4 Cheap DIY Pedalboards

Whether you’re looking for something traditional or flashy, something you can put together in 5 minutes or spend an afternoon project on, we’ve got pedalboard projects for you—and all of them are affordable.

The Gormboard

The Gormboard

Perfect for: DIYers who like a blank slate to build upon, have lots of pedals, and dig using online tutorials.

Putting it together: Head to IKEA and pick up a Gorm shelf two-pack. These things are the stuff of DIY legend, even beyond guitarists; they’re dirt cheap and come in different sizes to accommodate however many pedals you have. The basic concept is to identify which of the two shelves is superior, and disassemble the other, attaching one slat to the back of the intact shelf to create an angle using screws or small “L” brackets. Prior to attaching the back, you can saw the board to your ideal size, add space between the slats, and paint or otherwise decorate. Then, add Velcro to the slats and rubber feet to the bottom, attach a power supply to the underside, and run your cables through the gaps.

Try this: Spend some time planning your design—since the wood is so cheap, and the build so easy, you can really go all out on customization. This build was born in guitar forums and on them remains a ton of resources.

The Skateboard

The Skateboard

Perfect for: Guitarists in ska or pop-punk bands with 5–6 pedals who don’t travel a ton, or bassists with few pedals looking to get some stage attention.

Putting it together: Start by acquiring an old skateboard—ideally you’ll have one lying around, but Craigslist should have some cheap options as well. To mount the pedals to the top using Velcro, remove the grip with a hairdryer or heat gun. You can remove it all, or plan your pedal order and use a box cutter to remove the grip only underneath the pedals. If you want to avoid removing the grip, you can also drill holes in the deck and use zip-ties to secure the pedals. If you leave the wheels on, you may be able to mount a thin power supply unit underneath, but make sure to jam the bearings so it doesn’t roll. Alternately, flip the board over, remove the wheels, and mount your pedals to the top show off those graphics. Screw on some cheap drawer handles to the top or bottom for easy carrying, and you’re set.

Try This: Take one wheel off of each set so the board angles toward you. You may want to stabilize the front with some small wedges of wood.

The Tea Tray

The Tea Tray

Perfect for: The minimalist, procrastinator, avid tea drinker, or Guthrie Govan disciple.

Putting it together: Raid your own kitchen or take a trip to the local kitchen consignment store to put together the pedalboard pioneered by Guthrie Govan of the Aristocrats and other virtuosity. Slap some Velcro on the bottom of the board and pedals, and you’re good to go—the tray already has handles built-in.

Try this: If you’re looking for a bit more style, use paint, fabric, or contact paper on the bottom to give it your own look.

The Vintage Suitcase

The Vintage Suitcase

Perfect for: Folk revival guitarists, guys with beard or ironic moustaches, and traveling musicians. Hipsters.

Putting it together: Hit up Goodwill, Salvation Army, or your grandparents’ attic for an old suitcase. If your band takes the stage in suit-and-tie, consider using a slick briefcase instead of a suitcase. You’ll likely want to use the “top” of the case for the board, as the deep side may cause problems stomping. See if you can fit a pocket for extra cables, strings, and picks on the deep side. Depending upon the case’s condition, you may want to strip out the lining and paint or cover the interior in fabric or felt. Then, cut a piece of wood the size of your case, cover it in fabric, and attach pedals. If the case is deep enough, you can even cut a second piece of wood and build a tier for pedals in the back and tuck a power supply underneath. Remove the back hinges and replace them with latches so the case latches on both sides, and the top can be removed during shows, unless you’d prefer to leave the lid open.

Try this: If you play in a few bands that require different sounds, make multiple pieces of wood to drop in the suitcase and add handles to easily swap out different pedal combinations for different gigs.

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