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.
As you might expect, the BCB-60 is designed with Boss pedals in mind. The novel attachment
method for them employs a trio of foam pads, each pre-cut for two standard Boss
pedals or one “twin” model. You simply unscrew each pad at its four corners, remove the
pre-punched cutouts as needed, place the foam pads around your pedals, and screw
them down again. The system provides a reasonably secure hold on Boss and equivalent
sized boxes, but pedals with smaller or larger dimensions require you to cut their outlines
into the blank piece of foam that’s included for this use. Of course, you can always resort
to Velcro for keeping odd-sized pedals in place, and the board’s removable plastic cover
ensures that everything stays put and is well protected while traveling.
Another thoughtful feature of the BCB-60 is the wiring channel that runs along the
front of the pedals. Take off the two hatches that cover the channel, place the supplied
“daisy chain” power cable inside, and then push the ends out though any of the 12 openings
to connect to your pedals’ DC input jacks. Up to seven pedals can be powered in
this manner, and once you put the covers back on the bulk of the wiring is well hidden.
A section of the channel on the far right side can even be removed so that you can put
a Crybaby or other extra-long pedal in the first slot. Nice!
The dual 1/4" return and output jacks make it easy to configure this pedalboard for
stereo, and you get the pro-style convenience of plugging directly into the board to make
all the audio connections. Obviously a lot of thought went into the BCB-60, and it’s an
excellent choice if you mainly use Boss pedals and want a self-contained system for them.
PRICE $169 street
SIZE 26 7/16" x 14 5/8"
CONSTRUCTION Molded plastic with hinged cover
COLOR Dark gray
MOUNTING SURFACE Plastic with foam holding pads
CONNECTIONS Input, Send, Return (x2) Output (x2),
DC input and output 2.1mm jacks
POWER SUPPLY INCLUDED? Yes
CABLES INCLUDED? Yes, audio and power
KUDOS Holds pedals without Velcro or locking
tape. Allows power cables to
be hidden. 1000mA power supply
CONCERNS Best suited for Boss-sized pedals.
Pedalboard systems that use relay controlled
switchable loops to bring effects in and out of the
signal path have been around for years, but what makes the
SC-6 different is its use of wireless technology to remotely activate
six loops via a wireless four-button floor switcher (powered by a small 12-volt
battery) that you program using a simple matrix of switches on the main board. On the
left side of the board are LEDs labeled A, B, C, and D, which correspond to the identically
labeled buttons on the floor switcher. Across the front of the board we also find a
quartet of switches for each loop that are used to assign pedals to any of the momentary
buttons on the floor switcher.
The intuitive interface makes it super easy to get multiple effects configured for
one-button activation, and with the pedalboard and switcher placed a stage length’s
away from each other, the system worked flawlessly and without interference. It’s clear
from the DiabloFX video demo that the board and switcher can communicate at much
greater distances as well.
From a conceptual standpoint the SC-6 is brilliant, but it would be helpful if there
were LEDs on the switcher to indicate what loop is active. It would also be nice if you
could access the six loops individually, which would require adding two buttons to the
switcher or perhaps a bank A/B switch. Power for the switching and wireless electronics
could also come from an internal supply instead of having to plug in a dedicated 9-volt
adapter (along with another adapter for the pedals).
As it stands, though, the SC-6 six certainly brings a high level of convenience factor
to the pedalboard equation in an easy to operate system. Being able to put the pedalboard
anywhere you want is a real boon when stage space is limited, and players who
already go wireless will especially love how the SC-6 utilizes RF technology for stompbox
management. An impressive debut, and it will be interesting to see how the system
evolves from this early production version.
DIABLO FX SC-6
PRICE $599 retail (includes soft case)
SIZE 16" x 24"
MOUNTING SURFACE Steel
CONNECTIONS Input and and output jacks.
Send and return jacks for
each of the six loops
POWER SUPPLY INCLUDED? Yes, for switching unit only;
wireless floorboard uses
a small 12v battery
CABLES INCLUDED? No
KUDOS Wireless system allows floor
switcher and pedalboard to be
placed anywhere on or off stage.
Pedals can be easily configured
for single-button activation.
CONCERNS No LEDs on the floor switcher.
Only four of the six loops
can be activated individually
by the switcher.
FIX PEDALBOARDS TYPE 2
The company behind this brand makes a lot of components for the automotive racing
world, and Fix brings this high level of metal fabrication to its new line of pedalboards.
The stock models currently available include the Type 2 tested here along with the
Type 0 (16" x 12"), Type 00 (19" x 15"), Type 1 (15" x 12"), and Type 3 (27" x 16.5"). All
are milled from tough aerospace-grade aluminum and sport beautifully rounded corners
and luscious candy-powder-coat finishes (polished aluminum is also available).
A roll of 3M Dual Lock is included with each board, and Fix also makes metal holders
for pedals (available separately) that install easily on your pedals to prevent damage
to the bottoms by super-strong locking tape.
The Type 1, 2, and 3 boards also feature a hinged compartment that can hold pedals
on the top and swings open when you undo the quick-twist metal fasteners (the same
ones used to keep hatches on funny cars closed at 300+ mph) so you can put power
supplies, AC strips, etc., under the raised section for more efficient use of space. The
Type 2 on review here also has five holes in the mounting surface for routing power and
audio cables under the board, where they are protected by a removable sheet-metal
cover. Very cool! Ease of setup, excellent construction, and a hip look make Fix pedalboards
an attractive new option for the stompbox scene.
FIX PEDALBOARDS TYPE 2
PRICE $199 direct
SIZE 23"x16 1/2"
CONSTRUCTION Milled 5052-H32 Aluminum
COLOR Grandaddy Purple; also available
in Stage Black (gloss
or matte), Spy White, Agata
Yellow, Candy Red, Payday
Green, Rasp Red, La Paz Blue,
Extra Gold, and Antarctic Blue
MOUNTING SURFACE Aluminum
POWER SUPPLY INCLUDED? No
CABLES INCLUDED? No
OPTIONS Custom sizes and colors. Metal
holders available for a variety
of pedals. Aluminum foamlined
travel cases ($112 to $150)
KUDOS Excellent construction and
materials. Flip-open pedal riser
is perfect for stashing power
supplies, AC strips, etc.
GATOR G-TOUR PEDALBOARD
This compact system is designed for players who need the high level of protection for
their pedals that only a hard case can provide. As such, you get a board measuring 11" x
17" that is constructed from plywood with an aluminum valance around the perimeter.
Chromed handles allow you to pick up the board easily, and the foam-lined ATA-style
case keeps your pedals safe and secure while also providing ample space underneath
the board for cords and other essentials. It doesn’t take a lot of pedals along with a
power supply (not included) to fill up the real estate on this flat board, but if you stick
with Boss-sized boxes or the more compact types such as made by Red Witch and Xotic,
there should be plenty of room to mount all the effects you need. And if you need more
space, consider the larger (11" x 24") G-Tour, which costs only $30 more.
Bottom line: The Gator G-Tour gives you the basics in an rugged and affordable
package that’s especially well suited for players who do a lot of fly dates and need to
keep things small and light.
G-TOUR PEDALBOARD SM
PRICE $169 street (includes hard case)
SIZE: 11" x 17" (also available in
24" x 11", $199 street)
CONSTRUCTION Plywood with aluminum valance
MOUNTING SURFACE Black melamine over plywood
(includes 3M Dual
Lock for pedal mounting)
POWER SUPPLY INCLUDED? No
CABLES INCLUDED? No
OPTIONS Tow handle and wheels
on larger model
KUDOS Rugged board and ATA
road case combo at a great
price. Ideal for players who
need just a few pedals.
Check out a live gig these days and chances are good that you’ll see a Pedaltrain board
somewhere on stage. These popular, all-metal platforms use a system of mounting bars
that not only makes it easy to affix pedals of various shapes and sizes (Velcro is included
for this task), but also to route the audio and power cables under the bars for a clean
appearance. Our review board also came with the optional ATA hard case, which provides
excellent protection and has a generous space inside for accessories (ordered with
a Pedaltrain 3, the package price is $270 street)
The underside of this angled board is perfectly suited for mounting a Voodoo Lab
power supply (not included), and Pedaltrain includes the necessary hardware to do this.
All you have to do is attach the two brackets to the sides of the supply and drill four 1/8"
holes on the bottom side of the bars to secure the unit with the self-tapping screws. It
took me about 20 minutes to do this part of the setup.
Pedaltrain now also offers its own Powertrain 1250 supply that installs with similar
ease. It’s still a “drill baby, drill” affair, but no brackets are needed for this unit. And
once you have your power in place, you’ll find the Pedaltrain 3 (as well as the Pedaltrain
Jr., PT-1, PT-2, and PT-Pro) to be some of the easiest boards to configure your pedals
on and make everything look neat and professional—even if you’ve never put a pedalboard
PRICE $139 street (includes soft case)
MOUNTING SURFACE Aluminum bars
POWER SUPPLY INCLUDED? No
CABLES INCLUDED? No
OPTIONS Powertain 1250 power supply
($TBA). ATA hard case
($270 w/Pedaltrain 3)
KUDOS Rugged and simple. Easily
accommodates pedals of various
sizes. Cables can easily
be run under the pedals
CONCERNS None, though drilling is required
for mounting a power-supply.
TRAILER TRASH PRO SERIES
Trailer Trash boards come in three basic flavors—FlatTrash, ProSeries, and Glowtop—
which can be ordered with a variety of options and even custom wired
with your pedals at the factory if you so choose. The 24"x12" ProSeries we tested came
with a Voodoo Lab PP-2+ power supply installed ($175), a side-mounted AC input jack
pre-wired to the power supply ($25), two side-mounted (but not wired) Neutrik jacks
($40), a 10-foot X-cord for the AC power ($25), and a courtesy AC outlet ($25). This
latter option was especially handy when it came to powering an Eventide Space pedal,
which uses a large proprietary adapter. Without it the side-mounted AC outlet I would
have had to mount the adapter under the board and make a short cord for it to connect
to the VooDoo Lab’s AC extension out. Not a bad way to go, come to think of it …
This rugged pedal platform sports the new raised chrome-plated logo on the front
and it also came with an opening in the top for routing the power-supply cables (no
charge for this). All I needed to do was lock my pedals down (best done with T-Trash
Tour Grade Velcro; $6 per foot) and the rig was ready to roll. Worth mentioning too, is
the soft case that is included for a package price of $150. It features 1" foam padding,
extra canvas on the corners for durability, a big pocket on the outside, and is rigid enough
to stand upright with a pedalboard inside. Very nice!
A reasonably tricked Trailer Trash board can get pricey: Our review unit with soft
case and options brought the grand total to $440. But you get what you pay for here,
and if a top-notch pedalboard is your wish, you’ll definitely want to investigate what
Trailer Trash has to offer.
TRAILER TRASH PEDALBOARDS
PRICE $95 direct ($440 as
tested with options)
SIZE 24"x12" (also available in 28"x16",
30"x18", 36"x18", and 40"x18")
CONSTRUCTION Steel with welded corners
COLOR White, (also available in red,
MOUNTING SURFACE Hardtop (also available
CONNECTIONS See options list
POWER SUPPLY INCLUDED? See Options list
CABLES INCLUDED? DC power cables included if
ordered with optional power
supply—matching AC cord $25
OPTIONS Voodoo Lab power supplies
($120-$175); side-mount AC In
($25), Courtesy AC out ($25);
side-mount Neutrik jacks ($20
each); Soft or ATA cases (prices
vary). Other options available
so check with manufacturer.
KUDOS A stylish, well-made board
for discriminating players.
Multitude of options.