PedalBoard Velcro

What Velcro is the best Velcro for a pedalboard? What is the bike chain method? Are there good alternatives? Musicians are constantly asking these questions for a good reason. There are a lot of options!
Velcro itself comes in a bunch of sizes and shapes, but most pedalboards use the 2″ wide strips of industrial strength velcro (It doesn’t matter what color because the Velcro sits under your pedals!). This type of Velcro works very well because it is nice and wide and fits most pedals nicely, especially Boss pedals. Velcro is pretty expensive, costing about $30 to cover an entire pedalboard, and you can’t really re-use it. If you decide to add or remove pedals to your setup, you have to buy more Velcro.
Another problem with using Velcro is that you have to rip the bottom material off of your pedals so that the velcro can attach directly to the metal of the pedal. This damages your pedals and significantly lowers their resale value. Think about it, would you want to buy a pedal that has goo all over the bottom of it? Probably only if you get a good low price. Also, Velcro wears out and eventually the pedals can fall off of the board entirely. This thwarts the entire idea of a pedalboard!
There is a company called Godlyke that has made a Velcro alternative called Power-Grip. Under a microscope, you can see that power-grip uses interlocking mushroom teeth instead of the hook and loop method of Velcro. Power-Grip still adheres to your pedals with a sticky goo, and you still have to pull the rubber off of the bottom of your pedals to install it. If you can believe it, it is more expensive than Velcro.
One popular alternative to velcro is attaching links of a bike chain to the pedals and using the bike chain links to screw the pedals down. This is a great method that works very well. You have to buy a cheap bike chain (or take one off an unused bike) and buy a bike chain tool (about $10). Use the tool to dismantle the bike chain, and then you can attach the small figure 8 parts of the bike chain to the existing screws on the bottom of your pedals. Then you can flip the pedals over and screw them down. It does not damage your pedals and does not hurt their resale value. Unfortunately, this method will not work with all pedals, particularly custom and boutique effects. There is one small company called Stompsters that are selling just the parts of the bike chain that you need, along with screws. They are cheap and effective.
Of these three methods, I prefer the bike chain method. It is cheap, easy to install, and it doesn’t damage my pedals. For pedals that won’t work with the bike chain method, I use Industrial Strength Velcro because I can get it at any hardware store. That’s about it for pedalboard velcro – happy DIY Pedalboard building!

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Pedal Board Order

Trying to decide what order to put your pedals in? Have you tried putting the compressor before the distortion? Or is it the distortion before the compressor? What if you put a compressor on both sides of the distortion pedal? When it comes to the order you place effects in your effects chain, there are no rules. You should try everything. You just might find a combination that no one has thought of, and in turn find a sound that no one else has. Most importantly though, you will uncover the sounds that you like and you may even discover how some of your favorite artists were getting their sounds.
Basic Pedalboard Order:
If your just getting started in this process though, and your looking for a general guide to effect placement, it would be this: Guitar>Volume>Tuner>Filter>Compressor>Boost>Distortion>Chorus>Phaser>EQ>Amp.
Try this basic set up, and then start tweaking things. Just start moving the pedals around and experimenting with different sounds. Keep in mind that some pedals won’t be affected by placement. These include the volume pedal and the tuner. You can put them where ever you want (I usually choose a place that fits well physically with the rest of the setup). Also, you might think about getting a volume pedal that has a tuner out. This way, you connect the tuner and it will always be tuning and not affecting your signal. Other things to consider are the placement of large pedals like the volume and a wah-wah. If your right footed, you’ll probably want to use your right foot to control these so putting them on the left side of the pedalboard might prove awkward. Also, one effect that you will want to have before a compressor is an auto-wah or envelope filter. These effects use the attack of your strings to trigger the effect. If you put a compressor before one of these effects on your board, the compressor will flatten out the attack of your strings, and the filter won’t sound the same. This is why experimenting is important.
Another good place to start is by learning how each effect that you have works on it’s own. There are three main effects that you will use: dynamic effects (compressors), gain effects (distortions), and sparkle effects (chorus, flange).
Compressors work like a volume control, lowering and raising the volume knob with the attack and decay of your sound. They help to flatten everything out, and they are used heavily in today’s polar music. Playing around with a compressor and putting it before and after each effect you have will help you gain insight to how they affect your sound.
Gain effects add volume to your sound. Usually they distort your sound, but some just give a clean volume boost. Some distortion pedals have a compressor built into them. Distortion pedals usually work well on their own, without any other effects on in the chain, however you can get some really interesting sounds by putting the distortion before sparkle effects like a chorus.
Sparkle effects do just that, they add sparkle to the sound. They typically go last in your signal chain and many of them have stereo outs, so you can run your entire signal into two different amps. Stereo chorus or phase shifter are cool ones to start with.
Just make sure to experiment, experiment, experiment. If you buy a pedal and it isn’t working for you, return it and try another. Keep on looking for that perfect sound and most of all, have fun!

How to Make a Pedal Board

If you want to make a Homemade Pedalboard, it is simple. A pedalboard really comes down to a piece of wood, some pedals and some cables. The pedals go on the wood, and the cables connect it all together. If your playing in your bedroom and you just need something nice to keep your organized with, you should be able to get it together for about $100. This includes a power adapter daisy chain, and a custom cable kit.
You can purchase a pre-cut piece of wood at your local hardware store for about $10. Just get whatever is the cheapest, but don’t get particle board. Gather your pedals and arrange them on the board in a way that feels comfortable. Be sure to keep in mind the effect order, and which effects you want to come before others. get an idea of the final layout and make sure that all of your effects will fit on the board (if they don’t, you will need to purchase a bigger board).
I typically start by attaching a cabinet handle to the top of the board for easy transport. These handles can also be purchased from a hardware store for about $3. Measure to the center of the board and make a mark. Then measure the handle from screw hole to screw hole and divide that measurement in half. Use that number to measure outward from your center mark going both left and right and make two more marks in the respective positions. Then cross reference these marks from the edge of the board to make sure that the handle won’t be crooked. I usually measure ½” from the edge to each mark and make a cross. Finally, make sure that the final X marks line up with the screw holes in the handle before drilling the holes. Drill straight through the X’s and thread the screws for the handle through and into the handle. If the holes are slightly off, you can drill back through them, rotating the drill in a slight circular motion to enlarge the holes (be very carful and gentle when you do this because the drill bit can break).
After you get the handle installed, it’s time to install the pedals. I use bike chain links to install my pedals, so I don’t have to worry about Velcro sticking to the wood. Take your pedals and remove all the feet, place a bike chain link down, and put the feet back. After you screw everything tight, you can flip the pedals over and screw them down. I usually place all the pedals down first, make small marks where the screws will go, and then drill small pilot holes. Do this for all of the pedals at the same time. Then, cut and fit all of your patch cables and make sure that they will with where your pedals will go.
Now wire up all the pedals and screw them down one by one. After your finished, attach the power adapter daisy chain to all the pedals that need power. Use zip ties to bundle all of the excess cabling together and make everything look nice and your ready to rock!