Introduction: DIY Guitar Pedal Board (Effects Pedal Briefcase)

Picture of DIY Guitar Pedal Board (Effects Pedal Briefcase)

Those consumer-based guitar pedal boards are way too expensive for my taste. I came up with a simple way of carrying and powering all of those important guitar pedals boards in a briefcase.

Visit my website for other projects as well:

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

The guitar effects briefcase consists of...

1.) Low-cost briefcase (found at Ross - DRESS FOR LESS!) I bet they have these at Wal-mart too.

2.) '''Dunlop DC Brick Power Supply'''

3.) 1/4" Guitar cables (Guitar center / your local music store)

4.) Velcro strips (found at any craft store in strips for about $5)

5.) Effects Pedals (whatever you got)

Step 2: Assemble

Picture of Assemble

Wikipedia says...

"Velcro is a brand name of fabric hook-and-loop fasteners. Its consists of two layers: a "hook" side, which is a piece of fabric covered with tiny hooks, and a "loop" side, which is covered with even smaller and "hairier" loops." Read up more on Velcro

Thus, when you look at the Velcro you bought from your craft store, you will find two sides that stick to each other, the hook and loop sides. The other sides of the Velcro are like stickers and can adhere to other surfaces permanently.

1.) Cut strips of your "hook" Velcro into squares that fit onto the bottoms of your guitar pedals. Attach the Velcro to the guitar pedals using the sticky side of the Velcro

2.) Cut strips of your "loop" Velcro into longer strips and stick them to the bottom of your briefcase (on the sticky side of course) as depicted in the image.

Step 3: Insert Pedals to Complete Board

Picture of Insert Pedals to Complete Board

1.) Place the pedals in the briefcase however you desire.

2.) Connect the pedals with 1/4" guitar cables, making sure to be aware of the input/output of each pedal. The right angle cables are great for the cable going from your guitar into the briefcase and the cable going to your amplifier from the briefcase.

3.) Connect the pedals to the Dunlop DC brick using the power plugs that came with the DC Brick.

Some hints:

a.) Route your power wires and 1/4" guitar cables wisely to reduce the risk of snagging them with your feet or between the movements of pedal presses.

b.) Note how the Flanger and Distortion pedals in the briefcase face each other. This allows the user to easily turn both of the pedals on with one foot press. It is also easy to turn on just one of the pedals.

c.) Performing bare foot helps because shoes are clumsy when stomping on effects pedals.

d.) Add stickers to the side of the briefcase that faces the audience to make your political statements and agendas known.

Possible Improvements
a.) Could try to design my own power supply to decrease cost. The DC brick is a high quality power supply able to deliver 1.0 A of current to your collective pedals.

b.) Have more pedals? Try building multiple briefcases and just connecting them after they are open.

Visit my website for other projects as well:


N_G_M_Magazine (author)2015-02-01

Great job! I agree looking "professional" is the industry's way of getting musicians to often spend more money than they have, by buying trinkets and gadgets that are not really needed. When a little ingenuity goes much farther and is easy on the budget, and keeps the neurons firing. DIY !!!!

I forgot to mention I built a system very much like this, but flipped the briefcase upside down, so the edges of the case are lower on the pedal "base".

ggibson4 (author)2013-09-02

I did this exact same thing with basically the exact same suitcase! Except I separated the the halves, and used the "top" half to place the pedals on, so it's technically "upside-down," and added a few clamp locks on the sides to keep everything secure when in transport. Ha

musicalgenius! (author)2012-11-06

This is a really nice pedal board, although it is a bit cramped in there... where can you get a brief case of that sort?

Trike Lover (author)2012-06-26

R.G. Keen has an excellent design for a multi-output power supply specifically for pedalboards. The article can be found on GeoFex\;

The transformer Keen mentions with a single 115/230 VAC primary and nine secondaries can be found at the Weber Magnetics site for $25. This particular transformer is purpose-built for pedalboard power supplies. They are very helpful, and are happy to sell them by post. Weber also carry other useful components.

I have no connection with either R.G. Keen and his excellent GeoFex web site (lots of information about effects pedals and circuits), nor with Weber Magnetics, other than having used Keen's "Spyder" supply design, and building it with Weber's transformer, and being satisifed with the performance of both.

Trike Lover (author)Trike Lover2012-06-26

I would add that the total cost of building the "Spyder" supply, including a metal case, connectors, fuses, and the nine separate secondary DC circuits (eight with 7809 regulators and one for other voltages) was far less than the cost of the Dunlop Brick supply. A friend built a Spyder supply using the enclosure from a dead ATX computer power supply - plentiful as junk - and his costs were the special transformer, the regulators and associated capacitors, and the 2.1 mm jacks. Everything else was re-used or scrounged. His total cost was less than $45 including all postage.

kameronk92 (author)2008-12-30

I built on your design- by adding an input and an output jack on the briefcase making it easier to plug into

SyllogismRXS (author)kameronk922008-12-30

That's a great idea. Did you mount jacks on the actual briefcase? Any photos?

kameronk92 (author)SyllogismRXS2008-12-30

yeah I did- and i installed a plastic grommet to put my power cable through. The first two pics are of the grommet and the second two are the output jack

Detman101 (author)kameronk922011-03-14

Genius!! Utter Genius!!


kramer5150 (author)2010-09-03

Just a thought, but if you really find yourself needing a pedal board because you have a good number a pedals, it wouldn't be a bad idea to invest $100 in a real pedal board. I did this with my pedals for a long time, and I finally got some money to get a reall pedal board. It looks much more professional on stage and the quality is much better. But hey, thats just me... Do what suits you best...

SyllogismRXS (author)kramer51502010-09-03

For a couple of reason...

1.) Designing your own pedal board is in the spirit of this website.

2.) I am a professional guitarist and the definition of "professional" is quite subjective in the music industry. My custom pedal boards and DIY equipment draws a lot of attention and sets me apart from other guitarists in my city (Atlanta).

kramer5150 (author)SyllogismRXS2010-10-25

Standing out is a great thing, I did this same thing with my first pedal board (using a leather briefcase). And I realize it is in the spirit of Instructables, do forgive. I forget at times when I post comments.

Gypsyman (author)2008-08-12

is there anyway to make the multi power supply, because i always found them waaaaay over priced too.

tudgeanator (author)Gypsyman2008-08-29

HERE Is good if you are in the UK

SyllogismRXS (author)tudgeanator2008-08-29

That Diago Powerstation is the same price as the Dunlop DC brick. But, the DC brick has 7 - 9V outputs and 3 - 18V outputs.

Since the first couple of comments I have been developing a home-made power supply for these boards. Cost in parts will be about $20, where the AC-AC wall transformer is the most expensive part at $10. I will post an instructables within the next 2 weeks on how to assemble it. I might even include a PCB!

tudgeanator (author)SyllogismRXS2008-09-01

I thought that the dc brick was £100 pounds.I'm probably wrong it has probably gone down in price.

jimmy dean (author)tudgeanator2009-03-28

Why wouldn't you just get a 9v wall adaptor and just run everything off of that?

SyllogismRXS (author)jimmy dean2009-03-28

Typically 9V wall adapters do not provide enough current for multiple pedals. If you wire it up, it might work if you only have one or two pedals active at one time, but if you are pumping up the volume and using multiple pedals your pedals will most likely "brown out" and turn themselves on and off. Thus, you need a more robust power supply that will provide 9V consistently and at least 1 to 2 Amps of current at the minimum.

SyllogismRXS (author)Gypsyman2008-08-12

Yes, you can definitely make a multiple output power supply. I've taken the DC brick power supply apart before in order to inspect it and its fairly simple as far as reliable power supplies go. Maybe I'll do some reverse engineering on the DC brick. One of the reasons that the DC brick is so great is that it allows a current draw of up to 1.0 A! Which is a lot as far as small consumer electronics go. Check back later.

Gypsyman (author)SyllogismRXS2008-08-12

if you figure, something out let me know, because that's a lot of dough to blow on a power supply. But i am at the points with my pedals that i am spending too much cash on batteries.

tyler_sav (author)Gypsyman2009-01-01


here you go is 25$ cheap enough it works great no hum and more convinent than a powerbrick

mcflyalright (author)Gypsyman2008-08-14

theres been talk about it on the message board at

as far as i can tell you can run multiple 9v pedals off of one brick if there low enough milliamps

Here is a good place to start. There are many places out there, but I have built a couple of these without problems.

cpmilani (author)2009-11-08

I had this same idea about a year ago and set to work on building a pedal board from an old brief case i found at a thrift store. I did mine a little different though. I put all the pedals in the lid so that they wouldnt sit so deep into the case and be hard to hit when using in a live performance. Also for power iSpot has a power supply that also comes with a daisy chainer for power to up to 9 pedals i think and its only like $30. some more final touches i did was a got a bit of foam to raise the back row of pedals so that they to would be easier to activate and put some foam in the top of the case to help protect the pedals and hold them in place when transporting. Feel free to email reply and I can get pictures if anyone wants to see.

captainspand (author)2009-04-04

How on earth do you use the stomp boxes pedals though? Is it easier than it seems, as it looks rather tricky. If it's easy I may do it myself, as I have about 9 pedals... I think I'd need a bigger brief case than yours though :D

Bradlez92 (author)2009-01-25

well what about all those cables? are there any holes in the briefcase to run me through? or is it just up and over? thats my only issue. great job otherwise. went to your site, not TOO many projects eh ;)? keep it up!

HAL 9000 (author)2009-01-14

i have a few pedals and im thinking about building a pedal board, this really gave me some good ideas. i think im going to head down to the pawn shop and see if they have any of the old "briefcase style" toolboxes that electric drills and such used to come in. i think it would be a little more durable.

one note on jumper cables: people spend hundreds of dollars on pedals, i know, theyre expensive, and im broke because of it. but when you buy an effects dont wire it up with cheap cabes!! you will never know how great your effects sound until you run GOOD cables in your board. i recently bought the Geore L Pedal Board Kit and i cant say how much it improved my overall sound. i am actually playing a lot now with no effects, just because "perfectly, sparkly clean" is an effect unto itself.

anyway i will post pics of mine when its done.

mboggs45 (author)2009-01-07

sweet. looks like you guys improved on my original briefcase pedal board that i posted back in march HERE. the plastic grommet idea is genius. i mounted my pedals on the opposite part of the briefcase though, because i found that the lip on the base kept getting in the way of my foot when I was trying to hit the pedals.

kameronk92 (author)2008-12-30

I also screwed in the pedals from the back and took off their base plates.

Weissensteinburg (author)2008-08-12

I like the idea of putting it in a brief must look good on stage.

Ditto, I definately like this idea better than the laptop bag I've been using (which was a step up from a l3g0 box w/ built-in handle).

About This Instructable




Bio: I am an Electrical Engineer at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) where I specialize in embedded systems and hardware design. When I am not ... More »
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