Other Equipment

Load Lightening: Shortboard & the Featherweight Rig


I also went the tweed case route. I built a slanted board to sit the pedals on and still have room to close the case.

I made the lid removable.


Tox: yeah, sorry man. My pedals are all in a row, and yours are over-n-under. You really have the same device count - and lookit the Actual Space Echo you carry about, not to mention the mini-Leslie!

Seems we must chase some of the same stereofied lush ambience, though going about it with different hardware.

– Proteus

True. swirly echo-y stereo goodness. I guess most of my pedals aren't effects but foot switches controlling effects. the MXR , EQ as volume boost. 2 footswitches for echo and tremelo/reverb, Ab box to have two guitars hooked and tuner.

I like mechanical things that go round and round the leslies are pretty small The space echo is cool and can be run stereo unlike most of the coveted Rolands. also it has an instrument input with the right impedance so no 50' cables or any of that hooey. A couple of Leslies..they spin on different planes!! Baldwin first


Well since I'm here I might as well play the game, as I just last night committed this board to the rigidity of Dual Lock. Here is my 7-pedal-special (I'll count both the tuner and looper as half-pedals):

This is not drastically different from anything you've seen from me.

-The TC Electronic Polytune 3 gives me a buffer, and some visual panache. It is occasionally used to tune the guitar.

-Next is the Mr. Black Big Payback Compressor. This was an "upgrade" from a MXR Custom Comp. I do like it's more "modern" sounding VCA-style compressor, which is capable of all the vintagey juice, but adds some more extreme settings. You can see I have it set rather mildly. I've played back and forth putting it before or after my drives, and currently I like it here. Sometimes I like to slam it with the Tubescreamer to force it into super-saggy-sustain.

-The TC Sub'n'Up Octave Pedal is probably my most out-there sound, and as such it is probably used the least. Combined with the compressor it gives me some nice organ grind or 12-string chime. The Toneprint functionality leds me add some weird modulations and stuff, which is fun too.

-The Tubescreamer comes next. I can't tell you anything you don't know about these, except that I love mine and don't quite understand where the hate comes from. This thing is macaroni-and-cheese comfort food to me. I will say that I have not tried a lot of the more "transparent" drives, so maybe I don't know what I'm missing. My next two planned builds are a Klone and a Timmy-too, so maybe then I'll see the light. For color-coordination-sake, I really ought to replace it with something silver.

-I made this Rat recently, and I really like it for heavy-but-tight distortion. I'm more accustomed to using fuzz for my heavier sounds, and this provides some nice relief from the blown-out bass of my Big Muffs. It has a Timmy-style bass control for fattening it up just-a-little-bit, and a diode switch for LEDs (my favorite).

-The Ibanez DE7 Delay/Echo is the most surprising-to-me addition to the board of late. I have traditionally never gotten along with delays (though admittedly I haven't tried many). Most of my problems have been with mix controls that never quite gave me the sit-behind-the-guitar ambience I really wanted. I built a cassette-tape-delay (check my post history for that) that was a really fun project, and a great sound, but setting it up can be a nuisance. After hearing a friend gush about his DE7, I saw one come up on the GDP Garage Sale for cheap and I jumped on it. This thing's echo mode gives me a lot of the lofi decay I love about my tape machine, but doesn't have the random-warbly modulation. I'm liking it more for longer-proggy 100-300 ms delays rather than slapback.

-Strymon Flint. Again, not much I need to say about this. It makes me not miss my Twin Reverb so much. I like the 70s Reverb with the Bias Trem. The reverb is pretty much always on, trem sparingly, and knobs at noon (not sure how the mix knob got bumped before my photo sesh).

-The ammoon Looper was really an impulse buy, and I hardly ever use it. In my bluesier days I might have practiced solos with it or something, but these days I'm mainly playing single-voice pieces.

-Walrus Aetos. I'll admit I bought this because it had cooler graphics than the Voodoo Labs similar-offering. Clean power really was eye-opening after a decade of OneSpot use. It has a nice extension outlet too, which will come in handy sometime I'm sure.

Now tell me why I need a Deco, because I've got room.


Tox, I love the idea of doing things mechanically that we're now used to emulating electronically. There's definitely something "real" and "organic" about it - and you've found a good way to do it at reasonable sizes. Part of me is a diehard Rube Goldberg fan (those three words conjure up their own mechanical image!), and there's just not much in the music business - short of a pipe organ or calliope - as Goldbergian as a Leslie cab.

And you got two of them swirling at different rates interrupting each others' sound waves in ridiculously complex ways. Can't beat that!

I have a Cordovox with an 8" speaker - much smaller and more portable than real Leslies, but still bigger than your homebrew rigs. I've never gigged with it; I suppose I should, just for the entertainment value and because its demonstrably true that nothing sounds like a mechanical Leslie as heard in the room, live. (You can't really prove it's true, though, because when reduced to a recording, something is lost.) I recorded with it once, and made what must the classic mistake of mic'ing it in stereo WAY too close, and making myself seasick on playback.

[SIDERIAL TANGENT • As I recount the Leslie-mic'ing anecdote, I feel like I've told it before, surely here on the GDP. As I don't keep close enough track of what I tell whom (making me a poor liar) - and because even if I remembered who was directly party to the exchange in a thread, I can't ever know who might read it without signing the NDA - I fear I'm telling the same stories over and over to the same people. I wonder how functionally different that is from true Demetia, God bless her leaky vessel. Then I reflect that the GDP is in some danger of becoming the virtual equivalent of the front porch of an old general store, where aging fellas sit for years over the same game of checkers, telling each other the same stories, perfecting them as they go along - the tellers getting only an occasional sense of having told the stories before, and the listeners standing about an even chance of remembering.

When I was in college, possibly in altered states of consciousness, playing guitar with friends and speculating about the unknowable future, I had a mental picture of myself in my golden years, sitting on the porch of a cabin, playing the same guitar, balding in front, hair down my back, rolling seeds out of the same album covers. The seeds are long out of the picture and the album covers are now virtual, but durned if here I ain't on the porch in Cyberia.

At other times I imagined myself on a starship, playing to myself and the stars, getting unimagined sounds out of fabulous inconceivable synthesizers, on my way to anywhere. Now that I think about it, I have those synths (and some more inconceivable than I then had the imagination not even to conceive) in a then-unimaginable supercomputer-in-the-shape-of-a-notebook. So there's that part of the future, more than realized.

I've also come to understand that given the expanding universe, the motion of earth and the ungodly speed of the galaxy it wiggles around in (see footnote), I've never been in the same place twice. I am on the way somewhere, and time- and space-travel are the same thing. • End SIDERIAL TANGENT.]

So anyway, where was I. Oh yeah, Cordovox. I should also take another pass at mic'ing it in the studio. But there are so many things I should be doing, and I come up with more every day. So it's actually on the ReverBay list. Not listed yet. On the list to be listed.

I don't stand or fall on the almighty Leslie effect (except when I'm seasick), employing it only occasionally on guitar. And something sufficiently convincing is built into both the Nord Electro 3 I use for live organ, and the perfectly fabuwwous iPad apps I use more virtually. (Given headphones and stereo amplification, natch.)

Love to hear how that rig sounds, Tox!

Footnote: most of us (more or less midway between equator and a pole) are traveling between 700 and 1,000 miles an hour with the earth's rotation; while we're doing that spin, we're pirouetting around the sun at a leisurely and graceful 67,000 mph. While we're spinning and circling the great ball of fire, we're also swinging in an enormous sashay around the center of the galaxy at about 550,000 mph. Wheels within wheels.

And while we're at that dance, the Milky Way is doing its best to get away from everything else - at a speed of something like 1.3 million mph.

That all sounds a little like the crazy motion of an enormous Leslie or two, with a band playing on the back of a flatbed truck on its way to a big party at the Universal Joint. Music of the spheres and all.

I'm not celestially mechanical enough to plot that motion, but I think it also means I'm about 320,000 miles from where I was 10 minutes ago when I started on this footnote.

So that's bookin' it.


Otter, very well-considered board. I could function there.

Pedal order makes perfect sense, for all the same reasons we've now both referred to. I had my compressor before drives for decades (ideal for classic/prog/shreddy soaring leads); now I have it after for rootsier more touch-sensitive guitar dynamics. Neither is better.

I don't have an octaver/harmonizer on the Shortboard, though I used a Boss OC-3 in the dim days of the 80s - and when going full self-indulgent ambient guitorchestral on the Mothership, I patch in an E-H Hog...which more than covers that. I'm no fan at all of guitars emulating organs, per se, but I like twinning bass and lead, sounding almost like two guys playing stunningly together (which can be enhanced with judicious separate outputting), and who can resist lead stacks in 4ths and 5ths? Never a fan of Whammy effects - but I'm thinking about an E-H Pitchfork for regular service on the Mothership (even it's not big enough to accommodate the Hog AND it's huge 6-program memory box).

That leaves my shortboard without a real psychedelic tool; I've had the Earthquaker Rainbow Machine on the Mothership for several years - some chorusy delay, adjustable pitch offsets from fattening to detuning to up to a 3rd up and a 4th down (or the other way around) for really atonal harmonizing, plus the "Magic" button which offsets each repeat of a delay by the selected interval. And does all this mixably an octave and TWO octaves down. Mondo trippy...rarely used, but entertaining when it is. At least for me.

We both have more dirtboxes than I ever thought a pedalboard would need (through the 80s I survived with the single largish but unique E-H Graphic Fuzz). I have nothing against Tubescreamers - the Mothership has the Wampler Clarksdale variant which seems to cover all that ground for me.

Transparent overdrives are really an entirely different class of thing, not even primarily useful for the same function - or, rather, you can do the same thing (overdrive-stortion), but they sound so different you don't even think of them the same. For me it's not one or other, it's one sometimes and the other at other times. (And occasionally both together.) To be simplistic, they're the difference between Stevie Ray (TS) and his brother (transparency). I think I'm perfectly happy with the Euphoria for this - but certainly the Tim remains the king of these things. (It's just too big for the Shortboard.)

I'm no fan of the Rat. Not my era, I guess. But I love fuzz - when I love it, which isn't all that often. It's just that when that's what you want, that's what you need. I have the Stomp Under Foot Tri-Muff on the Mothership, but I'm not completely sold on it. It's not as much juicy fun as it should be.

That covers most of the drive/dirt/distortion domain I generally need - we're not going full metal jacket - but I do experiment with amp-in-box type pedals. Wampler 57Tweed and PlexiDrive occasionally visit the Mothership - and I should probably have a 30-Someting to go easily to Voxland. Then there's the Ethos Overdrive for That Dumble Thang - but that's another whole class of device I haven't bellied up to yet.

Dirt boxes are always the biggest problem.

Glad you've found a delay you like - and for me, too, that classic/prog ambient backwash is the most engaging purpose. And yes, I love me some variable wobble and gnarled-up decay of adjustable sorts. I have a new Deluxe Memory Man which perfectly relives the original I had for years (but without noise), but of course the Mystery Brain is doing the honors here on Shortboard.

I heartily approve of your lack of phase, flange, or blatant chorus.

I do love loopers - have the Boss stereo on the Mothership - but don't need it on the Shortboard.

Again, I could function very well on your board. Some guys' boards are just completely alien to me - not just the way they're wired and switch, but the actual pedals deployed.

That's what makes pedaling such an endless time sink...


Oh. Why do you need a Deco? Because it looks great?

I don't know what more to say than I've already said (and Ade has added) - but the short version is probably that every player whose interest it stimulates will probably find his own magic in it.


Yeah, the Deco's on my Christmas list... not that anyone's going to read my Christmas list.

Anyways, what are y'all using for patch cables on these wonderful boards? The George L and Lava kits are attractive, but I talk myself out of them because, "hey I could make these cables for a fraction of the price." The reality is I'm far too lazy to go building a dozen 6-inch cables. I'm currently using a mixture of Hosa pancakes and some grab bag of patch cables I picked up at Guitar Center years ago.


I picked up a six-pack of short Hosas on Amazon for 20 bucks. They work fine, as far as I can tell, and if they fail I can still repair one easier than I could build one from scratch.

I just don't think a 6" span of cable is going to have much noticeable impact on sound, so long as the connections are solid.


Man I've fought the cable issue. Went through piles of cables last night. I can't believe how many patch cables of various lengths I've made over the years. A lot of years. So many years that cable jackets have gone brittle and are cracking away. Some of the vinyl is oozing. I disgust myself.

But say to yourself: women come and go, empires rise and fall; Switchcraft is forever.

I have Switchcraft 280s I know have been on three or four cables through the years. Solder solder solder. I'll be cutting literally dozens off as soon as I get over the denial and accept that all my cut and burned fingers, all the solder fumes I sucked up over the last 10-20-30-40 years has been for naught.

There will be many deals to be had on Switchcraft ends from me. And Hosa effects snakes. One fabulous Neutrik-ended effects patch snake. It's awful.

For low profile on a pedalboard, it's still hard to beat the right angle Switchcraft pancake. But I'm done with soldering. Had to do some this morning on a guitar, and it just annoys me.

So from here on out, it's either pre-made or George L. I hate spending that George L money, so I went looking for Hosa right-angle-ended effects patches (I also have dozens of their 18" straight-ended patches) and couldn't find them. Bought other stuff with RA on Amazon, and they're fine - but they're TOO BULKY. The ends are big and honkin', the cable is thick and untuckable.

I've never had a GeorgeL fail in use (I know right away when I make it if I got it right or not), and they're practically fun to put together. No dreading like with big thick Belden and Switchcraft. The color-coded caps help me troubleshoot signal-flow issues.

You CAN make'm yourself for less. But not if your time and aggravation - and eyesight and nose hairs - are worth anything. Plus, you can instantly repurpose GeorgeL cable to different (obviously, shorter!) lengths as needed. No waste, ever.

Save yourself time and money over the long run: send George the money now for what you need.


But good lord, it's $100 for 10 (TEN!) of George's plugs. That's 10 (TEN!) plugs, which makes only 5 (FIVE!) patch cables. $100.


But good lord, it's $100 for 10 (TEN!) of George's plugs. That's 10 (TEN!) plugs, which makes only 5 (FIVE!) patch cables. $100.

Looks like they've gone up since I bought.

Yeah, that's pricey. It's awful.


Aw but Bax, those ends are ugly.


They are, but tight on a board it's not as bad.

I have considered Plasti-Dip-ing them. That might be nice.


I use the cables that Bax posted. I've had one fail out of the pack of 6 in several years of using them.


Reading some of the posts in this thread makes my effort at pedalboard building seem quite frugal. Anyway, this is what I'm running at the moment. I don't really like the chorus effect (any chorus) but there are some songs I'm required to play where this effect is (apparently) needed: the Dano did it well enough for me but I never found the switch to be easy to operate in mid-tune, so a Marshall multi-modulation pedal has just moved in. The Mesa pedal is very low gain (particularly for a Mesa) and gives me either a clean boost or just turning a little hairy. The TC moves on from there, although I never need nor want to get beyond a bit of Keith Richards crunch. The Boo Instruments tremolo is a great pedal to my ears.


But Dave, still 7 pedals and a power supply... Same like most in the thread!


LA Manny, that in very neat. Using the lid as the base and getting a nice tilt to the board, excellent concept and execution.

Quite saddened to hear that Christine Keeler died yesterday. I mentioned her earlier in the thread.


Tech 21 FlyRig is my friend. I use this for open mic, practice and some gigs. Sounds great straight into a PA.


Tim, looking forward to any audio/video noodlings featuring the BS301 & Deco.


Ah. Yessir. I'll try to get on it. Lots of gear and guitar adventures going on in my domain at the moment, and it's hard to keep focus!


"But Dave......still seven pedals and a power supply"

Tim: yeah, I know. Maybe what I should have done is buy an amp with built-in reverb and tremolo -- that's two pedals fewer. But, of course, such as amp would need a two-button footswitch so no great advantage there. To be honest, I could manage quite well with just a boost pedal (I like the big blue Fulltone boost/drive unit), a Strymon Flint and a delay pedal of choice (and stuff the chorus).


If we were to use the iPad Nano as the small board standard -- and I'm gonna, cause I have one -- then I think eight pedals is the max you'd get on there.


Yes, stuff the chorus. We can always stuff the chorus. (I try to stuff mine with a hook and anthemic melodic lift, but no one ever sings along.)

I'm well over dedicated chorus. That said, some subtle and temporarily non-cloying chorii came in the Styrmon Mobius, which I occasionally engage. I got the box for a slew of tremolos, vibes, and rotatin'spikkers, and the choruseseses and some other fun stuff just came with it. Just out of principle, though, I should delete all the flange and phase programs (not that I'm ever even tempted), and maybe Magic-Marker out the words themselves on the selector dial.

But what am I saying. The Mobius isn't even on the Shortboard. Sorry, wrong thread.

I was very late in coming to reverb on the pedalboard, exactly because "any decent amp" has reverb. (In fact, having reverb was part of my definition of an amp worth owning.) I thought it was the Height of Silly to have it on the board. It probably still wouldn't be there if not for stereo. I'm a stereo junkie. And it is nice to have the plate and digital options in the Flint (not to mention the whole expanding universe of reverb wonder in the Big Sky (wrong board again).

(And why do we associate reverb with space? EnCLOSED spaces on earth, yes. Chambers, cathedrals, culverts, caves, canyons. But how did "spacey" get associated with, you know, OUTER space? Pretty sure that even if there was air out there, we wouldn't get reverb. [I think I read that if there was air between here and the sun, the noise of its fusion furnace as heard from earth would sound, outside, like riding a motorcycle. Everywhere, all the time. So that's the sound of space, right there.)

Mark G, you sent me down a compact-prettyeasy-multi rathole with the Tech21. Got me thinking. In the same vein, the Mooer Red Truck looks meritorious.

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