Pedalboard Build: Jesse Tobias

Back in April of 2019 I started working with Jesse Tobias (guitar player for Morrissey). In preparations for an upcoming tour he wanted to update his current board as it was a mess of mismatched power cables, gross old velcro, and busted pedals. I was eagerd to get my hands on this and get his situation up to what I consider to be normal. I had just over a week to get this ready in time for an upcoming tour with Morrissey. So with the help of my colleague and mentor Erik Bailey (@unfirommusicla) I was able to get it done at his shop just in time.

My first mission was to dismantle this smorgishboard and clean all of the pedals, replace switches, jacks, power, etc. To my surprise I did not find any creatures roaming around inside these pedals, however inside the Ibanez Delay there was an impressive amount of dirt, dust, and grime with compelling evidence of maybe a spider living in recluse at some time or another.

Here lies Jesse’s original pedalboard…

The next steps after cleaning and testing every pedal was to sort out a better power solution. I chose three options, all from Strymon because they are lightweight, durable, and have options for 12, and 18volts. Best of all they automatically convert power overseas so if you forget to plug into a power transformer it doesn’t freaking matter! The strymons are a go to power supply for every build over at Uniform Music. In order to power twenty pedals I needed to get four power supplies (1 zuma, 2 Ojai, and 1 Ojai R30) all chained together. Strymon allows for you to chain as many Ojai units off of the Zuma as you need, which is very useful when powering a board of 20 pedals or more.

The next stage was figuring out a signal flow that worked best for Jesse. I made notes of what was already going on and worked out a solution from that template. The two Flip pedals (Orange Tremolo and Blue Tube Echo) were patched at the very end of the signal but colored a lot of the tone more than anything else in the chain. Erik had the idea to put both in a separate loop to help clean up the signal some and it made a great deal of difference. The only issue I ran into once it came time for rehearsals was making sure Jesse remembered to turn it on, eventually it always ended up staying on but it’s a good function to have for him when he’s in the studio.

Yada, yada, yada, I put velcro down, made a lot of cables, routed power separately from the audio and what you have is what you see in the photo at the top of this blog post. At the end of the week I was very happy with how everything turned out. Jesse has about every type of effect and pedal imaginable on this board, allowing for a lot of options. Its cool seeing how he stacks a lot of these pedals live to capture his unique sound. Some favorites from the pedalboard are the Flip Tube Echo and the Ibanez Delay.

Below is the signal flow of events:

  1. In/Out Box
  2. Peterson Strobe Tuner
  3. Malekko Fuzz
  4. Zvex Super Hard-On
  5. Expandora 1
  6. Expandora 2
  7. Earthquaker Devices Pitch Bay
  8. Earthquaker Devices White Light
  9. Malekko Chorus
  10. Malekko Vibrato
  11. Malekko Analog Delay
  12. Earthquaker Devices Sea Machine Chorus
  13. MXR Flanger
  14. Earthquaker Devices Bit Commander
  15. Earthquaker Devices Disaster Transport SR
  16. Red Panda Rastor
  17. Ibanez Analog Delay
  18. Red Panda Particle
  19. Flip Tube Echo
  20. Flip Tube Tremolo
  21. MXR Micro Amp

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