Okay, picture this - you save up money for that amazing distortion pedal, you buy that distortion pedal, you have great jams with that distortion pedal, you then think of adding an EQ pedal to accompany your distortion pedal, you then start saving up for the EQ pedal. Months later, you have a sweet small collection of 3 of your favorite guitar pedals all patched up with the cables, ready to rock the brains out, but something itches you a lot.
All three are just sitting on the floor. There is no platform to neatly arrange them in order. It’s a cable nightmare. You then start searching for a pedalboard and are bombarded with infinite sites with variable sizes, materials and cost. You get confused and find it hard to make a decision about the perfect size until your collection is complete, because let’s face it, we guitarists can NEVER stop buying pedals. NEVER!
What do you do? How do you solve this dilemma? What if you could have an ever expanding pedalboard that grows with your pedal collection. Wait, is that a voice speaking out to me ..“Dude, there is a solution”
1. Hello Modular Pedalboard
A modular pedalboard is a guitar effect pedalboard which acts and looks like a normal pedalboard but has the added advantage to mount together smaller pedalboards of various sizes and combinations to expand with your ever expanding effect pedal collection, enabling you to create your own custom layouts based on your gig requirements.
Think of it as lego - You can connect each piece into every other piece in whichever way possible to make a uniquely shaped pedalboard, which houses your effect pedals perfectly. You get endless combination possibilities and will help you ignite the creative side of you to make your own unique pedalboards.
Usually made out of a single sheet of aluminum, laser cut to precision, modular pedalboards have the functionality that any guitarist would require. It houses the pedals that you own in whichever format you wish. You can totally customize the entire setup according to what you want and create a unique rig of your own. Not to mention they are durable, lightweight, modular, aesthetic and cost effective.
In this article, I will take you through 5 main reasons why you should consider buying a modular guitar pedalboard for your rig. Whether you are a bedroom metalhead or a live punk-rocker, I implore you to read on and create a unique pedalboard as unique as your signature sound.
Reasons to Rock A Modular Pedalboard
1. Enhanced Customization
We all love building our own rig. Getting our hands dirty in creating various combinations, heck we also have the knack to open up our guitar and change humbuckers (been there, done that, albeit not successfully, ouch!) but the very fact that we guitarists are dreamers, calls for that craving every-time. And though we would also love to build our own pedals, we can at least start from building our own “pedalboard”.
Modular pedalboards are the perfect gear to let you get loads of room for customizations and fulfilling that desire of creating and building. The very fact that these come in various sizes and have bolts to connect each other, in various combinations, speaks for itself. You can easily take up modules, bolt them together, screw in an angular footpeg and you are ready to roll.
With a modular pedalboard you can make an L shape, U shape, Rectangle, Square heck a triangular shape if you like with its variability and endless combination options. They also come with an angular foot ped option of an inclined surface so that you don’t hurt your ankle while foot-switching. Just screw in, adjust the height and the angle and you are ready to go.
We all know that there is nothing right or wrong when it comes to pedal order (apart from the standard signal chain) but let’s say you are in the mood to go down that “tone-shaping” road and with the arsenal of various pedals you have, you get started with placing pedals in various order to find that unique tone. With a modular pedalboard you have the liberty to do endless swapping between the mounts, and you don’t have to manually swap the pedals (which might be already “velcro-ed” or “dual-locked” to the pedalboard). This makes it so easy to just experiment with pedal combinations, without having to re-velcro everything up.
With a modular pedalboard , you also have the liberty to minimize signal loss and maintain audio integrity. You can easily create a tidy and efficient layout of cables, without being a snake-charmer.
2. Portability and Convenience
Okay, this one will really appease most of the touring guitarists out there. Let’s be clear, we all want to keep our “gym” separate from our “gear”. We are not here to add weights to our gear and do a workout in the middle of a touring session. We want our gear to be as light as possible and as portable as possible, yet hold everything properly and sturdy. This becomes of utmost importance when choosing the right pedalboard for your rig. Modular pedalboards are not only made with thin aluminum lightweight sheets, but also are extremely portable. If you are into a massive pedalboard too, you don’t need to carry the entire assembled version. Just carry the individual parts and then assemble at the venue to make a huge massive pedalboard which will fit all your pedals for that kick-ass show. It’s the perfect solution for versatile setups without compromising on space.
You have the liberty to choose the right gear for the right venue. You don;t need to carry an entire setup for an acoustic show or a wedding where you know, the mellow vibes is what is called for. Imaging carrying an entire metal-soul-crunching setup to an acoustic show or a wedding. With a modular pedalboard, you can just detach the module which houses a basic acoustic set of pedals (compressor, booster maybe reverb), without disturbing the entire setup and carry it in your small gig bag. Later on, you can easily mount it back to the rest of the pedalboard.
3. Durability and Longevity
With lightweight, comes the next pressing question - “will it hold my $1000 pedal collection?”. The last thing you want is your precious buddies to scatter across the stage floor or worse, fall off while traveling *nightmare alert*.
Well, modular pedalboards help you solve that question. Made with a single sheet of high-grade aluminum, laser cut to perfection, modular pedalboards usually can sustain upto 150 Kgs of weight without breakage or any bending. They are extremely durable and can last you for a lifetime. The materials used ensure long-term performance, protection against wear and tear (no rusting, phew!) while maintaining the aesthetic you love.
They also go through a series of stress-tests where they are bludgeoned with a newton press to simulate a 150 kg load. They also go through a drop test (trust me, I have personally dropped it, while holding my breath. Result - not a dent) to ensure that your precious pedals stay intact.
Needless to say, once you invest in a good quality modular pedalboard, you have ensured a lifetime of companionship without any signs of rusting, bending or breakage. Modular pedalboards can protect your gear and your pocket!
Let’s be honest, you will never compromise in the quality of the effect pedals you choose. And similarly, I don’t think you would compromise with the pedalboard as well. You need a good quality pedalboard to house and protect your precious effect pedals from any damage, but at the same time, you don’t want to spend unnecessarily on just the pedalboard. You want to save up and spend on good quality pedals later on in your guitar career. Let me tell you, modular pedalboard check marks all the necessary requirements - lightweight, durable, customizable, aesthetic, adjustable, portable - and along with it cost effective. You can get a great quality modular pedalboard starting just $50. It’s not only cost effective, but also ensures future upgrades and is not heavy on your pocket.
Instead of investing in a huge fixed pedalboard, when you are just building your pedal gear army, it does not make sense as they are damn expensive. Instead, a more mature and strategic way to go about it is to expand your pedalboards as you go along expanding your pedals. Buying modules and then mounting them together to make one huge pedalboard is not only cost effective but also makes room for you to save up for other essential accessories that you might need.
Plus, you can easily dismantle and check box all the above reason (especially reason 1) and not have to worry about buying a separate gear. They also become easy for a resale should you wish to thin down or replace it with a bigger module.
5. Future-Proof Investment: Expand Your Arsenal
Lastly, what better a reason, than future proofing your rig. Okay, I get it, as a guitarist, it’s never enough of “pedals”, and no matter how much we try, we always reach out for that shiny box of metal, sitting on the rack of a music store, calling out to you with those puppy-eyed-knobs.
So instead of fighting the urge to buy the next shiny box, let’s accept the fact that we need a rig that is future proof, that is expandable, that is durable, that is sturdy, that is aesthetic, that is modular and lastly cost effective. Modular pedalboards give you that liberty and freedom. With endless variations of sizes, you get endless possibilities to expand (or thin down) your pedalboard rig depending on your current pedal arsenal for years to come.
Modular pedalboards are the perfect sweet spot, when it comes to future proofing your rig. Because it becomes imperative for us guitarists to keep on enhancing our sound, work with the best of the gears, and have something that can be customizable and modular, which will help us expand our boundaries of creativity. Not saying a piece of metal will make up for the subpar sound, but it definitely helps us expand our minds and think-out-of-the-box when it comes to tone shaping.
Music is evolving, and so is the tech around it. We have to keep up with the latest trends and tech to make the most out of our gear. So that we not only give the desired support to other musicians, but also perform our best. Because there is no better feeling than that. Future proofing your rig is the best thing you could do when it comes to guitar pedalboards.
There are endless reasons to mention for investing in a modular pedalboard, but the above 5 sums up the most important ones. I can honestly say (with owning a modular pedalboard myself), things have changed drastically. I never thought I could think of building my guitar pedalboard strategically and financially sound.
It’s not going to be wrong to say that, with a modular pedalboard, you can think like a gear-god, and be more mature with your gear. As guitarists, we like to delve into specifics and the technicalities, but when it comes to simplicity and creativity, we want a clutter free environment and rig to be able to experiment with sounds and tones. Modular pedalboard gives you that freedom, not because it’s just a piece of metal, but because it's “the” piece of metal that can define your “BRAND” as a guitarist.
There is no end to pedals, but having the best gear to complement your pedals with a fully customizable, modular, durable, portable and budget-friendly pedalboard is a blessing. I can say for sure that modular pedalboards are the future of pedalboards and they would not only enable beginners (who can’t afford a $200 “fixed” pedalboard) get started with live shows but also advanced players and touring musicians to create customizable rigs that can be role models for many others.