Setting up your pedalboard

It’s something guitarists have used since the very beginning and it’s very rare that you step on stage without seeing them. Pedalboards allow a guitarist to take the guitar to new sonic realms and expand their tone through different effects. We talk through some essential points to consider when setting up your board.

Posted: 15 September 2020

Know your tone

Firstly, you should understand what you’re looking for and what’s essential to achieve that. Do you have an exact tone you’re trying to replicate? Is the pedalboard for songwriting or for live performance? Are you looking for one or two pedals to get what you need, or do you want a world of versatility at your feet?

If you’re trying to emulate a particular guitarists’ sound it might be worth checking out what pedals they use and how they use them. Take some time to research the market and know what pedals are out there. There's hundreds of pedals available in all kinds of different variations, but below are the most commonly used effects on pedalboards:

The Signal Chain

Once you know what each pedal does and you’ve looked into how some of your favourite tones are created you’ll start to build your board. One thing you should keep in mind is your signal. Imagine your sound as a straight line running from right to left through the board. Where each pedal is placed will have an effect on the signal. Although everything is up for experimentation, here’s what a typical signal chain could look like:

Power

When you start getting a few pedals, you’ll realise that you need something to power them all. That’s where the power supply steps in. Most power supplies fit underneath the pedalboard and one mains plug can provide power to multiple 9V pedals. Keep in mind that not all pedals run at 9V. More specialist pedals and Multi FX units could need more power and may have different voltages. Make sure you get an isolated power supply that provides power to all your required pedals - you'll save a fortune on batteries!