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Old 05-26-2015, 04:55 PM   #1
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Building a pedalboard

Hi everyone, I'm looking to build a pedalboard. There are so many options as to what pedals to pick, so I need a bit of help. So far I have a Cry Baby Wah, an Ibanez TS-9, a Line 6 M5 and a Boss DD-20. I'm not interested in going the multi effects route (I've considered it in the past but I'm more interested in building a pedalboard). Don't have a set budget, because I'm not going to be buying all the pedals at once anyway.

Thanks!!!


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Old 05-27-2015, 05:52 AM   #2
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If there is one thing I love doing its building pedal boards. So I'll give it a shot. Now, how we can help you depends on several questions.
- First and foremost, what do you plan to do with this board? Since you're on this board do you plan to use it to play U2 songs, or do you want to use if for other things as well?
- Where do you want to use it? Are you a bedroom player or do you play in a band and plan to do gigs with it?
- Do you want to acquire more pedals or are you happy with what you got already? Which is a pretty good set for most things already I might add. But do you want to get more and in which order should they be run?
- Do you want to control the pedals via a switching system, or loopers, or are you just happy to activate them via regular one on one tapdancing?

There is a military saying that while amateurs study tactics, professionals study logistics. The thought behind it means that while tactics in the field get all the attention, without a constant supply of supplies and replacements everything comes to a halt, no matter how good a general you are. This above all was why Germany lost WWI and WWII. The same idea applies to pedal boards as well. It's not so much the pedals you put on a pedal board that are the most important, it's the actual board, cables, power supply and the signal routing that are the most important. And they get determined by those questions I asked you originally. What do you plan to do with this board, where do you want to use it and how many pedals and in what order do you want to put on it and how do you plan to operate it?

I'd say think about that. Take your time to really think it through. I'm pretty sure those are questions people like Bob Bradshaw and Pete Cornish ask their customers as well. Determine your needs first before filling your head with dreams of cool pedals.
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Old 05-27-2015, 03:05 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Muad'zin View Post
If there is one thing I love doing its building pedal boards. So I'll give it a shot. Now, how we can help you depends on several questions.

- First and foremost, what do you plan to do with this board? Since you're on this board do you plan to use it to play U2 songs, or do you want to use if for other things as well?

- Where do you want to use it? Are you a bedroom player or do you play in a band and plan to do gigs with it?

- Do you want to acquire more pedals or are you happy with what you got already? Which is a pretty good set for most things already I might add. But do you want to get more and in which order should they be run?

- Do you want to control the pedals via a switching system, or loopers, or are you just happy to activate them via regular one on one tapdancing?



There is a military saying that while amateurs study tactics, professionals study logistics. The thought behind it means that while tactics in the field get all the attention, without a constant supply of supplies and replacements everything comes to a halt, no matter how good a general you are. This above all was why Germany lost WWI and WWII. The same idea applies to pedal boards as well. It's not so much the pedals you put on a pedal board that are the most important, it's the actual board, cables, power supply and the signal routing that are the most important. And they get determined by those questions I asked you originally. What do you plan to do with this board, where do you want to use it and how many pedals and in what order do you want to put on it and how do you plan to operate it?



I'd say think about that. Take your time to really think it through. I'm pretty sure those are questions people like Bob Bradshaw and Pete Cornish ask their customers as well. Determine your needs first before filling your head with dreams of cool pedals.

Just realizing now how broad my OP was. I'll mostly use the board for U2, but anything else I play usually requires minimal effects (TS9, something from the M5). I might play some gigs in the future so I want to design the board with that in mind. I do want to acquire more pedals; although I am happy with what I have right now, I feel I am lacking some sounds to get "Edge tone". As of right now I have the pedals running in this order: Wah>TS9>M5>DD-20. As I get more I want to find the order that works best for me. I think I'd be interested in a looper for the board so that I can maintain "true bypass" (not a tone snob, I just think with a number of pedals this would be better) and be able to switch easily and quickly. In terms of board and power supply, I'm planning on buying a Pedaltrain or building my own out of IKEA shelves (depends on size) and I've bought a Visual Sound Onespot which I really like. Thanks for responding and hopefully you can give some ideas as to next steps for the board so that I can get closer to achieving the tone we are all looking for!!! (I'm still planning the whole thing out, so if anything I said above doesn't make sense, I'm open to changes)


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Old 06-01-2015, 09:31 AM   #4
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I've put together a big post, only to realize I'm missing one part of the picture. What kind of amp are you running and do you have all your effects in front of it, or some of them in the amp's FX loop?
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Old 06-01-2015, 04:40 PM   #5
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I've put together a big post, only to realize I'm missing one part of the picture. What kind of amp are you running and do you have all your effects in front of it, or some of them in the amp's FX loop?

Running a Vox AC4TV as of right now (will upgrade to AC15 when I start gigging, whenever that is) and all effects are in front of the amp.


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Old 06-02-2015, 07:31 AM   #6
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Running a Vox AC4TV as of right now (will upgrade to AC15 when I start gigging, whenever that is) and all effects are in front of the amp.
That significantly simplifies things.


Since you're still in the process of finding out what you want it's probably best to keep some flexibility in mind and go for a smaller pedalboard, small enough to suit your current needs but still big enough to have some room for expension. When you start putting together a bigger pedal collection you could upgrade to a bigger board and if you want to sell your old one. If it's a pedaltrain you will still get some money for it. If its something you put together yourself and you try to sell it it's 2nd hand value may not be worth that much as you think, maybe not even worth the parts you paid for it to put it together. Such is the nature of selling DIY gear. People tend to go for brand name recognition, doesn't matter how well you put things together.

With your current setup I don't think you would need a looper just yet. I would advise going for a Pedaltrain Classic 2 and power it all through a Voodoolab Pedal Power 2 plus (from now on PP2+). This setup would be small enough to suit your needs until you figure out what you really want. Maybe you find this is all you really need in which case you're set anyway. Or you get something bigger, in which case you can keep the PP2+ and sell the board. The PP2+ has the advantage (other then being an industry standard cause it is just plain good) of being able to power all your current pedals, including the M5. Although you would need a current doubler adapter (part#PPAP) from Voodoolab to power the M5.

Adapter Cables, Voodoo Lab

The PP2+ can power up to 8 pedals, although the current doubler adapter would bring that down to 7. Small price to pay though for eliminating an adapter (clumsy lumbersome beasts!), thus easing logistics. Plus it would allow you to still power 3 additional pedals into your current setup. If need be you can get another power supply and connect it to the PP2+ as it also has a complementary output for another power supply. Also note that overdrives, fuzzes and distortions draw so little power you could easily power several of them using a small daisy chain from a single PP@+ outlet. So you can do more pedals then just the 7. If you want you can play around with the layout of your future pedaltrain pedalboard here:

PedalboardPlanner.com - Plan your Perfect Guitar Pedal Board!

The PP2+ can be mounted underneath the pedalboard using mounting brackets, which is superhandy as it frees up pedalboard space. Whenever I bought a pedaltrain board big enough to mount a powersupply underneath it it came with a set of mounting brackets and screws as well for a PP2+, again superhandy. Although the screws themselves were utter shit and I ended up throwing them away in favor of hex headed bolt screws from my local hardware store. For pedal train has come up with the 'brilliant'idea that you should drill some holes into the frame and just screw the philips headed screws in using a philips screwdriver. You try doing that with the recommended drill width and the screws will turn to mush within the first turn. Using screws with hex heads has the advantage that you can safely apply some force to screw them in. As a consequence of getting different screws I did have to enlarge the holes on the brackets a little to accomodate the new screws. Nothing you can't fix with a drill though.
P
edal Train also supplies two rolls of soft and hard velcro to put on your pedalboard and underneath your pedals. They're not the best though, so make sure the surface you stick them on is both cleaned and free of grease. And grease gets on very easily just by touching a surface with your hands. It doesn't hurt either to heat the velcro glue with a hair dryer before sticking them. It helps to bond the glue better. Give the velcro a few hours afterwards to settle though.

You can get a PT-2 as just the frame, or with a softcase or hardcase. I leave that choice up to you. For relatively small pedalboards softcases are perfectly fine. For larger ones I think hardcases are pretty much mandatory. Hardcases are also better if you need to travel by air as bagage handlers aren't necessarily always that careful whilst handling luggage. Minimum wage, you get what you pay for!

The hardcases also have a handy compartment inside for cables and stuff. I also use it to carry a spare power block, as you can never have to many cables and power blocks when going to a gig. Better to have it and not need it then to need it and not have it.

One of my little quirks is that I always build a little cable patchbay that I put on the top right of my pedalboard. The reason being that I want all my cables to enter and exit the board on that spot. I prefer to play on the right side of the stage (or stage left when viewed from the audience) so I want all my cables to be on my right side, that way I won't trip over them, as I do like to walk about during a gig. Which would the case as the cables leaving a pedalboard usually do so on the left side of the board. I also often include a stomp switch on my patchbay box so I can mute the board. Seems helpful right? Especially if you want to play something into the looper of your delay in silence to surprise the audience later. A trick Radioheads uses a lot. On the other hand you'd be surprised how often I forget that switch was on and was dumbfounded why I no longer had any signal!

Finally, while true bypass is a good thing it never hurts to have at least one buffered pedal in your signal chain, as a signal that has to travel through a series of TB pedals still loses some signal, and a buffer helps restore some of that lost sparkle. So, as with everything in life moderation is the key. Only buffered pedals is just as bad as only TB pedals. And some buffers are truly amazing. Both the Klon buffer and the Pete Cornish buffers have become legendary as they're supposedly sprinkled with fairy dust.


Finally a gratuitous selfindulgent shot of my current pedalboard, built on a Pedal Train 4, usually stored in a hardcase.


Unfortunately I could not eliminate that huge ass adapter from the Whammy as you cannot run it from the PP2+. You can from the Pedal Power AC, but to buy that one just for one pedal seems a bit much. Similarly the M9 also has special prima donna power requirements that necessitated keeping its adapter on the board. Note the patchbay box on the right top for cable connections. It also has a buffered signal splitter in case I want to run a separate signal chain, for shimmer for instance. There's a 2nd patchbay underneath that functions as a FX send/return loop, I usually insert a wah pedal in there if I want one.

Next to the nova delay in the bottom row are two loopers that I made. The right looper (yellow) has three mono loops, one that the whammy and an envelope filter, the middle selects between a loop which has my dirt boxes and noise gate, or a loop for clean sounds, and the 3rd has my modulation effects. The left looper (black) has two stereo loops. Which was incredibly hard to make as there don't seem to be any schematics for DIY stereo loops out there. I had to put two relay boards from THcustom.com in parallel to a single momentary switch. It works though plus it doesn't have the pops you sometimes get from mechanical true bypass switching. First loop controls the Eventide harmonizer, the other my Nova delay and M9, which I use for delays and reverb.

Most of the magic is underneath the board, which has 2 PP2+ power supplies, a PP Iso 5 power supply (which can power the Eventide), a T-Rex fuel tank power supply and a Line 6 wireless receiver
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Old 06-02-2015, 10:01 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Muad'zin View Post
That significantly simplifies things.


Since you're still in the process of finding out what you want it's probably best to keep some flexibility in mind and go for a smaller pedalboard, small enough to suit your current needs but still big enough to have some room for expension. When you start putting together a bigger pedal collection you could upgrade to a bigger board and if you want to sell your old one. If it's a pedaltrain you will still get some money for it. If its something you put together yourself and you try to sell it it's 2nd hand value may not be worth that much as you think, maybe not even worth the parts you paid for it to put it together. Such is the nature of selling DIY gear. People tend to go for brand name recognition, doesn't matter how well you put things together.

With your current setup I don't think you would need a looper just yet. I would advise going for a Pedaltrain Classic 2 and power it all through a Voodoolab Pedal Power 2 plus (from now on PP2+). This setup would be small enough to suit your needs until you figure out what you really want. Maybe you find this is all you really need in which case you're set anyway. Or you get something bigger, in which case you can keep the PP2+ and sell the board. The PP2+ has the advantage (other then being an industry standard cause it is just plain good) of being able to power all your current pedals, including the M5. Although you would need a current doubler adapter (part#PPAP) from Voodoolab to power the M5.

Adapter Cables, Voodoo Lab

The PP2+ can power up to 8 pedals, although the current doubler adapter would bring that down to 7. Small price to pay though for eliminating an adapter (clumsy lumbersome beasts!), thus easing logistics. Plus it would allow you to still power 3 additional pedals into your current setup. If need be you can get another power supply and connect it to the PP2+ as it also has a complementary output for another power supply. Also note that overdrives, fuzzes and distortions draw so little power you could easily power several of them using a small daisy chain from a single PP@+ outlet. So you can do more pedals then just the 7. If you want you can play around with the layout of your future pedaltrain pedalboard here:

PedalboardPlanner.com - Plan your Perfect Guitar Pedal Board!

The PP2+ can be mounted underneath the pedalboard using mounting brackets, which is superhandy as it frees up pedalboard space. Whenever I bought a pedaltrain board big enough to mount a powersupply underneath it it came with a set of mounting brackets and screws as well for a PP2+, again superhandy. Although the screws themselves were utter shit and I ended up throwing them away in favor of hex headed bolt screws from my local hardware store. For pedal train has come up with the 'brilliant'idea that you should drill some holes into the frame and just screw the philips headed screws in using a philips screwdriver. You try doing that with the recommended drill width and the screws will turn to mush within the first turn. Using screws with hex heads has the advantage that you can safely apply some force to screw them in. As a consequence of getting different screws I did have to enlarge the holes on the brackets a little to accomodate the new screws. Nothing you can't fix with a drill though.
P
edal Train also supplies two rolls of soft and hard velcro to put on your pedalboard and underneath your pedals. They're not the best though, so make sure the surface you stick them on is both cleaned and free of grease. And grease gets on very easily just by touching a surface with your hands. It doesn't hurt either to heat the velcro glue with a hair dryer before sticking them. It helps to bond the glue better. Give the velcro a few hours afterwards to settle though.

You can get a PT-2 as just the frame, or with a softcase or hardcase. I leave that choice up to you. For relatively small pedalboards softcases are perfectly fine. For larger ones I think hardcases are pretty much mandatory. Hardcases are also better if you need to travel by air as bagage handlers aren't necessarily always that careful whilst handling luggage. Minimum wage, you get what you pay for!

The hardcases also have a handy compartment inside for cables and stuff. I also use it to carry a spare power block, as you can never have to many cables and power blocks when going to a gig. Better to have it and not need it then to need it and not have it.

One of my little quirks is that I always build a little cable patchbay that I put on the top right of my pedalboard. The reason being that I want all my cables to enter and exit the board on that spot. I prefer to play on the right side of the stage (or stage left when viewed from the audience) so I want all my cables to be on my right side, that way I won't trip over them, as I do like to walk about during a gig. Which would the case as the cables leaving a pedalboard usually do so on the left side of the board. I also often include a stomp switch on my patchbay box so I can mute the board. Seems helpful right? Especially if you want to play something into the looper of your delay in silence to surprise the audience later. A trick Radioheads uses a lot. On the other hand you'd be surprised how often I forget that switch was on and was dumbfounded why I no longer had any signal!

Finally, while true bypass is a good thing it never hurts to have at least one buffered pedal in your signal chain, as a signal that has to travel through a series of TB pedals still loses some signal, and a buffer helps restore some of that lost sparkle. So, as with everything in life moderation is the key. Only buffered pedals is just as bad as only TB pedals. And some buffers are truly amazing. Both the Klon buffer and the Pete Cornish buffers have become legendary as they're supposedly sprinkled with fairy dust.


Finally a gratuitous selfindulgent shot of my current pedalboard, built on a Pedal Train 4, usually stored in a hardcase.


Unfortunately I could not eliminate that huge ass adapter from the Whammy as you cannot run it from the PP2+. You can from the Pedal Power AC, but to buy that one just for one pedal seems a bit much. Similarly the M9 also has special prima donna power requirements that necessitated keeping its adapter on the board. Note the patchbay box on the right top for cable connections. It also has a buffered signal splitter in case I want to run a separate signal chain, for shimmer for instance. There's a 2nd patchbay underneath that functions as a FX send/return loop, I usually insert a wah pedal in there if I want one.

Next to the nova delay in the bottom row are two loopers that I made. The right looper (yellow) has three mono loops, one that the whammy and an envelope filter, the middle selects between a loop which has my dirt boxes and noise gate, or a loop for clean sounds, and the 3rd has my modulation effects. The left looper (black) has two stereo loops. Which was incredibly hard to make as there don't seem to be any schematics for DIY stereo loops out there. I had to put two relay boards from THcustom.com in parallel to a single momentary switch. It works though plus it doesn't have the pops you sometimes get from mechanical true bypass switching. First loop controls the Eventide harmonizer, the other my Nova delay and M9, which I use for delays and reverb.

Most of the magic is underneath the board, which has 2 PP2+ power supplies, a PP Iso 5 power supply (which can power the Eventide), a T-Rex fuel tank power supply and a Line 6 wireless receiver

It seems that many pedals might kill some of your tone?
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Old 06-03-2015, 09:11 AM   #8
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Muad'zin, didn't you said that you'd purchase Axe-fx? I wanna see that rig as well


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Old 06-04-2015, 07:23 AM   #9
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It seems that many pedals might kill some of your tone?
Probably. That's why most of the pedals are in true bypass loops to take them out of the chain when not needed and I do like to employ the occasional well placed buffer here and there. I've also included an EP-3 pre-amp circuit that's always on in the clean loop of my looper. Does really nice things for my clean sound there.

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Muad'zin, didn't you said that you'd purchase Axe-fx? I wanna see that rig as well


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Me too. Alas, I'm still in the business of selling off gear to gather finances.
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Old 06-05-2015, 06:32 PM   #10
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Finally a gratuitous selfindulgent shot of my current pedalboard, built on a Pedal Train 4, usually stored in a hardcase.
Holy hell is that thing huge!
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Old 06-05-2015, 07:32 PM   #11
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Holy hell is that thing huge!
A few years ago I used to have two of these. In a way I've downsized.

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Old 06-06-2015, 08:30 PM   #12
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A few years ago I used to have two of these. In a way I've downsized.
I don't have a picture handy at the moment, but I've got an Ikea GORM board that I cut down to fit into a suitcase. I am running 10 pedals and a buffer and patch bay on the underside. Powered with 2 Voodoo Lab ISO-5s and affixed using the bike chain method. I can get so many good sounds with those pedals.... I can't even imagine having that many more!

(If you're interested, my signal chain currently goes like this:
SolidgoldFX Buffer | Keeley GC2 | Barber Gain Changer | Chase Bliss Warped Vinyl mk II | Chase Bliss Gravitas | Hungry Robots Bumblebee | TC Polytune II | Mr. Black Deluxe Plus | Diamond Memory Lane Jr.
The other two pedals are a Selah Quartz that controls the tempo of the vibrato, tremolo, and delay and the boost pedal for my amp - yeah, I'm one of thegearpage nuts you mentioned....)
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Old 06-07-2015, 08:51 AM   #13
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My only piece on my pedal board is RP360XP, multi-fx from Digitech and it actually works decently


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Old 06-07-2015, 10:46 PM   #14
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My only piece on my pedal board is RP360XP, multi-fx from Digitech and it actually works decently


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Same here, but with a Line 6 M13. It has everything I need, so I don't have any other pedals. Although some day I hope to upgrade to the Axe-FX II or whatever multi effects thing Fractal is selling by the time I graduate college and get a job.


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Old 06-08-2015, 10:42 AM   #15
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My piece can do some amp-sims which sounds terrible often especially for the high-gain setting like peavy 5150 model.
Plus, I cannot stack multiple of same kind of pedals (2 delays, 2 distortion a, etc), so I may buy some pedals to achieve that.


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