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Custom Boards pedalboard – User’s Guide

March 28, 2017


Congratulations on your new Custom Boards pedalboard! Your new board is a well thought-out, professionally made setup meant to stand up to the rigours of touring. Our Custom Boards seal on the back of your board means that you are now part of our inner circle, guaranteeing you the best possible service for your guitar rig. Our aim is to make a pedalboard that will serve you for years to come, providing a wealth of inspiration that will help you to create new music.

The owner of a genuine Custom Boards pedalboard will never be left standing in the rain. If you have questions concerning your board, we will be happy to answer them.

I’d ask you to read this Custom Boards pedalboard – User’s Guide carefully, as it gives you answers to the most common questions. This guide will stay accessible on our website.



Our prime concern is that you are satisfied with your pedalboard. We have tried to think of a whole range of different scenarios, which could cause problems, and we’ve tried to eliminate those problems in advance. Every Custom Boards pedalboard comes with a lifetime warranty that will stay valid for as long as the board is not modified by somebody else.

Should you wish to make changes to your current board, please do contact us. We will make sure that any changes won’t have a negative influence on the board’s reliability. It is very important to us that any official Custom Boards product stays true to our technical standards. Should you live outside of the greater Helsinki-area, or even outside of Finland, please contact us via e-mail or Skype.

General info

One main principle of a Custom Boards pedalboard is that the effects stay in place on the board, and that the patch cable installations stay fixed. This type of setup is the foundation of your board’s superior reliability, from gig to gig and tour to tour.

A Custom Boards pedalboard is designed using some of the same principles applied in boutique-grade point-to-point guitar amps, with well-planned lead dress, competent workmanship, and robust installation.

A Custom Boards setup isn’t meant to have its pedals taken off and reattached constantly, because this is one of the main reasons for faulty pedalboards we see often on rock clubs. We know that trying out a new effect pedal, or changing around the order of pedals, is a source of inspiration for many guitarists, which is why we ask you to read the following instructions carefully, and then get in contact with us, so that we can do the changes for you.

Storing your pedalboard

Try to store your board in a horizontal position at normal room temperature, if possible. A good rule of thumb is keeping your electronic equipment in a place that you would feel comfortable in, too. We know that this isn’t always possible, especially during winter. Try to keep your pedalboard from getting too cold, though, because the condensation, caused by bringing cold equipment into a warm venue, may cause some of the metal contacts to corrode over time. This might cause problems with your signal flow later on.


Your pedalboard’s cabling is meant to take the strains of life on the road. This is achieved by careful patch cable layout, and by using Custom Boards’ Safety Clips. However, there is no such thing as a completely failsafe rig, if some basic preconditions aren’t met.

The biggest stress point for a pedalboard is usually transportation. Try to make sure your board is always transported in a horizontal position with the pedals on top. A board’s hard case is often used to fill gaps left by larger cases, often ending up sideways or facedown. Nevertheless try to make sure your pedalboard case is transported horizontally, and with the pedals up. And make sure the case isn’t free to slide around inside the trunk or trailer.

If you’re using a soft gig bag, the above measures are even more important. Don’t put anything on top of the gig bag, and make sure your pedalboard is packed correctly. This is an important tool that you don’t want to get broken.

Despite any precautions transportation will always rattle your pedalboard’s plugs, jacks and connectors. Every once in a while it’s a good idea to check that none of the jack nuts have worked loose, and to press down each pedal against the frame. The 3M-tape is the best adhesive there is for mounting pedal effects on a board, but you should make sure nonetheless.

Our pedalboards are made to be transported, but travel by airplane always poses an additional set of risks. It is really all in the hands of the baggage handlers how your pedalboard is going to end up at your destination. Try to get permission to put your case on the special baggage belt, which might provide a slightly more careful path into the plane’s baggage hold. At your destination, open your board’s case immediately and look for any obvious damage. If your pedalboard has been seriously knocked about, or even damaged, read the next part especially carefully.


Our current methods of pedal- and cable-installation are a direct result of my years of touring experience as a guitar tech. Over the years I have also developed my own routine of setting up guitar equipment on a stage. Let me share these steps with you:

  • Take out all the equipment from inside their flight cases, and put it in their correct positions on stage. Don’t hook up any power cables, yet!
  • If possible, have the pedalboard out of its case and in a horizontal position for some time, before connecting it to the power grid. This will help dissipate any possible condensation inside the pedals, as well as on the surfaces of connectors. A good rule of thumb is that the colder the case is, the longer you should wait before connecting to AC.
  • Check every connection on your board, by lightly pushing the plugs into the jacks with your fingertip. This will take less than a minute, but it will make sure that every connector is firmly in place.
  • Once you’ve checked the connectors, plug into the amp and connect the power supply unit to the AC grid.

  • Give your rig a quick check, before starting with the line- and/or soundcheck. This will give you additional troubleshooting time if one of the effects has become faulty, and you will save your colleagues’ time, and everybody’s nerves as a result.

Using your Custom Boards pedalboard with a cable loom

An optional Custom Boards cable loom makes connecting your board to the rest of your rig much faster and easier. You will make the most of your cable loom by remembering the following principles:

  • When connecting to your amp, always put on the loom’s strain relief first. The elastic band is hooked into the amp’s carrying handle.
  • Next, connect the signal cable, any cables for channel switching, any cables for a possible FX loop, and lastly the power cable.

Try to make this routine your own, and proceed in the same order, only backwards, after the gig. Meaning: First disconnect the AC power, next all the other cables, and finally the strain relief. This way the weight of the loom won’t put an additional strain on your amp’s jacks or other connectors. If you’re not responsible for setting up the rig, teach this routine to your roadie.

Using the pedalboard and the loom at a venue

Once the amp and pedalboard are connected, I’d strongly recommend you place your board right in front of your amp. Then roll the loom into a clean loop, which you place next to the amp, on the side you plan to use during the gig, too.

Quietly wait for the technicians to set up the PA’s microphones and monitor speakers. Do keep your board in front of the amp, while the PA technicians work at the front of the stage. You don’t want anybody to stomp or stumble on your board or cable loom, and you certainly don’t want your setup buried beneath any PA cables. The worst case scenario would be to find your loom completely stuck at the bottom of the heap. Then you’d have to leave your pedalboard lying in place, even during the support act’s gig.

Once your pedalboard is in the right place, mark out its front perimeter on the surface of the stage with coloured tape. Step on the tape markings to make sure the tape stays in place, especially if another band plays before you.

The great thing about using a loom is that you don’t need any additional AC outlet at the front of the stage. This way you don’t have to disconnect your amp and your pedalboard each time you clear the stage for a different act.

Most gigs have different bands playing the same stage during one evening. Should you have to move your board, do it like this:

  • Unplug your guitar and put it on a stand or in its case.
  • Curl your guitar cable up, and place it on top of your pedalboard.
  • Pick up the board by the edges of the frame, and place it in front (or right behind) your amp, to wait for your turn. Leave the board connected to the amp and the power grid.
  • It’s a very good idea to carry your own extension cord with an on/off-switch. Something like a five socket Schuko-extension would be perfect to connect your whole rig – amp, rack effects, and pedalboard. This way you only need to hand the venue’s technician a single power plug, or plug it in yourself. The extension cord also puts less strain onto your equipment’s power plugs, because they can stay in place, even if you’re asked to unplug a few times during the day.
  • After the soundcheck, put your amp into standby, and then cut the power to your whole rig with the switch on the extension cord. Your amp won’t break by leaving its power switch turned on.
  • Professionals will make sure all AC power outlets are installed well above ground to prevent people from stepping on cables, and liquids from spilling into the sockets.
  • To protect your rig, use the lid from one of your flight cases as a small table to place your Schuko extension cord on. A possible carrying handle also makes for a handy strain relief for your AC-cable.
  • As soon as the band before you has finished, and as soon as it is safe to do so, turn on the power to your rig by using the switch on your extension cord. This will “wake up” your pedalboard, and give the amp’s valves time to heat up properly.
  • Wait for the stage to be cleared – or help the previous act to get their equipment off.
  • Make sure there aren’t any open bottles/cans, old set lists, gaffa tape, or other paraphernalia left on stage. Wait for any technicians to finish their job. If there’s spilled liquid near your microphone, you can use a backstage towel to wipe the stage dry.
  • Only once the stage is completely cleared of technicians and the previous band’s equipment, you should carry your pedalboard to its place at the front of the stage, according to the notes made during soundcheck.
  • Now is the time to uncoil the guitar lead, and to finally connect your guitar to your board.
  • One last look at the pedal settings.
  • Turn your amp’s standby switch to “on”.
  • You’re ready to perform.


What’s the price for swapping a pedal on a Custom Boards pedalboard?

If the new pedal is the same size as the old one, we will only charge the usual sum for installing a pedal. See our current price list following this article.

Why can’t I simply make the change myself?

Removing pedals and then putting them back without ample care can result in damaged plugs or jacks, and patch cables may pop off during transportation. The resulting problems have a bearing on us as a service provider. Get in contact with us before making any changes to your board, so that we can give you additional advice.

Should you decide on making the changes yourself, we’d recommend you read these instructions carefully for the best possible results.

  • Carefully remove any cables attached to the pedal in question from their safety clips.
  • Make sure the cables are loose enough to be detached from the effect safely.
  • Detach the pedal by carefully placing a flat screwdriver between both layers of the Dual Lock tape, and then use the screwdriver as a lever to free the pedal. 3M’s Dual Lock offers industry-standard adhesion, but it can be forced apart relatively easily using the correct technique.
  • Place the new pedal in the empty space, and see if the tape on the pedalboard frame lines up sufficiently with the new pedal.
  • Cut off correct pieces of Dual Lock, and “stick” them to the pieces on the board using their interlocking heads.
  • If you have to remove the Dual Lock from the frame (or any effect), use a pair of needle-nose pliers. First pry open a bit of the tape’s edge, so you can get a good grip of the tape with the pliers, then pull the tape away. Take care not to hurt your hands. If you had to remove the tape from the frame, stick both layers of 3M Dual Lock to the effect’s bottom plate, but leave the pedalboard-facing side’s protective plastic in place for now.
  • Connect all the cables to the new effect, while holding the pedal a few millimetres above the pedalboard.
  • Only remove the tape’s protective foil when you’re ready to stick the pedal to the frame.
  • Remember to check the new pedal’s position in relation to the rest of the board’s effects, before you stick the new effect on. Put pressure on the points where the tape sits. Make sure that the pedal is secured properly. Do note that the adhesive used on 3M Double Lock needs 24 hours to set completely. Applying too much force to the tape before it is properly set, might result in less-than-perfect adhesion.
  • Attach the cables back to the correct clips. Make sure that the mechanical force of the clips pushes the cables towards the pedal, which in turn will improve the effect’s fit.
  • Cables should not twirl or twist, but rather flow naturally in a curve.
  • Keep a freshly-attached pedal in a horizontal position, and at room temperature, for the next 24 hours.

Can I call Custom Boards in the evening, or during the weekend, in case of emergencies?

Yes, you can! The reliability of our Custom Boards products is very important to us. We will consult you, whenever possible.

What happens if I want to make major changes to my Custom Boards pedalboard?

We will charge you our current rate for disassembling a pedalboard, as stated on our price list. In most cases we will be able to use the existing patch cables in the updated board, too. This means you will only have to pay for the disassembly, the pedal installation, and for the final cable installation.


If you have purchased all the parts and components but get a feeling that you might not be up to the task after all, we can make your pedalboard for you, using the components you have bought from us. Don’t worry, we won’t let anything go to waste.


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