Wow. First off, this is the 700th post on EffectsBay.com. Crazy! For the 700th post, I’m super stoked to post this guest post by Mojo’s Army out of San Francisco. A couple weeks ago, I saw his video on putting together a DIY pedalboard, and asked if he would be interested in writing a guest post. That goes for you readers out there. Have a interesting tip, story, review, etc. Let me know, and I would be happy to post it. Obviously, needs to be about guitars, pedals, etc.
Like many musicians on a budget, I look for bargains and take on DIY projects whenever possible. Faced with the need for a pedalboard, I thought it would be fun & frugal to put together my own using scrap wood and a hardshell suitcase. The whole project cost me less than $25 and only took about an hour and a half! Some basic tools and materials are assumed to be on hand. It’s a good idea to lay your essential pedals out in as small an area as you can fit them to make sure the size you’re looking at will work. You can also make this project without the case.
Now, I’ll admit I had a harder time locating a suitable suitcase than I expected. Definitely a case of something disappearing as soon as you start searching! After looking everywhere I could think of, I found one that was just the right size in my in-laws’ garage (they never throw anything away). Luckily they were willing to part with it with a little persuasion. I had expected to spend $10 at a thrift shop.
Once I stripped the lining out and cleaned the inside, I measured the case for the largest rectangle that would fit. Rounding down to account for the foam, I came up with a 15″ x 22″ board size. I cut & lightly sanded some 1/2″ scrap plywood and then cut a piece of 1×4 scrap for the heel. I didn’t want it to be too steeply angled, accounting for the depth of the case and also too much of an angle would mean that the large diameter rubber feet I bought for $3 wouldn’t grip as well at the top of the board.
The low-nap carpet was just a scrap from a remodel at work. I had intended to pick up a $5 doormat for this use. A yard of felt or the type of fabric that covers amps would work well too, just wrap around the back of the board and staple before screwing on the heel. The foam was from electronics shipping boxes from work (free). You could get clever and get a bed egg crate a size bigger than your bed and cut it down, then use the big piece on your bed and the cutaway part in the case, giving you a net zero cost for the purposes of your project.
The assembly of the board is straightforward: wood glue and 3 screws for the heel, polyurethane adhesive ($5) + staples for the carpet, then the drawer pull handles ($3 each) were centered on the sides to get the board out of the case easily. For the case, I thought I was going to use the poly caulk adhesive for the foam, but it was too thick so I went with 3M spray adhesive instead. Definitely dry fit the foam before gluing!
If you’ve used your pedals much you’ll want to clean the bottom with alcohol before attaching the stickyback Velcro ($9 for 15′). The rest is just putting your pedals together in the order you want them. Seriously, if you have a couple of hours you can put together your own board easily in less time than it took me longer to put together the video and write up the description! Hope you find this helpful. Rock on!
used Samsonite suitcase
3M spray adhesive
additional wood for heel
carpet/felt/doormat to cover board
polyurethane adhesive caulk (or spray adhesive)
“wire” style drawer pulls (2)
roll of Velcro
rubber grip feet
Mojo’s Army is a San Francisco Bay Area music project consisting mainly of music-obsessed Mojo, a drummer and graphic artist turned songwriter/guitarist/producer. Mojo first appeared on the independent online music scene in 2008 with the release of his wicked industrial cover of Malvina Reynolds’ classic “Little Boxes”. Mojo’s Army has continued to release music steadily ever since, with a full length album “It’s Hard” in 2009, an electric cover of Marcy Playground’s “Sex and Candy” and an EP of originals in 2010 (“Summer’s End”), along with a few remixes and other tracks thrown in along the way.
The project’s heavy, groovy sound is a true Bay Area blend of genres – hard rock, punk, pop, and industrial with just enough blues to bring it all together. Major influences are early heavy metal bands like Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, and modern hard rock / industrial bands like Nine Inch Nails and Rob Zombie. Find them online at mojosarmy.com.