I have some schematics for electric guitar pedals that are designed for a mono jack input and output, but I only have stereo jacks, and I want the pedals to work with stereo signals.

Can the same circuit handle both channels at once, or do I need to modify it to provide stereo i/o?

2 Answers 2


A mono jack is only capable of transmitting one channel. Technically, you can use stereo jack plugs on mono jack sockets and vice versa. But as soon as your chain contains just one mono element, the whole chain is reduced to mono. This means that you won't have the original stereo split in the result any more.

The reason is: for having a stereo signal, you will need an end-to-end chain of (minimum) 3 electric conductors. Mono jacks (or cables) only have 2 electric conductors.

You can send your stereo signal to a mono guitar pedal using a stereo jack plug. Depending on how the jack socket of the pedal is built, it will take up both channels of the stereo signal, or just one. If you want to know about it for that specific pedal, just try and check it out.

Using a second pedal on the second channel might lead to satisfying results, although the sound result can differ from a stereo-designed device because you are creating a dual-mono setup having no interaction between the two channels. It just depends on your intention. Generally speaking, if you are going for natural sounding rooms with reverb or delay effects, dual mono is not your best friend. Better go for a stereo effect pedal then.


you cannot do this. if you try and apply a stereo signal to a mono pedal, you will get a mono signal out.

  • If I just want mono output, will the stereo jacks still work? Or would I need to build a second copy of the circuit for the second channel? Commented Jan 2, 2022 at 4:43
  • It partly depends how the jacks will physically make connection. The simplest scenario you'll send stereo, only one side will connect to the input & only one side will connect to the output, so your return will just be one side of the stereo field. To persuade it to actually use stereo, you'd need two devices, each wired from one side of the stereo. Ideally, if you're building this yourself, you'd be better off looking for a dedicated stereo device.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jan 2, 2022 at 11:27
  • Also note - stereo isn't just 'dual mono', there are certain circumstances where the processing effect for each channel needs to be derived from a mix of both input channels, for instance a linked compressor or limiter. It's therefore a little bit more complex than just 'building a second copy of the circuit'. It's best to use stereo pedals for stereo input signals, and mono pedals for mono input signals.
    – Mark
    Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 11:29

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