Pedalboards, being an essential element of a guitarist’s set of tools, can be expensive. Those available in the market may not fulfill your requirements in a pedalboard. So do you compromise on your needs and buy the ones available in the stores? What about making a pedalboard all by yourself? Here is a guide to making a DIY pedalboard.
How to make a DIY pedalboard?
Follow the steps below to make a DIY pedalboard easily at home.
- The first thing to do here is to create a design of the pedalboard you need. Designing is important to point out the errors and corrections needed.
Start making the design by considering that the back panel should be tall enough to accommodate the power supply units and the front panel should be tall enough to give ample area to bond with the sides of the pedalboard. To decide the dimensions of the pedalboard, place all the pedals that you would want to place on the pedalboard on white paper and trace their corners. Draw the interconnects to work out the cable length you will need.
- Once the design is ready with all the dimensions, list the materials required for making a DIY pedalboard. You will need plywood to build the board, countersink heads with cup washers, bolts, and captive nuts to secure the pedalboard with its frame.
- Move over to constructing the frame. To do this, you will have to mark the dimensions over the wood with a pencil. Start by cutting the wood by handsaw and even the edges with the help of a jack plane.
- Perform a dry assembly of the components to ensure the square corners of the frame. Use a chisel to remove any extra wood here and there.
- Glue the pieces of the frame and clamp each corner with square batons. This helps to ensure that the corners of the frame stay square while the glue dries completely.
- Glue batons on the inside of the frame to add more support to the frame. Before gluing the batons, drill four holes for bolts and press captive nuts towards the underside of the baton.
- Give a beautiful finish to the pedalboard frame by applying a primer and a topcoat.
- Install an insulated IEC socket in the back panel of the pedalboard. Cut the cable to the shortest length possible and knock the socket in place to fit firmly.
- Cut the boards by marking lines and cleaning their edges with sandpaper. Clamp the boards in the pedalboard frame with captive nuts and bolts. You are ready to set the pedals on the pedalboard.
How to choose the right size of pedalboard
There are different types of pedalboards available in the market. They mostly differ from each other in terms of size. So how do you decide the right pedalboard size for yourself? It depends upon the kind of guitar player you are. Let’s see how!
If you are a guitar hobbyist and only play at home, a bigger pedalboard is good to go. As you don’t have to carry it around to concerts or shows, a big pedalboard would be an ideal choice for you. That’s because, if you transform into a pedal bug and buy more of them, a big pedalboard will easily suffice your space requirements for additional stompboxes.
A small or medium-sized pedalboard is perfect for those who travel around frequently with their guitars and pedalboards. This size is especially good if you mostly travel by public transport or take a walk to your destination. As long as the pedalboard fits all your essential equipment while still being easy to carry, it’s great to go.
In recent times, pedalboard manufacturing companies are making compact and mini pedalboards. You can try building one if you are looking to accommodate three to four stompboxes on it. Such mini pedalboards can be taken aboard an airplane as cabin luggage.
Which wood is used for Pedalboards?
Birchwood is the best wood to build pedalboards. It is stronger and lighter than any other wood. So birch wood can support the pedalboard well with strength while keeping the overall weight of the pedalboard less.
Alternatively, oak plywood can also be used to make pedalboards. It weighs very little and has comparable strength as that of birch wood. It is important to choose the right wood because if you don’t, the guitar won’t resonate well.
Which pedals should every guitarist have?
Guitars are extremely popular for the variety of music they produce because of each customizable component like strings, amplitude, pickups, and so on. Pedals are similar components that elevate the versatility of guitar music to greater levels. Here are some very common guitar pedals that must be owned by every guitarist out there.
Treble Booster Pedal
As the name suggests, this pedal improves the treble power of your guitar by amplifying it. It corrects the dark or bass-focused sound produced by your guitar.
When you use an amplifier to play your guitar, you don’t have much control over the amount of amplification you need. That’s where the overdrive pedal comes into the picture. It makes the guitar sound warmer and more inviting.
Acoustic Simulator Pedal
When you need your guitar to switch between an electric version and an acoustic version in the middle of the song, an acoustic simulator pedal is your way to go. This pedal provides a junction between the two worlds of guitar music.
This pedal helps you crank the distortion of your guitar by as little or as greater an amount you want. This is especially common when you are playing metal or rock music.
A reverb pedal can bring dull or lifeless guitar music to life and add a subtle depth to it. It creates a reverberating effect in the form of a gentle echo. It is one of the most important pedals every guitarist must have in his inventory.
The volume pedal is used to control the volume of your guitar remotely. This is very helpful in gains and tones and in regulating the volume just before a drop. Experimenting with this pedal as to where to keep it on the pedalboard will help you discover its various sound-shaping abilities.
Josh is the founder and main author of Songwriter Nation. He has played music for over twenty years and even studied music at university earning a minor in music.