Gear Review: Pedal Labels - A Must For Busy Pedalboards

Every once in a while a product comes along that's so simple, yet useful, that you scratch your head and wonder why it hadn't been done earlier. Pedal Labels are that product for guitar players.

With tons of new gadgets popping up every week, from automatic string winders to coin-sized headstock tuners, the Pedal Labels are an extremely useful tool that you'll regret not putting to use. 

Now, I'll preface this by noting that I use a somewhat modest pedal rig — by some standards, at least — with seven boxes, ranging from small (MXR Phase 90 and MXR Dyna Comp), to fairly large (MXR 10-Band EQ). As many reading this can attest to, the more knobs at your disposal, the more fine tuned and precise your setting need to be. 

Admittedly, I'm not much of a knob tweaker. I tend to keep everything at a relative familiar spot. The problem, however, is that when you have anyone else around your rig, knobs can easily get turned. Whether it's a simple bump of the dial while unloading your gear, or you have one of those busy-fingered friends (as we all do) looking to play pedal scientist when he gets a hold of your equipment. 

My most common issue, for whatever reason, is that I play barefoot in the studio most of the time, and tend to turn the "mode" knob on by BOSS DD-3 delay with my toe when engaging the pedal. Silly problem to have, yes, but it's a fairly common occurrence. This problem of mine essentially turns the delay to a close slap — so subtle it's almost not even noticeable — and I immediately begin panicking, thinking there's something wrong with the effects loop on my amp. After some time of banging my head against a wall, I realize the delay time had gotten turned ever so slightly. Point being, I never really had a concrete reference point of where my settings normally rest at. Just a general idea. 

In comes the Pedal Labels. The fine people over at PedalLabels.com were kind enough to send over a sample pack and I put them right to the test within minutes of opening the package. The labels come on quarter sheets, as you would see with a sheet of stickers, and feature blank knob diagrams to fit almost every kind of pedal configuration. For those unconventional pedal layouts, each sheet contains ten individual knob labels that can be placed anywhere on the pedal. A pair of 3-way toggle switch labels are also included on each sheet. 


Within seconds, I picked out the ones I needed (MXR Wide 2 Knob, MXR 1 Knob, BOSS 4 Knob, Ibanez 3 Knob, etc.) and got to work. Each label fit perfectly on the corresponding pedal, and in no time I was marking the appropriate settings on each knob diagram with a Sharpie. In literally under five minutes, I had my entire pedalboard settings mapped out in front of me. The worry of accidentally messing with my tone was gone.

When I came back in the studio an hour or so later, I instantly noticed that I was much more inclined to experiment with various settings that I hadn't before, simply because I had a clear reference point to return things to when I was done. I quickly realized that a simple and affordable labeling system had just opened up my creativity more than any single piece of gear I had purchased in months! 

Now, a few people I know tend to use tape and draw the knob configuration on that, but anyone who appreciates the appearance and presentation of a well-mapped out pedalboard will certainly welcome the clean and professional look of the Pedal Labels. Not to mention, the labels use a low tack adhesive that allows for easy removal without leaving a sticky residue. We've all seen the guitarist who left a sticker or piece of duct tape on their equipment too long, which oftentimes will flat out aesthetically ruin a piece of gear.

A full pack (six 9"x4" sheets) of Pedal Labels can be purchased for $7.95 and comes with over 100 labels. A mini pack is also available for $2.95 and comes with two 9"x4" sheets, which turned out to be plenty for my pedalboard pictured below. 

The Pedal Labels can be purchased directly from www.PedalLabels.com


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