If you want things organized, you can use a pedalboard to create a HUGE variety of sounds, from a clean boost to heavy distortion. The possibilities are endless!
A guitar pedalboard is a collection of guitar effects pedals connected via cables on a plank, either self-made from a wooden plank or storebought from a professional manufacturer, also often used by bassists. The pedalboard makes it easier to set up and use multiple pedals at the same time.
Pedalboards are a must if you gig and like to use separate effects processors instead of one multi-effects unit, let’s look at why.
What’s the Deal with Guitar Pedalboards?
What is a Pedalboard?
A typical pedalboard has room for four or five pedals, though some may have more. The most popular sizes are 12 inches by 18 inches and 18 inches by 24 inches. The pedals are usually organized on the pedalboard in a way that allows the guitarist to switch between them quickly.
A pedalboard is like a jigsaw puzzle, but for guitarists. It’s a flat board that holds all your effect pedals in place. Think of it like a table that you can build your puzzle on. Whether you’re a fan of tuners, drive pedals, reverb pedals, or something else, a pedalboard is the perfect way to keep your pedals organized and safe.
Why Should I Get a Pedalboard?
If you’re a guitarist, you know how important it is to have your pedals in order. A pedalboard makes it easy to:
- Set up and switch your pedals
- Chain them together
- Power them on
- Keep them safe
How Do I Get Started?
Getting started with a pedalboard is easy! All you need to do is find the right board for your setup. There are tons of options out there, so take your time and find the one that’s perfect for you. Once you’ve got your board, it’s time to start building your puzzle!
What are the Benefits of Having a Pedalboard for Your Guitar?
No matter if you have two effects pedals or a whole collection, you’ll want to have a sturdy and portable surface to switch them out without having to worry about reconfiguring them if you decide to move your pedalboard. Nobody wants to have their pedals flying all over the place or losing one of them.
Having all your effects pedals in one place makes it super easy to transport them. Even if you don’t play gigs, your home studio will look much more organized with a pedalboard. Plus, you can arrange your pedals in a pleasing way, and you only need one power outlet. No more tripping over power cables!
Effects pedals can be expensive, with the average price for a single pedal starting at $150 and going up to $1,000 for rare custom-made pedals. So, if you have a collection of pedals, you’re looking at hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of equipment.
Some pedalboards come with a case or cover to provide protection for your pedals. But not all pedalboards come with one, so you may have to buy one separately. Also, some pedalboards come with Velcro strips to hold your pedals in place, but these won’t last long as Velcro loses its grip over time.
What to Consider When Shopping for a Pedalboard
When it comes to pedalboards, you don’t want to be stuck with something that’s gonna break the moment you take it out of the box. Look for a metal design, as they tend to be the sturdiest of the bunch. Also, make sure the electronics and jacks are well protected. And, of course, you want something that’s easy to carry, disassemble, and assemble.
The electronics of a pedalboard are the most important part, so make sure the power option fits your pedals’ requirements and there’s no crackling sound when you plug them in.
Pedalboards come in different sizes and can usually fit anywhere from four to twelve pedals. So, before you buy, make sure you know how many pedals you have, how much room you need, and what your ultimate dream number of pedals is.
Let’s face it, most pedalboards look the same. But if you’re looking for something a bit wilder, there are a few options out there.
So, there you have it – the key things to consider when you’re shopping for a pedalboard. Now, go forth and rock on!
Powering Up Your Pedalboard
So you’ve got your pedals all lined up and ready to go, but there’s one thing missing: the power! Every pedal needs a bit of juice to get going, and there are a few ways to do it.
The most common way to power your pedals is with a power supply. You’ll want to make sure you get one with enough outputs to power all your pedals, and with the right voltage for each one. Sometimes it’s necessary to use a daisy chain extension cord to connect multiple pedals to the same power source.
Using a dedicated power supply is ideal, because it helps keep your pedals from picking up interference and extra noise. Most pedals run on DC (direct current) power, while AC (alternating current) is what comes out of the wall. Some pedals come with their own “wall warts” that convert AC to DC voltage and amperage. Keep an eye on the milliamps (mA) your pedals need, so you can use the right output on your power supply. Usually pedals are 100mA or lower, but higher ones will need a special output with higher amperage.
If you’ve got an amp with multiple channels, you might want to save some space on your board by getting a footswitch. Some amps come with their own, but you can also get a TRS Footswitch from Hosa that will work with most amps.
Ah, cables. They take up a lot of space, but they’re essential for connecting your pedals. Each pedal has inputs and outputs on either side or the top, which will determine where you put it on the board and what type of patch cable you need. For pedals right next to each other, 6″ cables are best, but you’ll probably need longer ones for pedals further apart.
Hosa has seven variations of guitar patch cables, so you can find the one that fits your board best. They come in different lengths and can help keep your sound clean.
If you’re really tight on space, you can use pedal couplers. Just be careful – they’re not great for pedals that you’ll be stepping on. The jacks might not be perfectly aligned, and applying weight with your foot can damage them. If you use couplers, make sure they’re for pedals that will stay on all the time, and that you can engage them with a loop switcher.
What’s the Best Order for Your Guitar Pedalboard?
If you want your sound to be on point, you gotta start with tuning. Putting your tuner at the beginning of your chain ensures that you’re getting the purest signal from your guitar. Plus, most tuners will mute anything after it in the chain when it’s engaged.
Filter It Out
Wah pedals are the most common filter and they work great early in the chain. Use them to manipulate the raw sound of your guitar and then add some texture with other effects later on.
Let’s Get Creative
Now it’s time to get creative! Here’s where you can start experimenting with different effects to make your sound unique. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Distortion: Add some grit to your sound with a distortion pedal.
- Delay: Create a sense of space with a delay pedal.
- Reverb: Add depth and atmosphere with a reverb pedal.
- Chorus: Add some shimmer to your sound with a chorus pedal.
- Flanger: Create a sweeping effect with a flanger pedal.
- Phaser: Create a swooshing effect with a phaser pedal.
- EQ: Shape your sound with an EQ pedal.
- Volume: Control the volume of your signal with a volume pedal.
- Compressor: Smooth out your signal with a compressor pedal.
- Boost: Add some extra oomph to your signal with a boost pedal.
Once you’ve got your effects in order, you can start crafting your own unique sound. Have fun!
What Pedals Do You Need On A Pedalboard?
If you’re a live guitarist, you need the right pedals to make sure your sound is on point. But with so many options out there, it can be hard to know which ones to choose. To make your life easier, here’s a list of 15 essential pedals for your pedalboard.
From distortion to delay, these pedals will give you the perfect sound for any gig. Whether you’re playing rock, blues, or metal, you’ll find the right pedal for your style. Plus, with so many options to choose from, you can customize your sound to make it truly unique. So don’t be afraid to experiment and find the perfect combination of pedals for your live performances.
In conclusion, a pedalboard is an essential tool for any guitarist who wants to get the most out of their effects pedals. Not only does it provide stability and portability, but it also helps you save money by only needing one power outlet to power your entire board. Plus, you can find pedalboards at a variety of places, so you don’t have to break the BANK to get one.
So, don’t be afraid to get creative and explore the world of pedals – just make sure you have a pedalboard to keep them all in place! With a pedalboard, you’ll be able to ROCK out with confidence.
I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Neaera and a content marketer, dad, and love trying out new equipment with guitar at the heart of my passion, and together with my team, I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2020 to help loyal readers with recording and guitar tips.
Check me out on Youtube where I try out all of this gear:Subscribe