So you've got yourself a distortion pedal, a delay, a chorus... You’re clearly on your way down the rabbit hole. Let's be honest - as 'sensible' as you are, you’re not going to stop at three guitar pedals, right? You’ll want to organize these stompboxes sooner or later, rather than having them daisy-chained and lying around loose on the floor or stage. That’s where one of the best pedalboards comes in.
Yes, you could cannibalize your dad's Samsonite briefcase or set yourself a school project to make your own pedalboard, or you could buy one of the many readymade options from the likes of Boss, Pedaltrain, Gator and more.
These pedalboards deliver a variety of features at various price points, and they’ll help you get the best from your effects. A solid 'board not only looks professional, but can help to keep your signal in tip-top shape too, as you're not wrestling with cables quite so much.
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Best pedalboards: Guitar World's Choice
If you're looking for a customizable and budget-friendly pedalboard, the three-rail Pedaltrain Metro 16 pedalboard is super-portable and built from lightweight, aircraft-grade aluminum. The three rail design makes it hugely configurable for small pedal collections and it makes the most of its small footprint. It comes with either a soft shoulder bag that's included in the price, or for another $70 you can get a road-ready metal flightcase included in the package.
The RockBoard TRES 3.1 is a really high-quality 'board, too – it’s neat, configurable and affordable. It comes with a soft case with a shoulder strap, but you can spend an extra $60 for a flight case. It’ll mount up to 10 pedals, and the height of the pedalboard is easily adjusted to make room for mounting a pedalboard power supply underneath.
It's worth noting that both of these designs come in a huge range of sizes to suit your pedal collection, no matter how enormous it gets.
Best Pedalboards: Product guide & reviews
The Metro 16 is a really great pedalboard for mounting around five to eight effects pedals, throwing them in the nylon shoulder bag and running out the door to practice. Even if you only have three or four right now, the extra space will come in handy when you inevitably size up the floor show.
For an extra $70 you can get a super-tough tour case, and the Metro 16 is small enough to take as a carry-on item with most US airlines.
Pedals are attached with Pedaltrain's “professional-grade, hook-and-loop pedal fasteners” and it comes with plenty of cable ties. You’ll need to buy your power supply separately, though.
The TRES 3.1 sees RockBoard improve upon already solid past designs with a seamless, folded aluminum construction and a powder-black finish, and plenty of routing for cables and a sturdy support beam down the middle. It makes the most of its board space so mounting up to around eight to 10 standard sized pedals shouldn’t be a problem.
It comes with a gig-bag with a shoulder strap and an all-important accessories pocket, but an extra 60 bucks gets you a flight case if you need something more rugged.
Power supplies can be mounted on the bottom of the unit and you can easily adjust the height to your preference.
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The Temple Audio Duo 17 is perfect for those who want to keep their ‘boards looking clean and fresh as much as possible. There’s space to run cables and arrange your pedals as you choose, and Temple’s own Quick Release pedal mounts mean you can fix your pedals down without the hassle of velcro or other strong adhesives.
The pedalboards themselves are modular, to make setting up and packing down even less of a chore. All you have to do is unscrew the end panels, and then you’ve got space for any of Temple’s extensive list of separate power and I/O accessories, which include ¼” patch bays, USB sockets for charging devices, and IEC sockets for your power supply.
Most of all, it looks great. They come in loads of different colors to match your vibe and - more importantly - different sizes to accommodate even the beefiest of pedal collections. Unfortunately there’s no case included - but for the sheer quality of the board alone, you’re getting a great deal.
The GPT-PRO-PWR is a hefty ol’ beast but it can house and power up to 11 pedals. It may even squeeze some more onto its Velcro-covered space if your rig is packing a lot of mini-stompboxes.
It comes with a pre-mounted G-BUS-8 power supply that has eight 9V and three 18V outputs. There's room to mount another G-BUS-8 should you need it.
It’s really heavy but the built-in handle on the pedalboard can take the weight, and the roomy accessory pockets on the gig-bag will come in handy. It also comes with plenty of Velcro tape for fastening pedals.
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This Dingbat comes in three different sizes. The medium is the happy option for mounting eight to 12 pedals - size depending, of course - with the adhesive hook-and-loop fasteners.
Power supplies can be mounted on top or below the pedalboard and Voodoo Lab offers bundles with supplies included. Shipped with a Pedal Power 4X4, which powers up to eight pedals, it’ll cost around $300, and an extra $100 buys you the Pedal Power Mondo, which powers up to 12 pedals.
The slots make for easy arrangements with plenty of space to tidy the cables underneath the unit. A bag makes it easy to transport.
This is a great pedalboard for the money. It has a clean construction with routing across the middle of the 'board for threading cables through. You should be able to fit around 10 pedals on this - more if you are using minis.
Pedals are mounted using the usual hook-and-loop tape and a roll is included with the unit. The setup should make it easy to arrange your pedals however you like them.
Despite the lightweight construction, non-slip rubber feet will keep this firmly in place on the floor. Best of all, the gig bag has pockets and a shoulder strap.
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Oftentimes, your pedalboard is easy to arrange until you try and fit a wah or volume pedal on there. But the Tour Pro 1520 has an ingenious two-tier solution, with a riser allowing you to sit the wah on there above the rest of your pedals.
The riser is detachable, you can buy supplementary risers should you have a volume or whammy pedal, and is screwed to the board.
Options include the ultra-transparent Friedman Buffer Bay 6 for an extra $70, while you can get that plus a Power Grid 10, powering up to ten effects and designed as an extra riser, all for $569.
The wiring options are hugely configurable and eliminate the signal issues you can get with complex signal chains. This latter “platinum option” is not cheap but it truly has all the bells and whistles.
Is this the tidiest power solution on the market? Quite possibly. The Nomad is powered by an onboard lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 12800mAh - which translates to over 10 hours of power after around three hours of charging.
As far as DC outputs go, the Nomad is pretty versatile, with seven 9V outputs, a pair of 12V outputs and one switchable between 18 and 24V.
The unit comes in a soft bag with a whole bunch of cable ties, hook-and-loop fasteners and DC connector cables. Just plug it all in and play.
The BCB-60 comes in a sort of over-sized, bullet-proof lunchbox carrier and opens out to an easily configurable layout. It includes an onboard AC power supply for up to seven pedals, bundled patch cables and I/O connectors, and send and return jacks for running your pedalboard through your amp’s effects loop or to a tuner outside of your signal path.
The inside of the case is foam, cut out to fit your stompboxes. The one obvious problem here is that the inserts are cut to fit Boss pedals and those of “select manufacturers”, so fitting some of your more bespoke-sized enclosures could be tricky, but you could always cut the foam to fit.
This injection-molded, plug-in-and-play pedalboard from SKB moves away from the aluminum and wood construction paradigm to bring you a 'board that can power up to eight pedals.
It might be a bit of a cram fitting all eight if you have many large-enclosure models, but attaching and arranging your effects should be a breeze. Like the Gator, the whole pedal-mount section is covered with hook-and-loop fastenings.
There are other, more luxurious options with better-shielded power supplies but for a first pedalboard that’s affordable and easy to cart around, you could do a lot worse.
Best pedalboards: Buying advice
You want your pedalboard to make life easier. Arranging and then fitting effects with different sized enclosures should be simple. Once you've worked out where you want to put them, affixing them to the pedalboard is the next step. Most commonly, this is done with Velcro or good old-fashioned zip ties. Having a spare couple of spots for aggressive expansion or even just for swapping in a pinch-hitting pedal is also a nice option to think about.
Pedalboards typically ship with rolls of Velcro - or non-trademarked “hook-and-loop fasteners” - tape for you to stick on the ‘board and pedals for a solid connection. Others, such as the Temple Audio model listed here, have bespoke fittings. Either option is fine, so long as the pedals stay put.
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A bag or case for carrying is a positive, too, and look for some brands that offer the option of spending a little more for a flight-case - an essential upgrade for the touring musician. If the case has extra storage space for essentials like additional guitar cables, cable ties, tape and picks, then all the better.
Other features to look out for include the pedalboard’s power solution. It’s not necessarily a deal-breaker if they don’t, but having an onboard 9V/18V power supply and connections, or the space to specifically mount one, can come in handy when you have a whole heap of pedals to run. Luckily, the world of pedalboard power supplies is also rapidly expanding - so you're bound to find the right one for you.
Slanted designs commonly allow you to mount a power supply beneath the pedalboard, allowing you to use the full space of its top-side.