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Sammy Boller Rig Rundown [2024]

Sammy Boller Rig Rundown [2024]
Rig Rundown: Sammy Boller [2024]

Watch this pianist-turned-guitarist intertwine the styles of Eddie Van Halen and Andy McKee, with 10-finger orchestrations tapped out on his Les Paul Axcess, enlivened by a flexible Friedman BE-100 and a healthy pedalboard. His rig helps him build many moods, from melodious to morose.

“I grew up wanting to be Eddie Van Halen and Randy Rhoads, but over time I’ve found my own dark and aggressive style. These days, my dream as a musician is to make people feel as connected to the cosmos as I feel when I play the guitar,” wishes guitarist Sammy Boller.

Sammy Boller has been playing guitar most of his life. He played in high school orchestra and even attended University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance. In 2012, his life forever changed when he won Guitar Center’s “Master Satriani” competition. (Watch his submission for “Satch Boogie” here.)

Catapulting off that success, the next year Boller joined Detroit rockers Citizen Zero. The band released their 2016 debut LP, State of Mind, and its lead single “Go (Let Me Save You)” climbed to #17 on Billboard’s mainstream rock chart.

But even with Citizen Zero’s success, Boller wasn’t sending listeners into the stratosphere feeling one with the stardust. Then while shopping his instrumental solo work, he quickly earned a fan in CandyRat Records owner Rob Poland who signed Sammy. (CandyRat was started by Poland in 2004 and began working with Don Ross, Andy McKee, Antoine Dufourto. Boller released his debut solo album and an additional standalone single—Kingdom of the Sun and “Path of the Heart”—in 2020 that snake between Sunset shred and post-rock melodies. The next year was celebrated with Boller’s stunning third release “Ritual Lights” showing Sammy’s first (solo) recorded run in with the wah wah. (Something you’ll now see on his pedalboard later.) He’s since dropped a pair of singles “Spellbound” and “Midnight Garden” that grow off his enchanting formula and adds in heightened technical abilities and deeper rhythmic grooves.

Before his headlining show at Nashville’s Bowery Vault, the fretboard maestro shows off a pair of versatile guitars, explains why the chase for his pinnacle amp is over, and details and demos the select stompboxes that send his sound into the asteroid belt.

[Brought to you by D’Addario Strings & XPND Pedalboard.]

Les Paul, More Axcess

Sammy Boller scored this Gibson Les Paul Axcess Custom—his main cruiser since he was 20—on an eBay safari. It’s completely stock to him except he flipped the pickups for a set of Motor City Pickups with a HotHead (bridge) and Afwayu (neck). Both pickups are coil-tapped so when Boller needs a different tone for tapping or less aggression, it’s there with a pull of a knob. His previous band, Citizen Zero, often performed in drop-D tuning, so he added an EVH D-Tuna to his Floyd Rose. The floating tremolo has been blocked off for tuning stability. And for his solo stuff, he typically plays a half-step down and always uses Elixir Strings 12052 Nanoweb (.10-.46).

Soul of the World

On the top side of his Les Paul, he etched in an inspirational reminder.

No Holds Barred

The second steed in his svelte setup is this Friedman NoHo 24 that Boller fell in love with years ago at NAMM. Not a fan of “new” guitars, Boller had the Friedman team take the pristine, flame-maple-topped NoHo and gave it the company’s “vintage” touch seen on other models in their lineup. The “super strat” still has been upgraded with the same pickups as the Axcess— HotHead (bridge) and Afwayu (neck)—and the 24-fret guitar features a compact 24.75" scale length.


“I think I tried every amp out there,” jokes Boller. “But as soon as I plugged into one of these, I was like, ‘I’m done!’” The Friedman BE-100 has been his go-to amp for over seven years. The amp’s lively, supercharged plexi tone matched with modern appointments (three channels, effects loop, toggles for voice, bright, and cln-be-hbe) makes it a Swiss Army knife for Boller. Underneath the head, is a checkered Friedman 100-watt 4x12 cab outfitted with a pair of Celestion Vintage 30s and a couple of Celestion Creamback 25s.

Sammy Boller's Pedalboard

In front of the Musicomlab EFX MK-V Audio Controller, Boller has routed his Shure GLXD16+ digital wireless pedalboard unit, Korg Pitchblack Tuner, MXR EVH Phase 90, Empress Compressor (to lift his clean tapping parts), Dunlop CBM95 Cry Baby Mini Wah, and ISP Technologies Decimator II G-String that has two signals before and in the effects loop. The three other pedals in the BE-100’s effects loop are an Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail, MXR Carbon Copy, and a TC Electronic Flashback X4. Everything rides on the Friedman Tour Pro 1529 Platinum pedalboard.