The Custom Boards System
Even though every pedalboard we have made is different and tailored to the needs of our customer, we always use the same system we have developed and the same working order.
The correct working order
Sometimes staying in line is difficult, because there is so many things to take into consideration. You may want to jump back and forth between different stages of building and do them in a different order. When you go through the detailed stages in this guide and do them in the provided order, a complete pedalboard will be created in the process almost as by accident.
There are many kinds of players with individual needs – only by taking into account every detail you’ll make sure you’ll reach a desired end result. Without any system you will risk forgetting some small but important detail.
Our guide has been divided into themes, so that you can delve deeper into the area that you need the most help with. This article on the other hand focusses on the systematic process of building a pedalboard. Print it out and cross out the stages as you move along the process. This way you’ll make sure you won’t forget anything making the process more difficult by doing things in the wrong order.
The stages of building a pedalboard:
We’ll start from the point where the pedalboard, the power supply and the pedals that will be on the board have been chosen. Also the order of the pedals on the signal chain has been decided.
The initial layout of the pedalboard
- Insert the patch cable plugs in the pedals to make sure there is room for them on the board
- Lay the pedals out on the board in the desired physical order
- Mark the signal chain order on the pedals with masking tape
- Take a photo of the layout
Pedal maintenance and troubleshooting
- Clean the connectors with PRF 6-68 (the blue PRF).
- Test the pots and other controls with a test cable and a signal generator
- Switch faulty components, such as footswitches or jacks, if needed
- Clean scratchy pots with PRF 7-78 (the brown PRF), tighten the screws and nuts of the pedal
- Test the induction sensitivity of your pedal by placing it on top of the power supply
- If you are going to split the outputs of your power supply, test out your splitting plans at this point
- Clean the bottom plates of your pedals with PRF Label Off
- Remove the rubber feet of you wah pedals and replace them with the metal washers in the Custom Boards Wah Kit, if necessary
- Place the cleaned pedals back on top the board according to the layout for the preparation of tapes and cables
Preparing the pedals for fastening on the board
- Measure, cut and attach 3M Dual Lock to the bottom of the pedals
Preparing the patch cables
- Measure and cut the required patch cables and mark their order with masking tape
- Prep the ends of the patch cables and assemble or solder their connectors
Preparing the guitar cable and the cable snake
- Cut the guitar cable and the cables going in the loom to length
- Thread the cables for the snake through the cable sock
- Solder the connectors in the cable snake and the guitar cable
- Assemble the connectors in the cable snake AC-cable
Testing the cables with a multimeter and a capacitance meter, marking the cables
- Measure the resistance of all cables with a multimeter
- Measure the capacitance with a capacitance meter
- Mark the cables with colored gaffer tape and a marker
Attaching the power supply and other things underneath the pedalboard
- Clean the surface of the pedalboard with PRF 6-68 (the blue PRF)
- Attach patch panels to the board, if you use those
- Attach the power supply underneath the pedalboard
- Attach other devices to the bottom of the board, such as DI-boxes or dedicated buffers
- Mark the output distribution plan on the power supply with masking tape
Preparing the pedalboard for testing
- Connect the power supply cables to the power supply and the pedals
- Next, connect the patch cables to the pedals
- Next, connect the MIDI cables and other special cables, such as expression pedal cables to the pedals
- Finally, connect the instrument cable and the cable snake
First testing phase
- Test and listen to your board, making sure that everything works as it should
- Work your way through every pedal testing them individually
- Listen to the bypass-signal of your board and compare it to connecting your instrument straight to the amplifier with the same instrument cable. Does it sound healthy or are buffers needed in the signal chain?
- Listen to the rig with lots of amplifier gain with the instrument volume off and compare it to the base hum of the amplifier. Does adding the board in bring about additional noises? Do the pedal footswitches pop too loudly?
Attaching the pedals in the board
- Mark the order of the pedals on the side of the pedals with Dymo-tape
- Remove the protective film from the strips of 3M Dual Lock on the pedals and attach the pedals to the pedalboard
Fastening the patch cables to the pedalboard
- Remove the masking tapes from the patch cables
- Fasten the patch cables and power cables to the board with Safety Clips and Safety Anchor sets
- Mark the power supply outputs with Dymo-tape
Attaching the cable snake and the instrument cable in the pedalboard
- Size the board end of the cable sock on the snake and tape it with electrical tape
- Fasten the cable snake to the pedalboard with the Safety Anchor set or the Safety Carabiner set
- Finalize the amplifier end of the cable snake with Safety Strap Set
- Fasten the instrument cable to the pedalboard with Safety Carabiner set
Finalizing the pedalboard and final testing phase
- Attach Barefoot Buttons on the switches and make markings on the pedalboard and the pedals with Stagetrix-marker and fluor gaffer tape
- Insert the test cable and a signal generator in the input of the board and test each connection by hand
- Play through the pedalboard one more time and try to note if something has changed after the first test phase
- Weigh the pedalboard with its bag or case and mark the weight on top of the bag with tape
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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