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Tonal Tinker Toys: Reader Pedalboards 2018

When it comes to pedal puzzles and putting together your dream sound rig, there’s no right way—just your way. Check out these boards from your fellow readers, and be inspired!

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Peter Rizzo: A Classic with Special Sauce

Australians take pedalboards seriously, okay? This reader wanted a board with no MIDI controllers, switchers, or loopers that reflected a collection of sounds from his favorite players. So, he enlisted Mikey Woodward from Goodwood Audio in Sydney to take his mostly analog pedals (some with digital conveniences) and wire them up. “Here’s my classic old-school board, with most of the pedals that new builders are trying to clone, emulate, or improve on … all linked with Mikey’s secret sauce in putting it together,” Rizzo says.

Here’s the basic signal flow:

Guitar > passive input to Goodwood Audio Interfacer > passive send to ’70s Vox King Wah > Demeter COMP-1 Compulator > Tycobrahe Octavia fuzz > Fulltone ’69 MkII fuzz > Goodwood Audio Interfacer buffered input > Goodwood Audio Interfacer buffered send > ’70s Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer > ’70s whiteface Pro Co RAT > ’70s Electro-Harmonix Big Muff > Goodrich volume pedal > ’90s Klon Centaur > ’70s MXR Phase 90 > Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Electric Mistress > Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man > Demeter TRM-1 Tremulator > TC Electronic iB Modified ND-1 Nova Delay > right (mono) out to Goodwood Audio Interfacer AMP A (Vox AC30 or Marshall Plexi or Fender Tweed Deluxe) > left out to Arion SCH-1 Stereo Chorus > Goodwood Audio Interfacer AMP B (a cleaner amp like a Roland JC-120 or a Fender Twin or Super) > Goodwood Audio Interfacer tuner send > TC Electronic PolyTune.

It’s that time of year, when Premier Guitar readers from such disparate places as Florianópolis, Brazil, to Katy, Texas, share with us their prized collection of sonic goodies. All kinds of players write in: Sunflower Bean’s frontman/guitarist Nick Kivlen goes down memory lane, describing how he acquired, through many years and sources, all the pedals he loves. Simon Gotthelf, who has his own YouTube channel dedicated solely to the world of guitar and demoing gear, shows us his fave pedal configuration. A few session guitarists give advice on grab-and-go stomp setups. And then there are dozens of players who call themselves “bedroom” guitarists, many of whom know more about how to wire up a board than some stars featured on Rig Rundowns. Now, let’s dig in!

Yungblud's first signature features a mahogany body, P-90 Pro pickup, and SlimTaper C profile neck.

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Need big tones in a small setup? Here’s a collection of lunchbox-sized amps that pack a punch.

Not every gig requires a pair of 4x12 cabs and a 100-watt head. (Sadly.) We’ve rounded up a handful of lunchbox-sized heads that can deliver crystal-clean tones, dirty crunch, and ripping lead tones—all in a very portable package.

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John Mayall in the late ’80s, in a promo shot for his Island Records years. During his carreer, he also recorded for the Decca (with the early Bluesbreakers lineups), Polydor, ABC, DJM, Silvertone, Eagle, and Forty Below labels.

He was dubbed “the father of British blues,” but Mayall’s influence was worldwide, and he nurtured some of the finest guitarists in the genre, including Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Taylor, Harvey Mandel, Coco Montoya, and Walter Trout. Mayall died at his California home on Monday, at age 90.

John Mayall’s career spanned nearly 70 years, but it only took his first four albums to cement his legendary status. With his initial releases with his band the Bluesbreakers—1966’s Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton; ’67’s A Hard Road, with Peter Green on guitar; plus the same year’s Crusade, which showcased Mick Taylor—and his solo debut The Blues Alone, also from 1967, Mayall introduced an international audience of young white fans to the decidedly Black and decidedly American genre called blues. In the subsequent decades, he maintained an active touring and recording schedule until March 26, 2022, when he played his last gig at age 87. It was reported that he died peacefully, on Monday, in his California home, at 90.

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