Building a guitar pedal board

DIY Pedalboard Build

building a guitar pedal board

Are you a pedalboard dunce? Fear not! In this illustrated lesson, Guitar World shows you everything you need to know, from choosing a 'board.

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Back in the mid Sixties, guitarists had a choice of maybe three or four pedals, and the players who were far out enough to use them all at once connected them together with cables several feet long, and used foot coiled cables on each side of the pedal chain to go between their guitar and amp. From a modern perspective, this was not an ideal arrangement, because the cable runs led to all sorts of noise and tone sucking. Flash forward five decades, and pedal chains have become far more sophisticated than a few boxes arranged on a stage floor. Many players build their own pedalboards, and manufacturers service varied needs with simple carrying cases that sometimes include Velcro strips to seat your pedals on a floorboard , pre-fab boards with tiered shelves, and rugged tour monsters with regulated power, tuner jacks, onboard headphone amps, and other goodies. If you go the D. Y route, however, the road can be daunting.

In this DIY workshop we take a look at building a small board from scratch. However, instead of following the ubiquitous Pedaltrain-type formula, we came up with a few of our own twists. Secondly, we wanted to slant the board to provide easier access to all of the pedals and, thirdly, we wanted to make the system modular. The thinking behind the modular approach was to build a small pedalboard frame with a fixed but accessible power supply and a removable top section. This would allow us to put together several boards for different styles of playing, that could be dropped into the frame and hooked up within a matter of minutes. For instance, you could have a blues board with a wah, fuzz, overdrive and clean boost.

Guitar effects are a fantastic way to expand your sound and really create your very own sonic signature but carrying them around and keeping everything in one place can sometimes be a bit of a nightmare considering all the batteries, leads and cables involved. Well, the short answer is, if you have more than 2 pedals, you should look at getting a pedalboard. This of course, does not apply to everyone, but for the uninitiated, a pedalboard is a convenient way to carry around all your effects, power supply and keep your connector leads, such as patch leads and power cables safe. Although most pedals these days, such as Boss, Strymon and Wampler are built like absolute tanks, banging them together along with fragile power cables will eventually take its toll and possibly leave you with a damaged pedal over time. When you use a pedalboard especially one in a protective case, the leads, just like the pedals are held in place and therefore will be less likely to become damaged in transit. Power leads from your power supply to your pedals can be quite fragile, so the less you move them the better. A pedalboard is essentially a way to plug in and play as everything is already hooked up.

Are you a pedalboard dunce? Fear not! In this illustrated lesson, Guitar World shows you everything you need to know, from choosing a 'board to powering up and laying out your pedals. The more effect pedals you use, the more you need a pedalboard. Even the most basic unpowered board can provide a useful platform to hold your pedals securely, provide cable management and keep everything from sliding around onstage.

Pedalboards: How to Build the Perfect System from Start to Finish


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  1. Eustache C. says:

  2. Denisse C. says:

    What size?

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  5. Iniknabxing says:

    The Gormboard

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