Friday, January 11, 2013

Make your own guitar effects pedal board

I've been meaning to do this for years, and I mean years. While I was cleaning the house (spring cleaning!), I stumbled upon my old electric guitar and effects. I don't know what possessed me. I built a pedal board in two days. One day for planning and research and shopping. Another day (just the afternoon) for putting it all together.

The complete setup. I've obviously got a natural wood finish theme going on here, but many people cover their pedalboards in black cloth.

What you need:

A block of wood
I used a part from my toddler's high chair. After he turned his high chair into a ladder and took a dive from the top, the chair has been dismantled and it's just taking up space in the house. Any block of wood will do though.

Velcro tape
I wanted the wider velcro tape, but couldn't find any in Handyman. I used the skinny velcro tape instead. Works fine.

Rubber feet
I used the ones from my wah wah pedal.

These are my very basic effects:
Dunlop Cry Baby wah wah pedal
Boss MT-2
Arion Flanger
Marshall amp

Soon, I hope to buy a chorus and a delay and an equalizer. Of course, I've been telling this to myself for over a decade.

For now, I will make do with the digital solution: MacBook running Native Instruments' Guitar Rig. I know, I know, running a guitar through my computer this way will not give me very good tone, but it lets me play with all the effects I've ever dreamed about (and more). I love this program.

You'll need some adaptors to get your guitar plugged into your computer and your computer plugged into your amp. (You can also output the audio to your computer speakers.) You can get these adaptors in Handyman or True Value.

Here's how to put it all together:
1. Attach the rubber feet with wood screws.
2. Plan where you want to put your effects. There's a correct order to things, but mostly, you can just trust your ears and place your effects in the order that sounds best to you.
3. Place the velcro. One side on the board. The other side on your effects. It doesn't really matter which side goes where. It's just preference.
4. Plug it all in.
5. Rock.

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