I recently picked up a very nice and lightweight pedal board made out of aluminum alloy tubing. This thing was a solid buy, comes with a softshell case, carrying strap, and some heavy duty two-inch velcro. As excited as I was to configure the order of my pedals and attach them to the pedalboard, one detail was making me uncomfortable: sticking velcro to my bottom of all my pedals. Like many guitarists, I’ve spent good money over the years and have amassed a nice little collection of pedals. I try my hardest to keep them in tip-top shape and mucking them up with velcro just didn’t seem like something I want to do.
After a bit of Googling, I came across a novel method of attaching pedals to pedalboards using a standard bicycle chain. This method will attach your pedals very securely and can be done in a short amount of time. I’ll describe what I used for my aluminum pedalboard, but this can easily be adapted for other types of material (wooden pedalboards, etc…)
What you’ll need
- Pedalboard (the one I have)
- Guitar Pedals (Boss, Ibanez, etc…)
- Bicycle Chain
- Bike Chain Tool
- Screws – (#6, 1/2″, Pan head sheet metal similar to these)
- Phillips Screwdriver
Breaking apart the chain links
The chain tool works by removing the small cylindrical rivets from each link. Line up one link from the chain in the tool and turn the handle until it has completely pushed out the rivet. After removing several rivets, you should have a pile of perfectly flat links and a pile of thicker links, we will be using the flat links.
|Good Links||Unused Links
Clean the links (optional but recommended)
Soak the links in a solution of dish detergent and hot water. I put all the flat links into a paper cup and swished it around, constantly draining and filling the cup until the water ran clear. This should take only a few minutes.
Attach Link To Pedals
Most guitar pedals have four (or more) screws on the bottom of the pedal, usually in the corners. To attach a link to the pedal, simply remove the screw and replace it with the link between the screw and the pedal. I’ve found that two links will easily and securely hold down a standard Boss-sized pedal by placing them opposite one another in a "kitty-corner" fashion. For larger pedals, use four links.
Decide pedal order
One of the biggest things that you have to do before drilling is deciding what order you’d like the pedals to be attached to the pedalboard. It’s pretty clear that since you’ll be screwing the pedals in place, it won’t be quick and easy to change their order. So take your time upfront and decide what order your pedals will be connected.
Connect patch cables between pedals
Before drilling, connect all the patch cables between pedals. I’ve configured my pedals to be pretty close together, leaving no room for plugging/unplugging once they are screwed in place. You may prefer to leave more room between pedals, either way, plugging them in now will give you a better idea of what your final setup will look like and assert that there will be enough room on the pedalboard to support your configuration.
Drill pilot holes and affix pedals
With all your pedals in place, drill 1/8″ holes through the open links into your pedalboard. Be sure to vacuum away (or brush away) the leftover shavings from the hole.
I prefer screwing down each pedal as I complete the holes for each pedal. It should take a little bit of force to screw in each screw, this is normal, I’ve selected a somewhat smaller pilot hole to get the best "grab" from each screw.
That’s it, your pedals should now be securely fastened to your pedalboard without any fear of them coming off when carried vertically or even upside down.
(completed pedalboard, bottom row is fastened with screws)