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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!


Charles Pelletier: Colorful Chain

Charles plays a Strat into a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe with an Eminence Red Coat Wizard speaker. His board is a Pedaltrain Metro 20 powered by a Walrus Audio Aetos. Here’s his setup, including descriptions of the sounds he uses each pedal for:

  • 1. D’Addario Chromatic Tuner
  • 2. MXR Dyna Comp Mini (used to tighten up clean sound and boost drives)
  • 3. Mooer E-lady flanger (set to a subtle chorus-y kind of flange for a Gilmour sound)
  • 4. MXR Super Badass Variac Fuzz (aggressive Fuzz Face sound)
  • 5. TC Electronic Flashback Mini Delay (delay into drive with custom TonePrint for Van Halen-type delay)
  • 6. MXR Phase 90 (used for classic phase tones up to Uni-Vibe-esque sounds, mostly used on driven sounds)
  • 7. Strymon Sunset Dual Overdrive (Without the favorite switch, it’s always on JFET circuit cranked up, and the germanium circuit goes into the boost for a bluesy/loose medium-gain drive. With favorite switch on, it’s set as a hard-clipping circuit into the Texas treble used as a boost.)
  • 8. Keeley Caverns (into effects loop, no specific setting, for all types of vintage reverb/delay to big ambient echo)

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!

The Return of Johnny Cash—John Carter Cash Interview
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The Man in Black returns with the unreleased Songwriter album. John Carter Cash tells us the story.

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This 1968 Epiphone Al Caiola Standard came stocked with P-90s and a 5-switch Tone Expressor system.

Photo courtesy of Guitar Point (

Photo courtesy of Guitar Point (

The session ace’s signature model offers a wide range of tones at the flip of a switch … or five.

Hello and welcome back to Mod Garage. Not long ago, I came home late from a band rehearsal, still overly excited about the new songs we played. I got myself a coffee (I know, it's a crazy procedure to calm down) and turned on the TV. I ended up with an old Bonanza episode from the ’60s, the mother of all Western TV series. Hearing the theme after a long time instantly reminded me of the great Al Caiola, who is the prolific session guitarist who plays on the song. With him in mind, I looked up the ’60s Epiphone “Al Caiola” model and decided I want to talk about the Epiphone/Gibson Tone Expressor system that was used in this guitar.

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Slinky playability, snappy sounds, and elegant, comfortable proportions distinguish an affordable 0-bodied flattop.

Satisfying, slinky playability. Nice string-to-string balance. Beautiful, comfortable proportions.

Cocobolo-patterned HPL back looks plasticky.


Martin 0-X2E


Embracing the idea of an acoustic flattop made with anything other than wood can, understandably, be tricky stuff. There’s a lot of precedent for excellent-sounding acoustics built with alternative materials, though. Carbon-fiber flattops can sound amazing and I’ve been hooked by the sound and playability of Ovation and Adamas instruments many times.

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The GibsonES Supreme Collection (L-R) in Seafoam Green, Bourbon Burst, and Blueberry Burst.

The new Gibson ES Supreme offers AAA-grade figured maple tops, Super Split Block inlays, push/pull volume controls, and Burstbucker pickups.

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