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Friday, August 14, 2009

My New Pedalboard

Well, here we go.

I'm not a masive fan of pedals and effects, but they make the live show more entertaining and since I got my Zoom G2, its been a hassle to set them up, 3 seperate plugs and not enough cables to have them all at the front of the stage, and then during the set I'm all over the place on stage pushing different pedals here and there...SO, I made my own, custom board, for cheap, and its exactly what I needed, it took a couple of afternoons in total.

This is a blog about how I made my new custom pedal board. You can buy loads on the internet, they are either, really BIG or come with a flimsy soft case (not good for tour). The good ones are really expensive too, about £150 for one with a power supply and a hard case.

First I made a template of my pedals so I could plan them out on a piece of board, at this point I also looked into a flight case for it and the cheapest one the near enough size was 450mm x 300mm, silver case from Maplin for £30, so I had a rough guide of size before I started, but in honesty I wanted to keep it as compact as possible.

Once I had it the Right size, I covered it in black gaffer tape to make it look nice, and attached some sticky-back velcro (the fluffy bit) in the places I wanted the pedals.

Then, I had a cup of tea and figured out what I'd need next to make it work. Turns out i needed loads of stuff!

2 Handles
Rubber Feet
Multi Power Supply
6Meter jack-jack cable (with 1 x 90 degree jack and 1 straight jack)
50cm 90 degree jack-jack patch cable
90degree jack end (to modify an xlr cable I use for my wireless pack)

Once I got all that. I attached the rubber feet to the underneath of the board just at the back so it was at a slight gradient. Attached the handles to either side of the board.

I stuck the grippy velcro to the underside of all of my pedals. That way they would all be secured in place and won't slip about. It was tricker than expected and I'd stupidly misplaced some of the velcro (yeah, I'm an idiot), but got it all sorted eventually.

Just to show how good the velcro is at keeping the pedals stuck down...

Once the board was finished and the pedals were in place I modified the foam inside the flight to fit the board exactly so it fits snug and secure once its closed for transport.

All that was left to do was wire up the board and sort out the long cables from my amp to the board at the front of the stage.

Wiring in the the multi power supply, turned out to be trickier than I'd expected. (its gets a little techy here so skip this bit if you want). I looked on the net for a multi power supply and the dedicated guitar pedal ones ranged from £20 - £200 (yes £200!). I guessed that they were for loads of pedals, and the cheaper ones didn't seem too complex so bought the nearest thing, a multi voltage adaper from maplin £10 and a power daisy chain £5. Turns out, Regulated Voltage, Polarity and Ampage are serious things to consider.

The unregulated multi voltage adapter doesn't provide a consistant power the pedals so is a bit dodgy and it was also a 500mA supply. My Zoom G1, wireless pack and tuner have a combined current draw of 500mA so I thought it would be fine. But with drawing the maximim curent from a supply the actual voltage output can be nearly half of the rated voltage. Apparently you need double (at least) ampage for you requirements, so I needed at least a 1A regulated 9V dc supply. Also, my wireless pack had a centre +ve polarity and my tuner and zoom G2 have centre -ve polarity, which was going to be another trip to town and another £5 for a reverse polarity adapter.

Finally and almost more annoyingly, the daisy chain for the supply had straight 2.1mm ends which hung over the end of the board and wouldnt fit in the flight case which meant I'd have to plug them in every time, which defied the whole point of setting up a pedal board!!

I took the whole power supply back to Maplin and opted for one of these for £35. It a 1-spot power supply from Visual Sound, the pack comes with a 1.3A, 9v regulated power supply, a reverse polarity adapter (among others) and is the only available power supply with 90 degree plug ends. SWEET. Meaning I can power everything on my pedalboard with 1 mains plug, and it all fits neatly into the case.

So, the power aupply arrived in the post a couple of days later and I hastily wired it all up and it worked perfectly. Excellent. Just a few cable clips and a bit more gaffer to tidy it all up and its good to go. below is a pic of the wired up version.

Total Spend £90. (materials £10, case £30, power supply £35, cables £15)

All done.


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