Part 1: Choosing your guitar pedalboard setup.
In the previous series of 3 blog posts, I discussed in what order to connect your pedals together on your pedal board. Now lets talk about the pedalboard itself. Even though it does not make a sound, it is literally the foundation on which your sound is built.
Why worry about a great guitar pedalboard setup?
In my more than half a decade as an electrical engineer and lifelong guitarist, I’ve boiled down the value of a good pedal board to doing these simple things.
- It keeps your pedals together, so you don’t lose them.
- It keeps the pedals connected together so you don’t need to connect and disconnect for every gig. It also can improve your sound because it eliminates noise, hum and intermittent shorts.
- Finally, it helps keep your pedals safe during transportation and storage. Many pedals boards come with a soft or hard sided case to store them in.
Pedalboards come in all shapes and sizes. It can be a humble do-it-yourself (DIY) homemade board made out of plywood all the way up to a board custom built by a professional.
The first question to ask yourself is: How many pedals do I want to support?
Some players get away with just a few pedals. Other musicians require so many their pedal board looks like the landing deck on an aircraft carrier.
As a point of reference, remember the basic increments from my blog series: How to construct a great guitar pedal board setup the right way the first time. The basic number of pedals was four (Tuner, Wah-Wah, Overdrive and Echo). Adding some modulation effects (Chorus, Phaser, Flanger) and echo effects could easily increase the count to 6 or 8. A second overdrive/fuzz and a compressor plus an output buffer and treble booster and you are above 12 pedals!
The second question to answer is what situations are you going to use your pedalboard in?
In your bedroom? recording studio?, a few gigs around town? on the road for months at a time? This will help you answer the question of what material the board is made of and what kind of protective case your might need for it.
Lets look at a few pedalboards so you can get a feeling for what I am talking about.
Here are a couple of examples of small pedalboards.
The Ascend pedalboard is made of exotic hardwood and holds 5 pedals. It would work great in at home or a small recording studio.
The Gator Bone pedalboard also holds 5 pedals but is a little more substantial because of the material it’s made out of and the carrying bag.
Moving up to a little bigger pedalboard, there is the Tone Trunk from T-Rex in Denmark. Its made of light weight aluminum, comes with a gig bag. Good for up to 9 pedals and would be good for the occasional road trip. There are similar pedal boards by Pedaltrain, Digital Audio Labs and many others.
If you are on the road and going from airport to performance venue day after day, you need something very roadworthy to protect your pedals.
Something like the Pedaltrain Grande will do the trick. Its 42 inches wide by 16 inches and comes with its own flight case. The interior is shock absorbent foam. The pedalboard itself is removable from its case, which is a great feature because it eliminates bulk on stage. It’s big enough to hold more than 14 pedals.
So you can see, there are pedal board choices for what ever you want to do.
In the next blog post, I’ll look at how to physically and electrically put a pedalboard together so its sturdy and reliably delivers the sound you want.
What does your guitar pedalboard setup look like? Comment below or send me a picture and a description. It’s OK if it doesn’t have Golden Path Pedals on it. – This is all about discovering new sounds and ways to get them.