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stewblack

Pedal Boards - Planner or Pantser

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Does anyone actually sit down and plan their board out before building it? 

Or do you fly by the seat of your pants? Squashing pedals in wherever they might fit, only to rip it all apart again when realising the delay doesn't work first it the chain. 

Or does anyone still do it the old way and just bung the pedals on the floor? 

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I have three (yes, three) pedal boards, all of which exist in a permanent state of flux. New pedals arrive, old pedals go or make surprise come-backs, the pack is shuffled again and again, and all with bewildering speed.

Playing in multiple bands does, of course, have a lot to do with this, whilst woodland rehearsals miles from the nearest 13A socket had a lot more to do with it.

Best bit? I very rarely use a pedal board at gigs.

:crazy:

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Jack, you and I are cut from a very similar cloth. 

The board I just built was a remake of yesterday's! There is no such thing as finished is there? 

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14 hours ago, Thunderbird said:

I plan love it for a couple of weeks then the quest continues lol but mainly with overdrive and distortion pedals

Well watch this space. I have an interesting new overdrive /fuzz pedal on the way... 

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19 hours ago, stewblack said:

 Or does anyone still do it the old way and just bung the pedals on the floor? 

I still put everything on the floor.

I used to have a couple of boards that I took out regularly but as I like to use different pedals (and have lots to choose from) for different shows, I don't use them anymore. I just take out what I want/need and put them on the floor.  

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Doddy said:

I still put everything on the floor.

I used to have a couple of boards that I took out regularly but as I like to use different pedals (and have lots to choose from) for different shows, I don't use them anymore. I just take out what I want/need and put them on the floor.  

Worked for me right through the 80s

In fact if you watch the Tadeschi Trucks Rig Rundown, Susan T still has her pedals battery powered and on the floor, no board. 

Edited by stewblack

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I’m a crammer. 
I currently have 5 boards - one for each band pretty much, but one is a slimmed down awkward festival/ fly date board and the other is a “can’t be bothered to drag the whole board rehearsal” one 😉

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I always plan my pedalboards, so that's what I did two days ago and arranged the pedals to have two channels for my new one. One dry channel and one wet channel using a "stereo" volume pedal and a two channels preamp with an always on tuner on the dedicated output. And a battery powered supply.

 

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12 hours ago, stewblack said:

Well watch this space. I have an interesting new overdrive /fuzz pedal on the way... 

Oooo do tell 👍

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1 hour ago, Thunderbird said:

Oooo do tell 👍

I don't want to spoil the surprise... 

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So I'm guessing this isn't a Boss DS-1 ...

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Posted (edited)

I have an organically growing pedal arrangement on the floor in the guitar room.

Started off with a Zoom B1on, which because I found the looper function so useful/so much fun got upgraded to a Helix Stomp + Boss RC 30 looper.

Just added my 20 year old Cry Baby Wah to the end of the chain and would like to add a dedicated volume/wah for the Stomp and a Strymon reverb unit in the near future. Oh and a Beat Buddy or equivalent to take over drum duties from the somewhat basic beats on the RC30.

Edited by Cato
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I had a pedal board and was just never fully happy with it, some effects not reacting to my playing and instruments the way you expect them to or simply not delivering at all. Or being great for a passive P bass but awful for an active J bass (EHX Battalion). Or causing nothing but noise even when bypassed, or having a noisy switch. It was a constant in-out of pedals. Constant rearranging and sticking stuff back down, then getting flat head cables to save space. I tore the side of the pedal bag there was so much bulging out of it. The Wah pedal was too heavy and didn't fit on too.

I lost patience and got a bargain Boss GT10B that does everything you can imagine. But its a pain in the bum to use unless you spend hours crafting your sound for each bass, storing the patches then knowing where they are to recall them it's exhausting. I tend to just put it on something I vaguely like from the presets and leave it like that all night, maybe adding the chorus if it's there. 

I often think I want to go back to more simple days of having a chorus and a drive pedal in front of me. And a Wah. And a pre amp/ DI pedal. And I'm using octave a lot now. An EQ pedal would be useful for quick changes from fretted to fretless. Of course all this needs an actual board. And a power supply. And cables. And a compressor. And a tuner that does mute too. I did think about buying good pedals for my essential effects then adding something like a zoom ms60b for stuff I might need occasionally or in future. 

And when I think about this I'm right back where I started, facing a lot of cash outlay for effects that probably won't give me exactly what I expected, a heavier bag to carry around more points of potential failure. And I think maybe those hours on the Boss multi will be worth it, when I can fit them in... 

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2 hours ago, uk_lefty said:

some effects not reacting to my playing and instruments the way you expect them to or simply not delivering at all. Or being great for a passive P bass but awful for an active J bass 

This is one of the reasons why I don't use a board anymore. Some pedals don't work well with certain basses or don't react well with other pedals, so I don't want to be putting velcro on all my pedals and swapping and changing the board around for every show. I'd rather just take out what I need and what will work best.

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17 hours ago, Happy Jack said:

So I'm guessing this isn't a Boss DS-1 ...

nooo

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Posted (edited)

Everything @uk_lefty said 👆 there is an exact mirror to my pedal board experience. I once  even went to the extreme of owning a board fully loaded with effects all the same (not budget) brand and just thought, meh, in the end and got rid.

I blew hot, I blew cold. I spent months programming patches and then wished I could twiddle individual pedals sur le mouche

Only now has the penny dropped. It's not anything to do with getting the right sound, or even a good sound.

It's all about the board itself.

Building it, stripping it back, velcro versus 3M, battery versus mains, effects loops versus straight in, clean signals alongside effected/affected signals, several distortions in parallel as opposed to one in series. Geraniums or silly cones, digital or analogue, self made patch leads, shop bought patch leads, flat or round patch leads, hard case, soft case, single tier, double tier, always on, midi controlled, and a million other considerations. 

These are not things you plough through en-route to the ultimate board, these are actually the reasons for having a pedal board in and of themselves. 

Oh, and handmade British boutique pedals created from old Marconi radio parts and housed in a train set controller. 

Oh yes, make no mistake. It's an addiction. Another obsessive, illogical, train spotty, borderline spectrum disorder, largely male,  fanatical, self feeding, collecting hobby. 

And that's why I love it. 

Edited by stewblack
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I've had a zoom B3 for like 6 years, I use about 3 setups and the tuner........

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I'm an unapologetic planner. My board is pretty tiny (a Rockboard Tres) but before I bought it, I measured out the surface area of the Rockboard on my workbench, marked it with some masking tape  and then cut out paper shapes of the area of each pedal. I dutifully shuffled them about to make sure I could get them on comfortably.

(No, I don't live alone in my mother's basement - why do you ask?)

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7 hours ago, rushbo said:

I'm an unapologetic planner. My board is pretty tiny (a Rockboard Tres) but before I bought it, I measured out the surface area of the Rockboard on my workbench, marked it with some masking tape  and then cut out paper shapes of the area of each pedal. I dutifully shuffled them about to make sure I could get them on comfortably.

(No, I don't live alone in my mother's basement - why do you ask?)

There's a website somewhere that can do this planning exercise for you

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2 hours ago, uk_lefty said:

There's a website somewhere that can do this planning exercise for you

Where's the fun in that?  Seriously, it was a pretty useful exercise as I wanted to get my pedals in as small a footprint as possible, so it was nice to physically move stuff about. I'd imagine that if you had truckloads of gizmos, one of those template dealios would be just the ticket. 

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2 minutes ago, uk_lefty said:

Pedal boards seem to me like golf. Nice idea but frustrating as h3ll. 

I love the idea of a pedalboard, but I've never really been happy with one of mine. Although, to be fair, the Rockboard is the first actually "proper" board I've ever owned, having used offcuts of MDF in the past. If you're that way inclined, pedals must be great fun to collect and swap like Panini stickers or Pokemon cards. I really enjoy looking at the expansive boards that some Basschatters share on the forum, but it tends to be in a "rather you than me" way...

Right now, I'm happy with my teeny little board and my minimal collection of gizmos. They may be small, but they were very carefully planned. And that's half the fun, isn't it? 

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On 07/10/2020 at 16:45, stewblack said:

Everything @uk_lefty said 👆 there is an exact mirror to my pedal board experience. I once  even went to the extreme of owning a board fully loaded with effects all the same (not budget) brand and just thought, meh, in the end and got rid.

I blew hot, I blew cold. I spent months programming patches and then wished I could twiddle individual pedals sur le mouche

Only now has the penny dropped. It's not anything to do with getting the right sound, or even a good sound.

It's all about the board itself.

Building it, stripping it back, velcro versus 3M, battery versus mains, effects loops versus straight in, clean signals alongside effected/affected signals, several distortions in parallel as opposed to one in series. Geraniums or silly cones, digital or analogue, self made patch leads, shop bought patch leads, flat or round patch leads, hard case, soft case, single tier, double tier, always on, midi controlled, and a million other considerations. 

These are not things you plough through en-route to the ultimate board, these are actually the reasons for having a pedal board in and of themselves. 

Oh, and handmade British boutique pedals created from old Marconi radio parts and housed in a train set controller. 

Oh yes, make no mistake. It's an addiction. Another obsessive, illogical, train spotty, borderline spectrum disorder, largely male,  fanatical, self feeding, collecting hobby. 

And that's why I love it. 

Love it, made me laugh. I definitely have really enjoyed the process of collecting, designing and building boards. I have 3 after having none for over 20 yrs of playing. I went for a basic compressor only based Nano, a Helix Stomp based Classic Jr with analogue octave and filter, then finally an all analogue Classic Jr. Just wanted to see and hear the difference, if any between them all. 

However, I’m now wanting to try other board sizes and re-jig them all, and not even had a chance to properly gig them yet. 
 

It won’t end will it he he 😁
 

Lol!!

Edited by jimbobothy

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17 minutes ago, jimbobothy said:

It won’t end will it

I don't think it will. I'll be buried with a dozen unfinished boards

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