So, since running a band and owning a van which I throw everything into, my pedals were taking quite a beating and I ended up with some broken dials and knobs which was getting a bit boring to be honest so I decided to invest in a bard shall board. I was looking at the pedal train ones which I have used before and I know are great but also some of the other manufacturers. On a gig the bassist had on of these boards and they are great, plenty of space and seriously strong and durable.
The board is a bit deeper than an conventional board. this is for 2 reasons, the first being because it is a hard shall and made of wood and metal, so is naturally bulkier, and secondly because there is a compartment under the board to store cables, power supplies and kettle leads. This does add tot he overall weight of the bard and it is heavy. If you have a flight date and are taking this as hand luggage you are going to struggle carrying this for any length of time like through a terminal at Gatwick or Heathrow. However, if you are using it for gig where you are simply carrying from vehicle to stage, and want something that is durable, it is perfect.
There are quite a few of these types of boards/cases on the market at the minute, and to be honest they are all very similar. It simply comes down to price and how much of a label tart you are. The pedal train boards like the PT-3 and PT Junior come either with a soft case or a hard case and they are great boards (I have 3 soft case version!) but these are very heavy duty, and were far more than I needed with a hard case.
The Gator board comes in 3 parts. The lid, the board and the base. They stack together and are fastened with great lockable hinges. Take the lid off to reveal the board and all the pedals. this is where you can now use this in one of two ways. Either you can have everything on the board and lift the board straight out and use it on the ground or you can keep the board seated in the base. By keeping the board seated in the base, you can use the board like a lid and access the cables underneath, but you can also wire the power supply under the board to give yourself a little bit more space on top for pedals.
The board also comes with 2 handles either side to help you lift it our of the case, I must say that because I use mine seated in the base with everything wired in, I removed the handles to give myself some more space on top. The actual case has 3 handles, one on the top and 2 on either side, all of which are spring loaded which is a great feature. These handles are also red, which looks great!
One quick thing to mention is that there are 2 sizes of this board on offer. There is a small and a Large, I have the small as the large was too big and weighs a little more. Like when setting any boards, think about the amount you are actually going to put on it and look at all the options. On mine I have 5 Boss sized pedal, 3 Mooer sized and a Wah. It also comes with some 3M Dual Lock. This is like velcro but on steroids, it is great and it is now the only thing I will use. I may even do a review just on the tape!
One thing that the PT boards have over the gator is the wiring. The PT boards are strips of metal with space in between that allow for easy wiring and a nice clean look to the board. The Gator is a flat solid piece of wood so all the wiring has to run alongside the pedals and cannot be hidden. This is a problem if you are using standard, preset patch cables as you end up with loads of cable everywhere. It will work, but it looks like a snakes wedding. I have been using either George L’s or the Planet Waves patch cables, both of which you can cut to specific lengths to wire all my boards for awhile and if you are getting a board like this I would seriously recommend getting some.
The other thing that you will have noticed from the picture is the use of cable ties. I use then on all my boards to keep everything in place and with this board it makes a bit difference!
If you are looking for durable case that is going to last a long time, is easy to use, has somewhere for all your cables and looks good, then look no further!
Pros – Durability / Price / Ease of use / Solid / Size / 3M Dual Lock
Cons – Weight / No under board wiring
Overall Rating – 8/10