My Compact DIY Pedal Board

By Paul Marossy

Last Updated 9/24/04


There are some times when all I need is a few pedals when I play my acoustic guitar and I really don't need to lug around my full bore DIY pedalboard, just a volume pedal, tuner and delay pedal will do. So I decided to make a more portable, compact pedal board.

After rummaging around in a high volume thrift store where I get all kind of wall warts, speakers, etc. for some of my projects, I found a little nylon carrying case that looked perfect for what I wanted to accomplish. The case was apparently something intended to hold crayons and paper and that sort of thing. Cost for case was four dollars.

The top and bottom of the case has a pretty stiff plastic insert inside, about 1/8" thick, so with a little help the case can be made to be considerably more durable. The first step was to remove all inside pockets and straps from the outside of the case. Next was to make the actual pedalboard, which is a piece of 1/4" plywood cut to the same dimensions as the interior of the case. I drilled all the necessary holes and then painted it black.

Next I had to figure out the best placement of all the pedals that I wanted to use on the pedalboard. From left to right: 9V DC wall wart, fastened to plywood with metal pipe strap purchased at Walmart. Then there is my Ernie Ball passive volume pedal with Craig Anderton's volume pedal descratcher circuit installed, Fender tuner, and finally my Arion SAD-1 analog stereo delay. This is a really warm sounding delay pedal that I owned once in the late 80's. I found myself longing for that sound recently, so I purchased one from an individual selling their SAD-1 on ebay.



Below is a view from the rear of the pedalboard. I made a patchbay out of an unused bottom of a RadioShack project enclosure and mounted it on standoffs. It's hard to see in these pictures, but I mounted a black handle on the right and left side of the board for easy removal from the carrying case.



This is a closer view of the patchbay.



Here is a view of the case after removal of all inside pockets and straps. I cut a piece of vinyl upholstery to the same dimensions as the top of the case and glued it on with some contact cement. I didn't want to cover up Tweety Bird, but I had to...



Here, the pedalboard is placed inside the case. When closed, it the height of the case is perfect for accomodating the volume pedal. I have a small piece of foam to place where the tuner and delay pedal are to keep them from bouncing around inside.



Here, the pedalboard is all buttoned up and ready for transport. Overall dimensions of the case are 15"x12"x3" high. Weight is about 6.5 lbs., probably just about the weight limit of the case.



Total cost for this project was less than twenty dollars. It really is amazing how many things are out there that you can recycle into something usable for very small amounts of money. I hope this gives you more creative ideas for making your own pedalboard case.



Some Pedals I Have Built