From time to time, you stumble across a website or an article that really catches your eye. Recently, I came across http://pedalboardplanner.com/ – a site that allows you to create a virtual pedalboard, selecting from a range of pedals that will leave you in a cold sweat, suffering from a serious case of Guitar Acquisition Syndrome.
…what’s funny is that the #1 added pedal added to the boards is the BOSS TU-2 tuner…
Johnny Matthews is a clever guy and the brains behind the Pedalboard Planner. Essentially, website visitors can assemble their dream pedalboard, selecting pedals from a huge array of vendors, changing the order of effects, even changing the size of the board the effects are mounted on.
In usual Guitar Jar style, it felt only correct to chat with Johnny, picking his brains about the origins of http://pedalboardplanner.com/ and what he’s got in line for future developments.
- Hi Johnny, great site! I’ve spent many “lunchtimes” at work recently building numerous pimped out pedalboards. Can you tell Guitar Jar readers why you created The Pedalboard Planner?
First off, I am a gear junkie and I like to make dream setups. Once I see a plan for things, it helps me focus on a goal. I wanted to lay out my dream pedalboard, so I fired up a program called Inkscape and started cutting and pasting images. Well this didn’t last long, because it was tedious getting their sizes correct. At about the same time I was reading about using HTML Canvas in web programming and I had an idea. What if I could write a web based program that would do this same thing.So in essence, it was so I could play with it. It was not long after I had a rough draft of the site created that I got in touch with Pedaltrain to see if they were interested in associating their name and product line with the site. The rest of the site has just grown from there.
- How has the planner been received by the guitar playing community?
So far I have gotten a lot of great feedback. As it turns out I’m feeding a lot of G.A.S. out there. The site is getting 12,000 to 13,000 visits a month right now. What’s funny is that the #1 added pedal is actually the BOSS TU-2, a tuner! Glad to see that tuning is important to the guitarists out there, I use the TU-2, it’s a solid pedal (I still need to try the TU-3 and the Polytune).I do get the occasional email telling me the site stinks, but then then I realize it’s because I don’t have their favourite vendor, but I take that in stride. Most of the time folks email me with thanks, and suggest a few brands that I do not currently have.
- Can the pedalboard planner be used on all web browsers?
For the most part yes, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Opera. The major omission is Microsoft I.E., because I.E. does not support HTML Canvas. The good news though is that I’ve done testing with I.E. 9 beta and it runs the site (very well actually), so once that one comes out of beta, the site will support all major current browsers.
- How many effects pedals do you actually use in real life?
I have 2 boards, a Pedaltrain PT-PRO and a PT-MINI. The PRO is the board that I take with me whenever I have a gig. It usually has about 12 pedals on it. Boss TU-2 Tuner, Effectrode compressor, a couple levels of dirt (these vary based on my mood), a Xotic rc boost, a 20 year old boss volume pedal, boss tremolo, Maxon analog delay, Boss DD6 digital delay (on a loopmaster single loop, so I can leave it in tap tempo mode) and reverb.I take the PT-MINI board to practices (or if I’m just doing something with my acoustic) that has 4-5 pedals on it depending on what I need, usually a tuner, compressor, dirt, boost and delay.
- What‘s your favourite effects pedal currently?
That’s a hard question. So, I’ll give you 3. For overdrive, I’ve been enjoying a Cusack Screamer V2, it’s nice and spanky with my Telecaster. For distortion, the Suhr Riot is killer. I’m a sucker for delay though, so the Maxon AD999 is a favourite. It sounds great and has nice long analog delays. But, I’m not a brand fanboy or snob, when I play something that sounds good, even if it isn’t a big name or some boutique pedal, I’ll play it!
- What’s the future of the Pedalboard Planner?
I hope to be adding some better ways to find pedals, sorting them by type in addition to vendor. Being able to add free form text is one idea I want to do. Saving and sharing boards is something I’m working on, but that still has a ways to go. Custom ‘blank’ pedals are still on my list of things to add, so that you can represent your pedals that are not currently available. Even I have pedals that are not on the planner (as you can see from my board), but I specifically ask each company for permission to use their images, that way I avoid any legal issues that may arise.I am also continually contacting vendors asking if they want to come on board, so I’ll be adding them as they do. If a user of the site would like to see their favourite brand added, the best thing for them to do is contact that company and tell them that you (their customer) want to see them on http://pedalboardplanner.com, this seems to motivate companies more than my emails.
So, without further ado, here are the Pedalboard Planner images for both Johnny’s and Guitar Jar.
Johnny Matthews Pedalboard:
Guitar Jar’s Pedalboard:
I’ve mentioned a fair few times that I don’t even use a board at the moment, but I couldn’t resist sticking a few of my favourite pedals on there; in particular I’m partial to the Cusack Screamer, the ZVEX SHO and the HBE Big D. The Keeley Compressor would probably be switched on all the time too.
I’ve spent ages on the Pedalboard Planner site (I’m so going to get the sack!). It gives me the opportunity to plan out fantasy pedalboards, giving me an idea of what the board will look like. The only thing I would say about the site; I’m so pleased there isn’t a “Buy this board now!” button…