I got tired of trying to justify a $300 purchase for a road-worthy pedalboard. Yeah, I’ll probably go that way eventually. But not now. That, and I finally retired my Boss BCB60 pedalboard. It was a great compact concept, but eventually broke and simply didn’t have enough real-estate for my pedals.

I’d long had a vision of filling a briefcase with my pedals, and put it on my to-do list in 2009. Yeah, I know. It’s 2011.

So while I was helping my parents move (ie, picking through some of my old junk), I found a briefcase from the late seventies. And decided it was time.

Here’s the process:

1.) The briefcase. Nedrick, I’ve named him. A late 70’s model that’s seen better days, but that’s really in top condition.

2.) The latch prongs on the lid were very lose (and will eventually be replaced; read on). And the folio trays (on lid) were ripping away. All in all a real find. As the bottom is actually too deep for the pedals (without making the handled-face section a fold-down…far too much work), I opted to use the lip as the pedal tray.

3.) I tore the folio trays out completely, unscrewed the latch prongs, and started scrapping away at the paperboard and glue that missed out on the rapture. Poor dears. I also cut off the two button straps (pictured).

4.) I could see myself staring at the tacky wood finish of my pedal board and getting distracted during a worship set, thinking, “Why in the world didn’t I take a few minutes to at least spray paint a neutral color over that thing? Gosh.” So I prepped it for painting using some electrical tape, plastic bags, and leftover construction paper.

5.) Two light coats of Valspar white later, it’s time for three strips of industrial strength 2″ Velcro. I prefer the bristly “hooked” side on the floor as it gathers less fuzzies, leaving the “furry” side for the bottoms of the pedals.

6.) My initial lay-down doesn’t look too shabby. The plugs on the top of my Boss AD-5 (a unit I will eventually replace) forced my to turn it on it’s side in order to make enough room for my tremolo (Boss TR-2; not pictured). The top row of pedals is for my acoustic, while the bottom is dedicated to my electric.

7.) Future mods will include: removing the latch prongs (disregarding the stock locking system altogether), and outfitting the briefcase with 4 snap-on latches from Home Depot ($10); cutting off the bottom entirely (and removing the hinged arms) to make the “top” completely removable (latched on when finished by the 4 new latches); permanently screwing the AC/DC power-supply converter to the tray (pictured lower left); and adding a 1/2″ wooden square dowel (stored inside) to place under the far side of the tray to give the board a slight angle when in use. I may also get super fancy and give Nedrick some exterior branding; any ideas?

If you have a project of your own, please feel free to link it below. And any ideas for mine are welcome, too! ch:


Billy Jepma · 6 Mar ’11 at 7:34 pm

Dude that;s SO sweet!! What a find. Wonder what its story is? The writer instinct in me is itching to know. It has a story, and now you’ve outfitted for something new. Kinda like God does for us. We go through bad times and good times, but he always uses for His Work, sometimes an entirely new task. Thought of that all by myself I did. Pretty clever if I don’t say so myself. 🙂

    Christopher Hopper · 6 Mar ’11 at 8:34 pm

    Very cool, Billy! Love it! You should write a short story on it’s story–past and present–for class! And then let me read it!

wayne thomas batson · 6 Mar ’11 at 8:05 pm

What’s an OCD pedal do?

    Christopher Hopper · 6 Mar ’11 at 8:32 pm

    When you have one of those moments where you start cleaning randomly, it soothes you. Just one click and, ahhh…

    (It also dishes out the sweetest, smoothest overdrive of any distortion pedal I’ve ever touched. Seriously, I’ve played almost everything on the market, and it took me years to finally find this little guy. Wow. Sensitive, and has incredibly multi-layered harmonics. A true must have and one of the most important pedals in my arsenal).

wayne thomas batson · 6 Mar ’11 at 9:24 pm

Holy smokes! That is one expensive pedal! I just looked it up on Amazon. So, I guess I don’t get it. I have decent distortion from my amp, without even using a pedal. If I want extra rip, I put on the DOD American Metal petal. What does overdrive do? Is it just a nice fat sounding distortion? Do tell, and remember, I haven’t been a musician for all my life! lol

    Christopher Hopper · 7 Mar ’11 at 8:52 pm

    Yeah, it’s def not for the faint of heart! I’ll let you try it out sometime; needs a big speaker cone to really move the air. Think opening scene of Back to the Future…

Daniel G. · 6 Mar ’11 at 9:38 pm

Dude, this has to be one of the coolest things I have seen in a while. That is ingenuity at it’s finest.
But I would suggest putting a pistol with a silencer in that briefcase. That would make the most epic briefcase of all time. A true mix between 007 and Desperado.

    Christopher Hopper · 7 Mar ’11 at 8:50 pm

    Ha ha thanks Dan; though I quite like your additions, too!

Steve Ciferri · 7 Mar ’11 at 9:08 am

All the tools of the Trade!!!!

Thomas McConaghie · 19 May ’11 at 6:46 pm

Hey man,

love love love the concept, and being low on funds it seems like the financial genius thing to do. Tried investigating those snap locks you mentioned. could you link me to a description or better yet a shopping link or something along those lines?

much appreciated!

    Christopher Hopper · 22 May ’11 at 7:05 pm

    Thomas: would you mind refreshing me as to the snap locks we discussed? I’m having trouble jogging my memory.

Anthony Price · 17 Jan ’12 at 1:19 pm

hey, that board looks slick. thanks for sharing.

    Christopher Hopper · 17 Jan ’12 at 6:26 pm

    Thanks Anthony! Finally added latches to it, so it’s more secure.

Peter Day · 9 Apr ’14 at 12:23 pm

Today I stared at my unused briefcase and brought it down. I put a few pedals in it. I this can work. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Jason Rodgers Pedalboard and Bike Chain Method · 10 Jun ’13 at 8:43 pm

[…] Learning. Getting inspiration. Then tinkring some more. While my DIY briefcase pedalboard “Nedrick” certainly had its charm, it wasn’t exactly heavy-duty, nor was it […]

Jason Rodgers Pedalboard and Bike Chain Links Method · 10 Jun ’13 at 8:48 pm

[…] Learning. Getting inspiration. Then tinkring some more. While my DIY briefcase pedalboard “Nedrick” certainly had its charm, it wasn’t exactly heavy-duty, nor was it […]

Jason Rodgers Pedalboard and The Bike Chain Link Method · 10 Jun ’13 at 8:48 pm

[…] Learning. Getting inspiration. Then tinkring some more. While my DIY briefcase pedalboard “Nedrick” certainly had its charm, it wasn’t exactly heavy-duty, nor was it […]

Comments are closed.