What to Look for in a Guitar Pedalboard

After spending your savings on a small arsenal of guitar pedals and effects, you're finally ready to get your hands on a decent pedalboard. After all, things are getting really complicated with all the packaging and unpacking, and every single time you go to a rehearsal or a gig, you need to carry spare batteries and adapters. Even if you're using one adapter and daisy-chaining your pedals, it all still feels like a chore.

However, now that you're looking for this perfect board to fit all these pedals, you need to bear in mind that things are not that simple. It's more than just a flat surface that you'll be sticking your pedals onto as there are different things and features that you'll need to be thinking about. So let us get into this topic and find out what you need to look for in a pedalboard.

Size

First off, you'll want to know the size of the pedalboard that you need. This depends on the number of pedals that you got as well as their size. Most often you'll find pedalboards that fit about 5 to 6 standard pedals, all of which are the size of a regular Boss pedal. There are smaller boards for those who prefer using fewer pedals and the larger boards that support bulkier devices, even some multi-effects units.

Design

There are a few different alternatives depending on the overall design. Some boards are literally flat empty surfaces where you can arrange the pedals the way you want and attach them using velcro tape. On the other hand, there are boards like Boss BCB-60 with already fitted slots for regular-size pedals.

There are also boards like Pedaltrain with series of parallel rails on which pedals can be arranged in one or two lines (depending on its size) and held down to the surface using velcro tape. Another alternative is a pedalboard like the Temple Audio Duo series with holes on the surface where the pedals can be attached using zip ties or even some specialized parts.

With all this in mind, it is of great importance to keep things tidy on your pedalboard. The boards with holes in them are quite useful as they allow you to install all the patch cables and power cables beneath the main surface.

Features

There are many different features one board can have. Some are basically just a flat surface with no power supplies or any input and output jacks. Certain pedalboards have integrated power supplies that support multiple 9-volt and even 12-volt devices.

A very popular option are those fully customizable pedalboards, just like the Temple Audio Duo where you can add a separate power supply, different input and output jacks, even the XLR connectors. This way, guitar players are able to build their boards according to their own needs and the pedals that they're using. However, this option is always expensive and is recommended for professional players.

A quality power supply is of great importance. One might consider using a standard cheap adapter and a daisy chain, but this is an easy trap to fall into. A good power supply ensures that you don't get any unwanted noise and electrical interference in your tone.

Gigbag or a case

It's not rare to see a pedalboard that also acts as a portable case with an integrated power supply and other features for guitar pedals. While this is a pretty practical solution, this isn't exactly easy to achieve with some complex custom boards.

If you're trying to build a custom pedalboard, you should also check whether the manufacturer has specialized gigbags or flight cases for them. Without these, you're basically stuck with a very expensive signal chain that you can't really take anywhere outside of your home.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, it all comes down to what you need and what you can afford. The best option for a simple basic linear signal chain would be something like Boss BCB-60. There are also some cheaper alternatives, like Behringer PB600 or any others that feature an integrated power supply.

But if you have more intricate signal chains in mind with potential loops and different paths, then you should go with some of the custom boards. As already stated above, this is a more expensive option but it's something that you'll need to consider if you're planning to build a professional-grade pedalboard.

If you're feeling creative and are looking to save up some money, you could try and make your own board using plywood and other materials. However, you'd still need to buy some of the standard parts, like the power supply, power cables, or even input and output jacks if you're looking to make an advanced pedalboard.

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