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 “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, 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, the smaller-size BCB-30X, and the suitcase-style BCB-1000.

Rod Brakes

Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as GuitaristTotal Guitar, Guitar WorldGuitar Player and MusicRadar in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.