May 082012
 

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

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.

Done!

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)

 Posted by at 8:09 am

  11 Responses to “Bicycle chain links as velcro alternative for guitar pedal board”

  1. EXCELLENT idea !!! I am building a large pedal board from two pieces of aluminum truck running boards to hold about 2 pedals plus a common power supply. I just welded up a forming die to press 1/8″ hold down rods bent into a “U” shape and threaded on the ends 6-32, to go through the “board” , and use a washer and nut. I also put shrink tubing on the part contacting the pedal. BUT, YOURS is a great idea, and I may do another one using your idea. VERY simple !!! Thanks !!

  2. I use Dual Lock and it is the best thing I’ve ever found — pedals still come off easy when you want them to, leaves no residue, strong like bull…..awesome. :) I make pre-cut and sized kits for any board if you want to check them out: http://kiesshauer.com/stuff.html

    • Basically another type of velcro. I’ve used it, and it is as much a pain as velcro. And your prices are absurd.

  3. http://www.pedalboardsupplies.com

    The better alternative to Velcro and to taking apart greasy bike chain links. Nylon also flexes so that you get a better fit regardless of pedal or pedalboard

  4. Thank you! I had been hearing about people using the bike chain method on wooden pedal board, but was unsure about how easy it would be with my Pedaltrain. I followed your instructions and it worked like a charm. Thanks for being specific about the screw sizes too.

  5. […] Others are fond of the “bicycle chain method” in which you cut a bicycle chain into individual links that have a hole on either side. You unscrew one of the pedal’s backplate screws and screw it back in through one one of the holes in the chain link, and then drill a hole screw facing whole into the pedalboard. For a clear explanation with pictures, check out this link. […]

  6. I had a ground fault issue with a metal pedaltrain pedal board and the metal bike links. The Pedal-links from Pedalboard Supplies are non conductive and completely fixed my issue.

    http://www.pedalboardsupplies.com

  7. […] don't have to worry about fuzzy side "up" or "down". I'm partial to the "bicycle chain link" method, although I actually use figure-eight fasteners figure-eight fasteners . This […]

  8. Like the idea but the chain links I got the holes are to small to fit any of my pedals screws through the hole to attach on pedals.

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