Any time Dan & Mick host a guest guitarist on the show, I’m taken back by two things. First, it’s always a pleasure to watch a professional guitarist interact with their gear and a new pedal board. (The impromptu jams of Simon McBride are definitely worth the watch!) Second, watching Dan build a board is nothing short of a masterclass on getting the most out of gear.
If you’re always adding, shifting, and changing the pedals on your board, then this week’s blog might be what you need to make the most of a summer rebuild project. Here’s some top tips for building a better, smarter, and cleaner board gleaned from Dan’s creation of the McBride rig.
Prospect Your Pedals in Advance and Snap a Selfie to Guide Your Build
Pedalboards come in all shapes and sizes. This is especially true of the Pedaltrain line up that runs from Nano, to Novo, to Classic, and beyond. Before buying your board, take stock of your pedals.
Signal path was one of the first things Dan asked Simon was about. They laid out all of the pedals for two reasons. First, to assess the general real estate needs of the board. In this case, it was the Pedaltrain Classic 2 with a tour case. Second, to know the beginning and end points of the signal path. Knowing which pedals function as the “in” and eventual “out” of the board will help anchor the design of the board.
As Dan proceeded to construct the board, he did something basic but brilliant: snapped a picture on his phone. This was less about a souvenir or post for Instagram than it was about having a reference point. As you build the board, this can serve as a blueprint to keep your project in line with your original vision.
Velcro for Immediate and Future Needs
As Dan prepped the new board and compared it with Simon’s old rig, he noted the difference in Velcro usage. On the old rig, the Velcro was patchy. It was there only for the exact pedals on the rig. The new board adopted a different philosophy.
Dan opted for affixing full strips of Velcro, coast to coast. As Dan noted, the reasons for doing this are to provide immediate stability and to ensure potential for growth. On the one hand, “If you just put Velcro down on the points where there are pedals, nine times out of ten, when you lift the pedal up you’ll pull all the Velcro up.” On the other hand, having full strips of Velcro down means that you can (re)configure your pedalboard endlessly.
Free Up Space on the Floor: Clip-On Tuners and Underside Power Supplies
The best pedalboard builds, whether professional or DIY, should be accessible and clutter free. There were a few topics in the episode that Dan and Simon talked over to make this happen.
First, as Dan commented, “The cool thing about the Pedaltrain 2 Classic is it gives us the ability to put the cables and power underneath.” This meant that even after everything was wired up, you hardly saw any cables. Functionally, Dan also noted that this design meant that Simon could still access individual pedal buttons, for example for tap tempo, on upper pedals without accidentally interfering with those lower down. In this way, the angled Pedaltrain boards have major assets on both form and function.
Second, Simon confessed he is a fan of the clip-on tuner. In this case, it was the TC Electronic Polytune Clip-On Tuner. For Simon, the choice was simple: “I’ve never had any problems [with tuning at volume on stage]. For a year, I had a pedal tuner on my board and a clip on but after a while I wasn’t using the pedal so I just got rid of it. Plus, it’s more room for another pedal!”
Whether you’re building your first pedal board, are an endless tinkerer, or are looking to up your gear game, stop by Riff City for all your pedalboard and accessory needs!
TPS Rig Rundown:
Guitars: PRS Private Stock.