Get custom-shop options on a bargain budget by making it yourself.
After playing and collecting pedals for a while, many players decide that off-the-shelf pedalboards don't quite offer all of the options they'd prefer for organizing and getting the most out of their stompboxes. Some of us want little more than a platform with space for our effects and a power supply, while others are at the opposite end of the spectrum and can't live without various jacks and specialized connections being built right into the pedalboard.
For this DIY piece, I wanted to solve the problem I'm facing: I have a growing pedal collection, but after using some of the pre-assembled products on the market for a while I decided they weren't quite cutting it. I wanted something closer to a custom pedalboard—minus the elevated price tag. After scoping out the range of custom options offered by various companies, I decided to make something with all the features I wanted. It's a bit more involved than duct-taping everything to an IKEA shelf, but it's definitely not as involved as some of the space-age control centers on the market. I was careful to keep costs as low as possible, though. in fact, I was able to keep the price around $100.
Tools & Supplies
- Appropriate lengths of 1/2" oak and 3/4" cabinet-grade birch
- Table Saw (with taper angle attachment and 80-tooth blade)
- Mitre Saw
- Router (with 1/2" straight bit)
- Medium-sized Phillips screwdriver (or similar-sized bit for a power drill)
- (6) 1/2" self-tapping wood screws (1/8" diameter with fine threads)
- (24) 1" self-tapping wood screws (1/8" diameter with fi ne threads)
- (10) 1 1/4" self-tapping wood screws (1/8" diameter with fi ne threads)
- Kreg Jig
- Marinco 5278BL power inlet
- (2) solderless Neutrik conenctors
- 7/8" hole saw
- 1 3/4" hole saw
- Power drill
- 1/8" drill bit
- Wire strippers
- Electrical tape
- IEC power cord
- 2" industrial-strength Velcro
- 220-grit sandpaper
A couple of notes about things we're not covering here: I won't go into the theory of wiring up your board (effect order, switching options, etc.)—that's a whole other topic. Here we're covering the basics of getting a signal and power to and from your board. Also, though most players need a pedalboard case because they drag their boards all over the place, we'll refer you to the fine folks at blackbirdpedalboards.com, stompin-ground. com, nycpedalboards.com and other outlets with a multitude of sizes, options, and materials for you to choose from once you've decided on the final size and shape of your board.
All right—let's get to it!
Lay out your pedals on the floor in ideal performing position and use a tape measure to determine what size of board will fit them. I decided on 24" x 16". I wanted my board to have an angled surface so I can comfortably reach two rows of pedals, so we'll also make the surface angle from 4" high in back down to 1 1/2" high along the front edge. This will also let me mount a power supply underneath.
Next, we need a basic frame. I used a miter saw to cut the four sides to the appropriate lengths. I chose 1/2" oak for the sides, and 3/4" cabinet-grade birch for the top.
I determined that a 7-degree cut on each of the pedalboard's side pieces would provide the optimum surface incline.
To cut the sides flat and even so they'd make complete contact with the underside of the top, I used a table saw and the blue taper-angle attachment in the top portion of this photo. A blade with a higher number of teeth reduces the chance of rough or damaged edges, so I used an 80-tooth blade.
I cut the holes for the power inlet and neutrik connectors in the board's right side piece. I used a 7/8" hole saw for the smaller holes, and a 1 3/8" hole saw for the larger one. If you prefer adding more jacks for, say, an effects loop or a parallel acoustic setup, add the appropriate number of connectors using the same tools.
To assemble the frame, we need holes for the screws. I used a kreg jig to pre-drill all the holes with a 3/8" drill bit. for a secure fit, I used two 1 1/4" screws for the front two edges, and three for each of the back corners. be sure to use fine-threaded screws, which prevent splintering and hold things together much tighter. While you're tightening the screws, make sure everything is square and level so it won't rock back and forth during use—the last thing you need to worry about while performing is whether you're stomping too hard.
In order for the signal and power cables to pass efficiently throughout the board, I opted for a slotted pattern on the top piece. I used a 1/2" straight bit in my router to cut each channel. Each slot was 7" long, and I left 6" of wood between each pair. Be careful about placing the slots too close together—it can weaken the top of the pedalboard.
To attach the top piece, I used the Kreg jig and a 3/8" drill bit to pre-drill three pairs of holes along each surface. I spaced them 7" apart along the front and back, and 3" apart along the sides. The top of my board is 1/2" thick, so I used 1" wood screws that wouldn't puncture the top surface. Using screws rather than glue makes it so I can easily remove the top if I ever want to replace or repair anything.
Now it's time to wire up the hardware connectors. I didn't want to risk a bad connection with the power jack, so I used a Marinco 5278BL flanged inlet, which lets you connect wires with screws rather than solder. (You can find this part, as well as the solderless connectors, at pedalboardshop.com.)
To begin, snip the male end from a regular IEC power cord. Inside you'll see three wires with black, green, and white insulation. Strip about 1/2" of the insulation from each wire, then match the wires with the corresponding inlet connectors. Finally, tighten each screw and wrap any exposed wire with electrical tape.
Before attaching the hardware, apply whatever finish you prefer. I used a dark polyurethane stain. Don't be afraid to do a few coats to achieve the desired hue, just make sure you wipe the board thoroughly between each one. After the stain has dried, be sure to sand the top surface of your board so that whatever you use to attach the pedals—be it Velcro or a specialized product like Godlyke's Power-grip—has a nice surface to bond to.
To facilitate a power supply upgrade or replacement in the future, I used a 2" strip of industrial-strength Velcro to attach the power supply to the underside of the top piece.
Mount the power supply and install the wired inlet and solderless connectors with 1/2" wood screws.
Use fine-grit (at least 220) sandpaper to sand the surface nice and smooth so the Velcro adheres sufficiently.
That's it! Once you've attached your pedals and wired up your power and signal cables, you're ready to plug in and go—enjoy!
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Created in collaboration with legendary guitarist George Lynch of Dokken and Lynch Mob fame, the Mr.Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage and an onboard Deep control, which together are designed to enable an amp to have increased sustain while still retaining note definition and dynamics.
LegendaryTones, LLC today announced production availability of its new Mr. Scary Mod, a 100% pure tube module designed to instantly and easily expand the capabilities of many classic amplifiers with additional gain and tone shaping. Created in collaboration with legendary guitarist George Lynch of Dokken and Lynch Mob fame, the Mr.Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage and an onboard Deep control, which together are designed to enable an amp to have increased sustain while still retaining note definition and dynamics.
Originally released as the Lynch Mod in February 2021, the updated Mr. Scary Mod features the same core circuit as the Lynch Mod but is now equipped with a revised tube mix combo per George’s preference as well as a facelift in a newly redesigned electro-galvanized steel enclosure. As with the Lynch Mod, each run will be limited and the first run in Pumpkin Orange with Black hardware is limited to just 150 pieces worldwide.
The Mr. Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage on top of the cathode follower position, keeping note definition and articulation while further increasing sustain. Each Mr. Scary mod is meticulously built by hand in the USA, one at a time, and tuned using high-grade components. Equipped with a single ECC81 (12AT7) in the first position and ECC83 (12AX7) in the second, the Mr. Scary Mod can clean up beautifully when rolling down your guitar’s volume, and still adds scorching gain when you roll it back up. This is a gain stage that’s been tuned and approved by the ears of the maestro George Lynch himself.
“The Mr. Scary Mod excels with dynamics and is incredibly touch-responsive, allowing me to shift from playing clear, lightly compressed cleans to full-out aggressive sustain and distortion –and control it all simply by varying my guitar’s volume control and picking,” said GeorgeLynch. “In many ways, it’s an old-school approach, but it’s also so much more natural and expressive in addition to being musically fulfilling when you can play both the guitar and amp dynamically together this way.”
The Mr. Scary Mod installs in minutes, is safe and effective to use, and requires no special tools or re-biasing of the amplifier. Simply insert the module into the cathode follower preamp position of compatible amplifiers (includes Marshall 2203/2204/1959/1987 circuits) and
immediately get the benefit of enjoying a hot-rodded amp that delivers all the pure harmonic character that comes with an added pure tube gain stage. The handmade in the USA Mr. Scary Mod is now available to order for $319.
For more information, please visit legendarytones.com.
October Audio has miniaturized their NVMBR Gain pedal to create two mini versions of this beautifully organic-sounding circuit – including an always-on gain device.
The NVMBR Gain is a nonlinear amp that transitions gracefully from clean boost to overdriven tones. Volume increases from just over unity to about 10db before soft-clipping drive appears for another 5db of boost. Its extraordinary ease of use is matched by outstanding versatility: you can use it as a clean boost, push a stubborn amp into overdrive or create a just-breaking-up sound at any amp volume.
October Audio’s new family of mini NVMBR Gain pedals includes a switchable version that allows you to bypass the effect: one option features brand logo pedal graphics, while the other sports a fun “Witch Finger” graphic with a Davies knob as the“fingernail”.
The second version in the new lineup is an always-on device featuring the Witch Finger graphic and Davies knob, with the same NVMBR Gain circuit that lies at the core of the switchable version.
- Knob controls gain and clipping simultaneously
- Stunning silver hammertone finish
- Switchable versions are true-bypass, available with classic or witch finger graphics
- Authentic Davies knobs, including the “fingernail”
- 9V center negative power supply required
- Dimensions: 3.63 x 1.50 x 1.88 in
Witch Finger (always on NVMBR Gain) demo
All October Audio pedals are assembled in Richmond, VA, and available for purchase directly through the online shop. Street price is $109 for NVMBR Gain footswitch versions and $89 for the always-on device.
For more information, please visit octoberaudio.com.