Pedalboard Weight Loss

Below is an old photo of my performance pedal board.

I was running a Pedaltrain Pro frame. About 32 inches wide and 16 inches deep. The frame was loaded with two Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 2 units to provide power to eleven pedals. I had swapped out the Diamond Memory Lane analog delay for a Strymon Timeline and I added a Midi Mouse controller to drive the Timeline for patch changes.

Thirteen pedals. Roughly sixty pounds of weight.

I sent the following email to my wife. I was in San Francisco.

From: Richard Cleaver
Date: Sat, Feb 25, 2012 at 8:29 AM
Subject: Back pain
To: Lorraine Cleaver

Worst case of back pain since before I started working with Nino 🙁

I could barely sleep as the pain was so intense. This morning I can barely stand or walk!

I had taken a redeye flight to San Francisco and I injured my back during the air travel. And I have paid the price over the past five weeks. The pain has only just started to subside.

Back to the pedalboard. It is the single heaviest item in my rig. It is large and difficult to move. With a history of back problems, I decided that it was time to leverage a minimalist rig for most of what I do on a weekly basis.

My tone comes primarily from my hands, then the guitar and then the amp. The effects enhance that tone. I play primarily with stacked overdrives and delays. I took a hard look at the board and pared things to their essence.

I was able to bring the board down to the following:

One Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 2 lurks underneath the board. Three overdrives — Tim, Full-Drive 2 and an OCD. Strymon Timeline for delays. The Timeline provides a dozen different delay machines so it is really all the delay I need for performance work. A tuner and a volume pedal. Seven pedals instead of thirteen. All on a Pedaltrain JR board that measures 17 inches wide by 12.5 inches deep. Less than half the size of the big board and under twenty pounds. I wired up the power to the board last night. I will finish the signal wiring tonight.

8 replies
  1. Rob From Canada
    Rob From Canada says:

    So, Richard – I have been reading with interest your downsizing exercise and I find it interesting to see where you’ve landed. 3 overdrives and no chorus or some other similar pitch shifter at all?


    Hope all is well, Rob

    • Richard Cleaver
      Richard Cleaver says:

      Hi Rob,

      The TimeLine covers an awful lot of territory in terms of modulation and filters. It basically incorporates 12 different delay machines include filters, swells, tremolos, ice (pitch shifting and splitting). The rationale was cutting down the weight of the board for my weekly gigs due to some ongoing challenges with a bad back. I still have a bigger board for those dates that might warrant the extra hardware but so far I have not been missing it.

  2. Cameron
    Cameron says:

    Hi Richard. I stumbled across your blog this morning. Nice pared-down board. I was just curious about the order of your effects. Is it just as it looks: VP – tuner – ocd – fulldrive – tim – timeline?



    • Richard Cleaver
      Richard Cleaver says:

      Hi Cameron,

      Thanks for dropping by the blog. I swapped out the OCD for an Analog Man modded Ibanez Tube Screamer as it seemed to work better with my Fender Custom 57 Deluxe Reissue amp. The path goes as follows: VP -> tuner -> tim -> tubescreamer -> fulldrive -> timeline. I also swapped out the solderless Lava cables for soldered Lava cables. This setup works really well for me and I find that I am not missing the big board.


  3. Joe
    Joe says:

    Nice smaller pedalboard. Can you send me a picture of it all wired up? It looks real tight. I’m wondering if there was enough room for cabling. I’m putting a smaller board together now with similar pedals.


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