Pedalboard V This is the fifth version of my bespoke pedalboard designed and built specifically to provide backing tacks and deliver a decent acoustic guitar tone at a gig. The most important product on the board is the Digitech Jamman, which contains the backing tracks and various other snippets of incidental music or wav files which help to provide the gig with a comic moment or 'ice-breaking' opportunity. The FS3X footswitch unit provides control of the Jamman via switches for scrolling through the presets. The Jamman has many other functions but I tend to use it specifically for backing tracks and preserve it as such to keep the reliability and continuity from gig to gig. Also rather important on the board is the presence of a tuner, at present I have the Ibanez LU10 although I'm finding it a little unreliable. I have had to set it into the board as not to hinder the use of surrounding switches.

The other pedals on the board are focused on the tone of the two acoustic guitars I use, a Martin DM and a Morgan Monroe MVS-45. The signal is modelled, shaped and repeated before it goes to the amps or pa. The Behringer ADI 21 is an Active DI box. A DI box is useful for eliminating any unwanted interference from the Guitar but this unit acts as a preamp, has EQ and level control. The signal is then shaped in the Fishman Aura; this product layers an acoustic image with the signal which helps to embellish the tone. Finally the signal goes through a Digitech Delay pedal which gives the overall tone some effect if needed such as an acoustic solo. The guitar signal is then routed to the Jamman where another level control blends the guitar with the level of the backing tracks, the whole lot is then sent to an amp or pa through a jack.

The Jamman draws more power than standard pedals so it needs its own power supply, the other four items on the board are powered by a Rocktron DC On-Tap. I have a power checking device on the board to make sure I have a good electricity supply, at all times three small led lights should be illuminated which means the Live, Neutral and Earth circuits are good, essential piece of mind then! The inputs and outputs on the board including IEC power connections are built in which further simplifies and reduces the need for cables. Finally, the board has handles on each side to help with portability.

It has taken a fair amount of time to bring this board together, and now I cannot imagine gigging without it, hands free control of the backing tracks is where it started and although I'm content with the board at this time, improvements may be required or a new product will come along forcing a redesign or rethink. In this respect it is not finished and I suspect it never will be, it'll evolve and may even be made redundant should any manufacture see the market for a product which gives an entertainer 'mission control' at their feet.

Update 2014 Digitech have now released new and imporved pedals, some with most of the functionality of the Jamman Stereo, and others with much more. I've upgraded to a Jamman Solo and this with the FS3X and a new TC Electrionic Polytune Tuner is all that now makes up Pedalboard VI. As for the other pedals on the board, they're gone. It seems the older I get the less tolerant I am of over complicating things, simplicity in every way is the new route, wish me luck!



stevescage@gmail.com www.liveacousticmusic.co.uk