How To Build A Pedalboard

How To Build A Pedalboard

Playing a musical instrument can be a rewarding and fascinating experience, especially if you are the kind of person who is passionate about composing and performing your own songs.

However, some musical instruments can require a lot of equipment to play, particularly if you want to create unique and powerful sounds that are filled with musical textures. 

When it comes to the subject of additional equipment, the worst offender is the guitar, which often needs cables, amplifiers and pedals to alter the sound it produces.

If you have been playing the guitar for a long time, then chances are you have amassed quite a collection of guitar pedals, which can make the overall playing experience feel complicated and overly crowded. 

So how can you make sure that all your effects pedals are in one place? Well, there is one key method, and it involves combining your various pedals in the form of a pedalboard.

Pedalboards are often used by guitar players to grant easy access to their pedals, which are now readily available in a single place. So if you are interested in making your own pedalboard, we have all the information you need in the article below. 

Size

The first thing you need to consider is the size of your pedalboard, which will often be affected by the number of pedals you own. If you currently use five or fewer standard-size pedals and have no intention of using more, then you will not need to make a gigantic board that you can barely lift.

So your best option is to either purchase a small pedalboard or make one that suits the dimensions of your collected pedals. 

On the other hand, if you are the kind of guitar player who owns more than five pedals but fewer than ten, then a medium-sized board is the best option for you. However, if you own five pedals and are hoping to continue your collection, then you can make a large pedalboard and fill in the spaces whenever you obtain a new pedal. 

If you are making your own pedalboard from scratch, then you need to remember that you can’t push all your pedals together and expect to have a working board.

The pedals will need to have sufficient room between them, as this space will help to accommodate extra elements such as cables. Making sure that your pedalboard is uncluttered and tidy should always be a priority when making your own.

Board

Of course, the most important element to any pedalboard is the board itself, which comes to form the base of the entire contraption. You can purchase pedalboards ready-made, or you can make your own using obtainable materials such as wood and metal.

If you are interested in making your own, then the best material to use is wood, as it can be easily carved or cut to suit your specifications. 

Although making your own pedalboard from scratch can be a very rewarding experience, it can also cost lots of money, as you will have to buy materials, glue and tools to complete the job.

Of course, how you want to make your board comes down to your own preferences and talents. If you do not feel comfortable making your own board, then you can easily purchase one from your local music store. 

How To Build A Pedalboard 1

Layout

Now we have come to the important part, and that is the overall layout of your pedalboard. Although composers and professors around the world will say that music has no rules, there is a specific way to how you should approach the layout of your pedalboard.

By following this basic outline, you can make sure that your pedals are easily accessible and that they are in the perfect order for use. 

When creating your pedalboard, you should always start your chain by placing down the tuner, as this needs room to remain unaffected and workable.

Next, you can place down equipment such as Wah pedals, as these are used to colour the tone of your guitar and the effect being produced.

Your compressor will then usually follow, as this particular pedal provides the ability to raise the sound of the effect and should be kept close to your guitar. 

Your overdrive, distortion and fuzz pedals should go next in the chain, for these are the pedals that are capable of changing the harmonic content of the sound and amplifying it. EQ pedals are the next logical step, although this can change depending on preference, and whether you are using a distortion pedal.

Next, you need to place down your chorus, phaser and flanger pedals, these are called modulation pedals and will be used to modify the tone that you have created before utilizing them. 

Delay pedals come next in the chain and should always be placed after the distortion or gain pedals, otherwise, you could end up producing a loud and jumbled mess. Distortion pedals are also capable of creating a jump in the ambient effect level if they are placed after a delay pedal, which can sound uncomfortable and strange.

The last pedal to go down will always be the looper, as this will typically be the pedal you want to use after you have played and used the effects. If you press the looper before any of the other pedals, then you will only receive a loop of the clean sound. 

Power

Once you have created your chain, you can keep your pedals in place by using either velcro and cable ties, however, we would recommend velcro for a cleaner and more attractive look.

When you have secured the pedals, then you can begin to consider how you will power your pedalboard. 

Most pedalboards require nine volts of power to operate, although some have also been known to need anything from 12-24 volts. Before you find your power supply, you need to do some research and learn how much power each of your pedals needs. 

When you have done this, purchase a power supply robust enough to handle the size of your board, while also making sure that it has enough outputs for the number of pedals you are using.

We would also recommend using a power supply that has isolated output sections, as this will reduce the chances of ground loops, hum and unwanted interactions between your pedals. 

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