How to Use the Ernie Ball 6180 Volume Pedal

By Matthew Anderson ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Ernie Ball VP Jr 250K (6180 volume pedal)
  • 2-3 Instrument cables
  • Electric guitar
  • Guitar amplifier
  • Electric guitar tuner (optional)

The Ernie Ball 6180 volume pedal is the model designation for the Ernie Ball VP Jr 250K. This pedal is designed primarily to control the volume of an electric guitar. It is specifically made to control the volume of a passive signal. It may not work properly with an active signal, such as the one produced by a guitar with active pickups. The design of the pedal is simple.

Connect the input port on the Ernie Ball 6180 volume pedal to the jack on the electric guitar with an instrument cable. Guitarists with multiple effects connected in a chain between the guitar and amplifier can choose to connect the pedal anywhere in the chain.

Connect the output port on the volume pedal to the input port on the guitar amplifier with an instrument cable. This port can also be connected to the input port of an effects chain if desired.

Connect the tuner port on the volume pedal to the input port on the electric guitar tuner. This step is optional. The volume pedal will send a signal to a connected tuner. This is most useful for connecting to electric tuners that only have an input port, but no output port, such as most hand-held tuner designs.

Flip the taper switch on the Ernie Ball 6180 volume pedal depending on how you want the pedal to respond. Flipped down is the default setting. The volume will increase gradually the first two thirds of the way. The final one third of the way will have a much larger volume increase than the rest of the motion. Flipping the switch to the up position causes the volume to increase evenly over the entire pedal motion.

Press the pedal all the way down using your heel. This is the zero setting, which effectively mutes the guitar signal entering the pedal.

Turn on the amplifier. It is not required, but usually a good idea to mute the guitar signal before turning on an amplifier. This prevents accidentally creating some unpleasant noises that sometimes occur when an amplifier is turned on.

Press the pedal with your toe to increase the volume of the guitar signal. The maximum setting is reached by pressing all the way down with your toe. This is equivalent to the volume of the guitar signal without a volume pedal attached. The Ernie Ball 6180 volume pedal does not increase the volume of a guitar above its normal level.

Press the pedal with your heel anytime you wish to decrease the volume of the guitar signal.


Typically, the Ernie Ball VP Jr 250K (6180 volume pedal) should be attached directly to the guitar, even for guitarists with multiple effects. This is especially relevant if an electric guitar tuner is connected to the port on the volume pedal. However, the location of pedals in an effects chain can vary based on the pedals being used and guitarist’s personal preferences. This is the best starting place, but can be moved in the chain as needed. This volume pedal is designed specifically for passive electronics. Most guitars have passive pickups, but active pickups have become commonplace on many models. There is an easy way to tell if any pickup is active or passive. Active pickups have a battery to power the pickup preamp. Passive pickups never have a battery.

About the Author

Matthew Anderson started as a writer and editor in 2003. He has written content used in a textbook published by Wiley Publishing, among other publications. Anderson majored in chemical engineering and has training in guitar performance, music theory and song composition.