Portable Pedalboards and the Plight Thereof

With the preaching style of our Pastor and the style in which we light the stage, it seems to look best when some of the band clutter “disappears” prior to the message, so I was needing to come up with a simple way to clear our stage performance area prior to moving into a preaching segment. It came down to the challenge of transporting the guitar pedalboards smoothly and efficiently without sending stagehands out to carry them off or something—this has always seemed to be a clunky solution to me—also, to make it a decent challenge, I wanted to keep them hooked up at all times so my staging solution wouldn’t preclude the creative guys from having the band come back out at the end of a service or something...

As I’ve mentioned before, pretty much anything I can draw, my man Chico can build, so I sketched out a simple layout for a pedalboard dolly that would look as if it was floating and could easily glide on and off stage with very little effort. This is a top view of the dolly with and without the pedalboard...

He built these with the casters recessed enough to keep the dolly ground clearance low enough to “push” any cables out of the way rather than rolling over them as that could become quite a problem during a scene change... Here are some pics of the underside:

Then I had Jesse, one of our wizard Audio Engineers, build up a nice pigtail for the signal and power so a stagehand could easily disconnect the loom from the entire contraption quickly if need be, but if just rolling from one position to another, these vital connections would stay connected via locking connectors. From getting burned many times over the years, I didn’t want to take any chances on something “accidentally” getting unplugged during a move or transition... This photo shows the whole thing ready to rock:

I was a bit concerned that the boards may “drift” a bit when the guys are changing pedal presets or riding the volume pedals but we’ve had no issues as of yet and these have been in use for about 8 months or so. The guitar players love them and it certainly hasn’t held them back from slaying us with guitar glory as shown in these two shots:

I’m sure there are a zillion different ways to accomplish this same thing on many different levels but if you happen to be on a never-ending quest to make things more functional yet cooler at the same time—maybe this will give you some good ideas...

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Andrew Stone
Production Manager
Andrew Stone is the Production Manager and Audio Director at Church on the Move in Tulsa, OK. His 27 years of touring experience have brought a unique, and sometimes unorthodox, perspective to his approach towards production in the church. He has been a key part of changing the culture behind COTM's live events and he loves sharing his knowledge with other churches. He's been married for 20 years, rarely wears anything but black, and genuinely loves to rock. You can find him on Twitter (@stone_rocks), Instagram (stone.rocks), and is a blog contributor on Seeds, COTM's free resource site.
@stone_rocks