Pedals & FX, Setup & Signal Chain

How to Turn On Your Guitar, Amps & Pedals With 1 Switch

Written By :Andrew Siemon

Reducing the friction between you and your guitar setup can make a big difference in your playing and recording. I figured out a good method which I’ll share with you.

1) Connect a power bar to an outlet
2) Bring it near where you play
3) Turn on your power bar
4) Leave your amp’s power switch on
5) Connect the pedal power supplies first
6) Connect the amp after

7) To disconnect, turn off the power bar and then disconnect the amplifier’s power cord

I have a volume attenuator in the FX Loop which compensates for the high volume. DO NOT set your amp volume to a similar level without an attenuator.

Key Products Needed

  • Power Bar / Surge Protector (10-15 ft)
  • Amplifier Cable (15 ft)
  • Power Supply

Let me break everything down for you in more detail in the following sections.

What Gear You Need to Make This Possible

1) Trond Power Bar & Surge Protector (15 ft Cable)

Ditto X2 on Power Bar - Where to Put The Flanger In Your Signal Chain? [ANSWERED] - 1
I’m using this power bar. You can get it on my Product Page.

As I’ll say again in a second regarding the long amplifier cable, you want to make sure your power bar cable is long enough.

I recommend at least a 15-foot cable to ensure you have the freedom to set up your equipment wherever you prefer.

Just think hard about how you want your set-up to look first and then imagine how much length you’ll need. Find that number and then double it just to be safe.

Don’t stunt your configuration’s effectiveness and efficiency. It’s the whole point.

My power bar, for example, is on the other side of the room because it’ll trip the breaker if I put it with the outlet that’s occupied by my air conditioner.

2) Long Amplifier Cable

This is the Omnihill 15 Foot Power Cord
You can get this exact power cord on my Product Page.

Same thing here. Make sure it’s long enough to actually go to wherever you need it go. This is super important, otherwise, you won’t be able to set up your amp and the rest of your equipment as close or as far as you want.

3) Power Supplies

I’ve been using this power supply for months now and I have no complaints. It’s really good. Get it on my Product Page.

You can use whatever kind of power supply you want, but the Pedal Power 3 + is a standard for a reason.

How to Set Up The 1-Switch Apparatus

1) Connect the Power Bar/Surge Protector To An Outlet

1 - Power Outlet into the Wall
Connect it just like so.

2) Bring The Power Bar Close To Where You Play

2 - Power Bar and Chair
I like having all of my equipment on mats as well. It makes moving things around much easier.

It also has the added benefit of isolating some of the sound and inhibiting pesky reverberation.

3) Turn the Amp On & Leave It On

5 - Amp Turned On
Flick your switch on and leave it on all of the time going forward.

4) Connect Your Pedals’ Power Supplies First

3 - Connecting Power Supplies to the Power Bar
Plug in your power supplies like so.

The nice thing is that you can you do as I said earlier and plug in everything else, including smart phones, RGB lights, laptop adapters, single pedal adapters, or anything else you may need.

5) Use the Long Amplifier Cable to Connect to the Bar

Connecting the Amp to the Power Bar .jpg
This is where the long cable comes in handy.

6) Use the Power Bar & Amp Cord As Your Main Switches

6 - Turning the Power Off with the switch and amp cable
The switch – in combination with the amp’s power cord – is what I use to turn everything on and off.

Once you’ve got everything set up, you’ve got a super easy way to get all of your equipment up and running. This saves a lot of bending over, reaching over shelves, etc.

If you’re living in a small place like me, having streamlined and efficient processes like this helps quite a bit. Although, this will help regardless of the kind of space you’re in.

3 Things You Should Know About This Process

1) A Command Strip Works Well for Securing the Power Bar

You don’t have to mount your power bar to your floor, but I find it works well for securing it in place. It won’t move then. I’m using a simple Command Strip.

These are readily available on Amazon and they won’t damage your floor or wherever else you decide to put it. Read the instructions before placing it.

2) Using Tape or Zip Ties to Secure Wires Together

This will help keep your work-space nice and neat as well, rather than having wires hanging everywhere.

3) Turning Everything On At Once Creates A Popping Sound

When you turn on 12 guitar pedals, an amplifier, and a power supply all at once, some of the pedals will create a sound or activate a feature automatically. I find this creates a benign popping sound.

If it does concern you, one way you can get around it is to plug in your power supplies first, and then turn your amplifier on afterward. This will eliminate that sound.

8 Safety Considerations You Should Keep in Mind

Surge Protection: Ensure that the power bar has a built-in surge protector. This is crucial for protecting your gear from sudden spikes in voltage which can damage sensitive electronic components.

Power Rating: Check the power rating of the power bar and ensure it’s sufficient for the combined load of all your devices. Overloading the power bar can create a fire hazard.

Quality of the Power Bar: Invest in a high-quality power bar. Cheaper ones might not provide the level of protection or durability you need for expensive music equipment.

Amp Switch: Leaving the amp’s power switch on and using the power bar to turn it on and off isn’t generally recommended. Frequently powering up an amplifier this way can potentially cause a surge of electricity that might shorten its life over time. However, some modern amps are designed to handle this better than older models.

Heat Dissipation: Ensure that all devices, especially the amplifier, have adequate ventilation. Amps can generate a lot of heat, and if they’re not properly ventilated, this can lead to overheating and damage.

Grounding: Make sure that your power bar is properly grounded to avoid any electrical hazards.

Regular Inspection: Regularly inspect your power bar and cables for any signs of damage, wear, or overheating.

Consult Manuals: Check the manuals for your specific equipment to see if the manufacturers provide any guidance or warnings about power sources and turning the equipment on and off.

Andrew Siemon is the principal creator for, a website entirely devoted to all things guitar. From repairs, music theory, chords, and improvisation, to recording at home. I've been doing this for 20 years and I've got another 50 in me.

Leave a Comment