So you want to put together a worship pedalboard? Here is what you’ll need and need to know.
You’ve finally decided to take the plunge and buy a worship pedalboard after years of pure guitar-cable-amp tone; welcome to the circus. To say that pedals are a bit of a rabbit hole would be an understatement. Hopefully, by the end of this blog you’ll feel confident enough to hop on Reverb or head to your local guitar shop to hand over your hard-earned Benjamins for little boxes that your non-guitar player friends will never understand.
The Non-Pedal Needs
First things first, when building a worship pedalboard it is important to understand all that is involved in a good board besides the pedals themselves and account for that in your budget.
Non-pedal purchases will include the pedalboard itself, power supply, patch cables, and velcro or dual-lock (if you know, you know). Expect to pay at least $100 for the pedalboard, at least $100 for the power supply, at least $100 for cables and velcro. There is a minimum of $300 right there you may not have accounted for. If any of these items are worth spending more on it would be the power supply, they last and really do make a difference in the sound and reliability of your worship pedalboard. Great options are made by Truetone and Strymon. Now for the fun stuff.
The Worship Pedalboard Essential Pedals
With pedals that fall into the “essential” category, you have 4 types. Tuner, drive, delay, reverb. Anything more than that is definitely fun, but you’ll be surprised how rarely you use them. Even within these categories, you can get away with less in a pinch.
Tuners are pretty simple. Find one that is chromatic and has bright LEDs. Can’t go wrong with a Boss TU-2/TU-3 or TC Electronic Polytune. It really is that easy. This will probably be the pedal that stays on your worship pedalboard the longest. Whatever you get, make sure it’s accurate and that your guitar sounds in tune after utilizing it. No amount of reverb can cover the sin of being out of tune.
Drive (or overdrive) is where the rubber meets the road. This is the pedal that the vast majority of your “tone” will come from. Think of it almost as much as an EQ pedal as much as a grit pedal. There are countless different overdrives on the market and it can be all too easy to get confused or frustrated.
To cover your bases I recommend getting two overdrives.
There are 2 main schools of thought when it comes to pairing overdrive pedals on a worship pedalboard. The first is based on EQ, one with a more flat or “transparent” EQ and the other with a bump in the midrange. For this type of pairing the classic move would be a tube screamer type paired with a blues breaker type.
Can’t go wrong with an Ibanez TS-9 and a JHS Morning Glory.
The other common pairing would be light gain and mid/high gain drives. Can’t go wrong with a Paul Cochrane Timmy and a ProCo Rat. You would be safe to budget $350 for your two overdrive pedals.
Moving on. Delay is the pedal that can become the most complicated but it doesn’t have to be. You don’t need something with 100+ presets on your worship pedalboard. Even when I have that many presets available to me, I only use one or two. That said, having a preset or two at your feet is a great luxury.
Some great options would be the classics like a Line 6 DL4 or Strymon El Capistan.
If you feel like spending some extra money on your worship pedalboard and getting those sweet, sweet extra presets, the Empress Echosystem and Strymon Volante are top tier. For the budget-minded(wise), a DD20 is going to get the job done and get the job done well. Expect to spend $150 to $400 on a delay pedal, it’s a big range but there are great options at each price point.
Swell-city here we come. I could copy and paste the same things to keep in my when choosing a delay pedal for using a reverb pedal right here. But I won’t. I will keep it even more simple.
For your first board, buy a Boss RV-5.
You’ll be shocked how as years come and go, how many times you prefer the modulated setting on the RV-5 to whatever the new hot reverb on the market is. These can be found used on Reverb for right around $100.
“But Michael, with all these options you gave us what would you choose?”
I am sure this is the question a well-educated and cool Worship Online reader like yourself was thinking. I thought you’d never ask…
Well here you go, I even brought a picture and prices.
Tuner: Pedaltrain Metro 16 ~$100 new with hard case
Tuner: TC Electronic Polytune 2 Noir ~$80 used
Delay: Strymon El Capistan V2 ~$250 used
Reverb: Boss RV-5 ~$100 used
Power Supply: Strymon Ojai ~$150 used
Cables: Ernie Ball 6404 Flat Ribbon Patch Cables – Pedalboard Multi-Pack ~$70 new
Velcro/Dual Lock: 3M Dual Lock 36” ~$10 new
Total Cost: ~$1,000
Final Thoughts on Building a Worship Pedalboard
Building a worship pedalboard is quite the investment and process, but you don’t have to be intimidated. A few closing nuggets of parting wisdom for your journey. Don’t replace something you already like. Solderless cables sound like a good idea until you need them to work consistently. Fuzz is fun but not necessary. I meant what I said about the RV-5, it rules. Don’t go into debt for gear.
Remember, besides the pedals themselves, investing in a good pedalboard, power supply, patch cables, and velcro is crucial for a seamless experience. Keep in mind that the four essential types to have are a reliable tuner, a versatile overdrive pedal, a quality delay, and a mesmerizing reverb.
The most important thing
Above all, enjoy the process and let your creativity soar as you craft your unique sound. Your worship pedalboard will become a faithful companion in your musical endeavors. I know I’ve always felt a sense of connection to mine. Excited for you to start building your own sound!
Lastly, always remember this, don’t fall in love with the worship pedalboard more than worship. It’s honestly so easy to get caught up in the excitement of it all and forget the reason we are playing. Our tone, our excellence, our playing is an expression of worship, but its all for not if it doesn’t come from a heart of worship. Keep that in mind as you build your worship pedalboard and enjoy!
Other posts like ours about worship pedalboards that we know you’ll love:
- 10 Pro Worship Guitar Pedalboards You Need To See
- Worship Guitar Tone Master Class
- The 10 Best Worship Guitars Under $1000