This video is bonus content related to the May 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now or at the Guitar World Online Store.
Boarding School: Are you a pedal-board dunce? Fear not! In this illustrated tutorial, Guitar World shows you everything you need to know, from choosing a board to powering up and laying out your pedals.
The more effect pedals you use, the more you need a pedal board. Even the most basic unpowered board can provide a useful platform to hold your pedals securely, provide cable management and keep everything from sliding around onstage.
Powered boards have the added function of supplying electrical connections to all your pedals, thereby eliminating the need for power strips and multiple wall warts that can take up space and create a nest of dangerous wires around your performance area. For more complex or specialized rigs, a custom pedal board can meet your specific switching requirements and make performance headaches a thing of the past.
Unfortunately for those who have never had a pedal board, the prospect of building or buying one can be overwhelming. You have to determine not only what size you'll need for your set-up but also make sure it matches the power requirements of your pedals, some of which might take require, 12, 16, 18 or 24 volts.
There's also the matter of cables, of which you'll need many, each cut to the minimum length to ensure signal integrity and keep your layout tidy. The confusion only gets worse once you go online and see the plethora of pedal board models and options available to you.