A pedal board that would make Eric Johnson proud

…or maybe not :grin:

I don’t know about you guys, but creating a pedal board was always a huge pain in the ass for me.

Back in the day when I was a relatively inexperienced guitarist, I was part of a rock band and it got the point where we wanted to gig and I realized that to be able to play certain parts of our songs I had to have miraculous tapdancing skills where I had to switch from a clean sound with delay and chorus to a lead sound that was 3/6 dB louder and had no chorus but a wah.

At that time my ear wasn’t developed in the sense of having a reverence for classic tones/tube amps so I thought to myself:

I want to be able to switch between completely different sounds with the touch of a button.

It turned out that this was possible with a digital modelling amp like the Line 6 Vetta. So I bought it and, indeed, dialing in effects and switching was super easy.

Every song had its own bank with its own clean/dirty/distortion/lead sound plus presets to spare.

When the band broke up I later sold the amp and in those years I started to hear and feel the difference between digital modelling and real amps. I found that certain sounds could practically only be created with certain analog pedals and a real amp.

I started acquiring pedals and with that the tap dancing problem returned.

With the music I currently make it is even more important for me to switch through wildly different sounds, because some sounds (think Rage Against The Machine and beyond) engage 5 or 6 pedals at once that I then have to switch off in one go.

I’ve seen Tom Morello trying to do that live with less pedals and it’s a pretty hectic situation for him; it’s a real challenge sometimes.

After thinking long and hard I decided to get a G2 (gigrig) system. The problem with those things is that they sound fantastic, are built like a tank and are very reliable, but they are not exactly cheap.

The unit alone will set you back almost a thousand and then you have to think about powering options, cabling options and a pedal board to mount every pedal on.

This is a lot of money, a lot of work and also challenging to find exactly the right fit and make it work.

I decided to go the cheapest and easiest route for now so I that’s where Eric Johnson comes in.

I thought to myself that if EJ thinks a sheet of plywood with a 100ft of tangled cable is good enough for him, then it’s good enough for me :grin:

On a serious note, I want to drill holes into the wood and fasten the pedals with tiewraps and eventually upgrade the board after I have used this board live a couple of times to see what works and what doesn’t.

Does anyone have any recommendations about what the best available color coded cables are to use that can be found in any length and both straight and angled jack?

The solderless sets are very expensive, time consuming and also it’s more or less set in stone when you decide on the layout of the board.

I want to keep the board flexible.

Thx in advance.

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If I was doing this, I would buy bulk and make my own.

Totally feel you on the tap dancing. Recently mvoved to the Helix from analog 'boards and I am madly in love with the “Snapshots” feature. Lets you assign something like 64 separate preset adjustments to one button press.

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I have no idea if this will really work, but what happens if you lay them out as you wish, give them coordinates (e.g., [3,2] might mean 3rd row from the top, 2nd from the left), connect them all with strings (that you label with the two end coordinates), then you sort the strings by length, put them into like bins, and then make the appropriate number of each cable? I agree with @joshuaskaja that you should solder and make your own, as the quality will be excellent.

I am happy with my modeler, and this is because I never go near real tube amps and pedals, so I don’t know what I am missing. It’s just like smoking… I’m sure I’d love it, so I’ve never tried it.

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