How to Build Your Own Guitar Pedal Board

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Guitar players use pedal boards to organize and transport their effects pedals. Some basic guitar effects include overdrive, distortion, delay, chorus and reverb. Because factory-designed boards can be costly and offer few size options, many musicians find that building their own systems is more effective and affordable. To do so requires owning a couple important guitar-related accessories. The labor, however, takes a relatively short amount of time, and the results are often as satisfactory as a pre-made board.

Things You'll Need

  • Effects pedals
  • Pedal power supply
  • Patch cables
  • Plywood between 1/2-inch and 1-inch
  • Coarse sand paper
  • 1 package industrial strength Velcro
  • Spray paint with sealant
  • Scissors
  • Pencil and paper
  • Primer (optional)

Prepare and Acquire

  • Lay out your pedals in the way you would like them to be arranged. Determine what board dimensions would work best with this setup. Write down the dimensions and, if desired, draw a diagram.

  • Retrieve a plywood board from a local hardware or lumber store. Because the service is typically either free or inexpensive, have the store cut the board to your specifications.

  • Sand all sides and edges of the board so that there are no rough areas. This will prevent potential splinters when moving and will help the Velcro stick better when applied. Wipe off the excess dust when finished.

  • Cover the surface area of the board with a coat of colored spray paint that includes a sealant. This will improve the appearance and ultimately will help protect the durability of the wood over time. For an even better result, you can apply a coat of primer first, but it is not entirely necessary. (The pedals will be covering most of the exposed wood.) Let the paint dry completely.

Building

  • Measure the looped Velcro strip (the fuzzy side) to the length of the board. Cut the strip with scissors, peel off the backing and attach the Velcro to the top of the board, slowly applying from one end to the other. Press down firmly and evenly so that there are no pockets of air. You can apply additional strips if desired, but one attachment will be strong enough to hold any pedal in place.

  • Cut individual pieces of the hooked strip of Velcro (the rough side) to fit the top of the back sides of the pedals. Remove the backings and attach firmly to each pedal.

  • Attached the pedals to the board. Connect the sequence of pedals using 6-inch-long patch cables. Longer cables may be needed for larger boards to make certain connections.

  • Connect the cables of the power supply to the voltage input of each pedal (where available). The power source should connect to the nearest outlet wherever the board travels.

Tips & Warnings

  • When selecting wood, look for scrap pieces first as they will significantly lower the cost.
  • If you are considering adding more pedals to your setup in the future, make the proper arrangements when considering the size of the board you want to build.
  • Avoid using a cheap can of paint. Should peeling occur as a result, it may affect the attachment of the Velcro to the board.
  • Pedals that are not powered by a standard 9-volt DC adapter may require an additional power supply.
  • Pedals that run solely on a battery should be disconnected from the chain of cables when not in use. This prevents the battery life from draining.

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References

  • Photo Credit electric guitar image by Blue Moon from Fotolia.com
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