Minimal Guitar Pedalboard – A Flexible Recipe

In contrast to the flannel pedalboard/road case that can be a little overkill, I put together some smaller pedalboards based on a more minimal design. They still do all the important things (with months of road testing to prove it), but in a much more compact, inexpensive, and flexible way.

Here’s how you make one, with some explanations of why I think each piece is important.

The parts cost roughly $30. I’m using a 10″×24″ piece of plywood in this case, but any scrap will do. The first ones I made were 6″×16″, because that’s what I had lying around.

The rubber feet are important because a bare piece of wood can slide on a waxed hardwood floor, which is not what you want at a show.

Make sure to check the depth of the screws that come with the feet, to make sure they aren’t longer than your board is thick. In my case, I had to pick up a small bag of 3/4″ pan-head screws.

The barrel bolt is also important, but not because we’re locking anything up. These turn out to be the perfect size to hold the female end of a multiplug adapter. But, they require a little adjustment.

Since the rubber jacket of the multiplug is just a little bit larger than this bolt (of course, yours may be different), I have to bend the metal a bit. The shaft of my multi-bit screwdriver seemed to be about the right size, so I put the bolt upside down on the floor…

…and stepped on it to widen out the arch.

Then some quick adjustments to get the mounting holes on the same plane. I’m using the screwdriver shaft for this, because I know that it will match the adapter I have. You’ll want to use your actual multiplug adapter to get the final adjustment done.

The multiplug’s socket should be a tight fit, because you don’t want it to fall out later.

Mounting the feet is pretty straightforward.

Flip the board over and mount the multiplug holder wherever you think it should go. I put mine in the top corner facing sideways, but it can really go anywhere. If you’re planning to really pack this board solid with pedals, you may want to lay them out before screwing this thing down.

The next step is to lay the velcro strips down. For best results, make sure you sand the wood to get a nice flat surface for the velcro to stick on.

I chose to alternate between strips of hooks and strips of loops, because the reality of guitarists is that (if they care at all about their sound) will probably test quite a few pedals in their setup as time goes by. These pedals will probably come from a variety of sources (music stores, ebay, friends, etc) and some will have piece of velcro on them already — but there is no standard for whether it will be hooks or loops. So, the board has to be able to accept both.

The last bit is to put on the handle. This is a minor addition, but it makes a huge difference in transporting and on-stage setup.

Make sure you drill pilot holes, and possibly consider using threaded inserts if you are planning to make a really large board.

This is basically what the finished product will look like, but for more professionalism you may want to spray paint the sides and bottom of the board with flat black. For other sleek looks, consider black or brown wood stain.

This is how it looks in action. Cable management isn’t as big of an issue as I thought it might be, but if you have a really complicated setup you might consider adding some eye screws and cable ties to keep everything tidy.

The nice part of this design is that the size can be whatever you want it to be. For example, the board I made for the bassist in our band fits nicely in the road case for his head unit.