How To Make A Guitar Effects Pedal Board

Learning how to make a guitar effects pedal board can help you transform your gig set-up from an amateur mess to a professional masterpiece.  No more will you be caught schlepping countless pedals and cords around in a jumbled mess from show to show.  A well-organized pedal board can allow you to get your gear up and running in seconds and eliminate much of the confusion of remembering how everything fits together.  Building your own guitar effects pedal board saves money and allows the board to be completely customized to your gear.  

Before you start trying to build a guitar effects pedal board, you will need these things:

  • All your effects pedals
  • A power source
  • A sheet of plywood
  • Velcro tape (sticky on both sides)
  • Duct tape
  1. Outline the size of your pedal board.  Lay all of the effects pedals you want to include on the board out on your plywood sheet.  Remember to think about placement here: you want to make sure that each pedal is easy to get to and that you have room for all your connecting cables.  Also, remember that the order pedals are connected can change your sound, so experiment with layouts first.  Don't forget that you'll also need to include room for a power source to keep all your pedals going.
  2. Prepare the plywood base.  When it comes to building a guitar effects pedal board, the philosophy of "Measure twice, cut once" still applies.  So, trace around your pedal layout (after double checking it) and cut the plywood in this shape.  Now, completely cover the plywood in strips of duct tape.  This will increase the board's durability and help Velcro stick to it.  As you do this, make sure the duct tape lays flat and doesn't bubble up.
  3. Apply Velcro to the board.  The guitar effects pedal board you're building will no doubt be getting lugged and thrown around between gigs, so don't get skimpy with the Velcro.  Buy industrial strength Velcro in a large roll and cover the top side of your board with the fuzzy side.  When you're done laying strips of Velcro down, your pedal board should basically look like its covered in black carpet. 
  4. Apply Velcro to the pedals.  To get your guitar effects pedals to stick to the board you're building, simply stick the other side of the Velcro tape to the bottom of each pedal.  Make sure that you don't cover up the battery door or other things you'll need to access.  A few small strips should be enough the keep each pedal in place. 
  5. Place and connect the pedals.  The final step of building a guitar effects pedal board is the easiest.  Just slap all your pedals down on the board (they should stick in place) and connect each pedal using small 1/4" patch cables.  Once everything is connected, fire it up and get ready to rock out!
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