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The Custom Boards guide for building your own pedalboard (Updated 24.1.2024)

If you want to build your pedalboard from scratch by yourself, this guide is for you. We'll go through the entire process with the help of images, text, and videos, from ground zero to a gig-ready pedalboard.

Our guide is divided into three parts:

PART 1 - PREPARING FOR THE PROJECT

In this section, we get ready for the pedalboard project and learn how different parts of the signal chain affect your sound and what you need to consider.

PART 2 - BUILDING THE PEDALBOARD

In this section, we provide practical instructions on how to build your own pedalboard.

OSA 3 - THE CUSTOM BOARDS GUIDE FOR BUILDING YOUR OWN PEDALBOARD

Our 60-part video series covers various stages of the pedalboard project from theory to practice. You can find all the videos compiled on our Videos page.

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PART 1 - PREPARING FOR THE PROJECT

The pedalboard project always begins with its planning. You need to understand what and why you are doing, what the pedalboard construction is about, and what considerations you need to take into account.

EFFECTS

  • Why would I use all these effects? Many wonder why guitarists need so many effects. This article tells you why.  Read More >
  • How do I choose the right effects for myself? What kind of sounds are you looking for? Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your current sounds?  Read More >
  • What is the correct order for effects? There is a “correct” way to chain together guitar effects, which is what this article is all about. It also includes sound examples for each effect type, making it easier for you to choose effects.  Read More >
  • The effects loop divides the amplifier in half. One of the most important questions is whether all effects come before the amplifier's preamp or should them go into the amplifier's effects loop?  Read More >
  • Learn to take advantage of multiple gain stages in your signal chain. If you are not completely satisfied with the gain sounds of your amplifier, read this article.  Read More >

  • ISP Decimator - different uses for the noise suppressor. Does your guitar feedback uncontrollably during live performances? Is the noise between songs from gain pedals or amplifier preamp infernal?  Read More > 

  • True bypass and buffered bypass. If you use a lot of true bypass effects, you need to consider the possible need for separate buffers.  Read More > 
  • Save money by maintaining your own pedals. You need to make sure that all your effects are in good condition. In this guide, we show you how to maintain them yourself.  Read More > 

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ABY-BOXES AND MIDI

  • Lehle AB- and ABY-boxes connect your guitar and effects to multiple amplifiers. The most common need is to split the guitar signal to two different amplifiers, which is referred to as an AB-box.  Read More > 
  • Lehle P-Split cuts the ground loop in your guitar system. The ground loop is by far the most common cause of hum in guitar systems. Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem.  Read More >  
  • MIDI controllers - how MIDI helps control your guitar rig. In the guitar world, MIDI is currently thriving with the increasing number of digital effect processors.  Read More > 

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POWER SUPPLY

  • How do I choose the right power supply for my pedals? The most common reason for failure in a pedalboard project is not paying enough attention to the selection of the power supply.  Read More > 
  • Why do my pedals hum and buzz – could the issue be with the power supply? If the power supply is incorrect, it can result in various types of noise. After reading this, you'll know how to avoid pitfalls.  Read More > 
  • Not all power supplies are created equal. Power supplies may look quite similar from the outside, but inside, they contain various types of technology.  Read More > 
  • Power supply terminology. Power supply usage involves some electrical terms, such as volts, amps, polarity, watts, output, section, isolated, and regulated.  Read More > 
  • Voltage and current – How do I know what power my pedals need? It's advisable to list the effects going into the pedalboard and find information on the power requirements of each effect before you proceed.  Read More > 
  • A guide to power supply cables. Effects pedals have different sizes and types of connectors, which we go through in this guide.  Read More >
  • How do I split a power supply output to multiple pedals? Sometimes you may need to use one power supply output for more than one pedal. Or vice versa. Special cables are available for this purpose.  Read More > 
  • Custom Boards Power Supply Guide Part 1 - Voodoo Lab. This guide familiarizes you with Voodoo Lab power supplies.  Read more > 
  • Custom Boards Power Supply Guide Part 2 - Cioks. This guide familiarizes you with Cioks power supplies.  Read more > 

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PEDALBOARD

  • Take a look at what a pedalboard can do for your career. The technical level of your equipment should be on par with your music.  Read More > 
  • A main purpose of your pedalboard. Consider whether you move by foot, public transportation, or your own car. Are you planning to take the pedalboard even on an airplane?  Read More > 
  • Custom Boards' guide to choosing a pedalboard - Pedaltrain and Voodoo Lab. This guide covers the features of Pedaltrain and Voodoo Lab pedalboards.  Read more >
  • Risers - Can I reach all my effects, or do I need pedal risers? If it's not possible to arrange pedals more spaciously on the board, you can ease their use by adding separate risers on the pedalboard.  Read More > 
  • 3M Dual Lock or Velcro – How do I attach my effects to the pedalboard? Careful effect attachment on the pedalboard prolongs their lifespan and facilitates their use in live situation.  Read More > 

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CABLES

  • The Custom Boards Cable Snake helps you to integrate pedalboard with the amplifier and/or 19" rack devices.  Read More > 

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PART 2 - BUILDING THE PEDALBOARD

In this section, we get down to business. This "checklist" will help you tackle things in the right order so that you don't forget any steps or slow down your project by doing things out of sequence.

We start with a situation where the effects, pedalboard, power supply, as well as any possible splitters and MIDI-controllers, have been selected. You have decided on the order and placement of the effects, created a power distribution plan, including the possible splitting of power supply outputs. You also know whether you need a buffer for your pedalboard.

PEDAL MAINTENANCE

  • Clean the connectors of the pedals with blue PRF 6-68.
  • Tighten the screws and nuts of the pedals, and other controls such as toggle switches.
  • Remove old batteries from inside the pedals to prevent possible future corrosion.
  • Listen for any crackling in the potentiometers of the pedals. Clean if necessary with brown PRF 7-78
  • Replace any faulty parts as needed.

PEDALBOARD LAYOUT

  • Arrange the pedals on the board in the desired order, with the ones you use more often in the front row. 
  • Place two fingers in the spaces between the pedals to leave enough room for cables and connectors relative to the effect next to it.
  • Try stamping the pedals in the back row. Raise them if necessary with Pedaltrain risers or attach high Barefoot Button Tallboys to the pedal switches. 
  • Mark the order of the pedals on the signal path with colored tape and a marker on the sides of the pedals.
  • Take a photo of the pedalboard to remember the exact placement of the effects.

ATTACHING PEDAL BOTTOMS

  • Remove the pedals from the top of the pedalboard and place them on another table in the same order.
  • Clean the pedal bottom plates with PRF Label Off if necessary. If this liquid is unfamiliar to you, Read The Guide >
  • Remove the rubber feets from wah pedals and replace them if necessary with Custom Boards Wah Kit metal washers. 
  • Cut 3M Dual Lock pieces and attach them to the pedal bottoms, but do not remove the protective layer of the tapes.  Read The Guide > 

INSTALLING THE POWER SUPPLY

ATTACHING CONNECTORS AND UTILITY DEVICES UNDER THE PEDALBOARD

PREPARING PATCH CABLES

  • Place the pedals back on the board according to the photo you took.
  • Measure and cut the necessary patch cables and lay them out on the table in the corresponding order.
  • Prepare the ends of all patch cables at once and assemble or solder their connectors.
  • How to assemble Evidence Audio SiS plugs and Monorail cables.  Read The Guide >.
  • How to solder Analog Tools Square Plug connectors with Van Damme pedalboard patch cable.  Read The Guide >

PREPARING THE CABLE SNAKE

  • Measure and cut all the wires that will go into the cable snake and thread cables into the cable sock.  Read The Guide >

SOLDERING GUITAR CABLES

  • Solder the instrument cable, as well as all the cables going into the cable snake.  Read The Guide >
  • Mark the connectors of the wires with multicolored Pro Gaff tape

ASSEMBLING ELECTRICAL CONNECTORS

TESTING CABLES WITH OHM AND CAPACITANCE METERS

  • Measure the resistance value of all cables before attaching them to the pedals. If you have a capacitance meter, also measure the capacitance of the signal cables.  Read The Guide > 

PREPARING THE PEDALBOARD FOR EFFECTS PEDAL ATTACHMENT

  • Attach the power supply cables to the power supply and connect them to the pedals. Connect the prepared patch cables, as well as MIDI-cables and expression pedal stereo cables, to the pedals.  Read The Guide >

ATTACHING PEDALS AND PATCH CABLES

ATTACHING THE CABLE SNAKE AND GUITAR CABLE TO THE PEDALBOARD

  • Measure the protective sock of the cable snake to fit the end of the pedalboard and attach it to the frame with electrical tape and cable ties. 
  • Finish the end of the cable snake that goes to the amplifier with a Safety Strap -set.
  • Attach the guitar cable to the pedalboard using the Safety Carabiner -set. Read The Guide >

FINALIZING AND FINAL CHECK OF THE PEDALBOARD

  • Play with the pedalboard and manually finger through each signal and power connection, listening for any noise or cutting out. Clean the connectors if necessary with blue PRF 6-68.  Read The Guide >
  • Use multicolored Pro Gaff - or 3M electrical -tapes to mark the board, cables, and pedals to suit your needs.
  • Attach Pot Stopper rubber rings to the potentiometers if necessary. 
  • Add Barefoot Buttons to the pedal switches to make them more accessible.

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    OSA 3 - THE CUSTOM BOARDS GUIDE FOR BUILDING YOUR OWN PEDALBOARD

    Our 60-part video series covers various stages of the pedalboard project from theory to practice. You can find all the videos compiled on our Videos page.

    *****

    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.

    START BUILDING YOUR PEDALBOARD TODAY.

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