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Planning your pedalboard (copies and will be released as blog)

At Custom Boards we use a strict planning process, which helps us put together a pedalboard that stands the rigours of touring.

This guide takes you through each step of our process and helps you to understand how your pedalboard can be planned without forgetting anything important that might set you back when you have almost finished your project.

    Everything starts from your needs as a player.

    Each musician has their own special needs, and only by taking every detail into account you will be sure that your needs will be fulfilled. It is always advisable that you have some kind of a goal in your mind where you should aim at through the process.

    Here are some questions to think about at the very beginning of your pedalboard planning process:

    • What are you after soundwise? Are you or are you not happy with your current sound? If you are not happy with your sound, think what kind of a sound you are after. Listen to your favourite guitarists and search what gear they are using.
    • You might be happy with your pedals but you feel that something gets lost between the guitar and the amp. If this is the case, you might need better patch cables, or you need to make sure that majority of your pedals are equipped with true bypass-switches or you might benefit from having a buffer or two in your signal chain.
    • Are you starting your project to solve the problems that you are experiencing in your current rig? Maybe your sound is great, but your effects in particular are unorganized.
    • Are you uncertain about the order of your pedals? If so, we have made a guide that shows you the "right" order effects in your signal chain. Of course, everytime you do something out of the ordinary, you might figure out something totally fresh, which is never a bad thing.
    • Are you looking for new sounds or do you want to update one of your pedals to something more inspiring and maybe more roadworthy?
    • Are you sure that you will actually use all the pedals that you plan to put on your pedalboard? There are many occasions, where a musician starts a project and gathers everything he/she has on the table. It is good to remember that when hooking up all your pedals in series, all the extra cables, plugs and jacks add capasitance to your signal chain. Unused pedals also take up valuable space, which means you need to get a bigger board, a bigger power supply etc. You can use your pedal collection in the studio, but for live gigs I would pick the ones that have use in your band or with artists you perform with.
    • Do you need a pedalboard in the first place if you only have few effects? We think you do. Three pedals chained with substandard cables or various bulk power supplies can cause troubles during your shows and they can still be very slow to setup in a hurry.
    • Think about how you connect your pedalboard to the amplifier or do you want to use two or even more amplifiers.
    • Decide which pedals you want to place in the front row of your pedalboard. These are the ones that you will use often, or you will need to press them quickly during the songs. Remember that the placement of the pedals in a board can and probably will differ from the order they are connected in the signal chain. If you are uncertain about your pedal order, we recommend reading our guide below and drawing a wiring diagram.
    • If you use lot´s of gain pedals, think hard whether you should install a noise suppressor to your board. If you think you need one, you probably will. Leave space for a suppressor in case it is needed.


    1. How to choose the correct effects for your playing style
    2. Getting familiar with different guitar effect types
    3. How do I connect guitar effects pedals for best results?
    4. The Effects Loop. A threat or a possibility?
    5. How about MIDI-switchers or ABY-boxes? Do I need them?
    6. How do I choose the correct power supply?
    7. What is the right pedalboard for me?
    8. Can I reach all my pedals easily or should I adjust their height?
    9. How do I attach my pedals securely to the board?
    10. What kind of patch cables do I need in my pedalboard?
    11. Do I need a cable snake to connect my pedalboard to the amplifier?
    12. Selecting the right instrument cable for the job

    Should you decide, once you’ve purchased all the necessary parts, that making the pedalboard yourself is too much of a hassle after all, or should you get stuck midway, we will happily finish your project for you using the components you have bought from us. Don’t worry, we won’t let anything go to waste.

    When you compare the price of all the required components to the price of a finished board made by us, you will find the difference to be surprisingly small.

    Our most important goal is to supply a board that makes your life easier and inspires you to play even better. When you’re happy, we’re happy!


    This text will be edited and enhanced in the autumn of 2018.

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