Posted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 9:08 pm Post subject: Pedalboard noob seeking layout tips
I have played for years. Mostly bass. Now more and more guitar. At first it was acoustic, folk and such. Now I am taking the step of electrifying myself.
I find I am in need of a pedalboard. A friend gave me his board which he dont need no more, a pedaltrain jr I think. I have the pedals I need, and I've used them recording and in rehearsal so the functions are clear to me and I like them.
Now, I haven't a clue of everything I need to think about in the layout. That's where help is needed. Which ones lower tier and so on. I've read several blogs and websites on this, but they seem to have a clinical and outright boring water kettle manual style of writing. They focus on technical aspects and signal chain order. What I want help with is ergonomics. Links to good articles would be appreciated in both areas.
I'll describe my pedals briefly not in any perticular order.
-custom made tremolo+booster; use it as solo boost mainly, sometimes mild trem
-wampler mod ds-1; to roughen up when amp cant be turned loud
-mooer shimverb; mainly before mildly to moderately distorted amp to make weird solo sounds, on most of the time
-danelectro reel echo; slapback, on most of the time
-marshall ed compressor; for 12-string songs
Web guides seem to disagree with me signal chain wise as i've been placing reverb before distortion. I did that because that happens naturally when the amp is doing the breaking up, and as my ds-1 is just a way of doing that without excessive volume, ive placed them reverb first. Not really relevant, but guitars used are '71 Musicmaster, '92 Burns Legend and a diy 12-string with p-94's, so single coil all the way. Amps are mostly 5e3 or Marshall 5210 and for recording an SF Champ. Music is original folk rock, soundwise think Byrds-early Neil Young-electric Dylan.
Mainly I need ergonomical help. What are the mistakes I'm bound to make constructing my first pedalboard and how to avoid them. Thanks.
Joined: 31 Jan 2011 Posts: 223 Location: New Jersey
Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 1:21 am Post subject:
I am not certain what you asking. Are you asking about recommended signal chain order or how you should place the pedals on the board?
In terms of signal chain order, I usually go Guitar > Compressor > Boost > Overdrives Distortion> Modulation> Delays > reverb> amp. In terms of setting up the pedal board itself, I try to keep pedals that I switch on the most or have tap tempo options towards the bottom of the board, closer to my feet. Always on effects, like compressors and certain boost, i keep at the top of the board, furthest away from my feet. Pedals that I use once in awhile, like chorus or phasers, I keep in the middle.
Joined: 31 Jan 2011 Posts: 223 Location: New Jersey
Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 5:35 pm Post subject:
Placement more than signal chain, but both. Thanks for your reply.
you place boost quite early. What are the pros compared to placing it later?
It depends what you want the boost to do. If you want it to boost volume or boost gain. Before overdrives, they push the gain stage of the overdrive, after overdrives they just boost the signal coming out the OD so you can get a volume boost if you keep the gain low on the booster.
My boost (EP booster) is an always on pedal that I use mostly to color the tone of my amp.
I got to admit that i'm not really sure if i want to boost the drive as well, prob gotta try that one out. Boosting in front of a smallish tube amp obviously does both so maybe i'll go your way. Thanks!
Then swap things around to see what sounds most useful and interesting.
In terms of physical placement: it's a compromise between ease of access, connecting patch and power cables and physically fitting them on the board. I've moved mine around loads, but that's because I have nearly ten stompboxes on my board at any one time! Half a dozen should fit all in one row.
Other beginner's tips from previous pedalboard experience:
-Use good quality patch cables so they don't suck treble, introduce noise or break. Preferably as long as they need to be and no longer, because they're adding to your cable length. If you're in the UK, I recommend Award Session cables.
-If you can get all the pedals in one row, that's great. If there's no room at the front, put the rarely-used and/or "always on" one(s) at the back.
-In the event of needing a second row of pedals, a board that has a raised section at the back is handy. That or pedal risers (Diago make a simple and inexpensive one) that allow you to stomp on them without accidentally hitting the ones in front with your heel
-Shop around for a good power supply. That might take a bit of research, because some pedals need isolated supplies rather than normal daisy-chains, and some draw more current (e.g., a delay or reverb is much thirstier than a distortion box). Most run on 9V with a standard centre-negative socket that Boss pedals like the DS-1 use, but many don't.
-Attaching the pedals to the board is another thing that has several good solutions, none of which is perfect. Many of us have tried Velcro, cable ties, electrical tape, and different variations thereof. I wouldn't be at all surprised if someone somewhere tried using superglue.
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