Dig into the details of a pile of new gear from Steve Vai, MXR, Abasi Concepts, Dophix, b3, and more!
Martin Custom Guitar
Here's the 2,500,000th guitar to come through Martin’s factory and built by their team. The guitar was made from birdseye Belizean rosewood and heavy Sitka spruce. Display built by Jody Betz.
Positive Grid Spark Mini
At $199, Dreadbox’s Treminator goes way past trad-style trem. It offers five different wave shapes, fade in/out controls, tap tempo, and a handful of “secret” features when you hold down one of the footswitches. Think Minus the Bear in a box.
Do you love Teles and wigglesticks? VegaTrem just gave us a quick look a the VT-2, which takes there rock-solid trem technology and applies it to T-style setups. Installation isn’t invasive and the bar feels smooth as silk. Pricing is TBA, but look for them this fall.
Manhattan Prestige Basses Session One
Famed session legend Neil Jason founded a new instrument company called Manhattan Prestige Basses and brought their first model, the Session One, to NAMM. It’s an incredibly well-balanced instrument that sports an alder body, maple neck, Tusq nut, Luminay fret markers, and a Wilkinson bridge. A rock-solid workhorse that comes in at $999 street.
Imperial Electric: The Appetite
The Audient EVO16 is a fully featured recording solution that offers 8 inputs, phantom power, multiple headphone outputs, and an inventive Smart Gain feature that makes setting levels a snap. Will hit stores soon at $499.
Pro Co Lil' Rat
The classic tone of the Rat has been shrunk into a micro-sized enclosure. It has the exact same circuitry and clipping as the original, just smaller. In order to save space they took out the battery option, but it still sounds as gnarly as ever. And quite a deal at $79.
Blackstar St. James
Blackstar spent the last two years developing a new line of ultra-powerful and ultra-light amps. The St James series offers two different setups (6L6 and EL84) that include a full 3-band EQ, dual channels, reverb, reactive load options, and deep editing via an app. Heads are $1,199, combos are $1,299, and the 2x12 can is $749.
Martin D-28 Rich Robinson Guitar
Martin just released a new signature model from Rich Robinson that was patterned after his dad’s ‘50s model. It has rosewood back and sides, a chunky neck, Sitka spruce too, and is the first artist model that's aged to replicate the original. It will street for $6,999 and be out in late summer.
Ernie Ball Music Man Tosin Abasi Kaizen
Futuristic shredder Tosin Abasi just announced a new collaboration with Ernie Ball Music Man. The Kaizen is an immaculately designed 7-string that sports a mini humbucker in the neck, Steinberger tuners, a multiscale neck with floating trem, and much more. Should be out in late summer with a price TBA.
Steve Vai Hydra
One of the most incredible creations at this year’s show was Steve Vai’s Ibanez Hydra. It was prominently featured on Vai’s last album and the up-close details are amazing.
Tom Quayle Signature
Ibanez and fusion stylist Tom Quayle extended their partnership with a singlecut signature model that's loaded with a Seymour Duncan mini-humbucker in the neck and an Alnico Pro II in the bridge.
Abasi Concepts emi Series
Dophix Michelangelo Overdrive Plus
b3 Guitars Telstar
Gene Baker and b3 Guitars brought their mashed-up Telstar to the show. It pays obvious tribute to a pair of classic models, but this one features a 10(!)-way switch, Lollar pickups, a double graphite reinforced bolt-on neck, and a MannMade hybrid tremolo. They will be exclusively sold through The Music Emporium and will start at $5,200.
Gamechanger Audio Bigsby Pedal
Gamechanger Audio's new collaboration with Fender has resulted in a digital version of a seminal tremolo. The Bigsby pedal allows for both upward and downward polyphonic pitch bending in addition to adjusting the rate of the vibrato. It feels smooth and natural and makes the more extreme Bigsby moves much easier. It's available now for $379.
Black Volt Amplification Earthcaster
MXR and Third Man Hardware Double Down
The latest pedal collab from Jack White's Third Man Records is the Double Down. Inside, there are two of MXR's Micro Amp circuits in a single box. It has dual outputs with phase and buffer switches on the side. Should be out later this year.
The silky smooth slide man may raise a few eyebrows with his gear—a hollow, steel-bodied baritone and .017s on a Jazzmaster—but every note and tone he plays sounds just right.
KingTone’s The Duellist is currently Ariel Posen’s most-used pedal. One side of the dual drive (the Bluesbreaker voicing) is always on. But there’s another duality at play when Posen plugs in—the balance between songwriter and guitarist.
“These days, I like listening to songs and the story and the total package,” Posen told PG back in 2019, when talking about his solo debut, How Long, after departing from his sideman slot for the Bros. Landreth. “Obviously, I’m known as a guitar player, but my music and the music I write is not guitar music. It’s songs, and it goes back to the Beatles. I love songs, and I love story and melody and singing, and there was a lot of detail and attention put into the guitar sound and the playing and the parts—almost more than I’ve ever done.”
And in 2021, he found himself equally expressing his yin-and-yang artistry by releasing two albums that represented both sides of his musicality. First, Headway continued the sultry sizzle of songwriting featured on How Long. Then he surprised everyone, especially guitarists, by dropping Mile End, which is a 6-string buffet of solo dishes with nothing but Ariel and his instrument of choice.
But what should fans expect when they see him perform live? “I just trust my gut. I can reach more people by playing songs, and I get moved more by a story and lyrics and harmony, so that’s where I naturally go. The live show is a lot more guitar centric. If you want to hear me stretch out on some solos, come see a show. I want the record and the live show to be two separate things.”
The afternoon ahead of Posen’s headlining performance at Nashville’s Basement East, the guitar-playing musical force invited PG’s Chris Kies on stage for a robust chat about gear. The 30-minute conversation covers Posen’s potent pair of moody blue bombshells—a hollow, metal-bodied Mule Resophonic and a Fender Custom Shop Jazzmaster—and why any Two-Rock is his go-to amp. He also shares his reasoning behind avoiding effects loops and volume pedals.
Brought to you by D’Addario XPND Pedalboard.
Blue the Mule III
If you’ve spent any time with Ariel Posen’s first solo record, How Long, you know that the ripping, raunchy slide solo packed within “Get You Back” is an aural high mark. As explained in a 2019 PG interview, Posen’s pairing for that song were two cheapos: a $50 Teisco Del Rey into a Kay combo. However, when he took the pawnshop prize onstage, the magic was gone. “It wouldn’t stay in tune and wouldn’t stop feeding back—it was unbearable [laughs].”
Posen was familiar with Matt Eich of Mule Resophonic—who specializes in building metal-body resonators—so he approached the luthier to construct him a steel-bodied, Strat-style baritone. Eich was reluctant at first (he typically builds roundneck resos and T-style baritones), but after seeing a clip of Posen playing live, the partnership was started.
The above steel-bodied Strat-style guitar is Posen’s third custom 25"-scale baritone. (On Mule Resophonic’s website, it’s affectionately named the “Posencaster.”) The gold-foil-looking pickups are handwound by Eich, and are actually mini humbuckers. He employs a custom Stringjoy set (.017–.064 with a wound G) and typically tunes to B standard. The massive strings allow the shorter-scale baritone to maintain a regular-tension feel. And when he gigs, he tours light (usually with two guitars), so he’ll use a capo to morph into D or E standard.
Another one that saw recording time for Headway and Mile End was the above Fender Custom Shop Masterbuilt ’60s Jazzmaster, made by Carlos Lopez. To make it work better for him, he had the treble-bleed circuit removed, so that when the guitar’s volume is lowered it actually gets warmer.
"Clean and Loud"
Last time we spoke with Posen, he plugged into a Two-Rock Classic Reverb Signature. It’s typically his live amp. However, since this winter’s U.S. run was a batch of fly dates, he packed light and rented backlines. Being in Music City, he didn’t need to go too deep into his phone’s contacts to find a guitar-playing friend that owned a Two-Rock. This Bloomfield Drive was loaned to Ariel by occasional PG contributor Corey Congilio. On the brand’s consistent tone monsters, Posen said, “To be honest, put a blindfold on me and make one of Two-Rock’s amps clean and loud—I don’t care what one it is.”
The loaner vertical 2x12 cab was stocked with a pair of Two-Rock 12-65B speakers made by Warehouse Guitar Speakers.
Ariel Posen’s Pedalboard
There are a handful of carryovers from Ariel’s previous pedalboard that was featured in our 2021 tone talk: a TC Electronic PolyTune 3 Noir, a Morningstar MC3 MIDI Controller, an Eventide H9, a Mythos Pedals Argonaut Mini Octave Up, and a KingTone miniFUZZ Ge. His additions include a custom edition Keeley Hydra Stereo Reverb & Tremolo (featuring Headway artwork), an Old Blood Noise Endeavors Black Fountain oil can delay, Chase Bliss Audio Thermae Analog Delay and Pitch Shifter, and a KingTone The Duellist overdrive.
Another big piece of the tonal pie for Posen is his signature brass Rock Slide. He worked alongside Rock Slide’s Danny Songhurst to develop his namesake slide that features a round-tip end that helps Posen avoid dead spots or unwanted scratching. While he prefers polished brass, you can see above that it’s also available in a nickel-plated finish and an aged brass.
For our annual guitar mods issue, we asked readers to share projects from their own workbenches.
Anthony Pereira: Jackson with Warpigs
Not as elaborate as others I’ve seen, but I’ve always been a sucker for Jackson guitars, and I’m not even a shred player. I wanted to do something different to my SL2, so I installed FU-Tone Noiseless Springs, an FU-Tone Brass Block on the Floyd Rose, a trem stopper, and Bare Knuckle Warpig pickups. The kicker is that I put a P-90 Warpig in the neck position for the punchy leads. The pickups are much darker than the stock pickups, but they scream through my 1982 Marshall 2203.
Gregg Ledoux: Meet Mavis
This is Mavis. She has a Warmoth swamp-ash body, a Warmoth Goncalo Alves neck with pau ferro fretboard, and stainless-steel frets. I chose a Lollar P-90 and Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates for the pickups. I assembled this guitar in the last couple of months. She rocks!
Jin J. X: Covering Serious Ground
Hi Premier Guitar!
This may look like a “normal” Ibanez Artcore, though it has some extra goodies. This is an Ibanez AFJ85 with a Stewmac Golden Age Parson Street alnico 2 PAF-style pickup in the bridge, and a custom alnico 3 neck pickup made for me by David Magazzi out of Connecticut. Instead of a 3-way switch, it uses the middle three notches of a 5-way rotary switch with the outside positions acting as a “mute.” The “top” master volume and tone pots are dedicated to the magnetic pickups with their own input jack.
You may notice a small wire coming from the bridge—this is a Fishman Powerbridge posted to the floating posts. That wire goes to the “bottom” volume and tone and to a separate jack. Historically, I’ve not been the biggest fan of piezo pickups in solidbodies, but in a hollowbody it actually sounds more real (a trick I picked up from the mighty Gilad Hekselman). So, this guitar covers some serious ground: legitimate jazz and R&B sounds in the neck, bright twangy sounds in the bridge, and a whole separate circuit for acoustic sounds that, in the studio with EQ, sound very much like a dreadnought we all know and love.
Thank you for all you do, and I appreciate that you give readers the opportunity to get in on the fun.
Justin Lee: Smashing Pumpkins Squier
Hi Premier Guitar,
Love all your content, especially the Rig Rundowns! I’d like to share with you my quarantine guitar project. It’s my first-ever guitar that had been unassembled for the longest time. I’ve since gone on to own much better guitars but there’s still something very magical about this one.
It’s started life as a Korean Squier and I thought the white finish was a bit boring (no offense to Jimi), so I painted it, inspired by Smashing Pumpkins’ Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness album. I guess the choice of red and white was inspired by Van Halen.
During this whole period of quarantine, I decided to get it back up and running with some help from my local guitar shop. I changed the tuners and nut, and I wired in a few old pickups I had around: a Gibson pickup in the bridge and a DiMarzio Vintage Pro in the neck. I’m still not sure what to do about the space for the middle pickup. I might just leave it empty, which makes it more Frankencaster-esque. I’ve set it up with .011s and raised the action with the intention of trying to play slide (again!). I’m also waiting to get the right (free) knob for the second tone pot.
It’s probably not worth the money that I’ve just put into it, but I can’t give it up and it should be played. Also, it seems to be my kids’ favorite one of them all.
Justin (currently living in Singapore but spent a lot of time in the U.K. and Canada)
Justin Motander Jones: Berto
This pine-bodied “Berto” was made from a beam from a neighbor’s 1930s patio here in the Kensington neighborhood of San Diego, California. The purpleheart fretboard pays tribute to the now-defunct historic Ken Cinema. The guitar has a TV Jones Magna’Tron, and a McNelly CC neck pickup. The anodized aluminum knobs are made locally by Forney Guitars. Berto has a Schroeder bridge and Gotoh tuners. I make guitars in San Diego and my IG handle is @justinmotanderjones, if you’d like to see some others.
Kato: Tilt-Back Banana
I put together this beautiful guitar out of some parts that were made to my specifications. It’s a Strat-style body but it’s a little bit thinner than normal. The neck is custom-made and the closest replication of the tilt-back banana headstock like George Lynch’s. The pickups are alnico 2 in the bridge, alnico 4 in middle, and alnico 5 in the neck. The neck has a slightly slimmer profile, so it’s easier to play blazing-fast leads. I had the neck plate custom-engraved with my logo and the headstock is currently out being painted to match the body and I’m having my logo applied. Hope you like it. Took me quite a while. Can’t wait to play her!
Mark Cully: Two-Fer
I have two guitar projects to share. The first is my ’90s MIM Squier Telecaster. I put a gold-foil pickup from a 1960s Teisco guitar in the neck position along with CTS pots, orange drop capacitors, and a proper Fender switch.
The second project is my Lotus guitar. It started out as a double-humbucker guitar with a Tune-o-matic bridge. I installed a Tele-style bridge and pickup, and a P-90 in the neck position. It’s now a string-through body. I handmade a hardwood shim for the neck pocket to make the neck angle suitable for the lower bridge. It has all new electronics, including CTS pots, orange drop capacitors, etc. Great mag, by the way!
Matt Dunn: Best of Both Worlds
This guitar started its life as a cheap Strat copy under the Stadium brand. I’ve always loved HSS Strats because of how versatile they are in terms of sonic possibilities. But you rarely ever see P-90s put into a Strat, let alone P-90s for an HSS configuration! So, I ordered a custom pickguard with the help of WD Music, loaded the guitar with some GFS pickups, and decided to see how a pair of P-90s and a Wide Range-style humbucker would sound. It ended up sounding wonderful, with more of a Gibson flavor than I anticipated or expected. As a Les Paul Junior fan, this guitar provided me the best of both worlds and is quite the conversation starter!
Michael Menkes: Modded Explorer
- Hipshot A Bass Bridge with string through
- Bartolini Classic Bass humbuckers
- John East Uni-Pre preamp
- Hipshot D extender tuner
- Alperious Custom pickguard, pickup covers, and truss rod cover
It took a full year to complete! Worth it.
Here we go again! Last month we brought you part one of your guitar cohorts’ boards from around the world. Time to dig in for part two.
Premier Guitar’sannual feature gives readers the chance to show off their pedalboards. There are so many ways of thinking when it comes to wiring up your effects—that’s the fun of it! In this round we’ve got a tribute to Eddie Van Halen, a pandemic board from Amsterdam, a maximalist stomper with 17 pedals, a curly cord “board,” and much more. Go forth to discover new pedals, and stomp on!
Aaron Costello: A Waylon Button
I live in Portland, Oregon. When I built this board, the goal was to get a clear, natural, amp-like sound, with multiple gain stages. Lots of trial and error (which was fun), and, after laboring over decisions that are of absolutely no consequence to productive society, here’s what I came up with.
1. Ernie Ball VP Jr.
Basic as it gets. I use it to quiet the rig when I play with acoustic instruments and am also trying to get the hang of pedal-steel bends. Still have some work to do there!
2. Boss TU-3
3. Greer Amps Lightspeed
This thing is killer. With a single-coil guitar, I use it to push the Nobels ODR-Mini and get a little more gain without losing clarity. Typically, I use it for a raunchy rhythm sound. With a humbucker guitar, I usually shut the Nobels off and use it by itself.
4. Nobels ODR-Mini
This is my favorite pedal and the heart of the board. It’s very much like an amp. With a single-coil guitar, I use it for my clean sound and it’s always on. I really dig the edge-of-breakup thing.
5. J. Rockett Audio Archer
I like this behind the Nobels and use it to get a “singing,” higher-gain lead tone. Again, it retains the clarity at higher gain but still sounds like an amp.
6. MXR Phase 90
I literally call this the “Waylon Button.”
7. J. Rockett Audio Josh Smith Dual Trem
I don’t use it a ton but sometimes it’s the perfect thing to add color. Sometimes I’ll use it with the Greer and then fade it in and out with the volume pedal. It lets me mimic an organ pad and is kind of fun.
8. EHX Memory Toy Mini
This is my second favorite pedal. I use it for a slapback sound and it’s almost always on.
9. Mr. Black Super Swell Reverb
My main amps are a 1975 Princeton Reverb and a 1978 Vibrolux Reverb, so I usually like the amp reverb. I do have a couple of amps in my home studio that don’t have reverb, so I use this with those. It also sounds great on bass!
10. Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 4x4
This is under the board and does the job. Thanks for reading!
Bert Harris: My Curly “Board”
Here’s my pedalboard … I prefer to plug straight in and get all my tone from the amp itself. Nothing cooler than Clapton with a white curly cord plugged directly into a Fender Dual Showman at The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus! I love the thought of showing up with a guitar, amp, pick, and curly cord!
Admittedly, I’m kinda lazy and plugging in a bunch of stuff is a beating to me … although I have been using an Xotic EP Booster lately, but it’s battery powered. Hope your day is a wonderful one!
Brian Schwager: Short and Sweet
Hello, I play in multiple bands in Des Moines, Iowa. Here’s what I got goin’ on my pedalboard:
- British Pedal Company Zonk Machine
- TC Electronic PolyTune 3 Mini
- Ceriatone Centura
- Greer Amps Lightspeed
- Danelectro BillionaireBig Spender Spinning Speaker
- Boss (XTS Custom Mods) GE-7 Equalizer
- JHS Pedals Lucky Cat Delay
- Strymon Flint
- Lehle P-Split (under the raiser, top right)
Drew Smith: Three is the Magic Number
I love these reader pedalboards: I hope you feature my board! I’m in a psychedelic punk-blues duo called Phantom Ocean, based out of New England. We’re heavily indebted to alternative music from the ’80s, ’90s, and early 2000s, and because there’s only two of us, my wife on drums and me on guitar, I keep my rig pretty tight. I need a few solid guitar tones and tend not to dip into too much modulation. To that end, my board right now only has three pedals: tuner, dirt, and delay.
For a tuner, I’ve got a Snark because it’s economical and does the job right. For dirt, I’ve got a Chicago Stompworks Mr. Vermin, their version of a Pro Co RAT, and it’s the best RAT I’ve ever tried. The first time I plugged into this thing, I finally understood why the RAT is so beloved by so many guitarists whose ears I respect. It really covers such a broad swathe of tones, from overdrive to straight-up fuzz. And then the TC Electronic Flashback is my favorite delay. I’ve never had one fail on me, you can get such a variety of sounds, and the TonePrint feature is always there to craft something really wild.
I round the board out with an XVive U2 wireless system, because I hate accidentally dragging cables across my board and freedom of movement onstage is a joy (even if I spend half the set near the mic anyway). I also use one of (Premier Guitar Senior Editor) Ted Drozdowski’s Rocky Mountain signature slides for my slide-guitar work.
Ernie Santella: Does-It-All Board
I built this pedalboard for my classic-rock cover band Wasted on the Young, out in Colorado. We cover everything from Bonnie Raitt to Stevie Ray Vaughan to ZZ Top to Maroon 5. So, I had to have a pedalboard that would fit just about anything our band needed to play. I think I achieved that. I have it all right underfoot at all times. I’m old-school and wanted to stay analog for the input side and then just a little digital on the effects loop side to keep the size down and give me the most bang for the space. I used a few mini pedals, but only if they sounded as good as their larger brethren.
I run my guitars (Heritage H-150, RS Guitarworks T-Style and S-Style, PRS Custom 24) with a single wireless. The Boss WL-50 is nice and clear-sounding with long battery life. Best part is, it auto-mutes when you unplug it, allowing for faster, noiseless guitar swaps.
The board is a Temple Duo 24, which is a great size and not too gnarly to carry. The wireless goes into the Dunlop Cry Baby Junior Wah (a classic-sounding wah with a slightly smaller size), then into the Korg Pitchblack, which is a nice and bright LED tuner, even outdoors. The tuner feeds the Xotic SP Compressor for some clean spank when needed. Next are three pedals for different levels of boost. Depending on the amp setting, the three boosts work differently. The Emerson EM-Drive is great for a quick Marshall-in-a-Box crunch tone. The Bogner Wessex is my over-the-top overdrive that has a nice compression to it. Lastly, the Wampler Tumnus is a Klon killer and is great for adding clean lead boost to anything, just by adding level and not too much gain.
I run that into a Hughes & Kettner GrandMeister 36 head. The amp is all analog, but digitally controlled by MIDI. So, technically, you have 128 amp presets. I use a cheap ActitioN 8-button MIDI controller I found on Reverb for amp presets. From spanky clean to OMG gain. It’s like having an 8-channel amp! I can just step through 8 levels of gain in increments.
The effects loop of the amp feeds the Way Huge Smalls Blue Hippo set to the Joe Bonamassa-approved chorus setting that gives a killer rotary-speaker tone. Then, into the Line 6 M9 for chorus, tremolo, flange, and spring reverb for the many different tunes we play. Lastly, the clock for keeping us on schedule during a gig. We’ve been known to jam out and forget the set schedule! Hope you like it!
Fernando Diaz: Clean, Mean Maximalist
Greetings! Here is the current iteration of my pedalboard. It’s powered by a Strymon Zuma, and two Strymon Ojai expansion kits.The chain is as follows:
- Dunlop 535Q Cry Baby Multi-Wah
- Basic Audio Scarab Deluxe
- King Tone Octaland Mini
- Spaceman Sputnik III
- TC Electronic PolyTune 3 Mini
- Paul Cochrane Timmy
- Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer (with Alchemy Audio mod)
- Browne Amplification Protein
- Barber Electronics Gain Changer SR
- Hudson Electronics Broadcast
- Land Devices HP-2
- Greer Amps Supa Cobra
- Keeley Katana Boost
- Walrus Audio Julia V1
- Dreadbox Komorebi
- JHS Pedals Panther Cub V2
- Neunaber Immerse Reverberator Mk II
Jelle Veirman: Booze Protected
This is the gear I use almost daily, playing a wide range of genres in different cover bands, from classic rock to contemporary music. I had to figure out a way to get the most out of my Stratocaster and Les Paul through one compact system and protect my gear against drunk people and their booze.
This is my rack configuration:
Electro-Harmonix LPB-1 Linear Booster, Ibanez TS9 (overdrive for the Strat), Boss SD-1 (overdrive for the Les Paul), Joyo Clean Glass preamp, DOD FX40B Equalizer, Rockman Sustainor (Strat crunch and leads), Rockman Distortion Generator (Les Paul crunch and leads), Rocktron Patchmate Loop 8, Rocktron MIDI Mate, Electro-Harmonix Expression Pedal, Dunlop Cry Baby Wah, TC Electronic G-Major effects processor, Alesis DEQ 2-channel Equalizer (pre- and post-Rockman EQ), and a Mooer Macro Power Supply. Going into the effects return (power amp) of my Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III.
JR Emmett: String Monkey
This is my humble submission for your Reader Pedalboard feature. This is my personal board, which serves as a demonstrator to my clients of what can be done with a pedalboard to make it convenient and versatile as well as supporting my own practice and performance needs. When I’m not playing guitar, I’m a one-man shop (String Monkey Technical Services) providing guitar repair and custom fabrication services to the North Texas music community.
Wireless or cable -> Boss TU-2 -> General Guitar Gadgets Stratoblaster -> Boss BD-2 Blues Driver -> Dunlop 535Q Multi-Wah -> amp input
Amp FX send -> MXR Phase 95 -> Boss CE-5 Chorus -> Boss LS-2 (mixes signals from two Boss DD-3 Digital Delays run in parallel) -> Boss TR-2 Tremolo -> amp FX return
- Pedaltrain Novo 24 board
- Truetone 1 SPOT Pro CS7 Power Supply
- Built-in mic stand holder (upper right, repurposed flagpole mount)
- String Monkey patch bay with color-coded loom for easy signal hookup
- String Monkey repackaged amp-channel switcher (original was too big)
- String Monkey acrylic wah baseplate with mechanical clamp to Pedaltrain rails
- Talent DI Box with cabinet simulator and patch cables for direct to PA connection
- Soldered interconnect using Mogami bulk cable and Switchcraft phono plugs
Keith Paul: Bass Board
Hello PG! I just wanted to share my bass pedalboard that I use in my band Dumb Waiter, from Richmond, Virginia. Keep up the great content, I love the Rig Rundowns! Stay well.
- TC Electronic PolyTune Mini
- Boss OC-2 Octave
- Meris Enzo with preset switch
- Electro-Harmonix Ravish Sitar
- Nunez Amps Annex Bass Channel
- Fuzzrocious The Demon
- DOD Gunslinger
- MXR M85 Bass Distortion
- Boss CE-2W Chorus
- Boss DD-3 Digital Delay
- MXR M300 Reverb
Marco Fumagalli: Pandemic Pedalboard
I am from Italy and living in Amsterdam, Netherlands. This is my pedalboard during the first wave of lockdown in 2020. I used to play in bands, but now I do it for my own pleasure. Playing the guitar and shaping the sound of it is a way for me to escape and relax. I don’t really play a specific type of music, but my root is blues.
Pictured: Electro-Harmonix Stereo Memory Man, Fulltone Mini Deja’Vibe, Klon KTR, Fulltone Octafuzz, Dunlop Cry Baby Mini Wah, two Gibson SGs, and a ’97 Fender Voodoo Strat from the greatly missed Mr. Soren Venema of the legendary Palm Guitars shop in Amsterdam.
Raghav Govindarajan: Nerding Out
I’m a huge fan of the Premier Guitar platform. My boss at the music school I work at and I frequently nerd out over the Rig Rundowns, so thank you for that! Figured I’d toss my pedalboard up. I have decided to update it since this photo, but my new pedals won’t be in until next week most likely.
The pedal chain from right to left is:
- DigiTech Drop
- Wampler Ego Compressor V2
- Dr. Scientist The Elements Distortion (Gold Bar Edition)
- Wampler Pantheon Overdrive
- Boss EQ-200 Graphic Equalizer
- Swindler Effects The Gulf Chorus V2
- Strymon Iridium
- Source Audio Collider Delay+Reverb
The output of the Wampler Ego goes into input A of the EQ-200, and output A goes into the Elements. The output of the Pantheon goes into the input B of the EQ-200, and output B goes into the Iridium. This lets me shape my sound pre- and post-gain.
Thanks for letting me nerd out about my board for a few minutes! And thank you for all that you do for the guitar community and musicians. Rig Rundowns really are the best part of my week/month and I love discovering new artists and players from it. It’s like the guitar player’s NPR Tiny Desk!
Robby Hovie: Going North
Greetings from Northern Michigan! Here’s my rig for my work in the band Levitator. Thanks!
- Modtone MT-PT1 Chromatic Tuner
- Electro-Harmonix Ravish Sitar
- Boss FB-2 Feedbacker/Booster
- Keeley Fuzz Bender
- JHS Pedals SuperBolt V1
- JHS Pedals Honey Comb Deluxe
- Dunlop Cry Baby Wah
- Moog MF-105 MoogerFooger MIDI MuRF
- MXR Carbon Copy Deluxe
- Boss RV-5 Digital Reverb
Sebastian DiPietro: The Full Package
Here is a picture of my pedalboard, along with my amp and guitars, to give a complete view of my rig.
Xotic XW-1 Wah -> DigiTech Whammy V -> Analog Man Bi-CompROSSor Rev5 -> Electro-Harmonix POG2 -> Analog Man King of Tone -> Analog Man Sun Face BC109B -> GFI System Synesthesia -> Empress Effects Echosystem -> Empress Effects Reverb -> Electro-Harmonix 22500 Dual Stereo Looper -> Amp or Strymon Iridium
Guitars and Amp:
- Guild S70
- Guild S300D
- Booya! Amplifiers 27-watt combo with a Celestion G12H-75 Creamback
- Caulfield Cables (light blue guitar/amp cables)
- Audioblast Cables (patch cables)
Steve Gorospe: All Styles
I play in the American Music Company Band covering songs from the 1940s to the early 1970s, with most of the focus on 1950s rock ’n’ roll and 1960s R&B and soul. But that also includes blues and some old-school country. I spent my teen years through the 1980s, so ’70s guitar rock and ’80s stadium rock are a huge part of my musical life. I built a pedalboard that works for me to cover all these styles and material.
Pedals in series in the order below:
- Vertex Steel String
- Wampler Tumnus
- JHS Pedals Sweet Tea V3
- TC Electronic Sub N Up Octaver
- JHS Pedals Series 3 Phaser
- Boss CE-5 Chorus Ensemble
- Boss DC-2W Dimension C Waza Craft
- Strymon Lex Rotary
- MXR Carbon Copy Deluxe
- JHS Pedals The Milkman
- Boss FRV-1 ’63 Fender Reverb
- Mesa/Boogie High-Wire Dual Buffer (input and output)
- Boss TU-12H High-Range Chromatic Tuner (hooked to the tuner output of the Mesa High-Wire)
Thomas Madera: Tribute to Eddie
I’m a guitarist in Las Vegas, Nevada. My stompbox setup is mostly a tribute to Eddie Van Halen, but this board is great for tons of rock/metal tones, lead or rhythm. It includes: an Echoplex EP101 Preamp, Echoplex EP103 Delay, a reissue MXR Script Phase 90, MXR EVH117 Flanger, MXR EVH 5150 Chorus, Wampler Pinnacle Distortion, Mad Professor 1 Distortion/Reverb, and a TC Electronic Brainwaves Pitch Shifter. Everything is routed into a GigRig Quartermaster QMX 8 switcher and powered by a Truetone 1 SPOT Pro CS12.
From precious Pauls to ruby-red Jags and sparkling quirk machines, 30 PG fans flaunt their favorite guitars, amps, and pedals.
We asked and you delivered! PG tapped its diverse audience to see what prized possessions our readers keep in their personal gear collections. The submissions ran the gamut from a holy-grail guitar acquired via inheritance, a high-school graduation present, a post-coma-recovery treat, a rockin’ wedding gift, a self-build project, and many great tales of cherished tone tools.
My mum passed away a few years ago and left me some inheritance. I used some of that money to get something I would’ve never afforded otherwise, and I knew it would never leave my side as long as I live—the above 1964 Fender Jaguar (from the pre-CBS era). It’s my most valuable (sentimental) possession and the most amazing guitar to play to boot!
If I had to pick just one it would be my 2016 Gibson Les Paul Traditional. We had lost both parents in rapid succession and after we settled everything, I had enough for a down payment on a condo and I set aside some money for a new guitar. It’s kind of the last thing they gave me.
My 2011 Gibson Les Paul Studio Deluxe that I bought with my high-school graduation money. With its coil-tapping capability, I can achieve single-coil sounds along with the typical humbucker sounds of a Les Paul. And it has the most-comfortable neck I’ve ever played as well. It’s been my main guitar ever since I bought it!
My Fender Super-Sonic. It’s not an expensive guitar but I wanted it for a long time. Finally, after recovering from a coma and long hospitalization, I decided to buy it just for the pleasure of enjoying life.
My 1983 Fender Strat Elite (hard tail) because it’s so versatile. It offers pleasing bright tones and with the turn of a few controls I can get some nice, thick mids. Pairing it with a Mesa/Boogie Single Rectifier 50-watt head into a Budda 2x12 and 2x10 open-and-closed back combination cabinet is magic.
For many years, this was my go-to rig for larger venues. It’s so adaptable with the Seymour Duncan Antiquity II Mini Humbuckers in the Firebird going through the Marshall Vintage Modern half-stack. And for straight-out rock and blues, the smallbox 1987 Marshall Jubilee 2553 stack just can’t be beat.
To me, prized = integral. When you bill yourself as an electronic guitarist, you need a guitar to interface. My 1977 Fender Mustang that has a Roland GK-2 Guitar Synthesizer pickup paired with a set of Lace Red and Blue single-coils—plus a Kahler Trem and Sperzel Locking tuners—does just that. It’s my first guitar and still my main guitar.
This is my collection. The one I save if my house is on fire is my white Fender Mustang (on the couch). It’s the cheapest one in my collection, but the one I cherish the most.
I seriously can’t pick! I waited all my life to have a setup like this: a 2005 Fender Stratocaster (MIM) that has a Seymour Duncan SJBJ-1b JB Jr Strat humbucker (bridge) matched with Seymour Duncan Antiquity single-coils (middle and neck). The VHT 12/20 is dimed for dirt, while the Vintage Sound Vintage 35 (Vibrolux-style 1x12 combo) is a loud 35 watts, so I only run it at 2.5 for cleans. This is the best tone I've ever had.
Justin Michael-Thermal Tran-Sheetz
My prized possession has to be the Tele I put together using a custom Warmoth body and neck. The body is mahogany with a cherry burst and the neck is roasted maple with a reverse headstock. I loaded this with some Seymour Duncan P-90s (the bridge has a humbucker-sized P-90) and wired a volume boost on my push-push tone knob. It plays like a dream and sounds amazing.
My first Gibson was a 1959 Melody Maker I got in 1973 from my aunt for $100 including a Gibson amp. Never looked back!
My 1959 ’burst clone. I never thought I’d like something that wasn’t a Tele so much.
Easy! It’s my 2009 Ibanez Xiphos XPT700 that has a custom powder-coated trem, pickup rings, and tuning pegs.
I have five Strats, two basses, a Tele, and three acoustics, but my go-to is the beautiful Beatrice. She’s a Jim Deacon Strat-style guitar that carries Ernie Ball Regular Slinkys (.010–.046). She’s heavy to hold, but she sounds amazing. I bought her as a run-down, non-working wreck, and I brought her back to life. She’s mama’s best girl!
I gotta say it’s my Supro Limited Edition David Bowie Dual Tone with Bigsby (seen alongside the Milkman Sound The Amp). Some might say this is a shameless cash-in on Bowie’s legacy, but to be honest, I had always wanted this model because I’m a Link Wray fan foremost. Plus, I liked the idea of having a Bigsby without the compatibility issues of the original. It took over a year to receive my order, but it was perfectly constructed and set up. This is #115 of 432 made.
My 2012 Fender American Vintage ’52 Telecaster is my number one guitar. It’s most precious to me because it was a gift from my wife for our wedding.
I’m a big David Gilmour fan, so it has to be my Black-Strat-esque Stratocaster that I pieced together. It features the same pickups as his signature Custom Shop model—Seymour Duncan SSL-5 Single-Coil Strat (bridge), Custom-wound Single-Coil Strat (middle), and Custom Shop Fat ’50s Single-Coil Strat (neck)—and an American Vintage synchronized tremolo with a shortened trem bar.
Can’t make a decision so I’ll say my 2001 Gibson Les Paul Standard—arguably the world’s most perfect guitar—and my 1959 Harmony Stratotone. (It was the first guitar I ever played.) Can you hear that? The sustain … well you would if you were playing it!
My prized possession is the guitar I built during the summer after I graduated high school. It has a mahogany neck and body, a maple top, and a rosewood fretboard. It has a Gibson scale length, and its neck is modeled after my other Les Paul, but it thins out towards the body and has a volute. Hardware includes Grover tuners and a Gotoh bridge. I disconnected the bridge pickup, and the neck pickup is a Seymour Duncan JB with 500k volume and tone pots. The side dots were made with red and blue crushed-up colored pencils. I spent about 10 hours making the truss rod cover by plying all kinds of wood-scraps together. I finished it with polyurethane. While I was buffing the body, I accidentally dropped the guitar and the body cracked in half. At one time, the entire back of it was covered in red paint. In a panic to get the paint off, I ended up touching the front of it and now there are red fingerprints on the front within the finish. The bolt-on neck joint is super crude. I made a little wooden badge inside the “f” hole.
It’s very rough around the edges—I was 18 and idiotic when I built it. That said, it plays and sounds like a dream. One of the most resonant guitars I’ve played and certainly the most resonant that I own. Intonation is astoundingly spot on. I have played many gigs with this guitar and have logged a couple thousand practice hours on it. I wouldn’t trade it or the stories I have with it for the world!
This 2000s Gibson Vegas Standard and my all-rosewood Tele work in almost every recording situation.
This EVH 5150III head has something special in it! I’ve tried to replace it with other EVH options (100W, EL34, 50W Stealth), but nothing ever works like it does. It pisses me off and haunts me in my sleep. I always come back to this MF-er!
I’ve been lucky enough to acquire a few Kenneth Lawrence instruments. The first (and my favorite) is this Custom Explorer, aka “The White Walker.” This is ultimately the best guitar I’ve ever played for a multiplicity of reasons: Its level of clarity, punch, and sustain. The craftsmanship is breathtakingly exact, and it feels absolutely smooth due to the hand-rubbed oil finish.
I own my dream guitar! It’s a Gibson RD with Fishman Fluence Modern humbuckers. It’s so well balanced, the action is perfect, and its intonation is perfect. It handles every type of tone or style you can throw at it. Plus, it’s just a sexy hunk of mahogany. (These Dr. Z cabs are a close second.)
My mid-’90s Yamaha Pacifica 912J. When I first saw the photo of Michael Lee Firkins with a Pacifica in Yamaha ads in guitar magazines, I knew that one day I would have my own. It was love at first sight.
Back to my 912J—it’s an incredible guitar. You can play all styles of music with ease, and it has beautiful tones. Inside detail: it came from the factory with DiMarzio pickups (a custom humbucker in the bridge and a pair of HS-2 single-coils in the middle and neck positions). If I had to stay with just one guitar, it would be this one.
This 2003 Gibson Les Paul Standard. And for me, the Les Paul’s from this era were superb. I’ve owned many guitars over the years, but this is the only one that’s stayed the course. It’s been played to death.
This is my PRS SE Mark Tremonti. (I believe it’s from 2012 judging by the serial number.) I’ve had this guitar for five years now and it’s become my ace. I love it because of its versatility and how comfortable it fits in my hands. Every time I pick it up, I remember why I wanted it in the first place. Oh yeah, I got tacky and put an Apple sticker on it. Anyway, it’s a great guitar and I can’t recommend PRS enough.
I can’t afford a Gibson, but I didn’t need to with this one. The mid-’90s, Asian-made Vesta copy has the weight, tone, and feel of a Gibson 10 times its price. Plugged into my Laney VC30-212 and with clever manipulation of the tone and volume dials, I almost never need pedals. It was stolen a couple of years ago in a home robbery and still hasn’t resurfaced in the second-hand market. I haven’t found anything quite like it since.
My PRS Torero. I got it modded the way I want it with all kinds of FU-Tone goodies. This thing screams and is my main for a reason. I found it while used-guitar hunting and fought with the seller super hard to even get my hands on it.
My 1980 Guild D-25 (made in Westerly, Rhode Island). I’m only the third owner of this absolute workhorse guitar. In fact, the guy I bought it from had a Fishman Matrix system put into it at a store in Westerly by a former Guild employee! As a founding member of a local Rhode Island acoustic duo, having a well-built, amazing-sounding acoustic is a top priority. I’ve used many different guitars over the years, but none compared to the sound and feel of this Guild! This will always be my number one. And being a Rhode Islander myself, having a guitar that was built here is pretty cool!
My 2012 Fender Cabronita FSR (MIM) that’s been retro-fitted with Fender locking tuners, a Rutters La Burrito bridge, a Les Paul-type, square-brass jack plate, and a Warmoth .09 black pickguard. I purchased this guitar in 2012 and it’s been my number one instrument since. In fact, I seldom play any of my other guitars. Together with my Vox AC30C2, Boss FRV-1 Reverb, and Selah Effects Feather Drive, this guitar has been my tone for the last eight years (and I don’t intend to change anything anytime soon). Initially, I did contemplate replacing the Fideli’Tron humbuckers for actual TV Jones Filter’Trons, but I actually like how the original Fideli’Trons sound through my amp against the bass player and loud drummer—they really cut through live! Needless to say, this axe is a keeper!