Well that about sums up my ill spent youth!For me it was a little of both, as well as finding the right place on my current board. It's also a matter of not having a preconceived notion of where the Level, Tone, and Gain settings should and shouldn't be. I truly believe that might be a big hurdle in the way people approach tone in general. When I first started using the pedal it was through a Peavey Bandit in High School with absolutely no clue on the concept of Gain staging in an amp. I think once you learn how Amplification works in more detail and all the stages that affect one another ((Tone stack)) tend to work, you can make most so called sub standard pedals work quite nicely.