Learning how to make a guitar pedal board is an excellent way to maintain the jungle of sounds and tones that guitar effects pedals can open up, especially once that jungle starts to take over your room. Guitar shops offer a wide variety of pedal boards, but with a little ingenuity and a pioneer spirit, you can create a pedal board that is custom fit for your needs; and all at about one-third of the budget.
To make a guitar pedal board, you'll need:
- Plywood (1/2" to 3/4")
- Screwdriver or drill
- Wood screws
- Industrial strength Velcro
- Paint or a durable fabric (Vinyl, suede, etc.)
- Staple gun (optional)
- Non-skid pads
- Decide what you need out of your pedal board. Deciding what you need out of your board will dictate the structural and design needs of your pedal board. If your effects pedals are a personal hobby, then a simple pedal board will suffice. If your pedals are going to being hopping from venue to venue, think about building a case to house your pedal board.
Draw up a plan. Designs plans for constructing your pedal board. Think about functionality and design features. Decide if you want to paint your board, or use a fabric to finish it. Make note of dimensions and any features you may want to add. Consider slopping your board, or adding multiple layers to avoid accidental pedal stomps. Adding depth to your board will add distinction between pedals, and reduce the chance of unintentional pedal engaging while you play. Drawing a plan aids in the building process, but will determine the exact supplies that you will need. If you use a fabric, pick one that is durable; and make sure to buy more than you intend on needing.
(Note: Adding a slope may require bracing the underside of the raised surface. You will be stepping on your pedal board, failing to brace the wood may result in kicking through the boards surface while engaging pedals. Plan on running thicker beams around the inside edge of the board, and across any wide spaces that will endure pressure.)
- Arrange your pedals. Arrange your pedals on your sheet of wood before making any cuts. Leave room for cables, power supplies, and any future additions that you plan on adding. Try arranging the pedals in various patterns to assure that your pedal board will work for future arrangements; pedal arrangement can make a huge difference, so effects will probably move in your signal chain.
- Trim your board down to size. If needed, cut the plywood to the dimensions you have drawn. Make sure all cuts are straight and smooth.
- Add your style. Paint is the easiest, least-costly way to add a finish to your pedal board; but adding a fabric, like vinyl or suede, will add style and protect the wood from splintering and moisture. To attach fabric; staple the material to the inner edge of the board, and then stretch the fabric over the board, and staple it under inside edge of the opposite side of the pedal board. Cut or fold the edges to wrap under the board, and staple all loose fabric underneath.
- Attach the non-skid pads. Screw the non-skid pads to the underside of the pedal board.
- Attach the Velcro. There are benefits to using either side of the Velcro on your board, whichever you use, just keep it consistent. Attach one side of the Velcro to the board in any places that pedals will make contact. Use industrial strength Velcro and don't be conservative. Using cheap Velcro, or applying it sparingly, will cost you more in the end.
- Velcro your pedals. Attach the opposite side of the Velcro to your pedals.
- Fasten the pedals to the board. Arrange your pedals on the Velcro portions of the pedal board. Give it a few test stomps. The Velcro should hold your pedals in place.
For added convenience, try adding a light to lessen the aggravation of pedals with weak LED lights. Also, considering adding a universal power supply to your board to power all of your pedals.