Pedal board

Pedal board

Pedals and effects (and a pedal board), have played a big part in the development of my sound from about a year after I started playing Bass in 1990.

This is an overview of how my pedal board has changed over the years’, and if you haven’t thought about using effects on Bass before, a guide to getting the best from them:-

Originally published: 07/10/2014;
Updated: 29/05/2018.

Grab 600 Pedal board (UK) | 2016 to 2018

Grab 600 | Pedal board |

My current pedal board set up has a few effects, which I like to use to create something new and then record it ‘wet’ and all on tape.. I mean hard disk;

TC Polytune > Earthquaker Devices Spatial Delivery > BOSS OC-2 Octave > Vintage Tremolo by RaygunFX > TC Alter Ego delay > TC Nova Dynamics > effects loop.

The Carl Martin ‘Pro Power’ is mounted with Velcro beneath the pedal board, which provides all the current, via separate isolated power feeds, and also has 12 volts negative for the TC Nova Dynamics.

Showman Pedal board by Diago (UK) | 2015-16

Diago Showman | Pedal board |

My 2015 ‘Showman’ pedal board and case by Diago UK

The Octaswitch 2 is great because each pedal has it’s own loop and you can make up your own patches by cutting in the sounds you need with the micro dip switches. There is also a bypass switch for clean tone only.

The Carl Martin ‘Pro Power’ provides all the current, which has eight switch-able 9/12 volt outputs, which is great for the TC NOVA’s as they use 12 volts negative.

I would recommend an isolated power supply (instead of a daisy-chain) to anyone with a pedal board, because: –

  • An isolated supply offers a clean power path to each pedal;
  • Ground loops, noise, and associated hum should be eliminated.

The pedal order is:-

  1. From effect’s loop send > Polytune Mini by TC (Tuner)
  2. OC-2 by BOSS (Octave)
  3. Nova NM-1 by TC (Modulation)
  4. Alter Ego by TC (Delay)
  5. HOF by TC (Reverb)
  6. Nova Dynamics by TC (Compressor)
  7. Source Audio EQ > to effect’s loop return

Interconnects by Van Damme and Planet Waves and Diago (solder-less design) go in/out of the Octaswitch.

I’ve been disappointed with Diago solder-less and I won’t be buying another set because: –

  • The jack plugs do not appear to be as solid as soldered Neutrik plugs;
  • No significant sonic difference when using; a) isolated power supply; b) true bypass looper.

PSB-06 Pedal board by Arion | 1995 to 2001

Arion PSB-06 | Pedal board |

The first pedal board I acquired for my pedals and effects was the Arion PSB-06, bought pre-loved and in good condition from ‘The Bass Centre’ in Wapping, London UK in 1995.

All of the pedals, with the exception of the OC-2, were moved on a long time ago.

The PSB-06 has a lid, which you can lift off when you’re not carrying it. It also has a built-in top mount power supply and six 9 volt standard power outs (negative tip) with a current draw of 400 MA.

Unfortunately, only compact standard and mini-size pedals fit on this board, which is a shame. These days, the 400 MA power output is also fairly restrictive.

There were few digital pedals around 20 years’ ago, but lots of pedals these days draw anything from 80 to 300 MA. The quick blow mini circuit breaker is nice insurance.

The pedal order at this time (from right to left):- 

  • NS-2 (Noise Suppressor); 
  • LMB-3 (Limiter/Enhancer); 
  • PQ-3B (Parametric EQ); 
  • OC-2 (Octave);
  • CE3-B (Chorus).

PT-2 Pedal board by Pedaltrain | 2012-13

Pedaltrain PT-2 | Pedal board |

My pedals and effects chain looked like this in 2013. This is the PT-2 ‘rail system’ board.

At first, I liked having two pedal rows and being able to keep all of the cables out of sight.

However, even with the pedals secured with heavy duty pedal board tape, it just didn’t feel right.

I can’t comfortably stomp on what I need to switch in. Actually, it’s the top rail. Is it at the right angle?

No, It’s the format. I don’t like the four rail, two pedal row format.

Perhaps in a three or five rail format, with a true bypass looper on the bottom rail?

SGT Pepper Pedal board by Swanflight | 2014-15

I acquired the ‘SGT Pepper’ Pedalboard in pre-loved condition from an on-line auction.

An experiment to see if I could get (almost) every pedal I have onto one board!

Swanflight | Pedal board |

The build quality of the board is nothing special. There are two audio jacks set into the frame, but with no way of connecting a jack lead from the board (without drilling holes), these are pretty much surplus to requirements.

The main board has also been designed to come away from the frame, so I decided to mount the power supply on top of the board. This is something I don’t like doing.

If you have to do that ~ then in my opinion, you’ve got the wrong pedal board!

PB600 Pedal board by Behringer | 2015

Behringer PB600 | Pedal board |

Designed in Germany and made in China, this Behringer PB600 is made out of bullet proof, embossed plastic. 9-volt negative power adapter and a huge 1,700 MA current draw.

You can cut the foam inserts to size for larger pedals. It’s very practical and very dull.

My favorite pedals and effects:-

There are a number of things about individual pedals I like:-

  • They look cool and have cool names;
  • Some are handmade by enthusiasts;
  • You can swap pedals out and experiment;
  • You don’t have to scroll through menus;
  • I like the way they sound.

I may well like how a ‘Multi-effect unit’ sounds too, but it won’t tick any of the above boxes.

This is one thing I’ve learned about my set up:-

“There is no such thing as a ‘complete’ pedal board ~ only stopping points between revisions”.

OC-2 Octave by BOSS:

The OC-2 Octave was one of the first pedals I owned. I use it near the start of my chain because I get the best octave tone and better tracking. The sub octave effects have a far more solid sound with almost nothing between my Bass and the pedal.

BOSS | OC-2 Octave | 1995 | Pedal boardI love this pedal because I think it sounds great when you crank the first octave and add just a hint of the extremely low second octave. Here is a link to my review of the OC-2

Nova Dynamics by TC Electronic:

This is without doubt one of the best compressor pedals I’ve owned – and there have been one or two.

I wouldn’t normally consider a pedal which takes up extra pedal board real estate, but this pedal really is that good!

I use the Nova Dynamics in ‘studio’ mode on channel ‘A’ for finger style playing; And switch in ‘stomp’ mode on channel ‘B’ for slap/percussive style playing. I don’t need the noise gate, function.

I use this pedal towards the end of my effects chain to even out my overall sound level, because I don’t like the squashed sound that some compressors reproduce when placed at the front end of a chain.

TC Electronic | Nova Dynamics | Pedal board

Do I really need pedals and effects?

For many Bass players, a solid tone is all that’s required, which is all good!

I guess it comes down to an idea of what a Bass should sound like, or what the Bassist is supposed to be playing. Some have a ‘traditional’ view of bass fulfilling a specified role.

The typical ‘role’ of the bassist in a traditional Rock band is to fill in the low end, while guitarists get the high end.

What is a Bass? It’s four wires stretched across a plank of wood with magnets and electronics.

Why can’t I use pedals and effects? I shouldn’t have to switch to a different instrument to make sounds that my Bass can’t produce on its own.

I don’t see the point of not doing something I can do, because of an arbitrary tradition”.

Why do I need a pedal board ?

In summary;

  1. Stability: A stable platform for your pedals, to save them moving about on the floor;
  2. Portability: All your effects pedals together in one place, and easily portable, is one of the best parts of investing in a pedal board. Simply lay down your pedal board, plug-in, and you’re ready to go!
  3. Protection: A pedal board with a cover (or a case) provides peace of mind, but keep in mind that some pedal boards don’t come with a case or covers.

Related articles | Reviews

Reviews | by Simon Edward | May 29th 2018

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