Doyle Bramhall II: Building Blues Tones with Fuzz and Drive Pedals

Guitarist Doyle Bramhall II recently sat down with Reverb (opens in new tab) to discuss how he stacks drive and fuzz pedals—and his unusual left-handed/upside-down technique.

Bramhall—who I first spotted in concert in 1989 when he backed Jimmie Vaughan as part of the Fabulous Thunderbirds' touring band—has spent ages working with Vaughan, Derek Trucks, Gary Clark Jr., B.B. King, Eric Clapton and Roger Waters, so he knows a thing or three about tone.

Ergo, take note at the 1:35 mark, when he starts discussing his impressive pedalboard.

As you'll see in the clip, his 1964 Fender Strat is plugged into a Shin-Ei Vibe-Bro pedal (opens in new tab) (“the closest thing I’ve ever come to a Uni-Vibe”), followed by a Vemuram Jan Ray for volume control. After that, you'll see a Berkos Third Stone, Zonk Fuzz Machine and Cob Fuzz., not to mention a JHS Honey Comb Deluxe Tremolo, Source Audio Nemesis Delay and a Hammond Leslie G rotary pedal.

All this finds its way into a Blankenship Master Plex amp head.

Last year, Bramhall released Rich Man, his first album since 2001’s Welcome.

“This feels monumental to me,” he told Guitar World. “I spent a year and half recording it and 16 years gathering inspiration and influences.

"I’m like a musical hunter-gatherer. Every experience I have, every artist I work with, becomes a fragment of my journey. I’m always learning craftsmanship and artistry and striving to find an ever deeper, higher connection to music. That’s why I listen to a lot of classical, jazz, Arabic, Indian, Moroccan and Sufi music—the highest forms of pure music without any idea of a marketplace.”

For more about Bramhall, visit

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Damian Fanelli
Editor-in-Chief, Guitar World

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas (opens in new tab), was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron (opens in new tab), a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums (opens in new tab). He now plays in two NYC-area bands.