How to Build a Guitar Pedal Board: The Mindtribe Approach to Rock

Here at Mindtribe we have quite a few musicians spanning a wide variety of instruments.  I myself have been known to hold a guitar every now and then.  And sometimes I even find myself wanting to make sounds with it.  I mostly play acoustic, but when I do play electric I like to be able to change the guitar’s output. I really enjoy large dynamic ranges in one song.  To accomplish this, we guitarists occasionally have to make use of little metal boxes filled with electrical engineering magic, and it is often we need multiple boxes.  These magic boxes of course are called effects pedals.  I have been acquiring a few over the years, and now that I like to use more than 1 at a time, I felt it was a good idea to build a pedal board.

So I began thinking up what it was I wanted in a pedal board:

  • 2 height levels
  • Hold at least 6 pedals (one being a Wah)
  • Input/Output on the sides
  • Solid wood construction
  • Headphone output
  • Power supply
  • Lots of LEDs!
  • Guitar Stand
  • A built in mini amp so I can just play directly off the board!
  • Magnets! (I don’t know where or why, but I’ll add them just in case)
  • Hidden shrink ray and chamber to hold Jimmy Page so he plays and I get all the glory!!

And you can see how my personal projects normally go:  I get an idea for something I want to make and it starts off very simple. But before I know it, I have all these ideas of amazing features I would love to add until it reaches the point that the project becomes daunting and I never finish it.  Or I do finish it, and it turns out that I did not need, or maybe even want, all those extra features!  This is one application where employing one of Mindtribe’s key methodologies can really save your project:

Build Less, Faster

From our website: “Engineers often structure development by marching down the same path of prototypes and builds for every development effort. Time is wasted building things that aren’t important or not on the critical path to learning what matters most. We ask ourselves, “What do we want to learn?”, then build as little as possible to get there, as fast as possible.”

This applies to every endeavor from building a multi-million dollar, mass produced product that will be used the world over all the way down to a simple pedal board that will ultimately never leave my apartment.

Now, just because you know and understand this concept does not mean you will be immune to mistakes.  I started off wanting to build a simple solid wood pedal board with a slight incline.  I then realized that I had access to a laser cutter!  (Another common pitfall:  using technology just because it’s there, but that’s a different lesson)  So the ideas for a “fancy” looking board with curves and nice wire slots started creeping in.  Then I even considered doing a living hinge style front face!  So I went to the lumberyard.