Now that you have all the gadgets that you need for your upcoming performances, a more difficult challenge suddenly rears its head in the form of pedalboard cable management. Fortunately, advanced planning and preparation is all you need to successfully set up your gears in the same manner that professionals do – neat and organized.
Hunting for guitar effects pedals was definitely an exciting process and like every musician, you had a great time researching and testing every gear you intend to purchase. However, the real work awaits after obtaining everything you need and careful attention to detail is much needed to ensure that your effects rig will be functioning to its full potential.
It is of utmost importance that a guitar player be the one to set up his own pedalboard, since the knowledge that you will pick up from this undertaking, will help prepare you for some gear issues that may arise in the near future.
Managing your pedalboard may seem like a daunting task, especially if you consider the amount of cables and the confusion that they can create. But rest assured that as long as you take the basics to heart, you will smoothly get your pedalboard up and running in no time.
Plan ahead for good cable management
Create a master list/write down details
A comprehensive list of everything you need for setting up your pedalboard, will guarantee that you won’t miss crucial equipment or tools when you go to the music store or order stuff online.
Accidentally omitting any important part of the pedalboard will put a strain on your budget since you will be shopping again for whatever you forgot to buy. Your precious time will be sacrificed as well when you have to take another trip to the store or wait for a week for your order to be shipped.
Effective management of your rig starts the moment you list down all of the requirements. So right from the beginning, you must keep things organized even on paper.
Pedalboard cable management requires careful planning and you should never try to wing it. Take all the needed measurements, from pedalboard size to cable length. Be accurate down to the most minute of details to avoid any issues from hounding you later on.
Draw a layout
Before proceeding with the actual formation of your rig, it is ideal to draw up a plan of what could be the best layout of your pedalboard setup. This will help you avoid costly errors and allow you to go on smoothly with your intended schedule without any hassles at all.
You don’t have to be an expert in drawing, you just need to craft a simple blueprint with your projected arrangement in mind, while taking signal chain into consideration. Feel free to try out various scenarios on paper before you decide which one is the best for your pedalboard.
Choosing your pedalboard
Whether you are just starting out or upgrading your setup, choosing the right pedalboard can make or break your rig. Make sure that you have taken the needed measurements before ordering your pedalboard of choice. A little mistake can turn into a huge headache later on, especially if not all of your pedals will fit due to some miscalculations. Leaving out some of your gadgets is the last thing you would want to encounter in this venture.
Be aware that building your own pedalboard out of scratch is difficult and requires an entirely different set of skills to pull off without incident. There are companies such as Pedaltrain and Voodoo Labs that manufacture high quality pedalboards, you just need to choose what’s best for your budget and your needs.
You might also want to consider getting a pedalboard that is a little bigger than the one in your layout to leave a little allowance. This is useful if you plan to add some more pedals in the future.
How do you organize cables under a pedalboard?
The secret to keeping your pedalboard organized lies on your cables and tools. Here are some of the necessities that you will need for a well-managed guitar effects rig:
Cables for pedals
Custom-cut cables and patch cables are what you need to guarantee that your pedalboard is tidy and organized. Aside from being messy and a sore for sights, longer cables can also reduce your overall signal and negatively affect your tone. Excess cables must be eliminated from your pedalboard, to avoid any inconvenience when you are operating your gadgets.
Patch cables such as Mogami pancake cables are ready-made cables intended to connect one pedal to another. However, the lengths of patch cables are already fixed, so if you want to be flexible or specific with how long your cables should be, you can go for custom-cut ones.
Pedalboard cable management needs
In addition to the aforementioned utilities, here are some tools that you will need for setting up a tidy and well-organized pedalboard:
- Cable clips
Cable clips are stick back pads that you can use to keep the underside of your pedalboard.
- Label maker
Label your connections to make things less confusing. If you don’t have a label maker, you can design labels on programs such as photoshop, and have them printed on sticker paper.
With the help of a multimeter or a multitester, you can check on all cables before installing them to make sure that they are functioning optimally. Separate any defective cables and have them repaired or replaced before putting them in your pedalboard.
- Tie downs
Tie downs are useful for routing cables along with zip ties. Just like most of the necessities on this list, tie downs are also available at hardware and utility stores.
- Zip ties
Use zip ties to permanently group cables belonging to the same category. These versatile fasteners are one of the essentials in pedalboard cable management.