Building your first board and don't know where to start? Wanting to downsize and not sure which size to go for? This is the video for you! Here, we take an in-depth look at two of my current favourite compact pedalboards. These are my top two picks from Rockboard's entire lineup. This video features both the Duo 2.1 and the Tres 3.0 pedalboards. We take a look at the differences, the add-ons and upgrades, and the case options—everything you need to begin building that little rig of doom. Enjoy!
Hi, you're here in the studio with Luke from GuitarIQ.com. The good folks who distribute for Rockboard Australia recently sent me a couple of pedalboards to use in some upcoming pedalboard builds that I have planned. If you're not familiar with Rockboard, I've used them for a while here in the studio. They're just one of those brands that do good quality stuff. They keep their prices pretty competitive. And they have an absolutely massive range of, not only boards but also, accessories and add-ons you can use to completely customize your own personal rig. So in today's video, I thought it might be fun, interesting, and hopefully a little bit helpful to go through my top two picks from their entire lineup as I guess my top recommendations for a great place to start if you're putting together your own small, lightweight, super compact rig for bass, acoustic, or electric guitar.
This video is going to be perfect for you if you're just starting out and you don't know where to start with building your own pedalboard. Or, if you've built boards in the past and you're wanting to downsize to something a little more portable and easier to carry around. If either of those scenarios represent you, then please click on that like button to let me know about it and to help out that all-powerful YouTube algorithm. As always, as we go through the video feel free to leave any questions, thoughts, comments, or feedback you might have in the comments section below. And finally, if you're looking to take your guitar playing skills a little bit deeper, then I warmly welcome you to head over to GuitarIQ.com to check out some of the great books and other learning resources we have available over there. That's it from this intro, let's head over to the workbench and check out some pedalboards!
Okay, so here we have the first little pedalboard I wanted to look at today. This is the Rockboard 2.1 pedalboard. For a bit of context, Rockboard have four basic types of pedalboards, you have their 2 series, their 3 series, their 4 series, and their 5 series. Within each type of pedalboard, there’s a few different variations to choose from. For example, in the 2 series we have a 2.0, a 2.1, and a 2.2. As I mentioned, this is the 2.1. The digits at the end just refer to the width or length of the pedalboard. So the 2.0 is slightly smaller than this, but this is really my recommended starting point because the extra length just gives you a bit more space to play with when it comes to setting up your pedalboard. One of the unique things about the Rockboard pedalboard design is, apart from the feet underneath and the support column down the middle, essentially the entire board is just one piece of lightweight aluminium or ‘aloominum’ (depending on where you're from). Which really cuts down on the potential mechanical wear and tear you can get on things like joints and screws over time.
So I will link to the Rockboard website where you can check out the exact size and specs of each board that we're going to look at today. But I thought it might be helpful as a visual reference to just lay some pedals out on the pedalboard to give you an idea of what you're working with. And it just so happens that someone has rather helpfully left some pedals lying around. So let me place these on the board. These are the exact pedals I'm actually going to use when it comes to building this little pedalboard. It’s going to be a little bass rig. So if you're interested in checking out that little pedalboard, then subscribe to the channel and stay tuned for future updates. So as you can see, we have a few different size pedals here. These three pedals are probably slightly smaller than what you might consider a ‘standard’ pedal—if there is such a thing. This chorus pedal is about bang on. And this overdrive pedal here is again slightly wider, being a two-footswitch design. But from looking at this, you can see on the 2.1 board at least, you should easily be able to fit a good four or five pedals depending on the size. Potentially a few more if you're using smaller mini pedals.
One thing I wanted to note before moving on, with a pedalboard this size (regardless of the brand that you're looking at) you really need to pay attention to the clearance underneath the board, right. When you have such limited space, you really don't want to have to mount your power supply on top of the board. To be fair this 2 series of Rockboard pedalboards has a bit more clearance underneath than some of the other slimline pedalboards I've used in the past. But still make sure you check out the website I link to in the description which outlines all of the specs of this board. To make sure the power supply you go for is going to fit underneath. So now let's look at another fantastic little compact pedalboard from Rockboard that offers some nice little upgrades and advantages over the 2 series.
So here we have the Rockboard 3.0 pedalboard. This is another great pick for a super-small, compact board that they offer. As you can see, the 3 series is a bit deeper than the 2 series. Likewise, the 4 series is a bit deeper than the 3 series, and so on. Within each pedalboard type the depth actually stays the same. The variations just refer to the overall length or width of the pedalboard. And this pedalboard is actually slightly narrower than the 2.1 we just looked at before. But as you can see, the increased depth gives us a bit more surface area to play with. So, as before, I thought it might be handy just to lay out some pedals to give you an idea of what we're working with here. Place these on the board like so… You can see it's a little more squishy. But again we roughly have enough space for about four or five pedals.
It's worth mentioning at this point, if you are looking at Rockboard pedal boards, you might want to take a look at their ultra slimline flat patch cables. They’re really handy for saving space in situations like this just to really maximize the surface area on your board. One of the advantages of the 3 series over the 2 series, of course, is this extra room we have. With smaller pedals, you might be able to fit two vertical rows (once you take into account the power supply). But it's probably safer to assume you can fit maybe four or five vertical pedals across the top or bottom, and then have a line of a few horizontal pedals in addition to that. Having to lie some of your pedals horizontally isn't really a big deal it's just the type of compromise you need to make when you're trying to fit everything in such a small space. So now let's flip this board over and take a look at some of the upgrades offered to us by the 3 series.
So here is the underside of the pedalboard. You can see the feet and the center column that I referred to earlier. Other than that, there’s nothing overly exceptional about the underside of a pedalboard. With exception to one thing which is this Mod unit back here that I’ve taken the liberty of pre-installing into this board. Now, it’s worth noting this is an additional add-on. It’s a paid upgrade that you buy separately. But what this provides is a really great solution for a patchbay that handles all of the inputs and outputs on your pedalboard and gives you clear access to everything behind the board itself. So this is the base model. It includes a power input at the back, an XLR connection, and a bunch of 1/4 inch connections as well. Part of the reason why this is an additional upgrade is because (at the time of recording this video, at least) Rockboard currently offer five different modules to choose from. One of their modules offers a MIDI input and output. Another one has some more XLR connectivity, depending on the devices you're going to be using. One even has a neat little wireless system you can use with your guitar. And the last model actually has the ability to load your own custom impulse responses into the patchbay itself. If you want to use headphones, or have a solution for like a silent stage, or something like that. So plenty of options to choose from. The whole point is, if you want to access this system, the smallest board they do that allows you to mount this patchbay system into the board itself is the 3.0.
Now, speaking of nice little upgrades, one of the add-ons you can get for the 3 series of boards (and higher) is this neat little tray which sits underneath the board. It clips on one side here and you have a kind of clip that sits in place on this side. This is a universal mounting tray for your power supply. So instead of having to mount your power supply to the underside of the pedalboard, here you have a nice tray that the power supply can sit on to keep that power supply nice and cozy and snug in its own little cubby house area there—which is a nice little upgrade to the board. So hopefully, I've been able to showcase the differences between the 2 and 3 series and help you decide which one you might like to go for. The 2 series is smaller, simpler, lighter, less expensive. The 3 series gives you a bit more space to play with and access to a few of these interesting upgrades and add-ons. So that's pretty much all I wanted to cover in terms of the boards themselves. Before we leave though, I thought it might be helpful to take a quick look at the different case options you can choose from when you're buying your Rockboard pedalboard.
Here we have the soft case that came with the smaller 2.1 pedalboard. It's worth mentioning at this point that all the cases Rockboard make (whether soft or hard) are completely custom made to fit the particular pedalboard size you purchase. So everything will fit nicely and snug as it should. Now, I will say this is quite a good soft case. Particularly, when compared to some of the other similar products I've had in the past. The material itself feels pretty resilient. There's a decent amount of heft to the padding of this case. So it does feel like your pedals would stay pretty protected in there. There’s some extra reinforcement on the bottom of the case where it's likely to come in contact with the ground. The main zip is actually quite heavy duty, which is what you would hope for with a case like this. There’s also a storage pocket on the front, should you need. With all of their cases you get velcro for the pedalboard, some additional cable ties, and a tool for adjusting or tightening the feet on the bottom of the pedalboard, should you need to. And with the soft case you get an additional shoulder strap should you want to accessorize the board. Personally, I think it kind of gets in the way. But it's there if you need it, which is nice to have. So, now let’s check out the hard case.
Now, we have an example of Rockboard’s flight case. This came with the larger 3.0 pedalboard. Again, just like the soft case, the hard case feels I guess surprisingly well built. Certainly when compared to some of the more generic options I've purchased from the hardware in the past. You know, the type of cases you see people having microphones, and cables, and other things in. This feels a little sturdier and more robust, the handles and the latches feel nice and solid. Across the back you've got tree hinges instead of two, which is good. The case itself is made of a plywood with some kind of PVC outer. And obviously, you can see there's some metal reinforcement on the edges and the corners which is what you'd expect with a hard case. The inside of the case is lined with a dense foam. On the top side of the case there's a softer eggshell foam that compresses against your pedals to hopefully keep everything nice and in place. I will say, I received this case brand new. It had obviously been sitting in storage for a while and there was a very distinct foamy, rubbery, gluey-type aroma on first opening this up. It has dissipated somewhat but I thought that was worth noting. The other thing is, the flight cases for the larger boards, the 4 series and the 5 series, do seem to be a little more heavy duty than the flight cases that come with the 2 series and the 3 series. Particularly, you can see the latches on the bigger cases are the more heavy duty flush-mount latches. Which is what I would more associate with a flight case. That’s not a big issue, the smaller cases are certainly more portable. It just means you need to be a little more careful with the latches purely down to the fact that they are mounted external to the case.
In general though, my recommendation would be just to stick with the soft case if you can get away with it. The soft case is lighter, it's cheaper, it's less bulky and you get a nice storage pocket. (And don't forget that all-important shoulder strap!) In situations where you're transporting your own gear and you're just playing locally, really the soft case is all you need. Of course, if you have a more rigorous gigging schedule, particularly if you're not going to be the one handling your own gear—if you're out on tour, or obviously, if you're doing any kind of flying—then of course, you might want to consider upgrading to the flight case. Hopefully, this video helped you out, pointed you in the right direction, and gave you some things to think about. And that concludes this look at two of my top picks for small, compact pedalboards from Rockboard!
Well, that’s it for this video, thanks for watching. I hope you found it helpful. Just to clarify once again, as I mentioned at the start of the video, these boards were sent to me to feature in some videos. But this isn't a sponsored advertisement or a paid promotion. No money has changed hands. All thoughts and opinions, as always, are my own. I did also want to mention that I'm going to do a follow-up video to this one featuring Rockboard's QuickMount system. Which is a fantastic little system they've devised to use with their pedalboards. Specifically, as a great little alternative to something like velcro. It's really interesting, I encourage you to check it out. I’ll link to that video in the description below. Speaking of future content, if you're interested in more uploads just like this one, then I encourage you to click that subscribe button and hit the bell icon to be notified of future uploads. And finally, just another reminder to head over to GuitarIQ.com to check out some of the great learning resources we have available over there. Everything from books on fretboard memorization, to chord theory, to scales, to warm-ups and workouts. And a whole lot more! So check that out, GuitarIQ.com. That’s it from me. Thanks for watching and I will see you in the next video!