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  #1  
Old 12-03-2016, 12:06 PM
JKW-HTX JKW-HTX is offline
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Smile Acoustic Pedal Board - Help Needed

Hello, everyone!

The Project:
A while ago, I made the decision to work on a project that would give me a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction with the results. I chose that project to be an acoustic pedal board.

The Goal:
  • Obtain 5-8 pedals and power supply
  • Make pedal board out of wood & velcro (with possible compartments?)
  • Make pedal board visibly attractive (LED lights? Varnish?)
  • Make pedal board easy to use (incline? arrangement of pedals?)

My Experience & Qualifications:
  • No experience in woodwork
  • No experience in guitar electronics (pedals)
  • No experience in chaining or powering pedals

Some Background:
So because of my lack of experience, I decided to make a post in this forum (you can find my first post linked at the bottom). Today I am a proud owner of a DD20, Ditto looper, TU-3, and an FS-5U. I plan to add a reverb pedal (possibly a Neunaber Immerse), a mini Volume pedal, and a mini WAH in the near future. I currently have a Loudbox mini as my amp.

Advice Needed:
What power supply should I go for? Do I need to take anything power-related into consideration with the pedals I have or want? How should & how do I chain these pedals together? Do I go for pancake cables and do I need to use a soldering iron? How should I arrange the pedals in regards to placement on the board? Anything to consider in regards to wiring? Any other pedals I should definitely get?

What size board should I make? What wood should I use? Is applying varnish a bad idea? Velcro recommendations? Where should I put the power supply? Compartments for small things (like picks, small cables, etc.) not practical/feasible considering my woodwork experience? How should I start? What tools do I absolutely need to finish this board?

LED lights too difficult or how would I go about it? Any examples of cool looking boards? Anything other considerations I need to make or any recommendations you have for me? Got any personal board-making stories for me? Post a pic of your DIY pedalboard?

If you made it to the end of this post, thank you very much! Any help is appreciated, especially since I am very inexperienced.

Sidenote - I am also a college student so money/pricing is a large factor in regards to making this board. If you can keep that in mind while giving recommendations, or if you can include prices or an estimated cost of this project, please do! Thank you!


My First Post -
http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/f...d.php?t=415827
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  #2  
Old 12-03-2016, 01:54 PM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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I can't offer much advice as I'm kind of at the same place. I currently use a Morely A-B-C pedal, a redeye preamp and a tuner/mute pedal on most gigs. I also have a looper, boost and distortion pedal that I don't use much. So I'm also considering buying or building a pedal board to make setup and use easier. I have extensive electronics training and experience and decent woodworking skills (I've done major remodels on three homes). I've googled "building a pedalboard" and got tons of hits.

If you've never soldered and don't own a soldering iron I would suggest you buy the ready made shorty pedal cables. Yes the flat right angle cables I've made up save about 1/2" on each end, but IMHO you won't save any money buying a soldering iron, learn to use it without burning yourself or your furniture and without wicking solder several inches up the cables (which are only going to be ~6" long), buying cable, connectors and heatshrink etc.

Good luck! Most important thing is take your time, plan it by laying everything out, measuring carefully and add in expandability to your design. And there are plenty of players who've outgrown their old boards - you may be able to pick one up for less than it will take you in dollars and time you ought to spend studying....
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Old 12-03-2016, 07:13 PM
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Photojeep Photojeep is offline
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JKW,
I have no soldering experience/skill/desire and only VERY Limited woodworking skills. But having said that, I have "built" a couple.
1. I've purchased (and now have for sale) a Pedaltrain PT-3 but this is metal so doesn't fit your criteria
2. Pedaltrain Nano+ which isn't large enough to do what you want-and is also metal
3. A wooden cutting board onto which I attached Velcro.

On the first board (the PT-3), I used both a Voodoo Lab power supply and a Pedaltrain 1250 power supply (I had a lot of pedals). These power supplies have multiple isolated outlets into which you plug each pedal. The two I had also had at least one outlet with variable power (some pedals need different voltages than the 'standard' 9 volt). This board is aluminum and angled making it easier to reach the desired pedal with your foot.

I then bought a small wooden cutting board onto which I applied Velcro so I could attach, remove, and reattach pedals as I switched their position. At first I left it showing wood but then painted it black. Being a cutting-board, it sat flat on the floor. I added little rubber feet so I could route some cables beneath it as I'm a bit anal about cable tidiness.

My cutting-board pedal board soon proved too small so I bought the Pedaltrain Nano+ which is a perfect size for my current needs. For power, I now use a one-spot. While I don't know if it will work for your pedals, it is worth looking into.

My point here is that pedalboards are as personal as something can be. In fact, there are many here who cringe at the thought of even using pedals with an acoustic guitar while some of us wouldn't dream of playing plugged in without one.

In my never-ending search towards pedalboard nirvana, I have used both ready-made patch cables and also used non-soldered DYI cables. I now use only ready-made ones. I'm certain I would burn down my house so I'm didn't even try to solder my own. The ready-made come in a variety of brands and lengths so I'm sure you will find what you need. I find the ones at GC with the blue ends are very reliable and don't color my sound.

The bottom line here is that it will take a lot of time researching what will work for you and yes, you will go through several iterations along the way. Believe me, it is addicting.

I would recommend "thegearpage.net" for pedalboard information. Acoustic-centric info is somewhat sparse but there is good information about building the boards themselves. (Interestingly there is a large contingent who swear by IKEA shelves as pedalboards!)

Good luck and don't forget to have fun along the way!

ps,(I have no information whatsoever about LEDs on a pedalboard...)

Best,
PJ
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Old 12-03-2016, 07:19 PM
Paultergeist Paultergeist is offline
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Power supplY: I am pretty happy with the Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 2. I think it would be a good fit for your project.
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Old 12-03-2016, 08:28 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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I used to use assorted pedals when I played electric and once I purchased a multi-effects pedal I discovered how simple life could be.
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Old 12-03-2016, 08:32 PM
6L6 6L6 is offline
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My acoustic pedal setup that's worked great for decades and conveniently fits into a BOSS BCB-6 carrying case. Instant setup and teardown!

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Old 12-04-2016, 12:02 AM
Schau_ins_Regal Schau_ins_Regal is offline
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Hi,

here are some pics of my DIY-Pedalboard. There are two "floors", one for the pedals and one for power supplies. I designed it in such a way cause I think having power supplies besides your pedals is a waste of space.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/tq23tybs2l...20.09.jpg?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/fqx8ybrmrg...29.23.jpg?dl=0

I still think it is one of the best designs. Maybe this inspires you.

Regards, Christoph
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Goodall Grand Concert Italian spruce/EIR
Taylor GS-mini mahogany

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0-12 (own build)
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  #8  
Old 12-04-2016, 03:50 AM
Neon Soul Neon Soul is offline
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Right, here goes with your questions:

What power supply should I go for? - Totally up to you. I would personally recommend with isolated outputs for each pedal as this will be quieter. Things like the Voodoo Labs PP+2 get good reviews. However, there is something you will need to check, regarding voltage and power draw, that I will touch on in the next question.

Do I need to take anything power-related into consideration with the pedals I have or want? - Yes. Each pedal, in their instructions or on the website, will have a required voltage, usually 9v but sometimes 18v or something, and a current draw, anywhere from 10mA to 500mA or over but most digital pedals tend to be around the 100mA to 200mA mark. These are important as each of the outputs on your power supply will also have a corresponding V and mA output. If you don't know what these are, quote this part of my reply and I'll go into more detail.

How should & how do I chain these pedals together? - With small 1/4" patch cables and the power cables that come with the power supply.

Do I go for pancake cables and do I need to use a soldering iron? - Honestly, pancake cables aren't that space saving nowadays with the release of low profile patch cable kits. If you're not good with a soldering iron, I'd recommend you get a solderless pedalboard patch cable kit. Really easy to make cables, just screw on the jacks. I've been using Bullet Cable Slug kits for years and never had a cable die.

How should I arrange the pedals in regards to placement on the board? - Up to you. There are many guides online about this. Tuner at the start of the chain usually, although you can put it at the end to mute the whole board if you have some crazy effect going on that you need to quiet quickly. Usually volume and dynamic based effects would be early like compressors and volume pedals. Next would be gain stuff but not much of that on acoustic. Probably modulation next. Then time based stuff like delay, then reverb.

Anything to consider in regards to wiring? - As in the pedals wiring? Don't mess with them if you don't know what you're doing.

Any other pedals I should definitely get? - Again totally up to you. I will just say, don't buy pedals for the sake of having pedals. Are they all essential to what you're doing? I already think the wah might be too much.

What size board should I make? - Lay out your pedals and see how much space you need. Do you need them to be spread out cause you have massive feet? Would you like them close and compact? Lay out a piece of card if you need to and cut it to a size that looks good.

What wood should I use? - Personal preference again. Something sturdy enough to do the job. Mdf might do the job, oak would probably hold up better and look nicer.

Is applying varnish a bad idea? - Not especially. Leaving it open and bare would probably be the worst thing, leaving it vulnerable to the elements. Varnish it, paint it pink, do whatever, it's your board.

Velcro recommendations? - Honestly just get some cheap sticky back velcro. If it gets dirty or beat up over time, it's cheap, just replace it.

Where should I put the power supply? - That's down to how you build it. Under the board looks cleaner but then you have to figue out how you will route the cable to the top of the board and how far off the ground you'll need to raise it.

Compartments for small things (like picks, small cables, etc.) not practical/feasible considering my woodwork experience? - We don't know your woodwork experience. If you have anxiety about building thing like this, don't make them. Stick with the classic altoids tin on top of the board and be done with it.

How should I start? - Make a plan, buy materials, collect tools together, build.

What tools do I absolutely need to finish this board? - Depends how elaborate you want it to be. If it's just wood, a saw and a drill will probably get you there.

LED lights too difficult or how would I go about it? - Not difficult but not necessary. Again, if you don't understand haw to add them, ask yourself, do I absolutely need LEDs?

Any examples of cool looking boards? - Google

Anything other considerations I need to make or any recommendations you have for me? - Read lots of DIY pedal board threads and make note of features you like and want to include, and features you dislike and want to omit. Plan around those.

Got any personal board-making stories for me? Not personal, but again, Google.

Post a pic of your DIY pedalboard? - Google again. You'll find a sea of info there.


Anything you want me to elaborate on, quote it in a comment and I'll come back to it.
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  #9  
Old 12-05-2016, 12:22 AM
JKW-HTX JKW-HTX is offline
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@Neon - Thank you very much! Your answers are really helpful. Right now I'm building a plan with materials and tools needed. It'll probably be a long-term project, but I hope to be done before the end of January 2017 (for the board - not the pedals). I'm already considering to scrap wah pedal, pancake cables, and compartment idea. Tin boxes will do just fine.
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