Please note – this is the one page on my site page that is almost always out of date. I have serious gear acquisition syndrome and new pedals are always arriving. I’ve run out of space & need new pedalboards again. Digital Audio’s modular Stompblox look promising…
I started out with the objective of a simple pedalboard for scratch gigs and jams where there’s no time to set up and/or the amps are unfamiliar, geared mainly for rock/blues material and small/portable.
But that wasn’t quite where I got to. It’s turned into a(nother) labour of love bordering on an obsession, with a smattering of overkill thrown in! There seems to be a common theme emerging here…
There are now two pedalboards. The first is before the amp input and houses wireless, tuner, wah, boost and drives. In signal order, these are :
- Intellitouch Freedom One combi wireless/tuner;
- Vintage Jen Mister Cry Baby combi wah/volume (converted to centre-negative*)
- Keeley Java Boost
- Marshall Jackhammer (for crunch)
- Freekish Blues Alpha Drive
- Joyo Ultimate Drive
- Barber Burn Unit two-channel drive
- Providence Stampede SOV-2 drive
- Rothwell Hellbender drive
- Homebrew Electronics Power Screamer drive
The second sits in the amp’s passive fx loop. Because it’s passive, the amp drives a Fuchs Verbrator and the other mod fx are in the Fuchs’ loop, in order :
Finally, the out of the Verbrator passes through a TC Ditto looper which feeds the amp’s fx return.
Each board is based on a TRex chassis which I had sandblasted and powdercoated. The TRex’s are excellent pedalboards with good soft bags but they come in a hideous cream colour. The boards are drilled to hold the necessary mains power ins (and outs to supply the second board), and also to hold the XLR sockets for removable gooseneck lamps.
Providing power was quite involved. On the recommendation of the dealer from whom I bought the first units, I started out with a Diago Powerstation to power the original pedalboard.
However, several of the components were ‘allergic’ to each other and the power supply and daisychain configuration, generating various different high-pitched whines in combination. James @ Diago was surprised but couldn’t help, so it went back.
Next up, I asked a gear tech – Greg Michalik of Guitar Aid in SW London – to make me a rectified 9v power supply that was quiet. That looked after me well for a year or so until I decided to split the board pre- and loop.
While evaluating candidate power supplies from the usual suspects (eg Pedaltrain, TRex, Carl Martin, Voodoolab etc) for number of outputs, isolation, current provision and size of units, I chanced upon Cioks power supplies on the Charlie Chandler Guitar Experience website.
Having done a lot of business with both Chandler stores over the years, I trusted their recommendation of these things. So power is provided by Cioks DC10 and DC8 respectively, fitted under each board. Great power supplies, really well built and excellent support from the man himself, Poul Cioks in Denmark.
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* courtesy of Stephen Reid of SJEffects in Nottingham – thanks Steve
Ps At one early stage I tried out the compact Brace digital wireless system (bought from the same dealer as my first few pedals – Effect Power Supplies in North London, who I won’t be using again in a hurry) as I believed wrongly that my previous wireless system, the excellent Sennheiser Freeport was UHF, was soon to be outlawed in the UK.
The Brace device was really crap, and also demanded 3v dc through a really skinny 2mm DC plug, and the receiver was so noisy it needed copper shielding. I gave up on it and didn’t even try to palm it off on another unsuspecting mug via eBay – I just threw it away.
The Intellitouch Freedom One combi wireless and tuner now on the board is an ingenious device as it packs two important things into a very small space. The transmitter which plugs into the guitar is also a cool bit of minimal design with pretty fair battery life.
On the downside, the casing is plastic so it could succumb to a misplaced flick of the foot under combat conditions, and the device both affects tone (compressing openness and cutting highs) and has some noise and latency issues.
It’s more a convenience than a particularly good thing, but it’s fine for most gigs and also has a jack input which bypasses the wireless for situations where tone is more crucial. I can’t wait for them or someone else to launch a higher-quality version of it with less tone suck and latency and a metal housing. How about it, guys? Ah, I see Shure are the first to join the fray but what a price….