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Watch Gary Moore in 1983 Introducing the Guitar World to the Pedalboard Concept

Gary Moore live at Kosei Nenkin Hall, Tokyo, January 24, 1983
(Image credit: Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music/Getty Images)

We’ve all seen pedalboards that look like the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon or a futuristic scale model of Manhattan. These days it seems as if there are no limits to their complexity. But back in the early ‘80s, the pedalboard concept was just beginning to catch on as Boss continued to expand their catalog of compact pedals.

When Boss unveiled their BCB-6 (opens in new tab) “Carrying Box” in the early ‘80s they introduced the idea of owning a pedalboard to countless guitar players the world over. And as the variety of guitar effects pedals became ever more numerous a growing number of guitarists began to customize their floor rigs in a practical and affordable way.

BOSS BCB-6 Carrying Box and various pedals from 1984 catalog

The original Boss BCB-6 Carrying Box as it appeared in the 1984 catalog (Image credit: Roland/BOSS)

Along with many other pro level guitarists such as Joe Walsh and Robert Smith, Gary Moore was an early adopter of the BCB-6, using it alongside a DS-1 Distortion to conveniently house a CE-3 Chorus, DM-2 Delay (opens in new tab), OC-2 Octaver, BF-2 Flanger, and PSM-5 Power Supply & Master Switch.

In this clip taken from the BBC television series Rockschool you can get a close-up look at Moore’s pedalboard as he demos these ‘80s vintage stompboxes.

To some, Moore’s pedalboard might appear rather basic but back then the BCB-6 was among some of the most exciting, cutting-edge guitar gear on offer. And let’s not forget it was developed by Boss merely 5 years or so after their very first compact pedals appeared in 1977 (the OD-1 Over Drive, PH-1 Phaser, and SP-1 Spectrum.)

In more recent years, Boss has revisited the “Carrying Box” idea and their current Pedal Board line-up consists of the BCB-60-derived BCB-90X (opens in new tab), the smaller-size BCB-30X (opens in new tab), and the suitcase-style BCB-1000 (opens in new tab).

Rod Brakes is a music writer with an expertise in all things guitar-related. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a journalist covering artists, industry pros and gear includes writing hundreds of articles and features for the likes of Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar World, Guitar Player and MusicRadar, as well as contributions for specialist books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.