A pedalboard is usually a simple, unsophisticated, DIY construction, sometimes literally made from a board, outfitted with some Velcro strips and zip ties, and probably adorned with a few band stickers. In my time playing guitar I’ve seen more varieties of these DIY pedalboards than I can shake a Tube Screamer at, made from just about everything, including old guitar cases, briefcases, skateboard decks, and countless other odd bits of worn out luggage and household detritus. This being the case, it was only a matter of time before it occurred to someone that there must be a better way to mount pedals and tote them around. One of the companies working to add a little functionality and class to the pedalboard world is Digital Audio Labs, a Minnesota company that has conceived of a unique modular pedalboard system called Stompblox.
The Stompblox Modular Pedalboard is a Tetris-like system that enables the user to start with one 12.5 x 8.5-inch skeletal metal board, which can hold roughly six pedals (depending on size), adding as many additional boards as they wish, in a wide variety of customizable configurations. The idea is that a Stompblox board can expand as one’s pedal collection expands, eliminating the need for building or buying a whole new pedalboard every time the collection grows beyond the space available. Each board connects to the others via spring-loaded thumbscrews, and they can attach up to two deep, and as wide as one wishes. They are configurable so that holes can be left in convenient places to accommodate a microphone stand, which is great for guitarists that have to step on lots of pedals while trying to sing at the same time. Another feature of the Stompblox modular system is that guitarists who might not want to take the whole pedal collection to every gig are able to quickly and easily disconnect one or two blocks loaded with just the essentials. This is handy for players that need to travel frequently, and encounter a lot of different gigging scenarios.
I found the Stompblox system quite rugged and easy to use, though I freely admit to being a knucklehead when it comes to pedalboards. I’m not a huge pedal dude, so I usually just toss my three boxes on the floor in front of me. The Stompblox system has caused me to consider the error of my ways, however, as it is supremely easy to assemble and transport, making setup much more expedient. The rugged, black, metal skeleton is both light and tough, with plenty of spacious openings for cables to pass through unfettered, and the underside has abundant anchor points for zip-tying audio and power cables in place. This is a thoughtful feature, as other commercially made pedalboards I’ve seen have neglected the cable management side of things, resulting in a tangled, droopy mess of cables wadded up underneath. Stompblox stays tidy, and mounting pedals is a cinch. The thumbscrew system used to assemble the blocks works beautifully, with no tools necessary. The screws are spring-loaded and firmly attached, so no worries about one falling off and getting lost. Once tightened down, the connection is very secure with zero wiggle. Another thing I liked about Stompblox is the gig bag included with each block, which ingeniously zips together with a second bag when using two blocks in tandem. It’s a clever system that works very well, putting the Stompblox system over the top in features and function.
What we like: The Stompblox Modular Pedalboard is a very smart design that’s wicked simple to put together and works 100 percent as advertised. It grows or shrinks as needed, it’s light and easy to carry around, and it appears to be unbreakable. It seems that Digital Audio Labs has thought of everything.
Concerns: None whatsoever. You should totally get one, or several.