Strymon Deco Secondary Functions: Making Them Easier to Remember

by | Aug 29, 2021 | Upgrades

update: if you want me to print one of these and send it to you, they are available here:

The Strymon Deco is one of my favorite pedals that anyone has ever made. The Tape Saturation side makes a lovely warm boost and overdrive. The Doubletracker side is a lush flanger that, of course, can do a lot more than flange. If I fell on hard times, I’d sell my body before selling this pedal.

But it’s a pretty deceptively complicated pedal. Every knob has a secondary function that is unlocked by holding both footswitches. Holding the right (doubletracker) footswitch turns on an auto-flange. Great for your late 70’s transitions into a wicked solo.

The Strymon website does a nice job explaining what all the knobs do. Which is great if you are doing studio work or only ever leave your pedals on a single setting. That most likely means you’ve got to memorize everything. And this isn’t the only pedal you’re using. Every pedal has its own little nuances and maybe even more secondary features you’ve got to keep track of.

So I made a thing.

How to make your own.

First thing, you need this file.

If you don’t know what to do with a PDF, this tutorial probably is not for you. BUT! If you have Illustrator, you can edit this file to your liking.

There are two versions of the overlay in this file. One with all the marks for where to cut, one without. I think the one without is a little useless, but some folks might want to make it more precise.

Preparing You Pedal

You need to remove all the knobs and nuts from the top of the pedal. Simple as that.

The footswitches will probably fall into the pedal case. You can maybe turn the pedal upside down and grab them out, or just unscrew the bottom of the case to get at them.

I’d take some isopropyl alcohol to clean the surface of your pedal before moving forward.

Print Media

I used Avery 15665 labels. It’s a full sheet clear label that is laser-safe (important note: always make sure your print media matches your printer. Ink jet ink might not stick to laser-only media. Ink jet only media can absolutely destroy your laser printer, at least in the case of anything with adhesive). I was worried ink jet might smudge while applying the overlay. I also don’t have an ink jet printer. Your mileage may vary.

There are a lot of other full sheet adhesive options out there. You’ll probably have to buy online as stores don’t carry much of this stuff, it’s not commonly used.

I’d just recommend going with something that says “clear” or “gloss”. There are “matte” options that will probably obscure the original markings on the pedal.

Watch out for brands you’ve never heard of on Amazon, for the reasons mentioned above about destroying your printer.

Printing the file.

Just make sure you set your printer for the media you’re printing on (usually there’s a “label” setting).

Turn off any scaling. This is full 8.5×11. “Fit to page” or options like that will ruin the sizing.

Making Cuts

Assuming you’re using the version with the cut marks. I’d use a straight edge and exacto knife to cut the outline.

The circles for pots/knobs can be done freehand. I’d suggest cutting on a kitchen cutting board or plastic cutting mat. Something your knife can dig into a bit.

As you can probably see from the photo above, the cuts are pretty tight and you might want to go a little wide around the circles.

Applying the Overlay

Dry fit the label without removing the backing. Make sure all your cuts worked out well.

If you got the Avery labels (most others work this way, but not all), the backing is scored so you don’t have to peel the whole thing off at once. Pull off a section (or start peeling from a corner but don’t do the whole thing at once).

Apply starting from a corner. I suggest one of the top corners as that has the most things you’ve got to line up perfectly.

Peel the rest of the backing and carefully apply the rest. Make sure you pull the label tight to avoid wrinkles.

Use a squeegee (Google “vinyl squeegee” – craft stores probably have them) or something that is small, hard, flat but not sharp to push the label down and get out all the air bubbles you can.

You’re done! put everything back together.

The avery labels will stick for a long time, but they *can* be removed if you screwed up and need a do-over.