The Skinny on Six Pedalboards

October 31, 2014

Crafting a pedalboard from a piece of plywood might be your first impulse if you want to end the madness of stringing a bunch of loose stompboxes on the floor, but the availability of quality, ready-made boards makes it hardly worth the effort of going all DIY. Aftermarket boards come in a wide variety of sizes, materials, and configurations to suit almost any need, so basically all you have to do is determine is how big your board needs to be and what amenities it should have. A few things to consider: Are you comfortable with a flat board or do you prefer an angled type? Is a riser needed to make the inboard pedals easier to reach? Do you plan on turning pedals on and off individually, or will you need to factor in some extra space for a switching system that can activate multiple pedals with a single stomp? Some boards come with their own power supplies, which can save you some dough, but if the DC output isn’t sufficient to handle current-hungry digital effectors, you may still need to shell out for a pro-grade power supply (and reserve space on the board for it).

A pedalboard has to be reliable too. Troubleshooting connections on the gig is a non-starter, so do you trust your own skills at wiring it up or should you hand that job over to a pro? And even if you get a “turn-key” board with all your pedals professionally mounted and wired, any changes you make to it can compromise the system. If cost isn’t an issue, it’s probably best to leave a properly working board alone and build another for all those new pedals you’ve bought.

For this roundup we gathered six pedalboards that run the gamut from basic flat and angled platforms to more feature heavy models to a unique new board that offers wireless pedal switching. We evaluated them on the basis of construction, features, and ease of setup.

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