Want to see the pedalboard video? Check it out at my YouTube channel, Simon Morel Guitar…
How to build a budget pedalboard for $9 – (and why you need a pedalboard!)
Anyway on with the article…
So you’ve spent money on getting a nice bunch of pedals and now it is time to put them all together. You don’t really want to spend time putting together then pulling apart the daisy chain, cables etc every time you set up and pull down your guitar rig, so the answer is a pedalboard.
I’ve got a few effects and I have a really nice Pedaltrain 3. It works great, all the cables are nicely hidden and it holds my Line6 M13, a couple of expression pedals and a few drives, but it is HEAVY! It was getting a bit annoying lugging it around to gigs where I just didn’t really use that many sounds. So I started looking into smaller pre made boards at a few guitar stores around town and discovered that they wanted an obscene amount of money for even the smallest of boards.
So, in a moment of pique I decided to build my own. How hard could it be right? Well, it’s super easy and I’ll show you how in this photo by photo guide.
How Do I Build a Pedalboard?
You will need:
- Pedalboard case
- Glue (Selley’s Kwik Grip)
- Velcro (for back of pedals)
- Daisy Chain
- Power adaptor
- Short 1/4inch cables
- Ruler/Measuring tape
- About an hour building time
The first thing you need to do is decide what effects/stompboxes you are going to house in your new pedal board. I needed to house 4, one of which is a large Jim Dunlop Wah. Get and idea of measurements, you’ll need it for step 2.
Go to a charity shop/op shop/second hand store and buy a suitcase, laptop bag, briefcase that is large enough to house your chosen pedals. I bought a laptop bag for $2. It’s made of hard wearing nylon-y material and on the inside it’s slightly padded. It also came with a handy strap that secures the pedalboard nicely.
Go to your local hardware store and ask if they have any small hardboard offcuts. Alternatively, go to a timber merchant. Don’t get anything that is going to be too heavy, but bear in mind you are going to be stepping on it a bit, so it’ll have to be sturdy enough. Take your case with you, that way you can check measurements on site. I went to a timber merchant in Rozelle, Swadlings, who also cut it to size for me. Total cost $5.
If you didn’t get it cut to size already, cut it to the same size as the inside of your freshly acquired suitcase, laptop bag, briefcase. Make sure there is enough room for you to take the board in and out, it shouldn’t be too tight, equally you don’t want it floating around in there.
Carpet buying time. So that the pedals stay in the same place, you’ll need some velcro friendly carpet. I went to Clark Rubber and managed to get an offcut of automotive style carpet for about $3. Take your velcro to the store with you and make sure it sticks to the carpet you buy!
Figure out where your pedals will sit and where the daisy chain for powering the pedals needs to come up from under the board. Make holes with a drill.
Glue time. I used a 250g tub of Selley’s Kwik Grip $8. Cut the carpet slightly bigger that the board, you can cut it to exact size after you’ve glued it and the glue has dried. Oh, and just a tip, don’t glue the carpet to the board inside the house. It’ll smell horrible and you will get in trouble with your wife/girlfriend/partner/flatmates. I did.
Wait a day to make sure the carpet is firmly stuck and then place your pedals where you want them to go. Use adhesive backed velcro on the back of the pedals, cut it so it doesn’t cover access screws etc on the back of the pedals. Make holes in the carpet where you pre-drilled the board, I used scissors for that.
Buy some small self-adhesive rubber feet and stick them to the pedalboard. That way the daisy chain power cable won’t get snagged under the board. Tape the bottom of the board up to prevent the daisy chain from moving. To power the pedals, I use a one spot.
Install the pedals and daisy chain, pop the pedalboard in your new pedalboard case and go have a beer. Don’t forget to feel smug that you spent about $25 and about an hour to build a solid pedalboard.
If you have any questions, please just leave me a comment. If I have missed anything, let me know. Got your own pedalboard build stories? Love to hear all about it.
Until next time, Simon