Building a complex guitar rig

With the ever growing number of pedals in our rigs, issues often arise such as tap dancing to switch between different sounds, powering all our beloved stompboxes as well as the introduction of noise or hum in the tone. I recently stumbled upon the website of The Gig Rig and from what I can see, this is a company that probably addresses every issue associated with building a complex guitar rig. It prompted me to write a post about organizing and powering our pedals.

The Gig Rig products help you organize and power all your pedals - Picture courtesy of The Gig Rig

In order to turn multiple pedals on and off, The Gig Rig offers a number of programmable “Loop Switcher” floorboards.

The idea is quite simple, these machines have a number of effect loops in which you insert your effect units or pedals. They work like the effect loop on your amp except that on the Gig Rig loop switchers, you can have up to 10 of them. And even better, you can program presets such as “pedal in effect loop 1 + pedal in effect loop 3” and recall these presets by pressing a switch. In other words, it turns a bunch of pedals into a programmable multi-effect unit.

Here is a video demo of the Gig Rig flagship Pro 14 loop switcher which offers no less that 10 loops and 14 presets:

The Pro 14 comes with a power supply to power all these pedals and has some neat features such as the possibility to correct volume mismatches between pedals, the possibility to choose between buffered or true bypass signal paths or two outputs if you use two amplifiers.

The Gig Rig offers another 3 loop switchers:

  • the Midi 8 which is a 6 loops/10 preset version of the Pro 14 minus the true bypass/buffered signal paths feature
  • the Loopy-2 is a simple 2 loop non programmable switcher (same idea as the Boss LS-2 without the volume control)
  • The Remote Loopy-2 is the same as the Loopy-2 except that the switch can be “deported” so that you can leave the switcher near the effect loop of your amp

Alternatives: other companies make loop switchers, check out the Combinator and the Octa Switch from Carl Martin or the Commander and GCX Ground Control Pro/Audio Switcher from Voodoo Lab.

Powering your pedals and getting rid of the hum

Often, a poor choice of wall wart adapters to power your pedals can significantly alter the quality of your tone. Granted this is not the only reason for getting hum but it is an easily fixable one.

Although it is not a novel idea, The Gig Rig has refined the idea of a power supply capable of powering many pedals. The Generator in itself is a power supply that provides up to 5A of power which is more than enough to power all your pedals. It comes with daisy chain Boss style cables.

That would be pretty boring without the available isolated adapters which allows to power any type of pedal on the planet such as 12V (TC Electronic Nova Delay), 15V, 18V or even 24V.

The Generator power supply...

...And its adapters

Even better, the Virtual Battery adapter will make your pedals believe they are powered by a battery. Perfect to power a vintage pedal!

Finally, for those of you with ground problems, the Hum Dinger provides an isolated output.

The Gig Rig website is full of advice and information about pedals and building rigs, it is well worth a read.

Alternatives: when looking for a pedal power supply,  companies to consider include CIOKS (I personnally own a Big John which can power up to seven 9V pedals and it has been very good) and Voodoo Lab with their famous Pedal Power line of products.

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