze the LED stays on without me pressing it down. When I than do press the controller down – depending on the mode – the light goes off an than when I release the controller pedal it stays on again. At least that is True for “fast” and “slow” mode – latch is a bit strange to play.
    What do I have to do to have my external controller work in the same way as the footswitch button on the EHX Freeze.
    Maybe its a small thing but I am new to the whole thing so I have no idea. Thank you very much.

    • jamie says:

      Sounds like you’re using a switch that is normally closed mode- if it has a “mode” or polarity switch, reverse it, otherwise, you’ll need to get a footswitch that is “normally open”

  3. Melo says:

    Hello, Thank you for this, but you referred to the negative/ground as “B” and the hot pad as “C” at first. Then in step four you switched around the letters. Which is correct?