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All-Star Pedalboards 2017

From classic-rock simplicity to indie-tweaker’s delight: Premier Guitar chronicles the most noteworthy stomp stations from last year’s Rig Rundowns.

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Bloc Party
Guitar tech Leif Bodnarchuk says the simplest way to explain guitarist Russell Lissack’s pedal rig is that it contains two loops. Some of the pedals are dedicated to loop A, some are dedicated to loop B, and some float between both. The whole array is heavy on Boss products (13+), but also features Electro-Harmonix stomps (a Deluxe Memory Man, a POG, and a Superego), an Eventide PitchFactor, a clone of a vintage Roland BeeBaa fuzz, and a Line 6 M5. The “brain” (the black box in the middle of the array) was made by Steve Crow from Audio Kitchen in London, and is basically an amped-up A/B switcher with dual outputs, a panic switch, a mute function, and a big red footswitch that moves the signal between loop A and loop B. The pedals rest on several Pedaltrain boards and are powered by Truetone 1 Spot CS7 power supplies.

The trio bandleader and Jason Mraz backer breaks down her journey through guitar academia, how to play with other musicians, and whether theory still matters.

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Amazon Prime Day is here (July 16-17). Whether you're a veteran player or just picking up your first guitar, these are some bargains you don't want to miss. Check out more deals here! https://amzn.to/3LskPRV

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A technicolor swirl of distortion, drive, boost, and ferocious fuzz.

Summons a wealth of engaging, and often unique, boost, drive, distortion, and fuzz tones that deviate from common templates. Interactive controls.

Finding just-right tones, while rewarding, might demand patience from less assured and experienced drive-pedal users. Tone control could be more nuanced.

$199

Danelectro Nichols 1966
danelectro.com

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The Danelectro Nichols 1966, in spite of its simplicity, feels and sounds like a stompbox people will use in about a million different ways. Its creator, Steve Ridinger, who built the first version as an industrious Angeleno teen in 1966, modestly calls the China-made Nichols 1966 a cross between a fuzz and a distortion. And, at many settings, it is most certainly that.

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The author standing next to a Richardson gunstock lathe purchased from Gibson’s Kalamazoo factory. It was used to make six necks at a time at Gibson in the 1950s and 1960s.

Keep your head down and put in the work if you want to succeed in the gear-building business.

The accelerated commodification of musical instruments during the late 20th century conjures up visions of massive factories churning out violins, pianos, and, of course, fretted instruments. Even the venerable builders of the so-called “golden age” were not exactly the boutique luthier shops of our imagination.

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