• Custom Pedal Boards Mini Board and Pedals review

    Custom Pedal Boards

    Keeping a well thought out and tidy pedal board is crucial for getting the best performance from your rig. It doesn’t really matter how many pedals you got. The more care you put into it, the less trouble and better tones you get. UK based Custom Pedal Boards should be known for most of you and in this review, we’ll have a look at their new Mini Board and pedal range.

    There really aren’t any rules when it comes to assembling a pedal board. A piece of wood does a good job and there are many affordable alternatives out there, in all shapes and sizes.

    What Custom Pedal Boards offer, are boards and flight cases that are fully customised for your needs. I’ve been using their systems for some years now (so yes, I’m probably a bit biased) and although my boards are fairly basic, with a tier and flat surfaces, you can pretty much design anything you want, based on what pedals you have and how you want them arranged.

    I’ve spent a great deal of time on the road and I have experienced the horror of seeing airport ground personell literally throwing my flight cases and pedal boards onto and off the flight. This was something Chris and the guys at CPB wanted to address and their boards and cases are capable of withstanding almost anything.

    The Mini Board

    Their newest design, is a neat mini board complete with a removable tier and flight case (the case bottom surface is the board). Any touring musician knows that travelling is ridiculously expensive, so size and weight is crucial for not going bankrupt.

    The CPB Mini Board can carry up to five mini pedals like the CPB mini pedals or others, like Mooer, TC Electronic and similarly sized. The board I received and are reviewing, came with a CPB LS4 CPB True Bypass Loop Switcher, a CPB PB-2 mono patch box, power supply (located under the tier) and all of CPB’s five new mini pedals.

    The loop switcher ensures a clean signal from each of the pedals but it can also be replaced by an additional 5 mini pedals, making the case fully capable of covering most of your tones and gig needs.

    The Mini Pedals

    As for now, Custom Pedal Boards offer five mini pedals. All are gain pedals, voiced for different applications and tones. Perhaps a bit limiting, as you probably want a few other pedals like a tuner or delay but the choice fits CPBs philosophy and product line. You get the boards and cases and the tools to go with them – loopers, patches and gain pedals for boosting and drive.

    All five pedals are, in true CPB style, very well built. You really feel you can trust these… compared to some of the other mini pedals on the market. The fact that they’re slightly heavier, with straight angles, makes them sit better on the board as well, so you don’t have to worry about not stomping too hard and having them fall over.

    I must say that I’ve been positively surprised. It would be easy to understand that boards are their main business and that the pedals are just something they offer on the side, but it’s obvious that a lot of thought has been put into these.

    Mr Squeezy
    This single knob compressor provides a transparent and musical compression, ideal for fattening up your single coils and adding sustain. No doubt based on the old Dan Armstrong compressor, Mr Squeezy perfectly fits David Gilmour’s late 70s tones.

    It does provide a nice volume boost but the single knob might limit its use for some players. I would prefer separate controls for compression and volume, but the setup works really well and, as you can hear in the clip, it goes incredibly well with some mild crunchy tones.

    Mini Driver
    The Mini Driver provides convincing amp-like tones, from transparent cleans, with a nice volume boost available, to crispy crunch. Like a tube amp, the more gain you add, the more mid range and compression you get and at full blast, the Mini Driver enters Powerbooster and Tube Driver territory, although with less gain on tap.

    The Mini Driver is my favourite of the CPB mini pedals. A great tool for both boosting and adding life to the amp. Especially smaller bedroom style amps, which often needs some of that mid range and compression compensation.

    Mustard Drive
    Based on the classic Distortion + and 250 Preamp, the Mustard drive has a lot of gain on tap, ranging from clean boost to crunchy overdrive and near fuzz. Some of most iconic rock riffs has been created with these tones.

    Perhaps not the obvious choice for David Gilmour’s tones, but the Mustard (and those other yellow and grey pedals), can provide a very convincing overdrive close to the Tube Driver. You will need to combine the pedal with some amp break up to get there, or a second booster/overdrive, but the Mustard sounds really smooth and dynamic, with a very musical attack and compression.

    The Mustard is slightly brighter sounding compared to the D+/250 and I miss some of that slightly unpredictable and dirty germanium mojo but again, a very versatile overdrive pedal capable of a wide range of tones.

    Muff War
    As the name implies, the Muff War is a Big Muff, based on those elusive early 90s Civil War Sovtek Big Muffs. It’s got that huge ballsy character, with lots of low end and silky smooth gain.

    I’m not sure whether the Muff War is cloned after a specific pedal or just based on the tonal characters of the Civil War but CPB has done a great job in capturing that classic and much sought after tone.

    Compared to some of the other clones out there, the Muff War is perhaps a tad brighter and it’s not as loud as some of them, but, in my very humble opinion, you won’t find a better sounding Big Muff mini pedal on the market today.

    Big Up
    The Big Up is a no frills, single knob 0-20dB volume boost. A handy tool for your pedal board, whether you want to boost your cleans or gain pedals, drive the front end of a tube amp or, for making sure your solos really kicks through.

    I’ve had some great fun with this mini board and pedals. Everything is sold separately and, as mentioned above, you can use whatever mini pedals (or bigger pedals) you want. If you’re in the market for some mini pedals, I do recommend that you try some of these. The price is right and the tone even better!

    Check out custompedalboards.co.uk for more details.

    Post Tagged with , ,

33 Responsesso far.

  1. Rick Hunter-Wolff says:

    Darkside too clunky and experience. Rented before I bought. Took it back

  2. Tomas Ekström says:

    Hi Björn, I bought the “Muff War” from Custom Pedal Boards (CPB) and got surprised how similar the sound was to another mini pedal, “The Russian”, made by Bright Onion Pedals (BOP). Curiosity lead me to open them both and found the same PCB’s inside with the marking “BOP” which explained the similarity in sound. I guess the two companies has a business agreement on this so nothing strange about that. The line up of CPB is very much the same as BOP’s but I have not done any other studies of PCB’s. Anyway I think in faireness to Bright Onion Pedals they should be mentioned here and IMO they also have a better finish (graphics) and a lower price tag is also not at their disadvantage. http://www.brightonion.co.uk/the-russian/

  3. KEITH says:

    Hey Bjorn, as tomy recent email wondering wbere you were, I was only looking at the posts on the SVI review, and the number hadn’t changed since the 4th. DUH HUH, Today I finally looked at another article, and realized you weren’t missing, I was, Hahaha! Hope you’re doing great!
    Peace, KEITH

  4. Brad Roller says:

    Here you go Keith. I performed it again and uploaded to youtube just for you and the other Gilmourians ;) hope you like it man! https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=mjHnGbzjHJg

    • KEITH says:

      That sounds great Brad! That mini does a great job as well. I am pretty sure, based on takimg a look inside my JH-F1, and my 70th Anniversary Hendrix that they used the same circuit for all the silicon midels. They moved everything around to save space, but I notice little, if any difference in the overall sound. Playing without a backing clip, and nailed it. Way to go. What’s up Bjorn? On Fralin over the line? You don’t reply to my pists much these days, hahaha! I love you guys! I love all the folks on the site, and wish you all a Merry Christmas, or holiday you may celebrate.

      Peace on Earth, and Goodwill to all, especially if Bjorn ever tries Fralin pups :) KEITH

    • Jorswar says:

      I really liked that Brad, sounds great..

  5. Oleg says:

    Hello Bjorn,
    Finally I see you using your new 60′ tribute LP. I’ve got the very same guitar although in gold color. This is my only experience with P90’s and I’m confused a bit. I find them very noisy and having not enough clarity. Can you describe your impression on stock pickups? Are they a real thing or somewhat cheaper ones?
    Beside this, did you swap the nut with a bone one? I find this guitar already sounding extremely good acustically and hesitate a little to replace the nut. But if this will put the tone on nanother level, I’ll jump in.
    Thank you.

    • Bjorn says:

      They’re based on the classic 50s/60s tones but they do have a fairly low output. The noise is just the nature of those pickups and it can be a bit too much if you’re used to humbuckers. I haven’t used the guitar that much but I will replace the stock PUs with some D Allen Cool Cats eventually. I’ve used them before and they sound great. A tad hotter, better shielded, so less noise and they have a hair more mid range.

      • KEITH says:

        Lindy Fralin makes the best sounding p-90s I’ve ever heard. I have his P-90s for Teles in my Thinline, and RVERYONE who hears them wants a Thinline with the pickups that require no mods to the Tele, they are made to bolt right in. Even Lindy said he was going to build a copy of my Thinline. While they are great, I believe his regular P-90s are even better, and not nearly as noisey as currebt Gibson P-90s, and can be wound to your desired amount of heat. The one’s in my Tele are quieter than my Strat’s, and are 8.2 necj and 10.0 bridge output wise. That’s pretty powerful, and the quietest single coils I’ve owned. I really wish Lindy had sent you a set of the pickups when he had agreed to do so, but I guess the fact that he personally wnds every Fender style pickup that leaves his shop, he tends to forget other things, and I didn’t want to keep pressing him about it. I really wish you’d try a set of his Vintage hots, I think you’d find that they are superior to any vintage Strat pickup made. After checking specs on many brands, I found D Allen’s to be almost identical, but Fralin has been doing it for 35 years! He also does zero advertising other than his website, yet can’t make them fast enough, and has wound, bor rewound for DG, the Edge, And many, many other guitar greats.

        Peace,Bjorn, and all on site, and Happy Holidays to all, KEITH

        • TJ says:

          Hi Keith

          I saw your really informative comments on the Echoes pickup reviews about Lindy Fralin being the best for Strats, especially Gilmour’s late 60s / early 70s tone. What pickups of his would you recommend? Would you go the custom route and get a completely custom spec (assuming money is no object)? Would you also buy electronics off him, like tone pots etc? Just looking to make a super strat


          • TJ says:

            also, do you still build guitars? I’d be very interested :D

            • KEITH says:

              Sorry it took so long to reply, I use his vintage hots, woth stock neck, stock RWRP middle, and just maxed out the output of the bridge for the heavier gauge formvar wire, which ends up about 6.5. the bridge pup has the base plate, and I think the whole set is about $250, not super expensive. He did do some of my wiring, but he doesn’t normally do much because he’s always winding! Any good shop, or luthier, or you can do the wiring, I just use CTS pots, Switchcraft switch, and jack, and vintage cloth covered wiring. And, no, I am not in the position to build anything at the time. Check out Lindy’s website. Just google Fralin pickups, his site has a lot of info on his pups, and if there’s something you don’t likr, you can send them back, and he’ll adjust to your taste if he doesn’t nail it the first time,( I love all my Fralins) peace, Keith

  6. KEITH says:

    Nice review, as usual. Particularly liked the Muff, nice for all the reasons Brad Roller already mentioned.
    Thanks Bjorn, KEITH

  7. Brad Roller says:

    Id say that this is the ultimate “gonna go jam with friends and don’t know what I’ll be playing” kind of set up. Not to mention, perfect for bed room jaming at low volumes. Im sure they will offer a delay unit soon! Great review Bjorn! Glad you liked my video from facebook trying out the blue fuzz face mini! What was your thoughts on it or did you get to try it?

    • Bjorn says:

      I don’t own any of the mini FFs but I’ve tried them all and I think they’re really great. Especially the blue and grey one but I think they also did a great job on the red. Far better than the big red germanium.

      • Brad Roller says:

        My gf bought the red one for me. My first germanium fuzz experience. It sounds great, but I guess Im a silicon guy cause I felt like The ref needed more gain. Definitely warmer though

    • KEITH says:

      Hey Brad, could you post a link to your clip with the mini? I’d love to hear it.
      Peace, KEITH

      • Brad Roller says:

        Hey Keith!! Sorry man Im just now seeing your response. Im hoping to have a clip up on youtube soon. If you have facebook, feel free to add me! My name is as it is on here!

  8. Philippe Elskens says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    What is the title of the first song you’re playing in this video?

  9. Interesting!!
    How does a loop switcher work?

    • Bjorn says:

      This one is a true bypass switcher with single channels for each pedal. You can have switchers that pretty much do anything, like patching and storing etc. Each pedal goes into the looper and is assigned to a switch.

Hey! How about a comment on this post?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.