Get Up Offa That Thing! Or: Why You Need a Pedalboard

When it comes to equipment, guitarists have the worst case of GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) of any musicians. They accumulate instruments, accessories, and most of all, fx pedals! Heck, a lot of guitarists are even building their own pedals, they love them so much. So, you’d think that the majority of axe-slingers out there would invest in some sort of pedalboard solution, or pedal management system, instead of snaking a thousand cables and jumbling their pedals out on the floor willy-nilly for gigs and rehearsals. Luckily, we live in the age of convenience, and you can buy pedalboards onlinewith ease, even customizing the board to your specs and needs.

So, why do you need a pedalboard in the first place? For starters, it’s a huge help when it comes to organizing your signal flow and keeping it consistent no matter where you’re playing. If you’re just tossing pedals in a milk crate and hoping you’ll remember the order they’re supposed to go in when you get to the gig, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Most experts agree that pedals should typically go in an order that looks something like this:

  • Tuner
  • Compression or dynamics
  • Flangers/chorus/phase and other modulation effects
  • Distortion/drive/gain and fuzz boxes
  • Reverb
  • Delay

Now, of course, there are no hard and fast rules in rock and roll, but keeping a routing flow like this will (in most normal situations) provide the clearest signal and will ensure that effects that come before or after other effects in your chain are altering the sounds they are supposed to. For example, you’d likely want to put delay last in order so the entire signalis delayed. Placing a delay front and center can muddy up your sound if you’re adding gain, boosts, modulation and other effects post-delay. You may also want to try experimenting with placing modulation and time-based fx in the dedicated fx loop of your amp, if one is provided. 

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What does this have to do with a pedalboard? Well organized pedalboards afford you a number of conveniences that can help you put your stompboxes in order, ensure they stay there permanently or at least semi-permanently, and provide power to everything so you’re not constantly fishing for 9v batteries from the back of the van, or running a ton of wall warts all over the places just to get your pedal chain up and running. 

Some pedalboards offer great, Velcro-free alternatives for securing your pedals to their platforms, while still making it easy to swap boxes in and out quickly if you’re in the mood to test our new fx, or simply spice up your sound. Many pedalboard systems also offer incredibly handy cable management and power management options built right in. So, you can hide unsightly cables underneath the chassis for a neater look, to avoid tripping over a spaghetti mess on stage, and to keep everything organized where it should be. You can also tuck away power supply bricks underneath most pedalboard platforms so you can power your entire rig without sacrificing valuable board space.There are a lot of different pedalboard companies out there, and one we recommend is Aclam Guitars.Their custom pedalboards are super user-friendly and totally customizable to your needs. They also feature killer cable management, are rock solid and should outlast even the most rigorous touring condition

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2 Comments

  1. mapsy

    July 5, 2019 at 6:53 pm

    I think the modulation effects like chorus should be after the distortion.

    • Benjamin Ricci

      July 8, 2019 at 9:28 am

      There are no hard and fast rules — put them in any order that works best for you!

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