Over the years I’ve tried a variety of different pedal boards, pedal bags, and soft sided pedal boards.
They all have done a good job, but seem to still fall short for one reason or another.
One of the reasons was that they all used Velcro as an attachment system. The problem is that when using Velcro, the pedals tend to rock when stepped on, and also, the Velcro has a tendency to rip off the pedal too easy. Since you can stick the Velcro only once, twice if you are lucky, it can get expensive replacing the Velcro.
The other problem I always seemed to have is that the pedals always seemed to come loose from the board, either because the Velcro came loose from the board, or the pedals while in transport.
I found out early, the only way to solve the transport problem was to smash foam between the pedals and the lid. So whatever I designed I had to incorporate this feature.
The idea came to me after years of using a product called “Poster Tack” on pictures, and other small items I wanted to stick to the wall without any damage to the wall. It dawned on me, why wouldn’t it stick a pedal to a board? So I tested the theory and found that except the largest pedals, Poster Tack held them to the board just fine! And if I had foam between the pedal and the top of the case, the larger ones would stay in place too.
Years ago I was given a really nice SKB equipment case and never really had a good use for it. It seemed to be the prefect case to build a pedal board into!
To make the case ready to accept the board, I added L shaped rails into the case and attached them with Pop Rivets. I placed the rails in such a way that when the pedal board rested on the rails for transport, that there was a lot of space under the board for other equipment and accessories.
I then cut a nice piece of finish grade plywood to the right dimension to fit inside the case, and on the newly installed rails. I then finished the board with a clear but slightly tinted satin verathane. I used satin because I thought it would give the Poster Tack a better surface to stick to, but I’m sure if you just painted a gloss color, it would stick just as well.
To finish it off, I added a riser to the back to tilt the board at just the right angle, and to allow for cords, or whatever to pass under the board.
I also added some “D” rings used to manage telephone and data cables. These make for nice handles to lift the board out of the case, and also as a protection for the input and output cables. Also, dense foam was added to the top to smash down on the pedals so they won’t move when being transported.
I then placed the pedals on the board in the right order and split them up into three loops via a home-made loop switch. One loop connects my distortion and overdrive pedals, and the other loop connects modulation pedals. The last loop is not really a loop, just what as left in the chain with the Overdrive and Modulation loops out the chain. I used chunks of “Poster Tack” to secure them to the board.
I set them up this way because I like to preset effects and overdrive / distortion combinations, and then be able to cut them in and out as unit, rather having to press multiple pedals to accomplish the same thing.
It also shortens the pedal chain when overdrive and effects are switched off, thus lowering any “Tone Sucking” problems.
The Whole Thing
Now with everything complete, I have a really nice, custom-made pedal board without any pedal rocking. I also have tons of space when the board is in the case for power cords, power adapters, wires, and I even have a compact guitar stand under there.
It has simplified my setup when transporting my equipment. I used to carry several bags and cases to transport my gear. In fact, the first time I used this setup, I though I had forgotten something because I was so used to carrying so many different bags of gear. Now I just have three items to hold EVERYTHING! The pedal case, my amp, and my guitar!