Building a pedalboard..advice?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by jrm, Jul 28, 2006.

  1. jrm

    jrm Member

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    Hey guys:

    So it is time, I am finally goign to build myself a pedalboard. It may sound superflouous as I only have 4 pedals or so, but I was hoping for some advice as I am a totla noob to the subject.

    I have 4 pedals, (ts9, de-7, vox 847, Tu-2) and I am having an a/b/c/d box built bery soon (hopefully). I would also like to incorporate my wireless system into the board (some sennheiser unit). One thing that i have seen that I think is the cats pajamas is the way that some folks have wired their boards to have input and power jacks on the side. I think that really helps keep the board maintain a clena look. However, I have no idea how to do this.

    Can anyone point me towards any tutorials, or plans/blueprints for other boards that have been built to help me get going in the right direction?

    thanks!
     
  2. Digitalman

    Digitalman Member

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    This thread was good too : http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=144651

    I'm in the middle of building one myself - you could probably spend a couple days in the 'show us your pedalboard' thread - endless ideas in there. I've got it built and have all the George Ls, Neutrik 1/4" jacks, etc...But I'm holding off drilling the holes and wiring it up until the last pedal shows up. (Timmy)

    I'll start a kind of step by step thread when it's done like Den and Selahvie did - I especially found those threads helpful. The first thing I did was find a case to put it in, then designed the board to fit inside of it. I have six pedals and a Pedal Power 2 and got all of it to fit inside a 17" X 12" footprint. Set all your pedals up to test the ergonomics and all - I built a little foam-core mock up to see if they'd fit OK. I'm a designer, so I sit here and do CAD all day long - I've spent more time on the layout than I spent cutting plywood. If you can draw it out first, it'll help.

    And do a search for Pumaboards and Trailer Trash - they're great designs.
     
  3. stompbox

    stompbox Member

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    what is the best/cheapest place to buy George L's?
     
  4. Den

    Den Member

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    Good advice. It really important to take the time to carefully think through your layout and the little details of the design before you start cutting things up.

    jrm ... Don't hesitate to let me know if I can help you at all. Good luck!
     
  5. Digitalman

    Digitalman Member

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    I got everything I needed from http://www.stompin-ground.com/ - Velcro fabric, Pedal Power, George Ls. Then over to http://partsexpress.com/ - for the Neutrik jacks and right angle power connects...eveything else was either from Lowes or Home Depot. This is the case...probably not ATA class, but cheap...http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=24981-16878-60132&lpage=none

    Hey Den - I've got a question : I'm soldering my 1/4" jacks this weekend...I've only done guitar input jacks before, but there's 3 lugs on this Neutrik connector. One is a thicker gauge and I see 'GN' on it (which is the outer braid on the George L's) but how do you know which is tip or ring for the center conductor?
     
  6. jrm

    jrm Member

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    wow you guys! These are some awesome awesome pointers. Thanks a bunch. Den, I'm sure I'll have some questions. This may be naive.. but I have no soldering experience at all. It can;t be too hard, but I'd imagine that I better learn if I want to do it right... or should i leave that to someone else who knows what they are doing?

    Thanks everyone! Any more words of wisdom?
     
  7. Den

    Den Member

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    Sounds like you're getting close to launch time ... The terminal that's closest to the ground terminal is the one you're looking for.
     
  8. Den

    Den Member

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    I'd suggest you give the soldering a try. Like anything else, it can seem difficult at first, but it's well worth learning how to do it. Worse case, if you just can't seem to get it, you can call in someone to help you out.

    After drilling the pilot holes (15/16") and dry fitting the Neutrik jacks, I then estimated the length of the GL cable for each (leaving it a little long) and stripped the insulation about an inch. I then carefully unbraided the ground wire around the inner jacket and twisted it tight ... then carefully stripped the center insulation leaving the very thin core wires exposed and twisted those tight as well.

    You then tin the ends of the wires with a little solder ... then tin the terminals on the jacks and then solder them to each other.

    Tinning is the process of covering the wire or terminal with a small bit of solder. Using a soldering iron (I set mine to a 30 watt setting) I then heat the wire (or terminal) and hold the end of the solder against it. The heat melts and draws the solder. BTW, the solder I use is 60/40 .032 diameter standard Rosin-Core Solder.

    The biggest trick in soldering is really getting the parts in place (wire & terminal) then heating them up while holding the end of the solder against them. If possible, the help of another two hands makes things much easier. In the case of these Neutrik jacks, what I do it set up the jack in a vice, or a pair of vice grip pliers and hold the wire against the terminal in one hand and the soldering iron in the other. All it takes is a little heat for the solder already on the terminal to melt a bit ... pull the soldering iron away so that the wire then bonds lightly to the terminal. I then gently heat the terminal and wire together adding a bit of solder to make a solid connection.

    I hope that makes sense and doesn't sound too complicated. Practice with some scrap wire and you should be cool with this in no time.
     
  9. erksin

    erksin Member

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    The only advice I can give is to make it twice the size that you think you'll need right now - 'cause after you're done you're gonna wanna start shopping for more little boxes...
     
  10. jrm

    jrm Member

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    Wow, thanskm so m uch for that step by step. Den you are awesome, I really really appreciate it. I'm sure I'll be asking more questions at some point!
     
  11. Den

    Den Member

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    Very happy to help ... looking forward to seeing the finished product.
     
  12. risinger77

    risinger77 Member

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    I agree with the size comment erksin. I started off with Furman SPB-8, then to the 8C. I eventually maxed out.

    I tour in a worship band and we play so many different types of sounds I need and use several pedals. To give myself space to grow and unclutter, I ordered a 40x20 sloped board to which I am in the process of wiring myself. The cost was reasonable and the growth potential is great.

    I took the number of pedals I use and figured in a true-bypass strip, and add some room for three or four more pedals. Now, I'm wiring the neutriks and power just how I want it!
     
  13. Jthechu365

    Jthechu365 Member

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    Hi Guys,

    Great advice here! I just have a question: have you experienced any extra hum after using the input jacks you built? I am wondering it it would be okay just to solder a patch cable to those neurik jacks as you've mentioned without having a metal enclosing around the area to shield out EMI.
     
  14. forgivenick

    forgivenick Member

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    Resurrecting a dead thread, but wanted to share my design for all of you thinking about building your own pedal board:

    http://forgivenick.wordpress.com/2010/09/21/pt-pro-sized-pedal-board-diy/

    The case is going to be the interesting part. A soft keyboard case is cheap, but a hard keyboard case is super expensive, so much so that you can get a PT-Pro with hardshell case for not much more (possibly less depending on the make/model of keyboard case!).

    I mostly play at home however and have a minivan I can use that my wife drives if I want to just throw in on the third row in the back for safe travels. :) For me, building my own board was much less expensive and still somewhat portable for those times on occasion when the board leaves the house.
     
  15. jnepo1

    jnepo1 Silver Supporting Member

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    Drawing out you pedalboard layout is great. another thing I would like to add after drawing out your board: Get the dimensions of you pedals, and make cutouts of those pedals. Since you intend to build your board, determine the size of the actual board and tape off an outline of the board on the ground or table and lay out your pedal cutouts to determine pedal placement and spacing. Keep in mind, you need to make space allotment for the plugs to and from the pedals.
    There is also pedalboardplanner.com. But that site has some limitations to pedal dimensions and board sizes. Board sizes on the website I believe are limited to PedalTrain dimensions. Pedal dimensions vary, but if you know the dimensions, you can find a similar sized pedal as a layout substitute.
     
  16. jnepo1

    jnepo1 Silver Supporting Member

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    I've never had hum issues w/ what you have mentioned. And yes you can solder a patch cable directly to jacks w/out problems, just make sure sleeve to sleeve and tip to tip.
     

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