Tips for Buying and Organizing a Guitar Pedal Board

Robert Russell By Robert Russell, 23rd Nov 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Music>Learning An Instrument

In the 1960s when guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton began experimenting with pedals the choices were somewhat limited, a fuzz/distortion pedal and wah wah pedal and a few others were available. The thirst for new sounds combined with sophisticated technology has produced a plethora sonic possibilities. This makes selecting effects and setting up a pedal board somewhat confusing.

How To Select The Pedals

(1) Experiment with different guitar effects pedals.
One way of doing this is simply to begin buying and collecting different pedals, however, this can quickly become an expensive habit. The price of guitar pedals ranges from $50 to $400.

(2)Taking the time to learn about the different nuances and characteristics of guitar pedals is a good way to make informed decisions prior to spending your money.

Guitar magazines such as Guitar Player often feature reviews of guitar pedals. The reviews rate the pedals, compare the strength and weaknesses and so forth. Online demonstrations of many guitar pedals are available at sites such as

(3) Try pedals out at guitar stores.
Guitar stores, such as Guitar Center, are more than happy for you to try out various pedals. This gives you a hands on feel for the pedals. It also allows you to compare types of pedals and find the ones that suit your budget.

Selecting A Pedal Board

The three things to keep in mind in selecting a pedal board:

(1)Choose a pedal board for the pedals.
Pedal boards come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The size of the board obviously depends upon the number of pedals you are using. Some guitar players prefer three to five pedals while others may use fifteen or more. Another thing to keep in mind is the case that the board enclosed in.

(2) Consider what type of case works best for you.
Once you have set up the board, there is no need to disassemble it. This makes it easy to simply set the board on the stage at the gig and plug into the pedal board. Some pedal boards have a cloth covering while others come with a more sturdy metal or hard plastic frame.

(3) Pay attention to the power supply.
One of the other advantages of using a pedal board is that you can connect all the guitar pedals to one power source rather than relying on batteries. This distributes the power equally across the board and ensures that a pedal doesn't stop working midway through a gig because of a weak or dead battery. Different pedal boards use different techniques for supplying power to the pedals.

Arranging the Board

(1) Secure the pedals to the board with two pieces of Velcro tape. T
he Velcro adhesive tape usually comes with the pedal board but it is also available at arts and crafts stores as well. Place the adhesive side of the tape on the bottom of the pedal and then simply set the pedal on the pedal board.

(2)Arrange the pedals in a specific order on the board.
The order of the pedals directly affects the overall sound since the order of the pedals makes a chain an each link in the chain is affected by the pedal that directly precedes it.

Experimentation is important in developing your own sound but the general consensus for ordering pedals on a pedal board, going from right to left, is the following: guitar tuner, filter pedals (such as a wah pedal), compressor, modulation effects (chorus, phase shifter, flanger), overdrive and distortion, and reverb and delay effects.

Leave a small space between each pedal so that you can connect the pedals with small patch cables and so that you can step on one pedal without stepping on the adjacent pedal. cables.

Connecting the Board

(1) Connect the pedals together and connect the power source.
The pedals are links in a chain and small patch/guitar cables form the link. Simply insert one end of the cable into the input jack of one pedal and insert the opposite end of the cable into the output jack of the adjacent pedal. A variety of guitar pedal power supplies are available at guitar stores. The 1Spot is a popular choice. It costs around $20.

(2) Connect the board to the guitar and to the amplifier.
Connect a guitar cable into the output jack of the last pedal in the chain (the one on the left); connect the opposite end into the input jack on the amplifier. Plug a second guitar cable into the input jack of the first pedal in the chain; plug the opposite end into the input jack on the guitar.


Guitar Effects, Guitar Pedal Boards, Guitar Tone Tips

Meet the author

author avatar Robert Russell
I play guitar professionally in a Cajun/zydeco band named Creole Stomp. We are a nationally touring band that have been together ten years. I also have a PhD in philosophy.

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author avatar Spicy
24th Nov 2011 (#)

Very good tips. I love music a lot. Thank you Robert for this valuable tips.

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