How to Build a Mini Pedalboard by Genre

In the last few years, mini pedals have absolutely exploded in popularity. What started as something of a novelty on the part of a few smaller builders has expanded into the mainstream, with brands like Ibanez and MXR reissuing some of their most popular pedals in mini form.

The ever–widening catalog of mini pedals means that players can now create entire pedalboards using just mini pedals. These sorts of setups are ideal for apartment guitarists with limited space, as well as pro musicians who need a basic setup for fly–in gigs.

Not sure where to get started? Here's a look at five sample mini pedalboard setups, each focusing on a different genre. Click on any of the illustrated pedals to check out live listings on Reverb.

Classic Rock
Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Black Keys, The White Stripes

Start with a clear and punchy drive pedal, like the Wampler Tumnus. Use the Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini as an alternative drive flavor. Smash the front of the amp with the classic–sounding Ibanez 850, and add some color to the leads with the Ibanez Analog Delay.

For more psychedelic sounds, use the Malekko Trem, MXR Mini Phase 95, and Mooer EchoVerb for spaced out riffs. Throw a compression pedal like Henretta’s Orange Whip on the end to bring it all together.

Wampler Tumnus Ibanez TS Mini Ibanez 850 Fuzz Mini Ibanez Delay Mini MXR Mini Phase 95 Malekko Trem Mooer Echoverb Henretta Orange Whip Image Map
Thrash Metal
Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer, Pantera, Megadeath

The Ibanez Super Metal is a classic base tone for metal sounds. For leads, boost the Super Metal with an Xotic EP Boost. Add the Mooer Graphic EQ for a push in mids, or scoop them down and add some bass and treble for those classic Metallica riffs.

The Dunlop Mini Crybaby is a perfect addition for soloing. The TC Flashback Mini Delay has Toneprint available to sculpt the delay sound and dial in the exact BPM of the song. Use the Hotone Skyline VERB for that classic clean sound. Tack on a Joyo Gate of Kahn for noise reduction.

Ibanez Super Metal Mini Mooer Graphic EQ TC Electronic Flashback Mini Joyo Gate of Kahn Hotone Skyline Verb Xotic EP Booster Image Map
My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Sonic Youth, Swervedriver, No Joy

It’s important to place the reverb before the drive section. The Mooer ModVerb has a vibrato setting, which will add a subtle sway in case you don’t have a tremolo bar on your guitar. The Mooer Black Secret is a perfect replica of the Turbo RAT pedal — a Kevin Shields favorite during the Loveless tour.

Two flavors of fuzz to sculpt or stack your tone come from the Henretta Bluebird and JHS Mini Foot Fuzz. At the Mooer ReEcho Delay for its huge array of sounds. You can use a looper like the TC Ditto to sample sounds or trigger previously recorded material via USB. And placing Hotone Trem pedal after the looper can produce unique sounds, especially when manipulating the pedal’s speed knob.

Mooer Modverb Henretta Engineering Bluebird JHS Mini Foot Fuzz Mooer Black Secret Mooer Reecho TC Electronic Ditto Hotone Trem Image Map
Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, ZZ Top, John Mayer, Joe Bonamassa

Start with an old classic in form of the Ibanez Mini TS–9. Use a ZVEX Channel 2 before the TS–9 to add more gain, or place it after to boost the volume. For a smooth and round fuzz sound, stick with the Dunlop Fuzz Face Mini Joe Bonamassa.

The Hotone Soul Press can be used as either a volume or Wah pedal and has a really unique bottom value knob to sculpt the range in Wah tone. Add a bit of compression for boost and sustain in the form of the Fairfield Accountant Compressor. The Malekko Spring reverb pedal is a perfect addition for an always–on reverb or more pronounced splashes like that of a spring reverb tank.

Ibanez TS Mini ZVEX Channel 2 Hotone Soul Press Wah Malekko Spring Reverb Fairfield Accountant Dunlop Bonamassa Fuzz Face Mini Image Map
Classic Country
Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Glen Campbell, Brad Paisley

The foundation of this sound involves half of the pedals: drive, compression, and slap delay. Using a Mooer Hustle Drive in low gain mode, MXR Mini Dyna Comp, and Mooer Ana Echo for the classic country and country rock sounds.

The TC Electronics Hall of Fame Mini can be tweaked with the Toneprint software for endless sounds. Use the Mooer Acoustikar as an acoustic simulator if you’re trying to cover all of the necessary components of a classic country band.

Mooer Acoustikar Mooer Ana Echo Keeley Katana Mini Mooer Hustle Drive MXR Dyna Comp Mini TC Electronic Hall of Fame Mini Image Map
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