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!

Nick Kivlen: Dirty Deeds, Done Dirt Cheap

Pro guitarist Nick Kivlen uses this tidy board with his band Sunflower Bean. He describes his effects choices below, with candid amusement.

Behringer Vintage Delay
“This is the first pedal I ever purchased! I bought it for $19.99 on Amazon and I’ve used it every single show since. I like to have it set to a very subtle slap echo just for a little character on clean tones. Absolute steal.” 

Ibanez Tone-Lok CF7 Chorus Flanger
“These ’90s pedals are great, because they’re so ugly, nobody wants them. You get all the value of classic Ibanez stompboxes for a super cheap price. Super reliable and the locking tone knobs function really well.”

Boss OC-3 Super Octave
“I actually kinda stole this pedal from my friend when he was drunk. He’s a jazz guy but had this pedal given to him for his birthday. I convinced him to let me permanently borrow it one night. I only use it on the gain setting and it delivers super-deep fuzz tones. It also pairs really nicely with a phaser to break up some of the low end.”

Xotic Effects SP Compressor
“When I first got this pedal, I had a hard time learning how to use it. Sometimes compressors can seem like a dark art. I pretty much leave it on the entire time, sort of like a good luck charm. I don’t know ... I’m too superstitious to turn it off now.”

Vintage Pro Co RAT (late ’80s)
“My favorite distortion sound of all time! This RAT is the first one to have the LED light, which is super helpful. The pots on it, however, are marked from 1984, so the components inside are luckily from the classic era of whiteface RATs. It sounds super rad with the distortion high and the volume on the guitar rolled back.”

Danelectro D-8 600mS FAB Delay
“This is the delay I use for super-heavy oscillation and laser sounds. I probably stomp on it more than any other pedal, and its super-cheap plastic casing has held up after all these years! Really great digital-sounding delay with an easy control configuration. When it comes to delays, anything more than three knobs seems excessive to me.”

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!

Guitar store staff have better things to do than clean your instrument, so a well-loved but unsoiled 6-string like this is going to command a higher trade-in value than one that comes in covered in years of residue.

Believe it or not, you can boost the value of your instrument by making everyone's life a little easier … and cleaner!

There's an overwhelming amount of activity in the guitar market these days, and the sheer amount of demand has left some manufacturers struggling to keep up. But rather than wait around for stores to re-stock, more and more customers are shopping for used and vintage guitars. You might wonder, where do all those used guitars come from?

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"'If I fall and somehow my career ends on that particular day, then so be it," Joe Bonamassa says of his new hobby, bicycling. "If it's over, it's over. You've got to enjoy your life."

Photo by Steve Trager

For his stylistically diverse new album, the fiery guitar hero steps back from his gear obsession and focuses on a deep pool of influences and styles.

Twenty years ago, Joe Bonamassa was a struggling musician living in New York City. He survived on a diet of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and ramen noodles that he procured from the corner bodega at Columbus Avenue and 83rd Street. Like many dreamers waiting for their day in the sun, Joe also played "Win for Life" every week. It was, in his words, "literally my ticket out of this hideous business." While the lottery tickets never brought in the millions, Joe's smokin' guitar playing on a quartet of albums from 2002 to 2006—So, It's Like That, Blues Deluxe, Had to Cry Today, and You & Me—did get the win, transforming Joe into a guitar megastar.

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