Famous Users of Pro Co Rat Distortion Pedal

famous pro co rat users

If we were to look through the history of rock music, it wouldn’t take long for us to realize the importance of particular amps, pedals, or guitar models that made an impact on the genre.

What’s more, one particular piece of gear along with a random accidental decision can be responsible for a total revolution in a genre.

Such an example can be seen with the Rolling Stones and Keith Richard’s use of Maestro FZ-1 Fuzz-Tone on the legendary hit “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”

And this wasn’t the only example of a simple compact pedal completely changing the genre.

There are a few great examples, like Boss DS-1, Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi, and Ibanez Tube Screamer, just to name a few.

But the one that we’re interested in here is the legendary Pro Co Rat.

Many guitar players like to side with one of the clans – overdrive, classic distortion, and fuzz.

Each of these distortion types has its own distinctive clipping process, which results in a different type of tone.

However, Pro Co Rat sits somewhere close to the distortion, but still not that far from the fuzz territory.

We could say that it offers both brightness and chaos of the fuzz effect, while still keeping tightness we can hear with classic distortions.

Offering that unique-sounding heavy tone, it eventually became so widespread that guitarists of many different genres began using it.

But the pedal’s simple controls and special kind of tone mostly won the hearts of hard rock and heavy metal legends.

This is why we decided to take a closer look at the pedal’s history and see who used it over the past few decades or so.


pro co logo

History of the ProCo Rat

But before we begin, let’s find out more about how this pedal came to be and its different versions over the years.

The story begins in the late 1970s, right around the time when rock music was seeing some significant changes. Obviously, this was the perfect time for a new pedal to emerge.

Scott Burnham (pictured below, right), one of the employees in Pro Co, which was then a cable manufacturing company, always enjoyed modifying different distortion pedals.

craig vestal and scott burnham

After a while, he made a decision to try and create his original circuitry. This was a pretty lucrative idea at the time, as distortion pedals as we know them today weren’t that easy to find.

Interestingly enough, this peculiar circuitry came as a result of an accident – Scott added a wrong type of a resistor in there.

Luckily, the resulting tone was more powerful than anything he’d ever heard at that point. After playing around with this new circuitry, he finally came up with the name – the Rat.

Starting its production in 1978, the pedal saw a huge breakthrough in the 1980s.

There were a few different iterations of this original version, but the real change came in 1988 with the release of Rat 2.

About a year later, the company also released Turbo Rat, with a noticeably fuzzier tone.

Years went by and we got more and more different versions of the Rat. These pedals include Fat Rat, You Dirty Rat, Deucetone Rat, Solo Rat, and others.

Needless to say, its peculiar tone made it really popular among the famous guitar players in the 1980s, 1990s, and even in the 21st century.

But the most surprising thing about Rat is that it’s not expensive at all, making it a great choice for beginners or any other guitarists on a budget.

So let’s see – who are these famous guitar legends who used the Rat over the years?


jeff beck playing guitar

Jeff Beck

Ever since the 1960s, Jeff Beck remains up there as one of the most influential guitar players of all time.

But the secret behind his huge yet incredibly subtle tone is not due to some elaborate rig. No – Jeff just uses a Pro Co Rat pedal. Well, at least he did for a significant portion of his career.

Combined with some legendary amps that he uses, like Fender Bassman, Vox AC30, or any of the Marshalls he loves, it produces a really powerful tone.

After all, what else would you expect from such a pedal when it’s paired up with these tube-driven monsters?

Visit Jeff Beck’s official website


David-Gilmour playing guitar

David Gilmour

If you were to hear David Gilmour’s guitar tone for the first time in your life, you’d never assume that he would use a high gain distortion pedal.

However, he has quite a history of using some pretty heavy stuff, like Big Muff Pi, or even Boss’ HM-2 Heavy Metal that’s mostly known for its use in those more extreme genres.

Another one of these examples is Pro Co Rat.

To be more precise, Gilmour used the famous Rat 2 version. You could see this particular pedal model in his live rig, most notably for the legendary “Pulse” live album.

Knowing that his tone still retains some of the more refined and softer traits, this proves that Pro Co Rat is actually a very versatile pedal.

Which is really a surprise for a device that only has three basic controls. When put in the right rig, it can add that much-needed sustain and attack without ruining the warmth of the tone.

Visit the official David Gilmour website


robert fripp playing guitar

Robert Fripp

King Crimson’s creative force, Mr. Robert Fripp, is one of the most innovative musicians of the 20th century.

Although he’s a guitar player, it’s really hard to just look at him as a regular 6-string rock star.

In fact, he even reinvented the approach to the instrument with his technique, theoretical knowledge, and the practical implementation of both.

Interestingly enough, Fripp is a Pro Co Rat user.

But he’s also known for using EHX Big Muff Pi, so the accent on the overall sustain and “thicker” tones are something he’s very fond of.

And these are just some of the reasons why he inspired so many guitar players in metal music.

Visit Robert Fripp’s website here


john scofield playing guitar

John Scoffield

Looking more into the “old school” side of guitar-based music, we also have Mr. John Scoffield on this list. And this is yet another of these “unexpected” mentions.

Nonetheless, this, once again, proves how Pro Co Rat can be versatile. In many cases, this depends on the other pieces of gear, but Rat is capable of creating very unique tones in almost any setting. And having such flexibility is what makes one pedal so great.

So whenever you hear John Scoffield play with distortion on, there’s a high chance he’s using the almighty Rat.

And if you still haven’t gotten the chance to listen to Scoffield’s music, then you’re missing out a lot.

Visit John Scoffield’s website here


joe perry playing guitar

Joe Perry

Now going over to the classic rock and hard rock territory, we have Aerosmith’s main axeman and one of the Hollywood Undead members, Joe Perry.

Joe is pretty well-known for his extensive collection of many different guitars, amps, and other gear.

Some very valuable pieces can be found in his collection. But even with such a vast and impressive arsenal, he still often used a Pro Co Rat pedal in his signal chain.

This is one of those guitarists that that’s more expected to stumble upon on such a list.

After all, Perry is one of the guys who developed and defined hard rock and heavy metal music.

Therefore, Rat was an obvious choice for a distortion pedal back in the day.

Visit Joe Perry’s website here


james hetfield kirk hammett playing guitar

James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett

And there’s no surprise to see Metallica frontman James Hetfield and lead guitarist Kirk Hammett in here.

Pro Co Rat was an indicator that the music was changing. At the same time, Metallica were one of those bands who were actually changing the music with their unique approach to songwriting.

With the birth of a faster and heavier movement in metal music, a pedal like Rat is an expected choice.

After somewhat of a turbulent start, the band finally got the chance to enter the studio and record their debut album “Kill ‘Em All.”

In order to get that dirty tone that still retains all the tightness, James and Kirt used the Rat. And the results are more than impressive, we must say.

To this day, the album is praised for its innovativeness and especially its raw and powerful guitar tone.

Visit Metallica’s website here


kurt cobain guitar dress crown

Kurt Cobain

The late 1980s and the early 1990s saw another significant change in the world of rock music.

Slowly, but surely, the stereotypical songs about sex, partying, and other superficial issues were replaced with more serious topics reflecting on the society and an individual’s place in it.

And with such a different artistic approach also came the change in the guitar tone as well. It became darker, grittier, and more in the vein of early heavy metal from the 1970s.

However, both glam metal and grunge guitarists used the Rat, which just further proves that this pedal was extremely potent and versatile.

That’s exactly why a grunge legend and an impeccable songwriter like Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain decided to use one of these.

Visit Nirvana’s website here


dave-grohl-guitar

Dave Grohl

Although first getting the spotlight as a drummer, Dave Grohl also became known as a great guitar player, singer, and songwriter.

And knowing he was in Nirvana with Kurt Cobain, it’s only obvious that he’ll use the same distortion pedal.

The somewhat fuzzy distorted tone of the heavy rhythm guitars you can hear on some of the Foo Fighters’ songs is actually due to Pro Co Rat.

As Dave himself explained, he uses this pedal when he’s layering rhythm guitar tracks in the studio. Knowing what Grohl’s music is like, this pedal is a perfect choice for it.

Visit the Foo Fighters website


nuno bettencourt playing guitar

Nuno Bettencourt

Emerging around the same time when the grunge movement started shaking up the world of rock music, Extreme kicked off their career as well.

Although doing something that’s a bit different compared to grunge, they too relied a lot on some heavier tones.

This is exactly why their lead guitarist Nuno Bettencourt opted to use the Rat back in the band’s early days.

And even years later, Nuno still uses this legendary pedal. As he explains, he can’t go without a Rat when playing through any of his Marshall amps.

Just thinking of how awesome this particular combination is, we completely understand Nuno’s decision.

Visit Extreme’s website here


graham coxon guitar

Graham Coxon

Blur is one of those bands that blew up in the late 1990s thanks to just one hit song.

In their case, it was the legendary “Song #2,” featuring that easily recognizable riff by Graham Coxon.

Being their creative and sonic force, Coxon was really conscious of his guitar tone. In fact, he’s one of the biggest pedal freaks of all time.

And in his signal chain, he often uses the Rat as his main dirt box.

And if a pedal maniac such as Coxon loves this pedal so much, that just speaks about how great it is.

Visit Blur’s website here


peter buck playing guitar

Peter Buck

It’s a little weird to see R.E.M. and their guitar player Peter Buck on this list. While most of the guys in here are known for heavier tones one way or another, one wouldn’t think that about Buck.

Nonetheless, the famous musician really loves the tone of Pro Co Rat. One of the most famous examples is R.E.M.’s entire “Monster” album.

Released back in 1994, there’s a whole lot of song parts where Buck recorded through the Rat.

Again – another example of how this pedal finds use in almost any subgenre of rock music.

Visit R.E.M.’s website here


Thanks for reading our list of the most famous Pro Co Rat guitar pedals users.  Did we forget anyone?  Let us know in the comments!

Visit the Rat Distortion website here

Also check out…

David Gilmour Guitar Setup And Rig Rundown

Kirk Hammett Guitar Setup And Rig Rundown

James Hetfield Guitar Setup And Rig Rundown

Graham Coxon Guitar Setup and Rig Rundown

Our Favorite Albums That Use Proco RAT Distortion Pedals

Graham Coxon Guitar Setup and Rig Rundown

The 1990’s were the time of significant changes in rock and metal music. The rise of grunge and alternative rock movement opened up new horizons and completely changed the game for the coming generation of musicians.

One of the bands that made a huge breakthrough later during the decade was Blur.

blur 1991

Fitting into the alternative rock category, while also keeping some of those Britpop and indie rock traits, they paved their own way to success.

The biggest breakthrough came with their somewhat unusual but really catchy “Song 2″ that, by now, everyone knows as one of the most influential rock anthems.

But the band wouldn’t have the reputation that it has today if it wasn’t for guitarist Graham Coxon.

Now, he is not your typical guitar hero rock star, the kind that spawned from the 1980s after Van Halen blew everyone’s heads off. Pretty much a reaction to it.

graham and damon

Since he began his music career in the late 1980s and the early 1990’s, Coxon is more in the vein of grunge guitar players, with just a hint of other elements in there.

But above all, he’s a very versatile musician, multi-instrumentalist, and – above all – a great songwriter, having written a ton of songs with Blur and also a lot of cool solo stuff.

In his teens, Graham was already well acquainted with a few different instruments. Aside from the guitar, he also played the flute, drums, and saxophone. There were a few bands he was a member of, but it was only in Blur (originally called Seymour) that he found success and fame.

However, as you may know, we’re all huge guitar gear nuts over here. So what we’re really interested in is tone and how he got it.

Coxon has a pretty exciting and – dare we say it – somewhat unconventional collection of guitars, pedals, and amplifiers.

There’s some stuff in his arsenal that’s pretty unique. But it’s not like you’d expect anything less from a musician like Coxon. So get ready and let’s dig into it.


Guitars

Like we said, his guitar collection over the years has been pretty interesting, and we can even find some unusual stuff in here.

So let’s start with his Fender Telecasters that he’s so well-known for. The one that’s been with him for so many years is his 1952 Tele.

Even if we ignore Blur’s greatness, this is a very valuable instrument with all the original parts and original cream finish from its production back in 1952. Graham used this one all throughout his career.

Here’s Graham talking about his experiences with Tele’s.

There are a few other very valuable Fender Teles worth mentioning here. For instance, there’s this one that Graham is referring to as being made back in 1969, although some sources claim that it’s 1968.

This is not unusual for guitars from the ’50s and the ’60s. Either way, this is yet another wonderful cream-colored instrument.

graham coxon telecaster

But what makes it interesting is the ash body, rosewood fingerboard on maple neck, and Gibson’s vintage PAF humbucker on the neck position. The bridge features a regular Fender single-coil.

Among other Teles, we can also find his 1972 Deluxe, which is the guitar he used extensively during the band’s 2009 reunion.

Also worth mentioning is midnight blue Tele, but not much is known about this instrument.

Now, since he’s become known for these guitars, it was only a matter of time he’d make his signature Tele with Fender. This instrument is based on a classic ’69 Telecaster.

Visually-wise, the only significant difference is in the pickguard. What’s a little unusual is the fact that it has a humbucker pickup in the neck position, Seymore Duncan’s SH-1.

Meanwhile, the bridge position is the classic vintage-styled single-coil by Fender.

As for Fenders in general, Graham is also a huge fan of Jaguars and Jazzmasters. He also owns a few of these instruments.

graham coxon jazzmaster

There are also plenty of other interesting electric guitars we should mention here. There’s a small collection of Gibson Les Pauls that Coxon has been using over the years.

One of his earliest LPs is the black Custom one. This guitar has been used both live and in the studio, most notably on Blur’s 1997 self-titled album.

Graham also owns a ’56 Goldtop ’56 reissue with two P-90 pickups.

We can also find a tobacco sunburst one, but not much is known about this instrument, except that it had a black pickguard that has since been removed.

While we’re at Gibson guitars, there’s also an SG that dates back to 1962, back when these were called Les Pauls.

graham blur

To make things more interesting, we decided to cover some of his unusual guitars here. One of the examples comes with his Fender Coronado 12-string.

It’s not a type of instrument you’d see that often, and it looks like a mutated Gibson 335 with a twisted Fender headstock.

There’s also stuff like Rickenbacker 330, Burns London Sonic, and a few others, although he rarely uses these instruments.

graham coxon burns

As for acoustic guitars, he has one great custom piece built by Ralph Bown, his OM model.

Graham used this guitar both live and in the studio for quite a while now. It’s a very unique instrument and includes an L.R. Baggs M1 pickup.

There’s also an inevitable Gibson acoustic guitar in there, a piece like J-160E. He also owns a Martin OM-28V.


Amplifiers

When it comes to guitar amps, Graham Coxon’s setup has never been really that exciting.

There’s nothing wrong with that, but there’s only a handful of amps that are worth mentioning here.

For instance, his main amplifier is his Marshall 1959 SLP.

graham coxon marshall amps

You can usually see him using two of these on the stage, paired up with the ’69 Marshall cabinets, each bearing four 12-inch speakers.

In this setup, however, Graham quite often used an attenuator for each of the amps.

The one he’s fond of is Marshall PB100 Power Brake, and it goes between the amp head and the cabinet. This way, he reduces (or “soaks”) the power from the amp before it goes into a cabinet.

marshall power brake PB100 Attenuator

As we said, nothing else is really that exciting, or at least we don’t know enough to share all the details.

It is known, however, that he has used plenty of combo amps. Some claim that he has used Orange rocker 30 and a classic Marshall 1962 Bluesbreaker.

As you can see, he’s pretty much a classic straightforward Marshall guy. Nothing really exciting, but it gets the job done.


Pedals and effects

But contrary to his amp setup, Graham’s pedalboard has always been really exciting.

He is, after all, a bit of a pedal junkie, and has relied more on effects rather than amps in shaping his tone. There’s a lot, so we don’t know where to begin.

Let’s go with distortion pedals first. And what a better way to start than with the legendary ProCo Rat 2.

He’s been using this one quite a lot, and you can sometimes even find more than just one of these in his live setup. It’s a simple yet really effective distortion.

In addition, he’s also used another version of the ProCo Rat pedal, the company’s well-known Turbo Rat.

proco-sound-turbo-rat-144575

This one is a little harsher-sounding compared to the standard ProCo Rat, although it features pretty much the same control configuration.

Since Blur is so-well known for their “Song 2,” we can’t help but mention the DOD FX76 Punkifier pedal. And this is a rather unusual one.

The Punkifier is both an overdrive and a fuzz, which is really weird as overdrive features soft clipping and fuzz has an extremely harsh clipping process. All in all, you’ll never be able to find a pedal like this one.

Another unusual one is the old Shin-Ei FY-2 Companion Fuzz. Produced back in the 1970s in Japan, these are pretty rare to find these days.

Back then, they were pretty innovative. However, these are pretty straightforward and feature only two simple controls for volume and gain.

It’s not completely certain what he used FY-2 for, but it clearly shows his great interest in vintage-oriented stuff.

Of course, it’s literally impossible for a guy like Graham to go without the classic Boss DS-1.

boss ds-1

This simple piece can be found on many pedalboards even to this day, both with amateurs and professionals. Just a classic piece.

T-Rex Mudhoney Distortion is another one we could see and hear Graham use over the years.

While not exactly the “mainstream” choice here, the pedal is as creamy-sounding as its name would suggest.

There’s also the Mudhoney II version, although Graham has been using the original model for quite some time now.

With so many different distortion pedals in there, it’s only obvious that there’s supposed to be a noise gate somewhere.

Of course, it’s not like Coxon is a hard-hitting heavy metal player, but fuzz and classic distortion pedals can get a little “messy” here and there.

For this purpose, Coxon’s choice is Boss NS-2. It’s a fairly versatile and useful example of a noise suppressor.

Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor Pedal review

While we’re at it, Graham is a huge Boss pedal fan. Aside from the aforementioned pedals by the legendary company, there are a few worth mentioning as well.

For instance, he uses the classic DD-3 Digital Delay. It’s the classic choice among Boss lovers, even though it has a shorter maximum delay time.

Boss DD-3 Digital Delay Guitar Pedal Review

Speaking of Boss delay pedals, there’s a rather interesting old unit somewhere to be found in his pedalboard.

The one we’re talking about is the DM-2, which is the company’s famous analog delay from the 1980s.

These kinds of delay pedals relied on the so-called “bucket brigade devices” to store the signal and repeat it. This results in somewhat of a saturated and even slightly muffled repeated tones.

Again, another example showing how Coxon is into older stuff.

Going over to other Boss pedals in his inventory, we can also find the VB-2 Vibrato, PN-2 Tremolo and Pan, BF-2 Flanger, TR-2 Tremolo, and even the RV-5 Digital Reverb.

The PN-2 is a rather interesting one.

Despite having only a handful of controls, there’s so much stuff that you can do with it.

As you might have suggested, it’s capable of delivering stereo output that shifts the signal from one channel to another according to set speed and depth. Otherwise, you can use it as a regular tremolo.

Then we have some pretty exciting stuff by Line 6. Most notably the FM4 Filter Modeller.

There’s actually a lot of stuff that you can do with a filter pedal, but this thing brings it to a whole new level.

The FM4 is practically closer to a synth pedal as it replicates some classic old synths. It comes with mindblowing 20 factory presets, as well as 4 user presets.

All in all, it’s really fun to use. Not really surprised to see this one in Graham’s collection.

Another one of those complex series of Line 6 pedals is DL4 Delay Modeller.

There’s just so much stuff that you can do with it, anything from standard delays and echoes, up to wacky bouncy stuff.

What’s more, it can also replicate some analog and lo-fi stuff. Who could have thought that a delay pedal would offer you so much creative freedom?

But from all the delays in his collection over the years, nothing can really beat his Akai E2 Headrush. It’s not an easy one to find, which is really a shame.

This pedal does so much stuff, anything from simple delay up to very complex looping. With it, you can also replicate some of those vintage tape-based echoes.

However, its biggest strength lies in all the looping features and overdubbing.

Talking of weird delay pedals, he also used Carl Martin’s EchoTone pedal.

Released in the late 2000s, it’s kind of similar to DeLayla XL, although EchoTone is a little bit more versatile.

It operates with an additional switch for two different delay times and another one for tempo of repeats.

We may as well stop there, since Graham’s bag of guitar pedal tricks does run very deep.  From album to album, he’s a bit of a kid in a candy store, trying out various things on various tracks. 

This is made all the more exciting by the fact that he’s not afraid of layering guitars on top of one another, to get exactly the effect he wants for any given song.  

This is why we love Graham, as he was and is, to a large extent, the sonic architect of Blur, although everyone involved in that band brings their own brand of genius to the mix.


Conclusion

If you aren’t your typical shredding rock guitar hero type of guitar player, but love sheer inventiveness when it comes to guitar playing and especially songwriting, Graham Coxon is definitely someone to check out. 

He’s played on some of the world’s biggest stages, delivering quirky riffs that are both melodic and mosh-able to tons of fans around the world, which is a big reason Blur is so beloved. 

In other words, he’s just your regular affable brit, but with a huge knowledge of guitars, guitar history, pedals, and so on.  So definitely worth diving into to see what he’s up to at any given time.  

Have you given him a listen, or used any of the gear he uses?  Drop us a line below.

BONUS: Some great video interviews with Graham Coxon


Tony Iommi Rig Rundown

iommi

There’s hardly any musician out there that’s as influential to metal music as Mr. Tony Iommi.

Widely considered to be the one individual who created the entire genre on his own, it was his riffs and songs he wrote with Black Sabbath in the late 1960s and the early 1970s that brought him the fame he has today.

tony iommi

While it is somewhat debatable on who started heavy metal, it is a fact that without Iommi the modern rock music wouldn’t be as big as it is today.

What’s more, the style he developed can also be heard in many other music genres today, with even mainstream pop sometimes including metal-sounding riffs.

His main strength lied in his writing abilities, implementing elements like tritone the way no one did before him. The riffs were so great that they sounded heavy even played on an average acoustic guitar.

However, in order to achieve their true potential, Iommi had to find the perfect guitar tone. Not the easiest task back in the old days when standard guitar pedals weren’t a thing and achieving distorted tone was extremely difficult.

Nonetheless, Iommi managed to make his tone huge.  You can hear this tone back in the early Sabbath days during their blistering early sets like this one.

While most of the people remember Black Sabbath for the Ozzy era, Tony Iommi kept the band’s legacy over the years, being the sole original member.

Over the years, his music and tone evolved, but you could still hear that it’s Tony. The 1980s and the first half of the 1990s were a bit weird for Sabbath, but there was some great material, featuring his amazing guitar tone.

During the late 1990s and early 2000s, with the original Sabbath reunion and his solo albums, his tone was more in the vein of the older Sabbath stuff.

With all this in mind, we figured it would be a great idea to explore Tony Iommi’s setup over the years and find out more about the secrets behind his tone.

There’s a lot of stuff involved and many of the things are still unknown to this day. So we’ll try to focus on the equipment we know he used, but there will be a few mentions of the unconfirmed guitars and gear. So let’s dig into it!


Guitars

Of course, by now, everyone is aware of his extensive use of Gibson SGs, with these guitars becoming a part of his sonic and visual identity.

However, what many don’t know is that Iommi started his career playing a classic Fender Stratocaster.

TI with guitars from Original Black Sabbath by Steve Tarshis

He used this particular guitar in his pre-Sabbath bands and he also entered the studio to record Sabbath’s self-titled debut with the guitar, but only managed to record one song with it, the “Wicked World.” After the session, the electronics on this Strat died.

Interestingly enough, the famous red 1965 Gibson SG Special was his spare instrument. After using it on the record, the guitar quickly became his number one weapon on choice, with Iommi recording most of the material on Sabbath’s first six albums on it.

1965 Gibson SG Special Monkey

The guitar bares two P-90 single-coil pickups, as well as the “Monkey” nickname due to an unusual sticker. The guitar is currently located in New York City’s Hard Rock Café over at Times Square. A legendary piece.

The next famous early SG is the white 1960s Gibson Les Paul, which was actually an SG before the official use of the SG name. It bears three humbuckers and a Bigsby tremolo. It’s not completely certain whether he used this guitar on any of the recordings, but he’s been seen using this guitar on a few occasions in the early days. Its whereabouts are currently unknown.

white 1960s Gibson Les Paul

In 1975, Iommi got his first custom-built SG by John Birch, a guy who previously modded the old “Monkey” SG. This is a completely black guitar with a steel pickguard, 24 frets, and the well-known famous cross inlays Iommi is now known for. The guitar was used on the recordings between 1976 and 1981.

But the most notable of his SGs is his legendary “Old Boy,” made by luthier John Diggins. The story behind this one is kind of odd and long, with one part of the building process being done on a kitchen counter. As a result, the guitar has that recognizable “rotten” paint job.

iommi old boy

Again, the guitar has 24 frets and recognizable Iommi’s cross inlays on the fretboard. The pickups are custom ones made by Diggins himself, while the bridge is a classic Schaller with fine tuners, something that was pretty innovative for the era. Sometime in the early 1980s, it became his No. 1 guitar.

A lot of other SGs went through his arsenal over the years. There were some Gibsons, including some with Floyd Rose bridges. At one point in the late 1990s, Gibson even made a special guitar for him, but that one got stolen in 2010. The whereabouts of this instrument are unknown at the moment.

But aside from many SG guitars, Iommi also had quite a few different models, some of which were pretty unusual. One of the examples is the B.C. Rich Ironbird Pro, which can be seen in the “Star Licks” instructional video where Iommi shows a few Sabbath solos from the early 1980s.

It’s not certain why the collaboration stopped or whether he used this instrument on any of the recordings. But it is known that he had another B.C. Rich in his collection, the standard Mockingbird.

Iommi also partnered up with Patrick Eggle for a few guitars, one of them being the Tony Iommi Artist Model ñ a double-cutaway guitar with somewhat of a Super Strat-style shape. He also had a few SGs made by Eggle, but he sold them later on to private collectors.

In the 2000s and 2010s, Iommi used his signature Epiphone SG Custom.

signature sg custom

There were a few other odd or unexpected models here and there. He was seen a few times using a Les Paul, quite an unusual sight for Iommi.

At one point, Iommi also revealed that he used a certain Les Paul for some songs on the “Paranoid” album. Other guitars also include Steinberger GM4T, Guild Bluesbird Custom, Washburn EC29, Hamer Phantom, Gibson Barney Kessel, Gibson ES-175, and others.

It has been reported that Iommi played a Burns Trisonic and a Watkins Rapier – both of which are very old and pretty obscure at this point. But these have not been confirmed as there are no photos to prove it.

Now going over to his acoustics, there have been a few notable models in his collection. The latest ones we’re certain of are Taylor 815L and Taylor T5s.

He also had a Washburn EA30 at some point, which he sold to private collections. There were some reports about him using Gibson J-45 back in the early days, probably on “Vol. 4” and “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” albums.


Amps

Aside from his SGs and a few other guitars he used over the years, there were many amps that sculpted his tone.

Unfortunately, there are no official records on what he used in the earliest days of his career, but it is known that he had a certain Marshall 50-watt amp in the pre-Sabbath and early Sabbath era.

When the band went into the studio, Tony switched over to a Laney amp, a brand he stuck with for most of his career.

tony iommi laney amp

The reason behind this switch is that Laney was a new Birmingham-based company that started around the same time as the band and offered Iommi to use some of their stuff.

While it has not been confirmed, it is suspected that Laney LA 100 BL is the amp he played on the first two albums. Then came the third record with this huge bass-heavy tone.

While it’s not certain, some are suspecting he played through a Laney Klipp. This is a fairly rare amp and can go well-over $2,000 if you happen to stumble upon one that’s in good condition.

laney-klipp-100-2324801

However, it is known that Laney Supergroup amp has been a part of his setup up until the very end of the 1980s. But over the years, he liked to experiment here and there, and it’s known that he used the classic Vox AC30 during the “Technical Ecstasy” sessions in 1976. It is also assumed that he went with a Marshall Super Lead 1959 for the “Heaven and Hell” album.

During a certain period in the 1980s, Iommi went on to collaborate with Sunn for an endorsement. This didn’t last for a long time, but there is one photo of him circulating online, holding the Ironbird signature guitar and sitting in front of a Sunn amp.

iommi sunn amp Ironbird guitar

So he stuck with his reliable Laney amps and the company eventually made a special model GH 100 TI for him, featuring the classic “British” EL34 tubes. In 2012, they came out with the final Tony Iommi signature model, Laney TI100 with 6L6 tubes in the power amp.

It has also been rumored that he used other amps during certain periods, like the Mesa Boogie Mark IIB in the early 1980s, as well as the ENGL Powerball during the Heaven and Hell band back in 2009.


Effects and pedals

Just like any professional guitar player, Tony Iommi also had some interesting pedal and effect setups over the years.

However, only a few pieces are widely known. It seems that Iommi was pretty much secretive about his pedals and other effects units, or that interviewers never really dug deep enough.

Going back to his earliest days, there is one particular device that made his tone stand out. Going back to his pre-Sabbath days, Iommi was a member of a blues-rock band called Mythology.

As the era is known for guitarists not being able to find a proper distorted tone, Tony was one of the guys who resorted to using the Dallas Rangemaster Treble Booster.

An unknown friend or an acquaintance of his modded the device, ultimately turning it into somewhat of a full-range booster.

As Iommi explains, he’s not sure what the guy actually did, but it sounded great. This way, Iommi was able to use the clean signal boost and drive tube amps over their limitations and let them create distortion in a more “natural” way.

He used it until 1979 when, apparently, one of his tech guys threw it away, mistaking it for a random broken old device.

Another famous pedal in his arsenal is the very rare and peculiar-sounding wah called Parapedal, made by a short-lasting company called Tycobrahe.

Parapedal

It’s a really obscure piece, but if you actually manage to find one of the original pedals, it can go up to $1,000. There have been some replicas, but Tony Iommi used some of the original old models.

This is what you can hear on any of his solos where he’s using a wah, or in songs like “Electric Funeral” where he used it for the main riff.

As for any other effects, it’s been really hard to confirm anything else. Again, it seems that he’s been pretty secretive about his setup.


Legacy

Of course, it was Tony Iommi’s rumbling tone that helped shape metal music. Even to this day, you’re rarely find anything as heavy as the guitar tone on “Master of Reality.”

While he was inclined to experiment, like with the Vox AC30 in the mid-1970s, Tony was still a fan of huge guitar tones, especially on live shows.

After all, he was the only guitar player in Black Sabbath, so it was up to him to make the sound as big and as harmonically rich as possible.

As a result, he’s still being praised by almost all of the metal musicians today. His legacy can be heard in all of the metal music, none of which would be possible without Iommi’s innovative approach in the earliest days of Black Sabbath.

So it doesn’t come as a surprise that he’s known as the “Riff Lord.”

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John Frusciante Rig Rundown

Have you ever had a moment where you listened to a guitar player, and you’re thoroughly mesmerized not just by prodigious amounts of skill and musicality, but by the graceful ease they work wonders on their guitars?

Some of these musicians play so incredibly, yet so naturally that you never feel even a hint of envy – you’re just grateful that such a being exists and you simply take the moment in.

However, due to their usually quiet natures, a lot of them go by unsung, or at least without receiving credit equal to their prodigious talent.

One such guitar player is John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.  We almost said formerly but John just yesterday rejoined the band for the second time, after ten years absence!

john frusciante rig rundown

In addition to his own unobtrusive nature, the reason that John Frusciante doesn’t spring up in everybody’s minds when talking about great guitar players is that emotional response to the whole package rather than pure skill was always the driving force behind the Chili Peppers’ success, and the latter was more often than not overshadowed by the former.

However, it is undeniable that the lasting beauty of the Chili Peppers’ music was in significant part due to John’s playing, and that John always was and remains a majestic musician.

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at what gear John used to create his iconic sound, and as you’ll see, there’s quite a bit.

But first, a bit of backstory…


History with the RHCP

john frusicante

We’ll be taking a quick trip down the memory lane and talk about how John came to be an integral part of the Chili Peppers, his path to becoming the musician he is today, and how he evolved alongside the iconic band.

John Frusciante joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers back in 1988 when he was only 18 years old. In addition to his young age, he was a peculiar choice for the band that mostly focused on funk at the time, and John had no prior experience with the genre.

Of all his early influences, John said that Frank Zappa was the greatest, stating: “By the time I was 15 I owned all of the records and was spending about 70% of my musical life studying and learning his music. For me, striving for the perfection he was known for demanding from his bands was a powerful motivation and force behind the huge amount of practicing I was doing back then.”

However, back in those early days he was still pretty much just a replacement to the original guitarist Hillel Slovak and was stuck with trying to emulate his sound.

During the recording of “Mother’s Milk”, John still had very little creative freedom to speak of, as he was pressured by the producer Michael Beinhorn to play with a driving heavy metal tone, which is evident in songs like “Higher Ground”, “Knock Me Down”, which were a clear step away from the Chili Peppers’ previous sound.

By the time “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” was released, not only did John find his genuine place within the band and come into his own as a musician, but it was this iteration of Chili Peppers that introduced the band to the mainstream audiences.

who-is-john-frusciante

In 1993, John left the band due to it becoming “too popular” as well as personal issues and came back in 1998 after Dave Navarro’s departure.

He had matured during that time since he sounded much more articulated and in control on songs like “Scar Tissue”, “Otherside” and “Around the World” when compared to his former aloofness in playing.

On “By the Way” and “Stadium Arcadium”, John Frusciante arguably reached his full potential within the band, resulting in his tasteful and original experimentation within those albums, despite them being much more pop-oriented than the previous ones.

During his time with the Chili Peppers, John evolved into a guitarist extraordinaire – but one who emphasizes the melody and the organic quality of his playing.

Read our feature article about John’s musical life, Who is John Frusciante?

Despite his vast knowledge of music theory and enviable virtuosity, John’s prodigious qualities as a musician often went unnoticed due to his lack of interest in showing off and always putting the melody first.

young-john-frusciante-1989

However, John achieved his seemingly simple sound with no small amount of both gear and skill. John is known to have used a staggering amount of instruments, amps, and mods, most of which aren’t officially recorded.

What follows is a rundown of gear that John confirmed to have used in various instances, and that was integral to achieving his signature elegant sound.


Guitars

Throughout his two bouts with the RHCP, John has used a plethora of guitars, and putting down a definite list would be nearly impossible to put down –some sources state that there over 40 guitars that he had used during those years.

Here, we’ll take a look at a few that he’s the best known for using, and that made the biggest impact on his sound, playing style and appearance.

Fender Stratocaster

A 1962 Tobacco Sunburst Fender Stratocaster with a rosewood fretboard, with the body scratched-up marrow-deep above the pickguard is perhaps the most famous of John’s guitars and the one that he’s associated with the most often.

frusciante-stratocaster-1962

More than once, John himself has stated that this is the guitar that he is sentimental about the most, and the one that was the “most important” to him.

It was this guitar’s mellow, bright, single-coil sound that was responsible for songs such as “Scar Tissue” and “Can’t Stop”, and especially his early works with the RHCP like “Mother’s Milk”.

In fact, you’ll hear this guitar in instances of the vast majority of the songs that John played for the band.

Initially, he used stock pickups but later swapped them for Duncans which were almost the same. John also used a ’55 Strat nearly identical to this one, except for the ’55 having a maple fretboard.

Fender Telecaster

Although John is known for his love for the Stratocaster, in an interview with Vintage Guitar Magazine (you’ll notice that John has a strong preference for vintage instruments), he stated that “Around ‘By The Way’, I played Teles more than a Strat.

frusciante_feature

A telecaster he’s most widely known for using is a stock 1963 model with a rosewood fretboard.

If you listen to the songs from “By The Way” closely, you’ll notice that they resonate with the signature Telecaster twang.

Given that he almost never modifies his instruments, John is a living testament that you don’t need crazy mods to sound great.

Gretsch 1955 White Falcon

This is the guitar that John is seen playing during the iconic “Californication” live concert at Slane Castle from 2003.

While talking to Vintage Guitar, John said that the Gretch White Falcons are among his favorite guitars from his collection (as we’ve already mentioned, he has quite a few).

In fact, he revealed that he stumbled upon the Falcon purely by accident during a period in which he was guitar-shopping intensely because he thought his playing would change from guitar to guitar.

He said: With the white Strat, it was a neat experience because it made me play different, and made the band sound different.

If I hadn’t gone through a phase of buying, I never would have come upon the White Falcon…” The Falcon’s hollow body and Filtertron pickups give it a distinctive, rich-yet-resonant sound that clearly stands out from the Strats and Teles, and you can hear it in action on the album’s title track, as well as on “Otherside”.


Amps

Like with his guitars, John seems to like to keep things straightforward, yet elegant. However, when it comes to amps that John has been using all these years, there is even less reliable info available than for his numerous guitars.

With that in mind, we’ll take a look at the three main amplifiers that he’s been known to have used the most: Marshall Silver Jubilee, Fender Dual Showman, and The Marshall Major.

Marshall Silver Jubilee

Among guitar aficionados around the world, the Marshall Silver Jubilee amplifier is famous for its incredibly short, one-year production run and has since become tremendously difficult to obtain.

Marshall-Silver-Jubilee-John-Frusciante-Amps-Slane-Castle

This dauntingly pricy 100-Watt amplifier is a reincarnation of the 1962 Marshall Head of sorts, and it is the obvious choice for John’s sonic output given his preference for vintage sound and instruments.

In addition to being expensive, the Marshall Silver Jubilee is known for its reliable, balanced frequency response and is powered by EL34 valves which give it a clear, ringing overall sound with a smooth top end.

Fender Dual Showman

Now this one is a strange beast in regards to the other two, as John explicitly uses it only in combination with his Gretsch 1955 White Falcon.

fender dual showman guitar amp

The classic Fender reverb it produces complements the White Falcon’s ringing hollow-body sound perfectly. Furthermore, the only effect that John used with this combo was a BOSS DS1 distortion pedal.

Marshall Major

Essentially, what we’re looking at here is the essence of JCM 800 in a different package and 200 Watts of power.

Marshall_Major

The power amp stage boasts KT88 valves, whereas the preamp contains two ECC83 and one ECC82 which pour out that creamy, controlled distortion which makes this amp so well-loved.

His on-stage combo is wrapped up by two 4×12 Marshall cabs for each of these three, making the sound of his guitar powerful enough not to be engulfed by the rest of the band.
Effects

Whether you listen to John’s gentler guitar contributions or the more hectic, funkier ones from early on, the first impression you’d get is that the man uses virtually no added effect (and that he needs none, but that’s beside the point).

However, it is now known that John actually used a wide variety of devices to further tweak his sound.

For instance, during the “Stadium Arcadium” era, he used whopping 20 different pedals for his live performances, including six Moog Moogerfooger units in addition to multiple delays, distortions, modulation, filters, and wah.

However, apart from the BOSS DS1 distortion pedal reserved exclusively for the Gretsch 1955 White Falcon, he really didn’t have a mainstay of devices that he used throughout his time with the Chili Peppers, but instead relied on intuition, current mood and desire for experimentation when deciding which effect he would keep using, and which ones he’d discard.

If one had to find a pattern behind his utilization of various effects, it would be that he had preferred effect for each of the Chili Peppers’ epochs, with both him influencing the band’s sound and vice versa.

With that said, let’s take a look at some of John’s favorite effects.


Effects

First off, we have the humble MXR Micro Amp a pedal used for boosting your main signal for solos or as a buffer for other guitars.

mxr micro amp

John’s grittier tones are mostly owed to the tried and true combination of BOSS DS-2 Turbo Distortion and EHX Big Muff Pi.

The BOSS DS-2 is perhaps the few mods that he used since his first day with the RHCP and continued using ever since.

In fact, this little gadget’s clipping effect is the one that can be recognized in almost every Chili Peppers’ song where John does the guitar duties.

Boss DS-2 Turbo Distortion review

The fuzz provided by the EHX Big Muff Pi is especially characteristic of the “By The Way” era, which replaced John’s previous fuzz device, BOSS’ FZ-3, that he used more around the time “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” came out.

As far as John’s modulation is concerned, there is the BOSS CE-1 Chorus Ensemble, a simple yet reliable chorus with normal and vibrato modes.

boss_ce1

This is the other pedal that remained ever-present in his setup in addition to the DS-2.

Despite its straightforward nature (or perhaps exactly due to it), the CE-1 remains ever popular due to its ability to maintain the qualities of the original signal while complementing it with an organic sound.

The EHX Deluxe Electric Mistress is another mod that saw steady use throughout John’s career.

DlxMistress-large

Its classic analog Flanger with its unique Filter Matrix mode disengages the auto sweep and lets you position the filter manually, and is very prominent in “By The Way”, for example.

He also uses a Line 6 FM4 Filter Modeller that comes with programmable filters and monophonic synth sounds (which replaced the Electro-Harmonix synthesizer he used during the “Californication” era).

John’s choice of time-based effects was also led by a philosophy of reliability and straightforwardness.

There’s the EHX Holy Grail Reverb, a digital reverb that like a spring one, which he used until he replaced it with Fender’s vintage tube reverb unit.

electro harmonix holy grail reverb

Another delay unit that John used was the LINE 6 DL4 Delay Modeller, which yields more control over delay effects than a standard digital delay, or an analog one.

Interestingly, John tends to supplement the DL4 with two DigiTech PDS 1002, which give him even more control over delay effects.

As we’ve seen, although simplicity seemingly is the key to John’s distinctive sound, there is a whole lot of thought, experimentation, and gear behind the unique and elegant sound of his guitar playing.

As such, John Frusciante truly is a living testament to the wonders that a meticulous, yet sincere love for the instrument and the simple joy of playing can bring to life.

Thanks for reading!  If you have and comments or questions, leave them below!

Synyster Gates’ Rig Rundown

synyster gates

Heavy metal music has come a long way since its inception back in the late 1960s. From the bluesy, yet really doomy, songs by Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, it began going into multiple different directions.

As a result, we got some unexpected subgenres, that even led to some more extreme territories. But, at the end of the day, the classic elements of the genre remained, and some bands keep this legacy alive even to the present era.

One of these bands is Avenged Sevenfold, where the lead guitar duties are taken by Brian Haner, also known by his unique stage name Synyster Gates.

synyster-gates-avengedsevenfold-gettyimages-647264106

Forming back at the very end of the 1990s, Synyster Gates joined the band sometime before the release of their debut album. It was an unusual time for heavy metal, and new movements were emerging all around.

Avenged Sevenfold started off as a metalcore band, but they slowly moved into the classic metal and hard rock lane. This was a rather exciting turn of events as they added some modern metal elements and twists to the old genre.

These days, they’re even experimenting with some progressive elements. And that’s all thanks to Syn Gates and his approach to songwriting and playing.

Another vital component in this story is Syn Gates’ tone.

With this in mind, we thought we could dive deeper into the topic and explore all the gear A7X’s axeman has been using over the years. There’s an abundance of great instruments, pedals, and amps, and we just can’t afford to skip over this guitar master. So let us begin.

Guitars

The most recognizable part of his whole setup and the one that became his personal stamp is the Schecter Synyster Gates signature model.

syn gates custom guitar

Almost all of the studio recordings and the live performances were recorded using some of these guitars. The band blew up early on in their career, so it wasn’t hard for Syn to land a deal with Schecter for his one-of-a-kind model.

As the years went by, this guitar evolved, and there have been many iterations, finishes, designs, and different hardware and pickup combinations. There are even some exclusive models that were sold as limited series.

As for Syn’s guitars, there are a few notable models. For instance, the one that he often today uses is the Custom-S. This is one of the newest iterations and has a few variants.

It’s a prestigious and expensive instrument and an all-round versatile instrument capable of delivering different styles.

The Custom-S has a mahogany body and a three-piece mahogany neck that’s enforced with strong carbon rods. The guitar features a 25.5-inch scale neck with a 24-fret ebony fretboard.

synyster gates

The neck profile proves that the Custom-S model is made for real shredders. It’s the so-called “thin C” neck, the same as the classic “C” profile, only thinner. Seeing that the guitar also has a Floyd Rose 1500 Series bridge, it’s a pure heavy metal mean machine.

One of its strongest points is the addition of the Sustainiac pickup on the neck position.

There have been plenty of other versions of this guitar over the years. Some of those include the Bat Country Avenger model that has a classic tune-o-matic bridge with strings going through the body.

bat country avenger

These other Syn Gates signature models are pretty similar in construction, although they have a few different features here and there. Custom-S still stands as his No. 1 weapon in the arsenal.

But he’s also used a few other guitars over the years. In the band’s earliest days, Syn could be seen holding a Parker Fly Deluxe model. It’s a classic instrument, used by many guitar players of countless different genres.

What some may not know is that Syn Gates is also deeply rooted in old school stuff like blues and jazz. So it doesn’t come as a surprise to see that he has a Gibson ES-335 in his possession. The guitar was used for studio sessions over the years.

gibson ES335 DOT

Of course, it’s not unusual to find a Gibson Les Paul in his collection. He owns one LP Custom, and you can see him rocking it out in the “Unholy Confessions” video. However, this guitar hasn’t seen that many live shows.

Another electric worth mentioning is his Schecter Blackjack PT that he used earlier in the band’s career.

Schecter Diamond Series Blackjack PT

It’s a two-humbucker Telecaster-shaped guitar with the strings going through the body. The Blackjack is a very playable piece and a great solution for all the heavy tones that Syn certainly needed over his career.

As for acoustics, there are a few exciting pieces worth mentioning in his arsenal. Since he’s been a partner of Schecter for so long, they also made signature acoustic guitars for him – the Synyster Gates 3701. It’s a single-cutaway guitar with a slightly peculiar twist on its design.

Just like the electric Custom-S, it features the easily recognizable Avenged Sevenfold logo on the fretboard’s inlay. It also includes a Fishman pickup and a preamp, along with a 3-band EQ. It’s a very versatile acoustic guitar and an overall quality instrument.

Then there’s a surprising addition of Godin ACS-SA that he began using since 2016’s “The Stage” album. This thin profile nylon-string guitar is often used by jazz players.

Godin ACS-SA

But since Avenged Sevenfold began diving into some unexpected proggy territories, it comes as a great addition to Syn’s collection.

Generally speaking, the Custom-S still remains his primary weapon and his main workhorse. It’s really easy to play, it has good access to higher frets, and certainly delivers the classic metal punch, kind of in the vein of standard Gibson guitars, although it had a bit of a sharper edge to the tone.

Amps

Quite a few different amps came through Synyster Gates’ setup over the years. Unlike his choice of guitars, he wasn’t stuck with one particular brand of amps. If we were to look at all of his choices, the picture is pretty clear ñ he likes heavy sound with an in-your-face mid-range punch.

So let’s start with his Schecter amp. Yes, the company is not that well-known for their guitar amplifier line, but the Hellwin model is a powerful 100-watt all-tube amp in the style of classic Marshalls.

schecter hellwin

This can be seen with the implementation of EL34 valves. He always used it in pair with the Hellwing SYN412 cabinet. For some reason, Synyster Gates stopped playing it after a while.

While we’re at Marshall amps, he’s also known for using the JVM205H 50-watt head. These are pretty versatile amps, and cranking up a 50-watt amp is a great idea for larger gigs.

JVM205H-large

Since it can be miked up for live shows, he’s able to get that authentic “organic” drive out of them by pushing the volume all the way up. It features the classic configuration of two channels – clean and drive.

He also owns that real beast of an amp, the Mesa Boogie JP-2C. Yes, the John Petrucci signature model, based on the good old Mark IIC+ amp. It’s an extremely versatile piece of gear and can create anything from smooth jazz up to big crushing tones for riffs and screaming leads.

jp2c john petrucci signature markIIC

While we’re at it, Syn’s also known for using the legendary Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier amp. Another great example of the company’s rich and tight-sounding guitar amps.

Now, Bogner Uberschall is a really delicate piece. A real jewel in his collection, it’s a 120-watt amp head with some of the most mindblowing tones you’ll ever get the chance to hear.

However, a real change came when Synyster began using the Fractal Audio’s Axe-FX III. Just like Kemper and a few other examples, it caused quite a stir in the guitar community.

axe-fx-iii-1920-front-white

Since Syn himself is all about modern technology, the addition of such a piece to his rig was inevitable. Needless to say, this powerful amp modeler successfully replicates any of the most advanced tube amps we’ve ever heard.

We wouldn’t be surprised to see his entire rigs replaced with one or two of these.

His love of modelling amps came some years ago when he began using the Axe-FX II. However, he used it only for some features and effects and not actual amp models. The story goes that he really likes the harmonizer in this digital processor.

Effects pedals

When it comes to pedals and other effects, he never really had too much of a complex layout. There have been a few compressors here and there, delays, boosters, wahs, and a few other occasional pedals.

His choice of wah is pretty interesting. Steering away from conventional pedals, he has Dunlop’s rack module Cry Baby DCR-2SR.

Dunlop+DCR+2SR

It’s a potent piece that allows you to shape your own wah and to determine what kind of sweep will it add to your tone. This is as pro as it gets with wahs.

He’s known for using a few different compressors over the years. There’s the classic choice of Boss SC-3 here, which is a continuation of the old CS-2 pedal. Then we have another piece like the very simple MXR CSP202.

Among modulations, delays, and other effects, there’s one rather interesting piece in his signal chain that Syn uses even today. It’s called Visual Sound H2O, and it’s a chorus and echo pedal in one.

visual sound h20 V1 liquid chorus and echo pedal review

This unconventionally shaped 2-in-1 pedal gives delays between 10 and 800 milliseconds and allows you to use a chorus or delay individually.

As for the aforementioned clean boost pedals, he uses a very simple yet effective MXR MC401. This little piece can do wonders when paired with the kind of tube amps that he’s using.

And just to throw in another one in here, Syn’s been seen using Electro-Harmonix POG, or the so-called “Polyphonic Octave Generator.” It’s a very intricate pedal, although we’re not sure how much he’s been using it in actual songs.

MicroPog-large

There have been a few other pedals here and there, but the ones described above are worth mentioning. Like we already said – Syn Gates has always kept it simple when it comes to the signal chain.

Accessories and other gear

Being a professional player that he is, it’s only expected to see a whole bunch of different accessories in Syn Gates’ setup. For instance, there’s Ebtech HE-2 Hum Eliminator in his setup.

Ebtech HE-2 Hum Eliminator

This one allows the elimination of unwanted noise from AC adapters and other electrical interferences. Although small, it’s a very complex piece that does magic to your tone.

Since he has a few different pedals and devices, there’s got to be a reliable power supply in there somewhere. For this purpose, Syn uses the classic Dunlop DC-Brick – a 1-amper device that can power up to 10 pedals and effects at the same time.

lg_brick

Avenged Sevenfold are the classic arena metal band, so it’s only expected to see them using wireless systems. Synyster Gates’ choice for this is Audio Technica AEW-5111a.

It’s a very advanced and expensive rack-mounted wireless unit that provides stable operation in these large venue settings.

Schecter 6 String Synyster Gates Custom-S, Satin Gold Burst (1743)

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Schecter Hr412-Sle Hellraiser Stage 4X12 Slant Cab

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Marshall Jvm M-Jvm205H-U Guitar Amplifier Head

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Truetone V3H2O Liquid Chorus And Echo

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Final thoughts

From looking at this brief guitar setup and rig rundown, it’s pretty evident that Synyster Gates has evolved over these past two decades, along with his band. It’s always welcome to see this kind of an approach.

A great surprise came when Syn revealed that he’s interested in jazz music and that he plans on recording a full-blown jazz album. There are a few videos of him online playing some swing jazz.

With this being said, it’s highly likely that we’ll see his setup evolve even further. And this is already taking place with his use of Fractal Audio Axe-FX III. His overall tone and setup will depend on the direction that Avenged Sevenfold as a band will be taking in the future.

axe-fx-iii-1024-transparent-1024x271

Hearing “The Stage” that they launched back in 2016, we’re pretty excited about what they’ll do in the future.

After all, now that all the old metal bands are retiring one by one, they’ll be the one to continue carrying the torch of the genre, and they’ll be free to take it into any direction they want.

Dave Navarro Guitar Setup And Rig Rundown

dave navarro playing guitar

To say that Dave Navarro is an interesting character would be an understatement of the century. To overlook him as one of the most important guitar players of the last few decades would be an equivalent of a crime.

Aside from the fact that he has been in more than one widely successful band, Navarro is also an actor, documentary maker (“Mourning Son”), and he also worked as a reality show host for the tattoo competition series called the “Ink Master“.

He’s written a wild n’ crazy autobiography (“Don’t Try This At Home”), and these days he hosts the “Dark Matter Radio Podcast” with his buddy Todd Newman and crew. Oh, and he was married to super sexy Carmen Electra for a while – no big deal, just a regular thing for a guy like Dave.

With all that said, we still know him the best for his guitar skills in legendary pioneering alternative rock and metal band Jane’s Addiction and his brief stint with Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

Although a huge portion of the band’s fans still sees John Frusciante as a classic member, Dave Navarro is a huge part of the RHCP history. While somewhat overlooked, we’re able to witness his greatness on Peppers’ 1995 album “One Hot Minute”.

Remember the song “Warped”, a rockin’ track where it so happens Dave and Anthony made out in a faux-gay kissing scene, confusing millions of fans and video channel watchers alike.


Guitar Demi-God

Dave knows his way around guitars, that is for sure. However, he is the type of guitar player who doesn’t put an accent on flawless shredding skills and solos.

dave navarro playing with janes addiction

Instead, he prefers to use the guitar as a medium that allows him to express himself through writing and performing music.

That is something you just have to respect, especially seeing how the typical mindless showing off of technique and speed have become the main indicator of quality for guitar players these days.

Aside from his skills, Dave Navarro definitely knows how to dial in a good guitar tone. For the most part, he simply understands what any given piece of music needs, something you don’t find as often as one would expect.

His ability to match the atmosphere of a song with a complementing tone setup is pretty awesome to observe. Let’s take a listen to some classic Jane’s Addiction just to illustrate this point, with the song “Then She Did”.  Not a typical rock track you’d hear on your average alt-rock album, by any means.

Naturally, Navarro relies on a variety of equipment to achieve sounds and dynamics like this. As we said, depending on the song, Dave takes it where he wants. We’ve all got the chance to hear him implement his guitar and gear in various bands and projects that he was a part of.

Our goal in this article is to go over the guitars, amps as well as effects pedals that Dave Navarro uses or has used in the past. By showing you this info, you should figure out what kind of angle Dave Navarro is going for.

So let’s get into it, shall we?


Rig Rundown

Navarro’s choice of gear is pretty defined. By that, we mean that he is loyal to specific brands when it comes to guitars as well as amps and pedals.

Taking a methodical approach to gear as he does, allows you to know exactly what you will get. He has built the foundation of his sound and kept tweaking it to this day.

Here’s a quick look at his pedal board circa Nothing’s Shocking.

dave navarro nothing shocking rig

Here we see many pedals that many guitar pedals enjoy using.  There’s nothing particularly freakish about this board, except for the person using it and the album he made with it.

Anyhow, let’s start the rundown of Navarro’s rig by taking a peek at some of the guitars you could see in his hands.


Prs Paul Reed Smith Se Mark Holcomb Electric Guitar With Gig Bag,

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Marshall Jcm800 2203X 100W Tube Head

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Boss Oc-3 Super Octave Pedal For Guitar Or Bass Bundle With Blucoil Slim 9V 670Ma Power Supply Ac Adapter And 4-Pack Of Celluloid

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Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus Isolated

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Guitars

A quick glance at Navarro’s guitar choices in the past reveals that he is a true Paul Reed Smith fan. He has used their PRS Standard as well as PRS Custom guitars, the latter one being his more favorite choice.

Because of this, Paul Reed Smith has gotten in contact with Navarro, offering to do a signature series based on his specs. He often uses the Paul Reed Smith Dave Navarro signature, however, it seems that his customs are still his primary choice.

dave_navarro prs guitars

The PRS SE Dave Navarro Signature features a body with maple top and mahogany back. The neck is also the standard combination of maple with rosewood fingerboard.

But what makes this guitar interesting is the cutoff on the lower horn, which allows easier access to those higher frets, as well as its great pickups – the SE HFS and the SE Vintage Bass.

The guitar’s well-known design is further improved with gold hardware which especially looks great on the black version of the instrument.

Aside from the PRS, Dave is pretty fond of his Strats as well. He owns a collection of Fender guitars that include a respectable range of various Stratocaster versions.

dave navarro modulus strat

But aside from the usual Fender Strats and Teles, Dave also has a rather interesting Modulus Stratocaster, which is somewhat of a rare instrument.

With that said, you will also see a few Gibson Les Paul variants in there as well. To some, it may seem that Dave is all over the place with his guitars but that is not really the case.

Navarro is also known for his old custom Ibanez guitar. Back in 1991, he pawned the guitar but was reunited with it in 2019, 28 years later. This Ibanez holds a special place in his heart since he wrote some of the most famous Jane’s Addiction songs on it.

dave navarro ibanez guitar reuinion

In general, PRS has shown to really fit his style while all these guitars definitely add a lot his music. Lastly, when it comes to acoustic guitars, Dave has been going back and forth between Martin’s and various Takamines.

However, we should also point out that he has a signature Yamaha guitar. Labeled as LLX6-DN, it’s a handcrafted instrument with maple top and spruce sides and back.

yamaha LLX6-DN

Just like with his signature PRS, significant attention was given to its design, adding in some subtle details like the Dave Navarro unicorn logo on the headstock and black binding on the body.

Aside from these, Mr. Navarro has some pretty wacky and unusual guitars in his collection. The one that comes to mind is the Fernandes ZO-3, which is pretty much just a practice guitar.

The story goes that he also owns the unbearably pink Squier Hello Kitty guitar. For what purpose or reason, we don’t know, but some photos of him holding this cute looking instrument can be found online. (here’s one)

dave-navarro-hello-kitty-stratocaster-fender-squier-guitar


Amps

Just like many others before him, Navarro is all about Marshall’s well-known powerful heads. One of his most used amps is the JCM800 series. Paired with the standard Marshall 4×12, this amp is just perfect for Navarro’s taste and unique style of playing.

Among various different Marshall models that stand out, Dave is known for his JCM900. He owns two of these and is so fond of them that he has even given them individual names. Now, that’s a man who likes his Marshalls!

marshall jcm900

The JCM900 is an amp used by guitar heroes of all different genres and subgenres. Knowing that everyone from pop musicians to heavy metal shred virtuosos have been using it over the years, it’s clearly a very versatile and powerful amp.

It takes a strong bond for a guitar player to take their relationship with an amp to that level. Considering how awesome these sound, we can’t really blame the guy.

The only amps that break the Marshall party are the classic Vox AC30 and the Bogner Uberschall.

bogner-uberschall-head-27178

Owning a Vox AC30 is nothing strange, even for Dave. After all, this is one of the most popular and most iconic guitar amplifiers ever made.

In his collection, we can also find other classic guitar amps, like the Fender’s reissue of the classic ’65 Twin Reverb.

While we’re at classic pieces of gear, he also has the good old Roland Jazz Chorus amp, also known as the JC 120. Although it’s solid-state, the Jazz Chorus is one of the most sought after amps in the guitar world.


Effects Pedals

Sticking with the previously established mantra, Dave’s main brand for effects pedals is Boss. He owns a number of their pedals, including a Boss Super Octave OC-3 and a pair of Boss DD-3 Digital Delays.

The list goes on and includes a Boss DS-2 Turbo Distortion dirt box as well as a number of the company’s tuners. The next brand that comes after Boss is Dunlop. And what type of pedal is Dunlop known for? Crybaby Wahs, of course.

Dave owns quite a few Dunlop Cry Baby wah pedals, with Dimebag’s signature model being one of his more favorite ones.

dimebag cry baby

While it is a pedal mostly intended for classic shred metal players, this wah adds a unique flavor to the tone, ultimately giving Dave his own voice along with other pedals and amps that he’s using.

He also has a thing for the MXR EVH117 flanger pedal, made popular by Eddie Van Halen (based on some of his tones) and then Kirk also enjoyed what it can do and has been using it to color some of his sounds.

Check out this video if you’d like to hear some of the sounds of the MXR EVH117.

And finally, we have the Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer. This is a staple overdrive which Navarro has used numerous times as his primary choice.

Even though it is fairly old, the legendary design of the TS808 is pretty hard to beat even today.

ts808 pedal

The Tube Screamer had many different versions and replicas over the years, but the simple design and features mostly remain the same, with just the volume, drive, and tone controls on it.

But since having various pedals on his board, it is required of a professional guitarist to have solid power supply. This not only assures good and safe operation but also prevents any hums or other unwanted noises in one player’s guitar tone.

For this purpose, Dave has Pedal Power 2 Plus by Voodoo Labs which can power 8 units at the same time.

voodoo lab pedal power II plus

Dave’s also known for using Dunlop’s DC-Brick.

Just like with many other professional and renowned players out there, Navarro’s rig features different loops and pedal combinations. So it’s not unusual to see a piece like the Selector A/B Box by Whirlwind. This is a standard A/B selector with the additional A+B option. It is often praised for the noiseless optical switching.


Accessories

BB King was one of the first guitar players to realize the potential of light gauge strings in just about any genre of music.

This knowledge was passed on and adopted by Billy Gibbons, who has done a lot to popularize this trend. With all that said, it is not too unusual for Dave Navarro to use Dean Markley’s .009s light gauge vintage electric strings.

DMS2552-25pk-large

In words of BB King himself, it is all about articulation and the player’s ability to express themselves. What Dave does with these light gauge strings is something that is pretty hard to pull off with a standard set.


Final Thoughts

Dave Navarro’s style is pretty unique. He knows his way around the guitar, but the core of his quality comes from the way he arranges music.

The guitar sections in his songs simply tell a story, which is what many guitar players strive for but only a few ever really reach. We have shown you the type of gear Navarro uses. This should give you a pretty accurate idea of the tone profile he works with.

dave navarro moody

Those who want to tap into that Navarro energy can use this gear list to get one step closer to their goal.

With so many different instruments, amps, and pedals listed here, it’s probably to go with basic components like the Marshall JCM900, Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer (any of its versions and copies might work as well), and PRS guitars.

Adding in the Dimebag Darrell signature wah pedal will certainly help in this pursuit of dialing in Dave’s tone.

Knowing Dave, he probably won’t really change his rig too drastically in the future. He has been working on this setup for a quite a while, meaning that it is the foundation of his sound.

And, at the same time, it would be unexpected of any veteran guitar player to change his tone so drastically after so many years.

If you want to hear something interesting, check out this band called Deconstruction that Dave formed with fellow (former) Jane’s Addiction member, bassist Eric Avery.  Stephen Perkins was supposed to drum on the project, but he opted to head off with Perry for Porno for Pyros.  This album is either considered horrible or amazing.  You be the judge!

John Petrucci Guitar Setup And Rig Rundown

The advent of progressive rock has created a very interesting niche genre over the years. Much like the classic rock itself, prog rock has evolved in ways which were unpredictable and somewhat even unexpected.

Today we have many bands which label themselves as progressive, however only one has truly pushed that title to its very limit.

Dream Theater is not the band that invented progressive metal, but they surely have elevated it to where it is today.

Ultimately, they pushed it to the limits previously thought impossible, and countless musicians these days cite Dream Theater as one of their biggest influences.

john petrucci guitar setup and rig rundown

And they certainly deserve all this praise. Each member of this iconic band is an extremely talented and skilled musician.

However, among equals, John Petrucci is one who stands out the most. Well, at least among the guitar lovers out there, since his technique, knowledge of music theory, composing skills, and the ability to put together complex tonal structures put him in a category of guitarists where only the greatest reside.

To put it simply – this man is a true guitar genius of our age. There are essentially two main components to what makes Petrucci so interesting.

First, and the most obvious one, is his skill. He is one of the rare guitar players to explore the limits of guitar technique without sounding clinical.

The other factor, of course, is the gear he uses to achieve his tone.


John Petrucci Rig Rundown

Progressive metal on its own is highly dependent on finely tuned equipment. Once everything is plugged in and rolled off, the combined tone of the whole band just has to be clear enough to allow each detail of each instrument to push to the surface.

Dream Theater’s ability to get this done, and even push the envelope in some ways while doing so, has been known for years. Creating music with such ‘limitations’ meant that Petrucci and the rest of Dream Theater required a specific level of skill and experience to dial in everything just right.

john petrucci rig rundown

So, with all this being said, in this particular rundown we’re going to take a look at what type of equipment John Petrucci uses, or has used, and how that reflected on his tone and overall performance over the years. As usual, we will start with guitars and then move on to amps, accessories, and all the other gear.


Ernie Ball Music Man John Petrucci Majesty 7-String – Red Sunrise

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Jim Dunlop Jp95 John Petrucci Signature Cry Baby Wah Pedal

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Mxr M83 Bass Chorus Deluxe

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Tc1210-Dt Spatial Expander Plug-In With Hardware Controller

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Guitars

When it comes to guitars, there is really only one brand that Petrucci really trusts to deliver the necessary performance, and that’s Music Man. So much so that John has developed a very healthy relationship with the company, which has later resulted in full-fledged cooperation.

One of his signature models, which he’s been using extensively, is the Ernie Ball Music Man John Petrucci JP12. When it came out, this guitar is basically the material incarnation of everything Petrucci wants and stands for.

Specially designed with ergonomics and performance in mind, the JP12 has a pretty slim neck and a radius of 20 inches. This obviously shows that the instrument is intended for lightning speed shredding.

Of course, there are 24 frets and the cutaways are designed in such a way to allow players to reach those higher notes more easily. And let’s not forget how awesome they look.

This whole wonderful experience is rounded up with Crunch Lab and LiquiFire pickups.

Music-Man-John-Petrucci-JP13-900a-1

There are also Ernie Ball Music Man JP11 series, which are a bit different from the JP12, but generally offer the similar type of experience. You’ll get most of the features from the JP12, including the same type of pickups and the same type of neck.

Trying to frame Petrucci’s potential into a single guitar is simply impossible. That’s why he has a number of Music Man guitar series which either bear his name, or are a direct result of his ambitions.

However, in recent years, Music Man made a brand new guitar series in collaboration with John Petrucci. Featuring a few models, the series is called The Majesty.

What’s really exciting here is that this is actually the original name of Dream Theater, back when they were in their formative years.

Some would say that The Majesty is the ultimate electric guitar. Well, this is not that far from the truth as it is designed to get the best out of one player’s performance and deliver a huge variety of quality tones.

Aside from the very detailed body design that allows you to easily reach higher frets, more easily rest your picking hand on it while still managing to retain its beauty, this guitar also has a custom John Petrucci bridge, DiMarzio Rainmaker and DiMarzio Dreamcatcher pickups, as well as a piezo bridge pickup.

dimarzio rainmaker pickup

As if this wasn’t enough, The Majesty guitar has an active preamp in it, a gain boost option, and an option to blend in piezo and regular pickup tones. Now, if this isn’t impressive, we don’t know what is. Hey, and there’s also a 7-string variant of this model! He began using them in the late 2010s, and it seems that he’ll be rocking on them for quite a while.

Going over to some weirder stuff in his arsenal, we have another Music Man – the JP Blue Spark Doubleneck. It’s a special piece he used here and there over the years, with the 12-string as the top guitar and the regular 6-string as a bottom guitar.

Check this video out…

But even though Music Man will always be the brand associated with Petrucci, he has also used a number of Ibanez guitars in the past.

For instance, the famous instructional DVD “Rock Discipline” is where we can see one of the Ibanez guitars he is very well known for, the signature JPM100 model.

Made throughout the second half of the 1990s, the guitar had two DiMarzio pickups, 24 Dunlop 6100 jumbo frets, Lo-Pro edge tremolo bridge, and Picasso-inspired paint job.

There are, of course, a few other interesting models in his collection, but these Music Man and Ibanez guitars are what he is mostly remembered for.


Amps

Petrucci’s obsession and drive when it comes to building a perfect guitar, is surprisingly not present in his choice of amps. In this area, Petrucci follows that old adage which states that you should fix something that isn’t broken.

Ever since he first heard MesaBoogie amps, it was pretty much a done deal. On any given day, you will find him with two Mark IVs hooked to a set of MesaBoogie 4◊12 cabs. These are of course loaded with Celestion vintage 30 speakers.

Here is John Petrucci talking about the JP-2C.  Check it out!

This is his standard rig. With that said, he has been using Mark IIC+ heads in the past, as well as Mark Vs.

Even so, you will rarely find an amp that isn’t a MesaBoogie in his inventory. The IIC+ is basically the amp he based his signature model JP-2C on and it is the same exact model that Metallica’s legendary “Master of Puppets” album was recorded on. This particular record is what inspired him the most in achieving his own kind of tone.

The JP-2C is a very advanced tube guitar amplifier, featuring three channels, specially designed gain controls, and (the most exciting part) two completely independent 5-band EQ’s that work with all three of the channels.

Just imagine the world of possibilities you get with it: you have three channels with their own individual 3-band EQs, and with each of these channels you have two independent 5-band graphic EQs.

And we haven’t even covered all the details and additional little features of the JP-2C, but you probably get the idea of what a beast of an amp this one is. Yeah, the price is between $2,500 and $3,000 depending on the exact model, but it’s definitely worth it.


Effects Pedals

Due to the nature of progressive metal, Petrucci has been prone to using a whole variety of effects pedals. His pedalboard is not as busy as some, but it’s interesting and most definitely exciting enough to get into here.

Some of the regulars which you can see on his board during any given performance are the Ibanez Keeley mod Tube Screamer TS9DX Flexi overdrive pedal, the good old classic Boss DS-1 distortion pedal, MXR Stereo Chorus, TC Electronic 1210 Spatial Expander Stereo Chorus Flanger and many more.

john petrucci pedalboard

With that said, Petrucci likes to use a whole variety of rack mounted effects and processors. Standalone pedals are great to an extent, but the level of sonic work Petrucci is doing requires something a bit more flexible and powerful.

For example, instead of using a standard reverb pedal, Petrucci will have his TC Electronics 3000 multi-effects processor, hooked up on the rack. There’s also a whole lot of preamps and other rack mounted units present during every one of his stage performances.

tc-electronic-m3000-425854

Going over to some other rack-mounted effects, there’s a special piece by Dunlop called Cry Baby DCR-2SR.

Now, while most people imagine wah as standalone pedals, this is a very intricate (and fairly expensive) piece for pro-tier musicians.

Unlike standard wah pedals, this rack-mounted effect unit has an abundance of controls and a very detailed EQ that allows you to fully customize your wah tone.

As for other pedals, it’s pretty clear that John is a huge fan of TC Electronic’s products. There’s the PolyTune tuner, the Corona Chorus, Shaker Vibrato, Stereo Chorus Flanger, and the Vortex Flanger.

Here’s a demo of the Vortex Flanger…

He also has one signature product with TC Electronic, The Dreamscape. This is essentially a multi-effects modulation pedal, giving players an abundance of vibrato, chorus, flanger, and other tones.

As a side note, John was one of the first guitar players to really popularize the use of Dunlop’s Jazz III picks. Before he came along, these were used mostly by musicians looking for that heavy attack. These days, Dunlop Jazz III is more or less the quintessential metal pick.

Being such a virtuosic player, it’s only obvious that John’s choice of string bears a huge significance for his performance and tone. Being so satisfied with Ernie Ball Music Man, he also uses the company’s well-known Slinky strings.


Final Thoughts

What makes Dream Theater so special is the fact that every single band member is on the very edge of their instrumentís skill range. That isnít all that surprising once you learn about all of their backgrounds.

Petrucci stood out in this elite company due to his ability to convey emotion through technically sound guitar sections. He can blow your mind with his speed and complexity, but at the same time tell a story with his music.

john petrucci guitar setup and rig rundown

As cliche as that sounds, finding a guitar player capable of performing at such a level is pretty rare. To figure out his tone, one must first practice enough to get a hold of the proper guitar technique and relentlessly work on their chops.

But even if you do have the skills, replicating the tone might not be the easiest task here. First off, most of the gear that we mentioned here, which is of huge importance to his overall tone, is quite expensive.

Take a look at The Majesty that he’s using – it’s an instrument that not everyone can acquire and is mostly aimed at professional musicians.

And then we have the Mesa Boogie JP-2C amp head, which is also another high-end product.

Generally speaking, if you are trying to figure out how to get that Dream Theater sound for yourself, we can recommend that you find yourself a Music Man guitar, and possibly a pair of Petrucci’s set of pickups.

As for the amps, a potentially effective alternative would be to get yourself a quality digital amp modeller, like Kemper or Axe-Fx, that can roughly replicate some of his gear.

If these are just not your thing, then there are some tube amplifiers that might be of use here. We can recommend something like a classic Marshall stack further enhanced with a Tube Screamer or any of its clones.

Jack White Guitar Setup & Rig Rundown

jack-white-1972-fender-twin-reverb

When The White Stripes first appeared, they created a lot of noise on the scene. Aside from their music, the nature of this band attracted a lot of attention.

Jack White and his “sister” Meg showed the world that rock is can be simple and minimalist in terms of how many people it takes to rock out, and how complex the music has to be.

jack-white-guitar-setup-rig-rundown

With that said, Jack is a guitar prodigy. Not only is his skill up there with the greats, but his tone is always on point. If you listen to any of their songs, the guitar never feels out of place.

Being able to adjust your tone to the music like that takes some serious know-how.

However, it also takes the right equipment. Reproducing Jack White’s vibe might seem easy from a distance, but that perception quickly changes when you go into details.

jack white picture

After all, The White Stripes were a duo formation, and Jack managed to keep the tone full, despite being just one guitarist going up against the drums, without any support from the bass whatsoever.

Those who are experienced guitarists know that this is far from an easy task, both from a musical and tone-shaping standpoint.

So in this article, we are going to show you what type of guitars and gear can be found in Jack White’s inventory at any given moment, which should clear up some questions regarding his tone.

After reading this guide, you’ll get a fuller picture and it will be easier for you to find ways on how to reproduce the way that Jack White sounds.

This might not be the easiest task, but it certainly isn’t impossible either.


Evh Wolfgang Usa Edward Van Halen Signature Stealth Black

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Fender Tone Mastertwin Reverb Digital Modeling Guitar Amplifier

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Digitech Whammy Dt Drop Tuning Guitar Pitch Shift Effect Pedal With Ac Power Adapter , 2 Instrument Cable And 2 Path Cables For Guitars

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Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi Guitar Effects Pedal

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Rig Rundown

jack-white-guitar-rig-rundown

By listening to The White Stripes, Jack White’s solo records, as well as a project like The Raconteurs, it’s not hard to figure out that Jack White has a pretty vintage approach to his music.

What he is creating is the rawest form of rock you can get right now.

With that in mind, it is not a surprise that Jack is a fan of vintage guitars and limited use of effects pedals.

We are going to start this gear overview by checking out his guitars. There’s some pretty exciting stuff to be found in there.

After we’re done with that, we will then move to his effects pedals and amps.


Guitars

Without too much exaggeration, we can easily say that Jack White’s guitar room looks like a proper guitar museum. He owns some pretty rare models, as well as the good old classics, or just some unusual oddballs.

jack white guitar collection

Generally speaking, in terms of brands, you will find Fenders, Gibsons, Gretschs but also more obscure Crestwoods, and Keys.

When it comes to specific models Jack is commonly associated with, his latest guitar of choice is a 1937 Gibson L-1 – a truly rare guitar with a character of its own.

1937 Gibson L-1 Acoustic

There’s also a Gibson F-4 mandolin in there as well.

Gretsch models which he is fond of include a White Penguin, Triple Jet, one Gretsch Anniversary Jr among others.

You’ll also find a piece like Gretsch’s G6134, G6128TCG, G6118T, G6199 Billy-Bo Jupiter, or even an acoustic, like G6022.

Jack White and his Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo Jupiter Thunderbird Guitar

Most of his electric guitars seem to be semi-hollow or hollow-body models, but there are also two Fender Telecasters in there to break up this monotony, both with Bigsby bridges.

For instance, we can also find Fender’s Highway One Telecaster in his collection. Another classic solid body is a Gibson SG Standard, but it’s not something that he uses that often.

Fender's Highway One Telecaster

However, in more recent years, he pretty much surprised everyone by getting himself a guitar like EVH Wolfgang USA Signature.

As far as EVH guitars go (which is Eddie Van Halen’s guitar brand), they’re largely associated with the decades-long virtuosic shred movement.

While Jack White is most certainly a capable musician, he doesn’t fall into this particular category, and some guitar lovers found this choice of instrument to be a bit too weird.

Nonetheless, Jack expressed his admiration toward this instrument, most notably due to its ergonomic qualities and tonal versatility.

Going back to his classic vintage and vintage-inspired pieces, we have Harmony Rocket hollow-body guitar that he mostly used during his time in The White Stripes.

Then we have the Danelectro Doubleneck Baritone and Standard guitar, something that goes back to the oldest days of rock music. It’s a somewhat rare and unusual piece.

Arguably the weirdest instrument in his arsenal is the Montgomery Ward Airline 1964 Res-O-Glass guitar. It’s the instrument that he used extensively during his time in The White Stripes, and it was his primary weapon of choice.

Montgomery Ward Airline 1964 Res-O-Glass jack white

To add to the list of his acoustics, we can also find stuff like Gibson Hummingbird and Gibson J-160 in there.

Anyhow, we could go on for days about all his gear, but these are some of the most notable and interesting instruments that we thought were worth mentioning.


Amps

Unlike many other guitar players which have reached the level of popularity like Jack White, his selection of amps is pretty straightforward.

We are talking a 1970s Fender Twin Reverb and a pair of Sears Silvertone 100 Watt combos. He sometimes uses different amps, but this configuration is what his main rig is consisted of.

Sears Silvertone 100 Watt

Fender Twin Reverb’s tone is definitely a popular choice these days as it was when this amp first appeared. Jack obviously found what works for him, and follows that logic that you simply shouldn’t fix something that isn’t broken.

Despite the odd decision to use these two amps for most of his work, it is worth noting that the tone he is running is partially influenced by his amps.

On occasion, he also used the legendary Fender Bassman, but that still falls into this old classic vintage Fender category.

Nonetheless, there have been some other interesting pieces that we were able to find in his rig. For instance, a great example comes with the RCA Clubmaster, which is a pretty unusual decades-old amp.

RCA Clubmaster vintage amp

However, this is nothing really that unusual for Jack White, as he’s pretty much known for collecting weird amps and guitars.

Speaking of weird, he also had an actual custom rotary cabinet speaker built for him. This was back in the second half of the 2000s, and he used this Hammond Leslie 3300 for one of The White Stripes tours back then.

Maybe not as “vintage,” but still a vintage-oriented piece, we have the 15-watt Sonic Machine Factory combo amp. This one comes from the 2000s and was made by Mark Sampson and Rick Hamel for a limited time.

Sonic Machine Factory combo amp

At the same time, many are not even that familiar with the brand. But if you do stumble upon one of these and feel like buying it, you’d probably have to pay about $2,000 or more. It’s a true collector’s item.


FX Pedals

While Jack might not be using a whole bunch of what could be considered modern effects pedals, he does have a pretty decent pedalboard.

You can find classics such as the Digitech Whammy IV on there, an MXR Micro-Amp and a Boss CS-3 compressor.

The most noticeable part of his effects arsenal has to be the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi. This is his preferred dirt box and one that you can hear on the majority of The White Stripe’s recordings.

Of course, Jack White became known for his use of the Digitech Whammy.

jack white digitech whammy

In fact, this is exactly the piece of gear he used to create that unusual bass tone, that actually doesn’t come from a bass guitar, on The White Stripe’s legendary hit “Seven Nation Army.”

Aside from these, he owns some boutique pedals as well. We are talking Zvex Woolly Mammoth which he used on several occasions, as well as a piece like Voodoo Lab Tremolo.

Voodoo Lab Tremolo Review

Zvex is a smaller company, but they have plenty of great stuff in their collection. The Wooly Mammoth is a very unique fuzz effect, and we can hear Jack use it on “Another Way To Die,” a song that he recorded for the James Bond film “Quantum of Solace.”

We can also hear him use the Mammoth with The Dead Weather – a rock supergroup that he occasionally works with.

Another interesting thing is that Jack’s pedalboard is painted in red and all his pedals are either red or white.

It just so happens that most of the pedals he uses are fitting this aesthetic requirement quite comfortably, although he is known to paint the pedals as well. Hey, if it works for him…

How much of the impact guitar effects have on his tone, and Jack White’s music in general, depends on which song or album you are listening at any given moment.

It’s fair to say that Jack likes to keep things simple and relies more on what he can get from the guitar and the amp he is using.


Microphones

Obviously, since Jack White is also a great and unique-sounding singer, we thought it would be nice to mention a few of the microphones that he’s been using over the years.

Looking into his collection, we see somewhat of a similar pattern as we see with his guitars, amps, and pedals – there’s plenty of vintage and vintage-oriented stuff in there.

A great example is his AEA R44CX, which is – to be perfectly honest – an astronomically priced microphone.

AEA R44CX

We also have Sennheiser’s E906, which is (definitely) a more cost-friendly option – a dynamic mic with the classic cardioid pattern.

While we’re at good-quality dynamic mics, Shure’s SM7B is another great one in his collection, but that’s more of a studio mic.

But as if the aforementioned AEA wasn’t expensive enough, Jack has Neumann U67 in his collection.

x1_U-67-with-Z-48_Neumann-Studio-Tube-Microphone_G

Considered by many to be one of the best large-diaphragm condenser mics, this is one of the company’s best-selling and longest-running products.


Conclusion

The White Stripes are among the rare authentic-sounding bands you can listen to today, even though they’ve broken up.

This combination of two extremely talented people has rightfully gained a lot of attention over the years. Meg is killing it on drums while Jack is just impressive both as a guitar player and a vocalist.

With his other projects, Jack has branched out a lot and has tried many different styles, but his guitar playing is always a huge focus.

What really makes his style of playing guitar special is the fact that he likes to mix things up from song to song. This applies to the nature of the riffs as well as the color of his tone.

Sometimes he’ll dial in that standard overdrive tone with scooped mids and lows, while other times he goes harder on the bass. From clean to dirty, almost no gain to full-on gain saturation, Jack White keeps surprising with every new song.

jack-white-playing-live

If you are interested in replicating the tone he uses most often, you will either have to dig deep into vintage guitars or find something modern which fits the description.

Semi-hollow models are going to be your best bet, that is for sure. In terms of amps and effects pedals, it all comes down to a good vintage overdrive and a decent set of tubes. Big Muff Pi combined with a compressor of some kind should get the job done in most cases.

If you’re feeling super ambitious and experimental, then a Digitech Whammy can be a good addition. But if you really want to fully replicate his tones, this might be a very expensive pursuit.

As we’ve already explained, he has some very pricy guitars, amps, and effects in his arsenal. Just imagine how high the prices for those vintage Fenders can get.

But at the end of the day, Jack managed to infuse a rather simple concept with a type of complexity of his own. It’s not about how what you have but how you use it – that seems to be his ideology.

Gear Used On Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of The Moon

dark-side-of-the-moon-recording-sessions

There’s no doubt that Pink Floyd has left an invaluable impact on modern rock music, spawning a whole new genre of its own, or at least proliferating it to a point where it entered the mainstream.  I’m referring to, of course, psychedelic rock. 

No band before or since Pink Floyd have been able to make such experimental yet accessible music and take it to such a wide audience as this band.

pink floyd dark side of the moon tour

Despite having a wealth of material spread across a multitude of albums and singles that true fans are well aware of, for the most part, this legendary band is known for two groundbreaking and chart topping albums.

There is really no debate in the music community which of Pink Floyd’s are the biggest in terms of mass appeal.  One album is The Wall and the other is The Dark Side of The Moon. The former seems to be a bit more popular among the general population.

After all, you will hardly find a person who hasn’t heard Another Brick in The Wall in one way or another.  Rock radio made sure, and still makes sure, of that.  With that said, the story of The Wall draws its roots from The Dark Side of The Moon.

pink floyd the dark side of the moon

This album not only sets the course of Pink Floyd as a band, but it also gave them a clear picture of what works and what doesn’t in terms of aligning their vision with the production resources they’ve had at their disposal at the time.

They had, at this point, become aware of their personal and collective musical appetites, and realized just what kind of studio they will need, knowing that the creative process has to be respected, and also, how they function both as individual musicians and as a collective unit. 

Their creativity seemed to be bursting off prismatically in all directions at this point, as the famous album cover suggests, but it can be taken the other way too, where multifarious hues combine to focus into one beam of pure light.


The Concept for The Dark Side of the Moon

Pink Floyd – and all of its individual members – have elevated the sense of contemporary rock music to a whole new level. While every band at the time was trying to tell a story of their own, Pink Floyd took this mission much further than anyone has ever done before with The Dark Side of the Moon.

If you look at the sheer amount of effort that went into their albums, it was always multi-layered, both lyrically, musically, and texturally.  But Dark Side of the Moon was where they took things to another level, certainly, in terms of the scope of the concept, and the gear that was needed to express such a concept.

pink-floyd-photo-70s

Every song, every effect on this album had tangible meaning, and the only way you could convey these very elaborate expressions into something that actually made sense was to have the right kinds of musical tools at your disposal.

This fact became painfully clear after long and fruitful experiment sessions. The band was onto something.

Pink Floyd soon had the music down for the most part, knowing exactly what kind of vibe they were after, but they simply lacked the necessary tools to build and complete their vision the way it was meant to be.

The moment of realization that more serious approach needs to be taken, happened sometime before the May of 1972. During that month, the band went to the famous Abbey Road Studios and started actively recording.

Here’s the band back in 1971, bonding over oysters, previous to their arrival at Abbey Road.  Wonder if those oysters were any good…


Dark Side of the Moon – Equipment

There are several reasons why the band chose this specific studio to record The Dark Side Of The Moon.

At the time, it was the most advanced studio in the country, and probably elsewhere, which allowed them to record everything just the way they wanted to.

One of the big parts of that whole process were the EMI TG12345 consoles.

Abbey Road EMI TG-12345

Back in those days, these were state of the art instruments for studio production.

The band was able to work with up to 16 track mixes at any given moment, which completely changed the game. Previous to that point, the most Pink Floyd ever had a chance to work with was 8 track mixing at best.

Aside from a powerful console that was the foundation of the entire project, EMS VCS-3 synth played a significant role in the creation of this album.

ems_vcs3_the_putney

A lot of loops and effects were inserted into a variety of songs from the album using this synth.

In some ways, you could probably say that The Dark Side of The Moon wouldn’t be the same as those subtle details really put the whole album into a class of its own.


David Gilmour’s Dark Side Gear

When it comes to personal rigs of each of the band members, we can start with David Gilmour.

As you would expect, his main axe was the 1969 Black Strat packed with the standard Fender pups and a custom switch that allowed Gilmour to select more versatile pickup combos.

Here’s Gilmour discussing his famous Black Strat.

Sometime between the first and the second recording session of Dark Side of the Moon, he installed a Gibson PAF humbucker between the bridge and middle pickup.

However, whether or not he used this setup for recording is not known at this point. 

The other axe he used was a 1970 Strat with a mahogany body and custom pups. This one was used for Brain Damage and several other songs.

david-gilmour-recording-at-abbey-road-studios

Selection of amps came down to Hiwatt DR103 All Purpose 100W heads combined with Maestro Rover rotating speakers, some Leslie cabs and WEM Super Starfinder cabs.

His effects pedals included, but were not limited to Binson Echorec PE 603 EMS and Synthi Hi-Fli guitar effect processor.

Here’s a video that shows the sound of the Synthi Hi-Fli in action…

Roger Waters Dark Side Gear

Roger Waters used the same Fender Precision bass that the band had purchased after their gear was stolen in 1970.

During the recording of The Dark Side of The Moon, the bass has been modified by replacing the standard rosewood neck with a Charvel maple neck and a set of Kluson tuners.

fender-roger-waters-precision-bass-830471

Richard Wright Dark Side Gear

Richard Wright had a experimented with his setup during the recording. For example, he used a Wurlitzer electric piano that was routed through a wah pedal.

This is also the time when he was at the peak of experimentation with synths.

That VCS-3 we have mentioned earlier saw a lot of use, but Wright also played around with a Minimoog and ARP String Ensemble.

richard_wright_rig

Nick Mason Dark Side Gear

Nick Mason was using whatever there was available at the studio, although he also experimented with sound in some ways.

The most memorable instance would be the specially coated bass drum that was created specifically to recreate the sound of a heartbeat.

Here’s an interview with Nick Mason where he talks about The Dark Side of the Moon at length, providing valuable insights.

If you still crave more, this next video features both Nick Mason and Alan Parsons, discussing the album.


Ramifications

The way The Dark Side of The Moon turned out had a large impact on the next big album the band was going to release seven years later.

In many ways, they have learned valuable lessons from The Dark Side of The Moon, which is pretty obvious once you play The Wall.


Conclusion

Pink Floyd is one of the most influential rock bands to ever grace the earth.

Pink-Floyd-resize-1f

Their music has depth like you will hardly find today, which was created with equipment that is from the stone age compared to what artists have at their disposal today.

With them, it was all about the vision and the story The Dark Side of The Moon was meant to tell.

This legendary album will go down as one of the most important ones in the history of music, but rarely will anyone look at the equipment that was used to bring it to life.

We hope that we’ve given you some insight into the behind the scenes tools which the band used at the time.

Here’s a mini documentary about the making of Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon.  If you haven’t seen it…see it!  This is followed by the band playing the album live in 1974.

James Munky Shaffer Guitar Setup And Rig Rundown

james-munky-shaffer-guitar-setup-rig-rundown

While nu metal was not really all that new at the time, Korn definitely stirred up the waters when they showed up. They have introduced a whole new tone to the game, with their super down-tuned bass lines and driving riffs.

The public responded accordingly., giving the band enough attention to launch them into a stardom.

Aside from Jonathan Davis and his piercing vocals, it’s fair to say that James ‘Munky’ Shaffer had a lot to do with designing and shaping the overall tone of the band.

When Head left, it was Shaffer who kept the band together, rewriting just about every song they’ve had so it could be played by him alone.

No matter what you think about this genre of music or Korn as a band, doing what Munky did and doing it successfully takes some skill.

The effort eventually paid off when Head returned and the band more or less continued where they stopped.

Due to his rather unique tone, we wanted to check out what type of gear Shaffer has been using and still does. In many ways knowing this piece of information is key to understanding Korn and where their sound comes from.


James “Munky” Shaffer – Rig Rundown

Shaffer and Welch did something not many guitar players even considered doing before. They have managed to write guitar lines which tell a story, while at the same time leaving enough space for Arvizu to just pave the way with his bass guitar.

The resulting tone is something that can smash a solid rock into pieces, only countered by Jonathan’s balanced vocals. Achieving this type of harmony is not easy, especially if you don’t have the right gear for the job.

We are going to start the rundown of Munky’s favorite equipment with a quick look at his guitars, later we are going to focus on the amps, and finally his effects pedals.


Ibanez Genesis Collection Rg550 – Purple Neon

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Bogner Uberschall Distortion/Boost Guitar Effects Pedal

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Digitech Freqout Natural Feedback Creation Guitar Effects Pedal With 2 Path Cables For Guitars, Instrument Cable And Zorro Sounds Instrument Cleaning Cloth

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Guitars

When it comes to guitars, Shaffer is known for sticking with Ibanez through thick and thin.

With that said, it’s just any Ibanez that he found suitable for his intended application – it’s the K7. This seven string model had all the girth Shaffer needed to create those low, hard-hitting tones that Korn eventually became famous for.

james-munky-shaffer-ibanez-k7

However, K7 is just one of many Ibanez models he as. There’s a K14, an RG8 and even the UV7BK which is also known as the Steve Vai signature model. That K7 and K14 have been developed with his input, and needless to say, they are brutal guitars in every way.

What surprises a lot of people is the fact that Munky also has a taste for Gibsons and Fenders. He owns a 1964 Fender Stratocaster, Gibson Les Paul BFG, and even an elusive Gibson lap steel guitar.

Can you even imagine Shaffer rocking a Strat? Neither can we, but a musician of his caliber deserves a lot more leeway when it comes to taste in guitars. There’s no doubt that Shaffer is capable of a lot more than he lets on.

Munky also designed his own Ibanez signature APEX series of guitars, including the 200 and the 20, which he talks about in the video below.


Amps

If his guitars are any indicator, Shaffer is a straight shooter. He finds what works and sticks to it.

This policy definitely applies to his amps as well. For the most part, the tone and distortion you hear in the majority of Korn songs come straight from the tubes of a Messa/Boogie Tripple Rectifier.

Three of them to be more exact. However, these are not alone.

mesa-boogie-triple-rectifier-solo-head-344304

He also has a Diezel VH4. Each of these four amp heads corresponds to a specific channel. Instead of switching through clean and dirty settings on one head, Shaffer simply took four heads and hooked them up to achieve a more robust setup.

This ultimate combo is ran directly into three Mesa/Boogie cabs which feature four 12 inch Celestions each. All things considered, Shaffer’ss main setup packs a whole lot of firepower.

Aside from his main configuration, Munky also has a vintage Marshall Plexi, a Bogner Uberschall, and a Vox AC30.

All three of these were actually used to record ‘The Path of Totality’ some time ago. Shaffer applied the same policy with these amps and used each one as a standalone channel.


Effects Pedals

Shaffer himself describes his pedalboard as a spaceship. The reason why becomes obvious once you take a single glance at it.

Not only is it always full with various pedals, but the pedalboard he runs is a custom piece likes of which you simply don’t get to see all that often. It’s complex and extensive, to say the least. munky-james-shaffer-pedal-board

As for specific stompboxes he has on there, one that really peaked our interest is the DigiTech Metal Master.

You would think that a pedal of this type would simply be unnecessary considering those three Triple Rektos in the back, but Munky has other ideas.

Essentially, that Boss MT-2 Metal Zone gives the dirty channel he runs a bit more width and range. When it comes to other effects pedals, there are so many.

We can single out the Dunlop Cry Baby 105Q Bass Wah and the good old Big Muff Pi from Electro-Harmonix.

DigiTech Whammy is there, along with DigiTech X-Series Synth Wah, and the Chimera Synthesis bC9.

Shaffer is definitely one of those guitar players who isn’t reluctant to build up a complex signal chain and use the tone of his guitar as a canvas.


Final Thoughts

James Shaffer’s guitar rig is among the more complex ones you can run into.

With that said, his choice of equipment perfectly describes what kind of artist he actually is.

Always on the lookout for ways to enrich his tone and make it better, Shaffer is the master of signal chains.

If you are trying to perfectly match the tone of Munky’s guitar setup, you might just find out it’s not as easy as it seems.

james-shaffer-ibanez

There are a lot of factors in the play, some of which even seem excessive.

Either way, Shaffer’s skills and choice of equipment gave Korn its identity. That is something we can definitely respect.