Check out the new HoleyBoard pedal boards from Chemistry Design Werks.
The Chemistry Design Werks HoleyBoard pedal boards come in a few different sizes, a few cool colors and shades, and each one can better organize your pedals’ real estate. These smart pedal boards of the future rely on zip ties to hold down your flavorful stomp boxes, and allow for all sizes of pedals to be used. I will venture on and say that I think the HoleyBoard is my favorite pedal board design ever. Let me dive in and tell you all about my new find that is the HoleyBoard from Chemistry Design Werks…
But first, lets find out more about how these pedal boards came to be…
Chris Trifilio, of St. Paul Minnesota, new there had to be a better way to place your expensive pedals onto a board. As a musician himself, he grew tired of adhering “Hook and loop type adhesives” and all sorts of sticky adhesives, to his much loved pedals. He knew that there had to be a better way of keeping these pedals on a pedal board. Chris liked to strap them down using “Zip ties”, and an idea was born. But Chris does things all the way. He sticks to his guns when it comes to function, quality, and longevity. In fact, the CDW website says this “Chemistry Design Werks was founded to create useful, clever tools for the working musician. Everything we do puts quality, function and made in the USA first. I hope you enjoy our products, please tell your friends.”
The three sizes of Chemistry Design Werks HoleyBoard pedal boards that are available are the “Amp Top“, the “Standard“, and the “Wide“. Here are the three different sizes of HoleyBoards…
The “Amp Top” HoleyBoard literally sits on top of a an amp, no matter the type (a keyboard amp, a guitar amp, or a bass amp). It will firmly hold your expensive and much loved pedals in place, and at a close reach. This is a single tier unit that is simple and solid.
The “Standard” HoleyBoard is the one featured in this review. It will hold an assortment of pedals, and it has two levels of secure pedal holding abilities (providing a space for larger pedals like a volume, expression, or “wah” pedals). The larger sized pedals can be put on the right side of the “Standard” HoleyBoard.
The “Wide” HoleyBoard is set up for more larger sized pedals, and can be set up a few ways. You can have the larger sized pedals on the left side, the right side, or both sides of the “Wide” HoleyBoard. It is up to you, and you assemble the board that you want, the board that you deserve.
The review unit, or the “Standard” HoleyBoard, came well packaged and needed to be assembled. This took maybe ten minutes in total. You will need a Phillips screwdriver and one wrench to assemble. The “Standard” sized HoleyBoard also shipped with rubber feet that screw on, a bag of zip ties, and a cool sticker. You can go here to view the assembly for yourself, and see just how easy it is.
HoleyBoards come be in a variety of colors, too, as seen on the website.
I was, and still am taken by the overall quality of the HoleyBoard. It is just made so very, very well, and will withstand my “foot-caused abuse” for years and years to come. If you have a problem with folks stepping on, and perhaps breaking, your current set up, than maybe a HoleyBoard from Chemistry Design Werks can be your solution. Mine is made of wood and solid aluminum and feels extremely solid. They come in all sorts of custom colors, from time to time, as well as natural, birch, and black. As you can see from the images, I opted for the black color and I am very happy with my decision.
Lets do this part of the review correctly, and I will be as honest as I can. I am not out to get even with any other pedal board maker, far from it. I have used flat (one level), “Hook and loop” (Velcro) based pedal boards in the past. Heck, I have even reviewed them right here on the website. They are ok to work with, and they hold pedals neat and tidy enough. I just have a few small, “nit pick and personal reasons” as to why I wanted something more in a pedal board.
Those nit pick reasons for wanting more are that there is no place to route and hide all of the power supply cables and any other related cables with most pedal boards. These exposed power cables are messy, cumbersome, and need to be held down with even more strips of Velcro. Before long, your pedal board looks like a power distribution grid for a small city. Plus, each of your pedals will have to have “Hook and loop” (or Velcro) attached to them, and most likely will need their “feet” removed. This is not a worldly deal breaker, in and by itself, but it will leave a sticky residue on your pedals. It can be a pain to remove the Velcro too, but you all know all about that stuff.
Then there are the pedal boards that have “slabs” to place your pedals on, and “slabs” removed for your cable routing. These types of pedal boards also use “Hook and loop” (Velcro) to secure the pedals to the board. These pedal boards are fine, too, but the “Hook and loop” issue still persists. You have only succeeded in hiding the mass of cables from view. All of your pedals are still on a single plane, and that can make switching a (sorry about this) “pain in the heel”.
The Chemistry Design Werks HoleyBoard pedal boards seem to be the best solution of them all. You might be afraid of using zip ties at first, but I assure you it is the way to go, and for many reasons. For starters, zip ties are super fast to install. That is why they are called “Zip ties”, and not “slow as death ties”. Zip ties secure the pedals to the pedal board better than Velcro ever will. Also, zip ties can be removed in a jiffy, too, with a just snip of diagonal wire cutters (Dykes). With the Zip tie system in use, you can add or remove pedals to your HoleyBoard in practically no time at all.
With the Chemistry Design Werks HoleyBoard pedal boards you can route, and hide from view, all of your power cables. This just makes things look nice and neat, and it can make for a better working board too. Tucking all of the cables out of sight, clutter free, makes for a better switched gig too. Your shoes will not get caught in the cables, causing slips, falls, and power starving pedals.
Saving the best for last has always been my style. The best feature of the HoleyBoard “Standard” and “Wide” is the elevated back deck. I think that this upper deck is brilliant, and for a few reasons. First, the upper level makes things a little bit less confusing for me. All of the pedals on the bottom are “in series”, or before the amp. The pedals that are on the upper level are “in parallel” or are in the amps effect loop. Secondly, it is simply a matter of proper ergonomics, as your foot just feels comfortable resting on the upper level. This “upper deck” is made to rest at a very natural and rather comfortable angle. It sort of feels like you are resting your foot on a monitor wedge.
Next, I like to keep my power supply (pedal-sized block) out of view, and out of the way. Not to mention that I don’t want to mistake my power supply for an effect pedal on a dark stage or in my dark studio. The upper level creates a nice place to hide the pedals’ power supply (and other equipment you wish to keep out of view). It just keeps power supply units out of the “accidental stomp zone” and that is a good thing.
The upper level allows for an easier operation of your effects (clicking on and off of pedals with your foot) and should have been invented tens of years ago. It really makes turning those upper level pedals on and off so easy. Having two levels of pedals means no more turning on multiple effects by mistake. Having rows of pedals, front to back, is a bad thing for me. I usually turn on or turn off more than one pedal at a time.
The upper deck of the HoleyBoard is not as wide, by design, as the lower deck. This allows for the employment of your full sized pedals like Wah Wah, volume, or expression pedals. Plus, these pedals need to be off to one side of your pedal board anyway. This is a great way to do things.
So, to close this review, please allow me to leave you with the pros of using a Chemistry Design Werks HoleyBoard pedal boards. Here they are:
1) If you find yourself tapping out the “effect pedal tap dance”, perhaps on dimly lit stages, then the two levels of a HoleyBoard pedal boards will treat you well. If your night job requires you to wear massive “Kiss Army-Gene Simmons” style of boots (yes, skulls, fire, red glowing eyes on your 7 inch heels) then you do not want to accidently turn on more than one pedal at a time. Another thing about having the two levels of pedals is that on a dark stage it can be troublesome to just find that exact right pedal, and then switch it on or off, at just the right time. Forget about it if the pedals are all on a flat pedal board. Having that upper level is awesome, I assure you. Now, go rock those boots!
2) If you have had it with your O.C.D. constantly telling you that you need to hide all of your cables and routing chords, then it is time to get a Chemistry Design Werks HoleyBoard pedal boards. I like to keep things nice and neat, and it really makes a difference having routing options. Being neat and tidy just makes things look and feel that much more professional.
3) Once you open your mind to using zip ties to hold your precious cargo to your pedal board you will never go back to any other methods. Zip ties are fast, strong, leave no residue, and are just so easy to remove. Plus, you can get zip ties anywhere.
O.K. you keyboardists, guitarists, and bass players…. Listen up. If you need a simple method of routing your effects, need a fail safe way to find your pedals when you need them, then please look no further. If you want a speedy way to set up (and tear down) your rig, then here it is. Secure your effect pedals once and for all. The Chemistry Design Werks HoleyBoard pedal boards are rugged, ergonomic, and conversation starting. They come in a few styles and a handful of cool colors. There is one just for you, I promise!
Also, please check out the HoleyBoard Bomber Cases for protection for your new pedal board. Plus, using a case like these makes going to the gig a breeze. Simply place the HoleyBoard pedal boards in the HoleyBoard Bomber Cases and you are good to go! A lot of design went into these cases, and they are tough!