Pedalboards – they’ve come a long way since the 1990’s, when I was in high school and I affixed my pedals to a piece of builders-grade plywood via various shapes and sizes of metal brackets. It wasn’t pretty but it kinda sorta got the job done. Luckily, some great pedalboard solutions have come on the market in the past 10-15 years.
I thought I was all set with my pedalboard. But then came the Holeyboard from Chemistry Design Werks. Built out of attractive and heavy duty Baltic Birch plywood, the Holeyboard brings memories of the Powell Peralta and Vision skateboard decks I rode in the years prior to that sad little pedalboard mentioned above. And rather than using the usual Velcro to connect pedals to the board, the Holeyboard uses a system of CNC-drilled holes and zip ties to hold everything together.
I tested the Holeyboard MKII Wide over a few weeks and found it to be an outstanding option. With two levels, and measuring in at 31x17, the Holeyboard is supposed to fit 8-12 pedals and a power supply. I was able to fit 10 pedals (six MXR-sized, an EHX POG2, an Ernie Ball MVP volume pedal, a Line 6 M9, and a TC Helicon VoiceLive Play) and a power supply with no problem. Without those last three hogging all of the space, I could have fit fourteen or fifteen pedals.
The design of the riser makes reaching the back row of pedals much easier and it provides a nice spot underneath for your power supply. And since the riser doesn’t run the full length of the Holeyboard, there is a section of the board that can accommodate deeper pedals like a wah or volume pedal. You can also move the riser to any spot on the board (left, right, center) that makes sense for your setup.
With built-in handles on the right and left side of the board and on the back side of the riser, gripping and moving the Holeyboard is easy. It also comes with a wide-mouth messenger bag style carrying case made of ballistic nylon. And showing close attention to detail, the bag is lined in yellow vinyl. Why yellow, it makes it easy to see picks, capos, cables and other gear at the bottom of the bag when loading and unloading in a dark club.
What We Like: The form factor of the Holeyboard is great. The flat bottom tier makes for a more natural angle for wahs and volume pedals and the angled rear riser makes the pedals in the back row much more accessible. So much so that I placed one of the tap tempo delays up there.
Concerns: The Holeyboard is very cool, but it’s not perfect. First, it weighs more than a similar sized aluminum pedalboard. Once it’s loaded full of pedals, the weight difference is negligible, but when you’re schlepping and loading a bunch of gear, every ounce counts. While the messenger style bag is certainly convenient, if you are touring or have less than conscientious folks handling your gear you may want to invest in a more protective case. For going to and from practice and the monthly or even weekly gig, the case is sufficient.
To make the very most of the Holeyboard, you can’t be willing to keep it pristine. While the layout of the holes is well thought out, an extra hole or a patch of Velcro here or there can make an awesome board perfect.
Build Quality: It’s tough! It has at five more plys than a skateboard deck. If those decks could handle grinding over curbs, dropping into and launching from ramps, etc., I’m pretty sure the Holeyboard can handle a little tap dancing.
Value: At $119 ($189 with the case) the Holeyboard is more expensive that some of the other boards out there but still a great value.
Tone (out of 5 stars): ★★★★★*
Build Quality (out of 5 stars): ★★★★★
Value (out of 5 stars): ★★★★
Overall Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★★
*Please note, Holeyboard does not create actual tone. It does however provide support for your effects chain.