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You have all of your effects pedals and are tired of chasing them around the floor.
It’s time to get a pedal board.
Now, a lot of the people will simply build their own. And, sure, with some 2×4’s and plenty of velcro, you can certainly build your own.
However, even if all you have is a wah pedal with compression and delay, you could be easily looking at a minimum of $400 in equipment. And you don’t really want that just bouncing around on some homemade board.
It also allows you to keep all of your pedals in one place. Playing is as much about muscle memory as it is skill. If your foot has to relocate every button every time, it can really hamper your playing.
By the same token, if you decide to move a pedal to a new position, a high-quality board makes this re-arrangement much simpler.
Furthermore, a high-quality board is going to have a lot of extra features on it that simply make it more fun to play. You can get locking jacks to keep each individual unit from constantly becoming unplugged every time you wiggle, bump or move your gear. You can get boards with built-in power supplies that make them compact and cleaner.
It also is a much more professional look. You show up to a gig and you aren’t fighting with haphazard pedals and cords. All of your pedals still work because they are securely plugged in and protected by a hard shell case.
One of the big challenges when comparison shopping is that you have to make sure your gear will fit on it. Pay attention to the measurements. I’ve even seen some folks swap out a couple of micro pedals in order to get a better fit for their entire kit.
Unless you’ve been playing for a long time, you will also want to buy a larger setup than you currently need. I know that seems like a waste, but as time goes on, you will want to add more pieces and if you don’t have a large enough board, you’ll be back here shopping in a year.
Also, spend more on a kit that offers a hardshell case. I know that can seem like an unnecessary expense if you are mostly playing at home — especially when it adds 2x or 3x to the price of the board — but with the investment you have already made in your pedals, it only makes sense.
Finally, think about what features mean the most to you and what you would enjoy spending more money to have. Do you really like an angled board? How about handles? How important is a built-in power?
Deciding on some of these things now will ensure that you love the entire setup you spend your hard-earned cash on.
1. Gator GPB-BAK-OR with Carrying Bag
Guitar effects pedals are the cornerstone of guitar sound these days. Sure, there are guitar players out there who insist on using only their guitar and whatever their amp has to offer, but they are a minority. The rest of guitar players usually depend on several or more guitar effects pedals in order to achieve their sound.
One issue that has risen over the years was the fact that keeping all of your pedals from moving around as you play becomes progressively difficult the more pieces you link to your chain.
A fairly easy solution to that problem comes in the form of guitar pedalboards. Today we are going to take a look at one model from Gator, a company who is known for making some of the best pedalboards on the market.
Gator GPB-BAK is a simple yet effective pedalboard made in the United States by Gator. The material of choice is a lightweight aluminum compound which gives it a lot of strength while reducing the overall weight of the kit. Those of us who use guitar effects kits almost every day, and frequently travel with their gear can appreciate this feature. The way Gator GPB-BAK was designed gives a feeling of simplicity. Function over form was definitely the policy when they created this pedalboard, although it also looks pretty decent. It comes with universal mounting brackets underneath the main panel, which allows you to mount just about any type of power unit with ease. The finish of this particular one is bright orange, although it comes in several different colors.
The pedalboard comes with a soft case. This is what most of the users will name as its biggest issue. Compared to something like Pedaltrain Pro, which comes with a hard shell case, Gator GPB-BAK’s bag offers limited protection at best. With that said, you will definitely want to take care of not to bang the bag somewhere as you travel.
Its very simple design makes this pedalboard extremely easy to use. If you’re finding the choice of colors to be somewhat odd, there’s a pretty solid reason why they chose those exact bright finishes. The one we are looking at is bright orange, which allows you to easily identify and figure out what is where in a dimly lit environment. In terms of size, this pedalboard is 23.75″ x 10.66″. That’s about enough for some 12 regulars or 9 large ones. Once you set everything up, and start using the pedalboard, it doesn’t move. The angle is comfortable enough to allow natural use, so you won’t have to twist your foot in any weird way in order to activate the pedals.
Gator GPB-BAK is a mid-range solution that offers most versatility in a very simple design. The pedalboard looks and performs great no matter what your intended application is. You will need to be extra careful with the case while you travel, but unless you are constantly touring, this shouldn’t be a problem. If you need a decent getup that won’t ruin your bank account, this is definitely a great choice.
2. Pedaltrain Pro With Hard Case
The entire ensemble is heavy, especially when filled with pedals, but still easily portable due to the wheels found the side of the case and the handle on the opposite end.
The case is very sturdy and spacious with a generously padded foam interior for added protection to the contents.
The board itself, without case or pedals, is of aluminum construction and is lightweight at about 7 lbs and easy to handle.
The case weighs in at 32 lbs and measures 39x19x9 inches. It also includes a padded compartment for extra storage.
If you don’t want to deal with or simply don’t have need of the large flight ready case, you also have the option to order this setup with a soft case that weighs only about 10 lbs.
The soft case is made of durable Cordura nylon and contains sturdy panels on the interior walls for added protection and strength. It also includes an ample pouch on the outside for added storage.
The frame is constructed of welded tubing to be as strong and sturdy as possible with no moving parts that could possibly break or wear out with use. The open frame design and elevated angle allow you, the artist, with plenty of flexibility when it comes to deciding on the layout of your pedals and effects.
In order to minimize the possibility of accidentally disconnecting cables, they can be routed under, over and/or through the open slotted top surface area.
There is also space provided underneath for additional power strips and supplies. It comes with the needed supplies – plastic wire ties, Velcro, brackets, etc – for mounting a VooDoo Labs Pedal Power 2 power supply, which can be purchased separately should you so wish.
Instructions are included to guide you through the mounting process once you are ready to add the Voodoo power upgrade supply unit.
3. Pedaltrain PT-2 Pedal Board with Hardshell ATA Flightcase
Both the PT-2 and its accompanying hard case are strong, durable and rugged pieces of equipment.
Although you do have the option to purchase a soft case, the hard shell really is worth the slightly higher expense.
Flight ready and spacious, the case is well lined with foam to add protection as well as keep items stored inside from slipping and sliding around.
This case also provides room for carrying around extra supplies such as cables, strings, straps and other small pieces with your kit and pedals. It closes securely with multiple places to latch and lock giving you a great sense of security when carrying around your valuable equipment.
The real star in this setup is, of course, the board itself. Lightweight and constructed of aluminum, this model is as spacious as the SKB, but overall has a significantly smaller footprint.
This is due to the fact that it is designed to mount your power supply underneath and out of your way. It also comes with cable ties and velcro for quick and easy power supply installation.
Also included is a bracket made specifically for mounting the VooDoo Labs power supply which can be purchased separately if you want it and is super easy to install.
You can also easily purchase and attach a universal bracket for mounting a power unit from any other supplier of your choosing. The board is set at a slight incline to allow you easy access to any of your pedals, even those on the top row.
You also have the cable runner option to run all of your cables underneath, eliminating the usual mess and keeping your cables from tangling. The provided velcro allows your pedals to be attached securely. With this choice, you can create your ideal pedal layout in a neat and well-organized fashion to suit your every musical and performance need.
4. Pedaltrain JR With Hard Case
As the name indicates, the Pedaltrain Jr offers the same durability and great design as it’s big brother, simply in a smaller size.
This size is perfect for those wanting a smaller setup and who don’t plan to need quite so many pedals as would fit on the larger sized boards.
Like the PT Pro, the Jr is made of lightweight aluminum alloy tubing and is sturdy with no moving parts to wear out with use over time.
The PT Jr has the same elevated angle design as well as the open frame as the other Pedaltrains, giving you great flexibility in determining your optimal pedal layout. T
he PT Jr also comes with hardware for conveniently and easily mounting a separately purchased power supply underneath. The open frame gives you the ability to choose the optimal routing of your cables- under, over or through- to avoid, as much as possible, accidental disconnections during use.
Your pedals are easily and securely attached by hook and loop material that is adhesive backed and industrial grade.
The large, solid, heavy duty case comes with sturdy latches. It is well padded on the inside with medium to high-density foam on the sides and bottom and softer foam fingers on the top. The interior is spacious providing some extra room for carrying around additional cables and smaller accessories when packed up.
Although the hard case is highly recommended, a soft case is also optional.
5. Extra-Wide Pedal Board, The CNB PDC-410E
This is a great piece, especially for anyone who does not need super heavy duty protection for large amounts of traveling. It can hold up to about 8 pedals depending on their size or a variety of other accessories such as power strips, etc.
This case/gear combo comes with hook and loop tape for keeping everything in place. The lid attaches to the base with two latches, both of which come with lock and key.
The size of this piece is perfect for a carry on as it meets flight size requirements.
Made of aluminum and lightweight for easy transport, though the overall weight and ease with which you will be able to carry it around depend entirely on what and how many pedals and accessories you choose to load it down with. This case also featured steel reinforcement on the edges to prevent denting.
Overall this case is very affordable and the best quality of its kind that you will find within this price range.