Before we begin, allow me to put your mind at ease by saying there’s no right or wrong pedalboard. Each is to the player’s own personal preference and size really isn’t important. In fact, most of the time you’ll find players are looking for the most ergonomic / practical board. Ease of setup and adjustment is important and less is more, after all.
One more thing before we begin, no matter whether you’re playing to 20 people in your local or 90,000 at Wembley Stadium, there is one thing that every board will have in common. And that is a tuner. Grab yourself one first and foremost. Polytune and Boss do top quality, stable tuners for a sensible price.
So let’s dive straight in.
1 / THE BOARD
What size board you purchase will determine the colour of your sound. A small unit will allow for the necessary pedals and a big one means you can go crazy. For example the PedalTrain series are fantastic, durable and slick in design. Also they have the advantage of being raised for easy access to the higher pedals and are made from Aircraft grade aluminium making them super lightweight. Including a soft case (or flightcase for a little extra) and all the little parts to tie your rig down, they’re a no brainer for any sized rig. The Nano holds roughly four standard sized stompboxes, whereas the larger models like the Classic 2 can hold anything up to 10 / 15.
Shop PedalTrain here:
Nano Plus / https://www.music-world-ipswich.co.uk/products/guitars/guitar-accessories/pedaltrain-nano-plus-pedalboard/
Classic 1 / https://www.music-world-ipswich.co.uk/products/guitars/guitar-accessories/pedaltrain-classic-1-pedal-board-with-soft-case/
2 / OVERDRIVE
A staple on any board; an overdrive can do a lot more than just making you louder. It can add a whole new level to your playing whether it’s accentuating the twang to your tele or bulking up your humbuckers. Most ODs / distortions can range from a warm crunch to full blown face-melter, but depending on your genre, you may use them in very different ways. Try experimenting at low gain to add a little boost / body to your tone. Or at high gain, try playing through your favourite songs with the tone just below the 12pm mark for a thicker / smoother drive.Below are three of my favourite drives and distortions under £90.
Electro Harmonix Soul Food / https://www.music-world-ipswich.co.uk/products/guitars/effects/electro-harmonix-soul-food-overdrive-guitar-fx-pedal/
Boss Blues Driver BD-2 / https://www.music-world-ipswich.co.uk/products/guitars/effects/boss-bd2-blues-driver/
Boss Distortion DS-1 / https://www.music-world-ipswich.co.uk/products/guitars/effects/boss-ds-1-distortion/
3 / DELAY
Now this is my kingdom, man loves a delay / echo pedal. There’s a lot to be said for the delay. It can thicken a filthy solo, hypnotise within arpeggios or design luscious soundscapes creating paintings for your ears to enjoy. Experiment with low feedback (repeat) levels with length to hear haunting textures behind your chords or tighten the delay for a ‘doubling’ effect when soloing. Below are three of my favourites.
Boss DD-7 Digital Delay / https://www.music-world-ipswich.co.uk/products/guitars/effects/boss-dd7-digital-delay/
Electro Harmonix Canyon Delay & Looper / https://www.music-world-ipswich.co.uk/products/guitars/effects/electro-harmonix-canyon-delay-looper/
Electro Harmonix Stereo Memory Man / https://www.music-world-ipswich.co.uk/products/guitars/effects/electro-harmonix-stereo-memory-man-with-hazarai-delay-pedal/
4 / MODULATION
Modulation comes in many forms, such as the ever so popular chorus pedal that can be epitomised by listening to any track stemming from the 80’s varying between the soft verses of Metallica to the funky hooks from Prince. Next is Tremolo that creates a ‘wavering’ effect bringing the signal in and out almost like a bouncing effect. And finally I’ll mention a phaser. Adding a psychedelic effect or ‘swirl’ to your sound most commonly used by the greats like David Gilmour (Pink Floyd) and John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers). Below is a pick from each form of modulation.
Boss Chorus CH-1 / https://www.music-world-ipswich.co.uk/products/guitars/effects/boss-ch1-super-chorus/
Boss Tremolo TR-2 / https://www.music-world-ipswich.co.uk/products/guitars/effects/boss-tr2-tremolo/
Boss Phase Shifter PH-3 / https://www.music-world-ipswich.co.uk/products/guitars/effects/boss-ph-3-phase-shifter-compact-pedal/
5 / WAH
Wickey, wickey, wah! Am I right? No-one can help themselves when it comes to wah. The funk simply channels through them. Although if you’re a heavier player, the wah pedal becomes a great filter / envelope for your solos or breakdowns. A great tool for all. I also rate the Dynamic Wahs greatly due to their great sensitivity and response to your attack meaning you’re not attached to your board while it’s in use.
Dunlop Crybaby Original / https://www.music-world-ipswich.co.uk/products/guitars/effects/dunlop-crybaby-original-wah/
Electro Harmonix The Worm / https://www.music-world-ipswich.co.uk/products/guitars/effects/electro-harmonix-worm-analog-wahphaservibratotremolo-pedal/
Boss Dynamic Wah AW-1
6 / POWER SUPPLY
This part is a lot more important than most realise. Buy cheap and you’ll buy twice. You want to make sure you have no ‘hissing’ or ‘humming’ coming from your amp and the more pedals you have in front of you, the higher the risk becomes. So load your board with some with high power that can handle a lot. I personally recommend the MXR Iso-Brick for heavy duty power or something less would be the Mooer Micro power supply for saving space.
Mooer Micro Multi Power Supply / https://www.music-world-ipswich.co.uk/products/guitars/effects/mooer-micro-power-multi-power-supply/
7 / THE CABLES
The same sentiment sticks with the cables as does with the power supply. The better the cable, the less interference / noise you’ll get. Fender do great patch cables or alternatively for a little more, MXR do the ‘Pancake’ head patch cables in a handy 3-pack that have flat tops for anyone looking to fit the most on their board.
8 / THE WIRING
So let’s imagine we have one of each of these pedals on our board. This would be the order we’d run from top to bottom:
AMP – DELAY / MODULATION / OVERDRIVE / WAH / TUNER – GUITAR
Easy as that. Now get out there with your weapon of a board and make all the noise possible. Have fun!