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The ABSOLUTE Beginner's Guide to Pedalboard MIDI

MIDI is a very powerful and useful tool for controlling your effects pedals. But some of you may not know how it works and have no clue of what it can do. You may even feel a little too intimidated to start. If that's you, this article is just for you. We've also linked the video version of this article here. So if you prefer watching a video, go ahead! If not, just continue reading.



Most of you would know about MIDI in the context of a MIDI keyboard, which allows you to input notes and control functions in your Digital Audio Workstation on a computer. MIDI is the universal language that allows electronic music instruments, computers and audio devices to communicate with each other. All for the purpose of playing, editing and recording music.


Today we are talking about MIDI specifically in the context of an effects pedalboard and how it gives you simultaneous control over all your pedals, enabling you to make full use of all that pedal power.


Before we begin, let’s first talk about why MIDI controllers for pedalboards even exist.



All the pedals on the pedalboard above are MIDI capable. As you can see, there are numerous effects pedals, each of which is capable of altering your guitar’s tone in many different ways. When you take into account how many pedals there are, the permutations and possibilities are almost endless.


Say in the middle of song, you want to engage a light overdrive, an ambient reverb, a modulated dotted eighth analog delay and a gentle compressor. There’s no way you could possibly step on all 4 pedals pedals in an instant. And given that your last used settings may be nowhere close to your currently desired settings, it would take a long time for you to get the tone you want perfectly dialled in.


In the next instance, you may want to disengage your overdrive, have a digital slapback delay, a simple spring reverb and more aggressive compression. Again, there’s no way you could possibly make all those changes without some impressive tap dancing.


Do you see where we’re going with this? MIDI allows you to make all those changes to your tone with just a single switch press. This effectively allows y