Below is a definitive DIY guide to building a pedal board…You’re a guitarist with a tonal range as wide as the great blue sky. You’re ready for your next gig, but have eleven different pedals that all require their own power source and amp connection.
You could just splay them all out on the floor in front of you, like an army converging on its enemy. Or, you could take the more professional—and extremely more convenient—approach.
Building a pedal board is a game of strategy and high-level engineering. Yet, once you have everything in place, you will wield a command over your sound that is second to none.
We think there are three major considerations in building your own DIY pedal board. While each pedal board project has its own challenges, these basic guidelines will get you on the path to mastering and controlling your dynamic sound. Happy playing!
Building a Pedal Board – Configuration
One of the most important considerations when building a pedal board is configuration. Here, it’s important to be honest about which effects you use most, and plan the placement each pedal accordingly.
For instance, distortion is one of the most common sounds a guitarist uses. In many cases you’ll see these pedals placed closest to the guitarist’s feet. Effects that are either rarely used or are left on or off for long periods of time, can and should be placed further away.
You’ll also need to build the actual board to which your pedals attach. We recommend laying them out ahead of actually building the structure. This gives you a sense of size and placement before cutting whatever material used for your pedal board.
Building a Pedal Board – Power
You’re going to want to have a reliable and sufficient power source for all your pedals. Something like a T-Rex Fuel Tank has a ton of juice and bandwidth for a large number of pedals. Note, it’s always a good idea to design your pedal board with extra power bandwidth for expansion later.
You will also want to build and configure your pedal board in a way that makes sense in terms of powering all your pedals. Oftentimes, you will see guitarists have built a board allowing for wires to be run underneath the pedals. This gives a clean presentation and cuts down on fighting the many cables you’ll need to make the whole setup work.
Once you’ve figured out how to power and design the pedal board, you’ll need the right wiring. Perhaps the most valuable accessories on the market for this are multi-input splitters. These allow for power to come from one source into several pedals. This will simplify your setup leaving it cleaner and easier to manage when changes need to be made.
Building a Pedal Board – Stick It On
You have all the pedals you love, but your sound might change over time. DO NOT make the mistake of permanently adhering your pedals to the board.
Velcro is one of the most popular solutions to this problem. It’s a material that can be used almost endlessly for years to come. You simply adhere one side of the Velcro to the pedal then cover the entire board with the other. This means that later on, you’ll be able to change out pedals, without fear of losing them during a gig.
When it comes to setting up a pedal board, each guitarist has their own needs and desires. This is a great opportunity to explore how you want to sound, and how you want to design the operation of your playing live. Above all, make it work for you. Pay close attention to how much you want to move around as you switch on sounds, and place your pedals in the way your own personal playing style will allow.