See what PG readers are stomping on!

"Doug Niman plays guitar for a Seattle garage and psychedelic rock band called John Lee Spectre. His main board is powered by a Pedal Pad MPS-XL II and he uses a Planet Waves strobe tuner because he tunes to 432 rather than 440 and this tuner is calibrate-able. From there his signal goes into a modified Vox Wah Wah, Dunlop Swollen Pickle Fuzz, Boss EQ, Boss Blues Driver, Electro-Harmonix Ravish Sitar, Guyatone Flip Stereo Tremolo, Boss PS6 Harmonist, Rocktron Digital Delay, and a Maxon SD808 Overdrive. The stereo outputs from the Ravish Sitar and the Guyatone tremolo go out to an ABY Switch, which feeds out to an Ernie Ball VP Jr. volume pedal to Nimanуs second amp. рThis gives me panning stereo tremolo and awesome psychedelic bliss by sending the Sitar's sympathetic strings to the second amp as well,с he says. рThe main signal chain goes to my primary amp.с"

Almost six decades after forming the short-lived Rising Sons, the two legends reconvene to pay tribute to the classic blues duo of Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee on the warm and rootsy Get on Board.

Deep into Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder’s Get on Board: The Songs of Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, percussionist Joachim Cooder lays out, letting the two elder musicians can take a pass through “Pawn Shop Blues.” To start, they loosely play around with the song’s intro on their acoustic guitars. “Yeah, nice,” remarks Mahal off-handedly in his distinctive rasp—present since he was a young man but, at 79, he’s aged into it—and Cooder lightly chuckles. They hit the turnaround and settle into a slow, loping tempo. It’s a casual and informal affair—some notes buzz, and it sounds like one of them is stomping his foot intermittently. Except for Cooder’s slide choruses, neither guitar plays a rhythm or lead role. They simply converse.

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The emotional wallop of the acoustic guitar sometimes flies under the radar. Even if you mostly play electric, here are some things to consider about unplugging.

I have a love-hate relationship with acoustic guitars. My infatuation with the 6-string really blasted off with the Ventures. That’s the sound I wanted, and the way to get it was powered by electricity. Before I’d even held a guitar, I knew I wanted a Mosrite, which I was sure was made of fiberglass like the surfboards the Beach Boys, Surfaris, and the Challengers rode in their off time. Bristling with space-age switchgear and chrome-plated hardware, those solidbody hotrod guitars were the fighter jets of my musical dreams. I didn’t even know what those old-timey round-hole guitars were called. As the singing cowboys Roy Rogers and Gene Autrey strummed off into the sunset, the pace of technology pushed the look and sound of the electric guitar (and bass) into the limelight and into my heart. Imagine my disappointment when I had to begin my guitar tutelage on a rented Gibson “student” acoustic. At least it sort of looked like the ones the Beatles occasionally played. Even so, I couldn’t wait to trade it in.

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Need an affordable distortion pedal? Look no further.

We live in the golden age of boutique pedals that are loaded with advanced features—many of which were nearly unthinkable a decade or so ago. But there’s something that will always be valuable about a rock-solid dirt box that won’t break your wallet. Here’s a collection of old classics and newly designed stomps that cost less than an average concert ticket.

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