Thursday, June 26, 2008

The GearHead's 12 Step Program: How to Get and Keep a Serious Gear Problem

Here is Part One of a twelve part series:

I remember as if it were yesterday, the first time I became aware of effects pedals for guitar. Having just been given two pedals and a box of old guitar magazines, I was taking it all in. I had just started playing guitar and was having enough trouble figuring out what a chord was, let alone the “subtle” differences between analog and digital. I couldn’t (and never really did) get a handle on scales, so why would I bother to fool with decay times and daisy chains? I was green… really green and I had no idea the Pandora’s Box I was about to open.

The subsequent years brought a little more knowledge and a lot more gear. Below are some pieces of gear that helped fuel my obsession over the years. It is a guide for you gearheads out who know you have a problem and are excited about it. Check this stuff out if you haven’t already. Been into gear for a while? Disagree with me? Killer- leave a comment and clue me into your favorites. Even if you’re a newly burgeoning gearhead- take this list as advice on where to start:

Pedalboards- We start with the foundation on which every pedal is place. I’ll be honest- before becoming a Pedaltrain endorser last year, I built almost every other pedalboard I’ve ever owned myself. When it comes to manufactured boards, I’m of the opinion that the Pedaltrain can’t be beaten. It’s deceptively simple and thus the most versatile board out there. Pedaltrain allows you to not only have a place to house your pedals, it also provides you with a medium to create your own gear addict “work of art”. Seriously, visit Pedaltrain’s website ( and check out the user photos. Every board is different and totally unique. I can spend hours looking (and have) at the pics that people send in (there are a few celebrity boards in there too) and it’s always inspiring.

The “artistic freedom” afforded you by Pedaltrain is something that it has in common with the “home made” board.

I’ve seen some pretty interesting HMPbs (Homemade pedalboards) in the past. Usually, guys will go with a standard ¼” piece of plywood, maybe or maybe not paint it black (pardon the Stones pun), and then attach the Stompboxes using various methods. Personally, I’ve found that the best material out there with which to construct a HMPb is ¼” hardboard. Hard board is basically peg-board without the holes drilled in it. You can buy it in 2’X4’ sheets at Home Depot, Lowes, or any other Hardware store. Cut it in half and glue the two pieces together. This will make it a ½” piece- still light weight, yet more durable. I prefer this because not only is it lighter that plywood, but it usually has a smooth side which is perfect for attaching Velcro, if that’s your preferred attachment method.


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