Pedalboard Build Rundown
After acquiring a rather tatty pedalboard in exchange for my spare Pedaltrain Junior I thought I'd do a complete rebuild and rig redesign ready for touring this year.
As you can see the board was in a pretty bad state when I got it. The top needed completely recovering and the wood structure strengthening before I could get started. However it did come with a rather lovely Swan Flight hex board flight case, perfect for life on the road and nicely protecting the pedals.
After lengthy discussions with the wife and mother-in-law (fabric masters extraordinaire) to decided what would be the best material to cover it I went for carpet tiles. At first I thought felt or wool serge would work but both turned out to be not durable enough and with velcro being too expensive I went for plastic backed carpet tiles. As all my pedals had the hook side velcro on them already I just needed a surface that would grip them and the carpet tiles were ideal. Cheap (£2.50 a square at B&Q), hard wearing and super grippy these fitted the bill perfectly.
After waiting 24 hours for the glue to dry I trimmed the carpet tiles to fit the board (I only needed two in the end) and attached some battery operated LED lights around the edge to make it easier to see onstage. I mounted the battery pack for this under the board as well as drilling a hole in the top so I can use the jack sockets already attached to the sides of the board.
Then I made sure everything fitted before I wired everything up. I was going to mount my power supply (Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 2+) underneath the board but realised it would make an excellent mount for my IEM wireless transmitter (Sennheiser EW300 G2) so on top it went.
The signal chain then went as follows:
- Line 6 G30 wireless - Perfectly adequate for UK venues. No noticeable latency or loss of tone compared to cables and gives me the freedom to leap around the stage like a looney and go into the crowd at a moments notice.
- Origin Effects Cali76 Compact Deluxe - Hands down the best compressor I've used (and I've used a few!). An 1176 in pedal form, works with any guitar or style of music I throw at it.
- TC Electronics Sub 'N' Up Octave pedal - Recently added to the board to save real estate space. Does the up and down octave thing well, good tracking and has an extra sub octave for when you want to test the venue's PA's bass bins.
- Xotic Robotalk 2 - Lovely sounding envelope filter with 2 channels for different settings. Very squishy, equally great on guitar and bass.
- Boss DC-2 Dimension C - My favourite chorus pedal of all time. Very 80's, less swirly than a standard chorus, great in both mono and stereo.
- Fractal Audio AX8 - The heart of my rig. Replaced my AxeFx2 for an easily compact tour rig. Straight to PA and In-Ears, great tones all the time. Oh how I laugh watching other bands carry their heads and 4x12's into venues and then watch their face when the AX8 crushes their tone!
Also on the board but not in the audio signal chain is:
- Boss FV500H and FS5L - Expression pedal and latching foot switch for the AX8 covering volume swells and tuner activation respectively.
- DS Engineering Chronograph - A clock/timer pedal to make sure the set runs to the correct length with running over and annoying the venue/other bands. So simple yet so cool!
- Also an honourable mention should go to Sukh at Kicktags for making the awesome custom glow in the dark labels for my AX8.
After then wired it all up using Klotz cables and secured any loose cables with cable ties. The moment of truth with any build like this is the first time you plug it in. Theres always a multitude of things that could go wrong such as RF interference, ground hum and cable failure but luckily it worked first time!
I used it in anger for the first time last night at Paramore Or Less's first gig of our UK tour at the Engine Rooms in Southampton and everything worked as it should, sounded great and put all the other boards to shame.
I really enjoyed working on this project and tinkering around, think I may have to build another (bank account permitting).