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Building a Pedal Board

Updated on December 13, 2017

The first step in building your very own pedal board is to obviously have to pieces to do so. You need to look at how many pedals you have as well as what size board you will need. one of the easiest ways to do this is to take all of your pedals and lay them out on the floor in a theoretical signal chain. When laying your pedals out you have to leave room for the cables, many cables have large input jacks that need room to be able to be plugged in. Another thing to keep in mind is that pedals can come in all sort of shapes and sizes, another reason why it is important to get an understanding of your layout before committing to a board.

Once you have determined the size board you need you can decide whether to purchase or build your own board. For this article we will be referring to store bought boards. Many people usually end up going with metal made boards. They are sturdy, rugged and can take a beating; also they are relatively light weight and easy to transport.

Now you have your board and are ready to put it all together. There are a few different ways to attach your pedals to your board. Some who have wooden boards will attach washers of some sort and drill them down, other will use zip-ties (not the most good looking solution, but it works). The most common way, and probably the easiest and least permanent, is velcro. To to this you need to get adhesive velcro tape, apply one side to the pedal, and the other to the board. It really does not matter which side goes where, from what I have seen most people will put the soft side on the board and the more 'sticky' side to the back of each pedal. This method allows you to be able to change the lay out of your board very easily; this way you can swap out your pedals as you gain more.

Once your pedals are ready for application, you can start attaching them to your board. The usual practice is to put your overdrive, fuzz or other 'dirt pedals' in the front of your chain. Next is modulation, as before these usually are things like tremolo, chorus, phaser, etc. After that delay and reverb are at the end.

The last step is power. Power mounting should be done either before or during pedal attachment. If you have a small board you many find it easier to just mount your power supply on the top of your board as if it were just another pedal, once you start to build larger boards, you will need a larger power supply, many with big boards will mount their power under the board; this will require a mounting kit. Once your power is attached, you need to connect all pedals to the power supply.

The last step is cable management, this step is really user-subjective. You can use zip-ties, tape, or if you are using customer length cables, you might not even have to worry to much about this step.


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