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This article was originally published in issue #28
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As guitar players (and gear nerds) the chances are that you own as many pedals as I do. It's just the way we work, it's quick and easy to add a new pedal to the collection, they're reasonably inexpensive and can result in dramatic changes to your sonic arsenal. Put your hand up if you have a stupid pedal you've only used once. Put your hand up if you got a pedal just because you heard it pairs well with another pedal you have at home. Put your hand up if you have more than five overdrive pedals.... oh, wait... I've run out of hands!
The area we all seem to scrimp on is the place our pedals live. It's so easy to have a rig consisting of 12 pedals or more all scattered over the floor, but how do you go about transporting them from one gig to another? How do you stop them slipping around when you're tap dancing like Fred Astaire during that transition into your solo? There really is nothing like a good pedalboard for that, and we're not talking about a tea tray like Guthrie uses, why can't we get something purpose built with additional features at a reasonable price? Enter Charlie's Pedalboard.
This South Korean company has been building boards since 2010, and with five simple, cost effective options in their catalogue, they're quickly gaining momentum around the world as sensible alternatives to Pedaltrain and Diago.
Made from high density aluminium sheeting in China (interestingly, stock for the Korean market is made in Korea), everything about the construction of these boards leaves no questions. They're slick but sturdy with numerous rivets along each edge which suggests they're built to last and will take knocks like a pro in a gigging situation.
One of the best features on the two models we were sent is the clever “step” feature that allows for pedals on the back row to be elevated above those in the front, allowing you easy access to turning them on and off without fear of hitting the controls of pedals in the front row. Some models (the C-2, C-3 and C-4) even feature both the step feature and space for expression pedals like a wah or volume pedal, they've really catered to a wide variety of set-ups which should be applauded. Of course, I could describe the options all day but check out the video review and I'll show you just how many pedals you can get on one of these boards.
Other design features include hand slots for power cables to be threaded through while you hide your power supply in the underside of the step, now how's that for consideration? I have read that some people have even gone one step further by drilling small holes on the board to allow the use of cable ties to keep all patch leads and power cords in place. While you might consider it poor form to take a power tool to a product you pay real money for, it's worth pointing out that this isn't really an option with other wood based board/case combinations, so I'm considering this more of an option rather than an oversight.
So should you consider Charlie's Pedalboard? In a word, yes. They're great one-stop shops for getting all your pedals out on the road and come with the pedal board, a soft carry case and roll of velcro to get you going. If you need to organise all of your pedals and you want to do it for a reasonable cost and not have to go and buy extra things like a case and velcro, then these are a serious option for you. It might be the sort of thing you want to avoid spending money on, but trust me, once your pedals are all stuck down, you'll wonder how you ever managed without one!