Saturday, October 24, 2009

Flash Review -- Pedaltrain Jr. Pedalboard

Went gear-shopping today and got my hands on a Pedaltrain pedalboard. My old canvas and cardboard Westfield pedal case is just plain worn out. The little zip tag snapped off a few months ago and I was almost breaking a nail everytime I packed my gear up.

I needed a 'board with enough real-estate to accomodate a couple of stompboxes, a wah pedal and a volume pedal and the Pedal Train Jr (PT-JR-SC) fit the bill nicely.

The Pedaltrain Jr. is also available with an ATA-approved aluminum flightcase. I went for the soft-shell variety -- it's a lot lighter and I figured I wanted to be able to feel my fingers when I arrive at a gig. The nylon shoulder-sling strap provided for the soft-case also features a solid, chunky, spring-loaded clasp.

The Pedaltrain comes with two rolls of velcro (one hook, one loop) of about a meter in length each. The 'board itself is very sturdy aluminum with industrial-welding at the joints and corners.

The sturdy construction is a nice reassurance since this thing is going to be on the floor and get kicked around -- most likely by the bassplayer, drummer, singer or a drunk audience member who insists on coming onstage to yell his request in your ear.

Pedaltrain leaves you to attach the velcro yourself. I opted for the full-velcro treatment.

Also supplied are a couple of screw-on metal brackets to attach a regulated power-supply such as the VoodooLab PedalPower to the underside of the pedalboard frame, saving you space on top for your pedals. A really nice touch.

Pedaltrain also provides a bunch of nylon cable-ties so that power or signal cables can be tied neatly together. This is good if you're bullet-proofing your 'board for that regional tour, but it would also make on the spot patch-cable swaps impossible. Remember 'ol Murphy?

I opted for Planet Waves 0.5 ft Classic patch-cables for this board. New pedalboard, new cables right?

My usual pedals for my weekly blues/rock gig are an RMC 3 Teese wah (the older one with the home-brewed milled aluminum housing), an early 80's Tubescreamer (when I need a hair more gain), an Xotic BB preamp (which is always on, with a slight bass boost), a VoodooLab MicroVibe (for a little Hendrix/Trower swirl), a Korg DT7 tuner (with Buzz Feiten tempered tuning setting) and a Boss FV50L volume pedal.

The volume pedal is the last in the chain, which allows me to tune silently as well as regulate my overall volume. I like to keep a little volume in reserve on the pedal for when the bassplayer and drummer ramp it up -- those guys have so much more dynamic range than us guitar players. I also use it as a manual noise-gate should things get out of hand.

And there we go.
I'm careful not to store the board vertically for at least a couple of days so that the adhesive on the velcro can set permanently on the aluminum frame. Storing it upright now will inevitably lead to a surprisingly sticky mess of adhesive, velcro, pedals and cables as it all peels off (been there, done that, unfortunately), so the 'board with pedals is sitting flat until I take it to my gig on Monday.

Rock and roll!

See The Pedaltrain Pedalboard Range Here

See More Xotic and VoodooLab Pedals Here

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