Most guitarists at some point own a pedalboard. It may be a board that you’ve made yourself, or you’ve purchased a cheap “off the shelf” pedalboard on eBay. Throne Pedalboards produce some of the most beautifully crafted boards you’re likely to come across. Guitar Jar catches up with manager Donovan Sears to ask him about the range of products and the vision for the company.
…it struck me that pedalboards have been ignored by the industry – in terms of aesthetic design. So I began to experiment, to see what uniqueness I could bring to the pedalboard…
- Hi Donovan, before we get into the details of your range of pedalboards, can you let Guitar Jar readers know if you play guitar and if so, who or what inspired you to start learning the instrument?
I do play guitar. I’ve been playing for 14 years. Some high school friends and I decided to cover a Nirvana song for a school project my senior year. I actually played drums for the project, but I was inspired to create, and from that point on, it’s all I’ve known.
- Can you tell our readers about the origins of Throne Pedalboards and why the company was originally formed?
A few months ago, I began studying the art of luthiery. During the process of learning to work wood, it struck me that pedalboards have been ignored by the industry – in terms of aesthetic design. So I began to experiment, to see what uniqueness I could bring to the pedalboard.
- What inspired the regal name of the company and the model names of the pedalboards?
In short, I wanted to build the “King” of pedalboards…to build a “throne” for guitarists’ pedals to sit upon.
- Your pedalboards look amazing. How have they been received by the guitar playing community?
Thank you! So far I have received an overwhelming positive response. I think what people really respond to is the fact that the boards look so different. It has been my goal to improve the look of the basic wedge-shaped pedalboard. As I’ve said before, I wanted to design something that looked like it belonged in the same room with my guitars. So much time and art goes into building guitars (I’m speaking of handmade guitars – not mass produced ones) and I wanted to apply that approach to pedalboard design.
- Can you guide our readers through the differences between the current models of Throne Pedalboards available?
I’ll start by saying that all of my pedalboards come with a recessed power outlet and four rubber feet, which are counter-sunk on the bottom of the baseboard.
The Empire series: – This is my entry-level pedalboard. All pieces are Birch ply.
The Knight series: – One step up gets you a hardwood top board, braces and front board. Baseboard is birch ply. The Knight shares the same dimensions and design as the Emperor, with a variation of the top board.
The Monarch series: – With the Monarch, you get an all hardwood pedalboard, with a much more intricate design. It shares no shapes or dimensions from the Empire or Knight, except for the triangular braces.
The Emperor series: – I have not completed the first build of an Emperor pedalboard yet, however it is underway. Here you also get an all hardwood pedalboard, but with a figured, hand-carved top. You will see many resemblances of guitar design with this design. I can’t wait to show one of these off.
- Can I order a completely bespoke pedalboard, with custom dimensions and engraving?
Absolutely. I welcome orders such as this. It would certainly be a challenge to bring someone else’s concept to life.
- Due to the materials used, I’m guessing Throne Pedalboards are ideally suited to be permanently placed in the home. Do you have plans to produce lighter, more portable units, but still retaining the high levels of craftsmanship?
I would agree with that. While the boards are built to last, it’s my guess that most people will use them in their home studios/rehearsal spaces. I am always sketching out new designs and trying to take a different approach. It’s not currently a plan of mine to build lighter units but I certainly would consider it. I’m open to anything that someone wants to discuss.
- Do you run Throne Pedalboards as your full time business? If so, do you find it difficult to remain motivated?
Throne is not my main source of income. I maintain a very demanding full-time job, as well as a beautiful little family of my own. So, motivation is never an issue…finding the time in a day sometimes is.
- Can you export your boards, with power supplies that meet country specifications?
I can. I haven’t yet, but it’s certainly possible.
- Do you have a favourite effects pedal?
Oh wow. There are so many great builders out there. Pro Tone, Cheeseblocks, Farndurk, JHS…just to name a few. I couldn’t pick just one.
- On my old Velcro based pedalboard, it was a nightmare securing my Wah Wah pedal. Any tips?!
Yeah, that’s always an issue with the feet on them. In the past I have removed the feet, replacing only the screws, and used a big strip of Velcro. The Velcro is thick enough to raise the pedal up so the screws don’t scratch your pedalboard.
- Your house is burning down. What’s the one guitar item you would save?
Easy – I have a custom guitar built by a local luthier here in Louisville. It’s a Tele-type that has a mesquite top and wenge back. I love the thing. And being that I have two hands, my Bassman would be in the other.
- If you could form a super group using famous musicians past or present, who would you have on drums and why?
I’d have to say Patrick Hallahan. He drums for our hometown boys, My Morning Jacket. But a close second would have to be Kevin Ratterman from Wax Fang. Both are incredible!
- Lager or Cider?
- What’s the plan for Throne Pedalboards for the next 12 months?
To keep producing pedalboards that are unique and of the utmost in quality. The great thing is, I get a little better and learn a little more each time I build one. It would be great to do a custom board for someone on the ever-growing list of musicians that inspire me.
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