So I built a new pedalboard ... a boring story with lots of pics.

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Den, Jun 5, 2006.


  1. Den

    Den Member

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    Once upon a time ... I decided I couldn't stand my messy pedalboard anymore. It was covered with a crappy black carpet that must have specifically designed to collect all the dust in Southern California. As a builder and electrician in my past life, I hated all the exposed wiring running around the pedals looking like a disaster waiting to happen.

    After a year with my current line-up of pedals, I decided that I could be happy with them for quite a while yet, so putting together a board with all the pedals screwed in place made sense ... and getting the wiring underneath would clean up the mess ... and using tolex instead of a velcro material or carpet would give it a cleaner look and minimize the dust ... and wouldn't it be cool if could be designed to look like it belonged with my amps?

    I researched all the usual suspects and just couldn't seem to find exactly what I could see in my mind. I also wanted to keep the board as compact as possible and would like it to fit into an available padded case or gig bag of some sort. After getting the rough size figured out, I did find several case options that would work.

    I then started noodling around on the computer with different designs and eventually finalized this layout:

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    I next sat down and made up a material list and ordered parts from various sources across the universe. The good folks at Carr told me what type of tolex I could order to match my beloved Rambler. I also located the electronic parts I'd need from Parts Express and some amp parts elsewhere. Confident in the fact that UPS was now focused on applying of its resources and attention on speeding these parts to me, I made a run to Home Depot to pick up some materials, and headed to the woodshop and started making a mess. Here's a few pics of the riser section under construction:

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    Here are both the riser and lower level assembled and ready for sanding:

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    I then moved to the tolex installation department (which doubles as my kitchen), and began the highly-skilled and messy process of tolex application. BTW ... I used a water based adhesive that was amazingly easy to work with ... it's called WBCC Water Based Contact Cement from Custompak.com. Here's the riser glued up and below it, the tolex with adhesive setting up:

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    The lower level is glued up and waits for it's tolex:

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    Here's a closeup of my fat fingers, honed to a high level of precision after years of dancing up and down the fretboard, amazing friends and family with their skill and dexterity with an incredibly sharp tool:

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    Another shot of the tolex application:

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    The tolex application is now complete on these sections:

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    And there's more ...
     
  2. Den

    Den Member

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    The next step was installation of my PedalPower unit and connection to the IEC connector from Parts Express. I also ordered a heavy duty 8' IEC power cable to connect to the board.

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    I had decided I wanted a bit of a riser for my Switchbone unit to bring it closer to height of the other pedals next to it. I cut a small piece of 3/8" plywood and covered with tolex. Also, since the design of this pedal makes it difficult to screw in place from below like most of the other pedals, I installed a metal plate and covered it with velcro material.

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    Here I am now in the official pedalboard wiring department. I've installed the pedals at this point. Both the Switchbone and the Strobostomp required a velcro installation. In the case of the others, I was able to purchase slightly longer screws, use the pedal backplate as a drilling template and install the pedals with screws from below the pedalboard. It really doesn't take much longer to install them this way, although of course, you don't have the flexibility to shuffle pedals around.

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    You'll also notice the locking Neutrik connectors I installed on the end of the board ... I really love these. I chose the silver ones for the three outputs and a black one for the guitar input. What's cool is that I don't have to put any additional wear and tear on the pedals themselves when connecting and disconnecting ... it's also great to have your cables locked securely in place down there on the floor. Here's another shot of those connectors (labeled for guitar, amp 1 & 2 and the boost cable for my Aiken Tomcat. You can also see the lower level riser I added to slightly angle the board which makes it more comfortable to use both standing or sitting. (I also think it looks really cool as well!)

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    Here's a few more shots of other sides of the board:

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    Yes ... both the tolex and the amp handle above match my Rambler. The handle really makes it easy to carry ... and the finished board only weighs 24.5 lbs. including pedals.

    Here's the money shot ... this is where all the business takes place safe and secure below deck. This reminds me of the lyrics "The music goes round and round and comes out here":

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    Here's a pic I thought LavaMan would like (what great service and a cool guy as well). I color coded the cables with some electrical marking tape to make setup easier for my small brain.

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    Here's a few last shots of the final product and my little noise making machine. You may notice I finished the boost pedal for my Tomcat. I had orderd a black Hammond box and transferred the guts of another amp switcher pedal ... a little solder and voila'.

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    Well that's my story and I'm sticking to it. It was a fun project and I'm very happy with the finished product. Hope some of you enjoyed the pics. Now that this is finished and all the pedals are screwed down, is it possible I can stopping GASing for other gear and just make some music?
     
  3. scottywompas

    scottywompas Member

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    Man that is one seriously sick board. I think you may have a future in the pedal board industry. Nice work man.

    Scott:BEER
     
  4. waxnsteel

    waxnsteel Member

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    Outstanding. If you want something done right...
     
  5. enickma

    enickma Member

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    Tres cool ... all in all, how many hours of investment ?
     
  6. Todd Lynch

    Todd Lynch Member

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    Supernice - I love it.
     
  7. Den

    Den Member

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    Thanks guys. Because I worked on it a few hours here and few hours there, I wasted extra time just setting up and cleaning up. You also lose time waiting for things to dry or parts if you don't have them all up front. I'd guess about 15 hours total. I'll stick with my day job.
     
  8. enickma

    enickma Member

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    Newport Beach eh ? I live in Laguna ... I'll be stopping by with the dimensions for my pedal board tonight. 7'ish work with you ? :D
     
  9. r9player

    r9player Silver Supporting Member

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    Very nice! My personal fear .. what if you want to change something .. (GAS is a terrible thing)
     
  10. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Staff Member

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    KILLER!

    Nicely done, it looks utterly pro. Thumbs WAY up!
     
  11. Gas-man

    Gas-man Unrepentant Massaganist

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    As Archie Bunker used to say, beauty-ful.
     
  12. todd richman

    todd richman Senior Member

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    That is awesome. If I hadn't already committed to Trailer Trash, well you might have a customer begging to get in your door with a bunch of pedals in tow! Enjoy and get a road case or Levy's bag for safety and cartage.
     
  13. inscho

    inscho Senior Member

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    excellent job!
     
  14. Den

    Den Member

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    Thanks for the kind words. I'm probably going to be ordering a padded case from Gator that's designed for small mixers, but will fit my board perfectly.
     
  15. James

    James Member

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    Cool board, cool pics, great to see the process!

    :dude

    :RoCkIn

    James
     
  16. daveS

    daveS lefty dude on hiatus Gold Supporting Member

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    Totally Awesome Den !

    I see you are still diggin' the Tomcat :D

    -Dave
     
  17. PUMAMAN

    PUMAMAN Member

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    Nice work Den! Well layed out plan, nicely executed. VERY nice job!
     
  18. SteveStrat

    SteveStrat Member

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    Sweeeet! Great looking board. Very nice. I've been thinking about adding some Neutrik connectors to my board, where'd you get yours at?

    Steve
     
  19. Den

    Den Member

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    Totally ... this is such a cool little amp ... perfect runnin' buddy for my Rambler.
     
  20. Den

    Den Member

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    I ordered them from Parts Express. You can find them other places as well. You'll need to drill a 15/16" pilot hole, do a little soldering and you're good to go.
     

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