We Review the Best Amplifiers for Heavy Metal

best amps for heavy metal

Back in the late 1960’s, rock music began going into many different directions. However, one of the new movements stood out and has, later on, evolved into a genre of its own.

Usually considered to be its inventors, Black Sabbath pioneered heavy metal along with Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Judas Priest, and a few other bands who rose to fame during the 1970s.

black sabbath 1969

The sinister-sounding guitar riffs and intricate lead sections were enhanced by a huge distorted guitar sound.

Although it was a bit difficult to achieve a great distorted tone back in the day, companies slowly began making great pedals and amplifiers that eventually became of great importance to the genre.

In case you’re trying to achieve some seriously sinister tones, here are some of the best amplifiers for heavy metal that you should check out.

Table of Contents:

Let’s get into it!


Diezel VH4

Diezel VH4

This particular amp became somewhat famous among metal tone lovers after Adam Jones of Tool began using it. Although he uses the “Blueface” version of the VH4, the ones you can buy today are pretty similar. Of course, these are all really expensive amps, but what you get is worth it.

Featuring a peculiar looking front panel, this is an amp with four channels with individual controls and includes four 12AX7 tubes in the preamp section, as well as four JJ KT77 tubes in the power amp section.

Aside from a presence knob that can often be found on other amps, the VH4 also has a “Deep” feature that allows more shaping in the low-end spectrum.

Here’s a video demo of the Diezel VH4 100W 4-channel Tube Head by Sweetwater Sound.

Up next…the Randall Thrasher.


Randall Thrasher

randall thrasher

Randall is a company known for its high gain metal amps, and the Thrasher 120-watt head is most certainly one of their best products. With its two channels and different parameters, you have solid control over the high gain tones. The addition of the gain boost switch is also very welcome.

Overall, as its name suggests, the Thrasher is designed for the classic thrash metal tones and can achieve both mid-range-heavy and scooped tones. Although its drive works well, Thrasher’s clean channel has some great potential if you want to use specific distortion pedals.

Here’s a video demo of the Randall Thrasher by Joey Concepcion.

Up next…the Peavey 6505 Plus.


Peavey 6505 Plus

Peavey 6505 Plus

Of course, there’s no way to avoid Peavey on a list like this one. Within the huge arsenal they built over the years, we would like to single out 6505 Plus amp head with its 120 watts of power, “Rhythm” and “Lead” channels, and separate detailed controls for both of these.

What’s interesting here is that you have pre and post gain controls for specific tone shaping as well as presence and resonance knobs for each of the individual channels.

The “Rhythm” channel also features “Bright” and “Crunch” modes that allow some sparkling clean and specifically overdriven tones. With these, you can even do more than just metal, making it a bit of a diverse product.

Here’s a video demo of the Peavey 6505+ 112 Combo by Peavey themselves.

Up next…the Friedman Amplification BE-100.


Friedman Amplification BE-100

Friedman Amplification BE-100

Looking at this amp, it’s pretty clear that the model is inspired by some of those vintage British hard rock and metal amps from the 1970s and the 1980s. With the configuration of four 12AX7 and four EL34 tubes, you can expect some of the classic rock and classic metal tones and can even dive into some serious high gain territories.

While the amp is designed for some older metal, it can also satisfy some modern tone tastes. In addition to standard knobs, there are a few switches on it that can further help you define lead and clean tones. There are even different voicing options and the “bright” feature for those sparkling tones.

Here’s a video demo of the Friedman BE100 Tube Amp by Sweetwater Sound.

Up next…the Marshall JVM410H.


Marshall JVM410H

JVM410H-large

While we’re at it, Marshall deserves a mention on the list of the best amps for heavy metal. The company’s JVM410H is an interesting piece since it adds the functionality and tonal spectrum to the classic British vibe that these amps are known for.

All of the four channels ñ Clean, Crunch, OD1, and OD2 – have detailed controls for some serious tone shaping. Whatever is the guitar that you’re playing, you can get anything from sparkling cleans to crunchy bluesy tones, all the way to screaming metal leads.

However, despite its versatility, the JVM410H is specifically designed for some seriously heavy tones.

Here’s a video demo of the Marshall JVM 410H by Guitar Interactive.

Up next…the Orange Brent Hinds Terror.


Orange Brent Hinds Terror

BrentHTerror-large

Speaking about metal, there’s one pretty interesting piece done in cooperation between Orange Amplification and the modern guitar champion, Mastodon’s Brent Hinds. Nicknamed Terror, this 15-watt amp head certainly justifies its name.

However, Orange amps are usually designed for those with specific tastes as the high gain tones often get a bit fuzzy. Of course, this is in no way a bad thing, but it should be noted that they’re designated for those who like stoner metal or the early Sabbath vibes.

Aside from its simple layout, this little tube-driven monster has power attenuation. The full power of 15 watts will be enough for gigs and rehearsals, but 7-watt, 1-watt, and 0.5-watt options come in handy for practice sessions and home use.

Here’s a video demo of the Orange Brent Hinds Terror by Riffs, Beards & Gear.

Up next…the PRS MT 15 Mark Tremonti.


PRS MT 15 Mark Tremonti

MT15H-large

Aside from the signature guitars with the company, Mark Tremonti of Alter Bridge has a signature Paul Reed Smith amp called MT 15. Featuring relatively lower power output, there’s an abundance of tones that you can get with the MT 15 and its clean and lead channels.

But what’s so great about this one is that it can deliver quality tones even in the highest gain settings. You won’t have any issues with those blurry or muddy tones and even some chords will manage to sound good played through the MT 15. Also, there’s a power soak option that delivers 7 watts.

Here’s a demo of the PRS MT 15 Mark Tremonti Signature Amp from Anderton’s Music Co.

Up next…the MESA/Boogie Triple Rectifier.


MESA/Boogie Triple Rectifier

Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier

Many would argue that Mesa Boogie is the best amp brand for metal. While this is open for discussion, we’re most certainly aware of why this is the case. After all, Mesa Boogie made the famous Triple Rectifier, known for some of the most brutal tones of all time.

While there’s an abundance of things that you can do with its three channels and all the knobs and switches, it became famous for its use in heavy metal music. The 150 watts of sheer power will simply blow you away, no matter the specific tones you’re trying to dial in.

Here’s a video demo of the MESA/Boogie Rectifier by Ola Englund


Conclusion

Heavy metal is more than just a guitar tone – it’s a state of mind.  But if you happen to have both going for you, plus some lightning-fast fingers, you’ll be unstoppable.  Let us know if there’s some amps you know of that belong on this list that we missed, we always enjoy hearing from you!

Thanks for reading!

We Review the Best Amplifiers for Rock Music

rock face

Ever since its inception in the 1950’s and the 1960’s, rock music was first among all the other genres to push the boundaries and bring something new.

And it was up to the guitar players to do their best to shock the people by showing them what their instruments can do.

The constant struggle to achieve the heavy tone eventually led to the complete innovation within the genre, ultimately giving birth to heavy metal and all of its sub-genres.

sabbath1970

But the main thing always remains – if you want to play rock music, you need to know that the standards are high and that you have to have a good tone.

This means you need a solid guitar, solid pedals, and a solid amp. With all this in mind, we will be digging deep into the world of guitar gear and finding the best amps for rock music.

Table of Contents:

Let’s get into it!


Boss Katana 100

boss katana 100 watt guitar amplifier black

After all these years, tube amps are still generally regarded as the best amps for pretty much any genre. However, some prefer to use solid-state amps, not only because of their lower prices but also due to their distinct tones. And that’s especially the case with rock music.

Boss introduced the new series of products in 2016, solid-state amps called Katana. Among the few variations, all of which are great, Katana 100 stands out. This 100-watt amplifier can deliver some seriously tight tones with pretty surprising quality for a solid-state piece.

There are five different amp models on it, a 3-band EQ, additional effects, two channels, one 12-inch speaker, FX loop, and power attenuation for 50 watts and 0.5 watts. The inclusion of power attenuation is kind of unusual for a solid-state amp, but it certainly gives some versatile options here.

Here is a video demo of the Boss Katana 100 by Anderton’s Music Co.

Up next, the Peavy Bandit 112…


Peavey Bandit 112

Peavey Bandit 112 amp

Peavey Bandit amps are another cheaper alternative that still manages to deliver some solid tones. Although solid-state, the Bandit 112 implements the so-called TransTube technology that manages to imitate the tone quality and dynamic response of classic tube amps.

The overall output power is 80 watts and the amp features one 12-inch speaker. There are two channels – one clean and one lead – both of which work with two separate outputs ñ high gain and low gain. This way, you’re able to use the amp normally if your guitar has high output pickups.

The lead channel gets pretty interesting with different voicing options and separate controls for pre and post gain. Despite its relatively lower price, this amp works great for some solid rock tones.

Here’s a video demo of the Peavy Bandit 112 by Willy Booger.

Up next…the Orange Rocker 15 Terror.


Orange Rocker 15 Terror

Orange Rocker 15 Terror

If you’re looking to buy a tube amp, know that 15 watts can be more than enough if the amp is good. This is the case with Rocker 15 Terror by Orange.

The company has built its reputation over the years for building some of the best amps for rock and metal tones over the years. With Rocker 15 Terror amp head, we realize why there’s all the praise for Orange as it is a two-channel amp with a simple layout and loads of possibilities that can deliver some serious rock and metal tones.

It features three 12AX7 tubes and one 12AT7 tube in the preamp, while the power section holds two EL84s.

At full potential, you can feel its sheer power and that raw high gain that still manages not to sound too muddy even at higher settings. There’s also power attenuation for 7 watts, 1 watt, and even 0.5 watts for some late-night bedroom practice sessions.

It’s a straightforward rock tube amp and worth every penny.

Here’s a review of the Orange Rocker 15 Terror Amp by Guitar Interactive.

Up next, the Vox AC30C2…


Vox AC30C2

vox ac30c2

There’s barely any other amp model out there that as famous as the good old Vox AC30. First introduced way back in 1958, the model is still being made to this day, with the tone staying pretty much close to the original but delivering some new modern features.

This 30-watt amplifier has two channels, two Celestion G12M Greenback 12-inch speakers, and four different inputs ñ high and low gain both for normal and top boost modes. As for the tubes, there are three 12AX7s in the preamp and 4 EL84s in the power section, the standard configuration for British-style amps.

Overall, this amp delivers a lot of solid tones but is largely popular for classic rock and hard rock tones. It can get bright and a bit heavy on the high-end spectrum, but that’s something that a lot of guitar players are looking for. Also, it rocks that beautiful classic Vox design.

Here’s a demo of the Vox AC30 by Dave Devlin Music.

Up next, the Hughes & Kettner Black Spirit 200…


Hughes & Kettner Black Spirit 200

Hughes & Kettner Black Spirit 200

German-based amp manufacturers Hughes & Kettner are well-known for making solid amps and other products with some of the fullest, thickest, and most powerful tones. But just when we thought they can’t surprise us after great amp series like Switchblade or Tubemeister, we get the Black Spirit 200 amp head.

This extremely powerful 200-watt amp has four channels on it ñ clean, crunch, lead, and ultra ñ all of which can be tweaked in countless different ways to suit player’s needs.

Being a tube amp, it’s surprising to know that you can get those full tones even with the master volume even on the lower settings. Besides, there’s power attenuation for 20-watt and even 2-watt modes.

As if this wasn’t enough, it has an abundance of amp models and a DI output to go straight into the mix.

Here’s a demo of the Hughes & Kettner Black Spirit 200 by Ola Englund.

Up next…the MESA/Boogie Mark V.


MESA/Boogie Mark V

Mesa Boogie Mark V

Mesa Boogie is pretty much a standard go-to brand for rock musicians. On their Mark V model, they further developed what they did on their old amps, like the legendary IIC+.

Bear in mind that it’s not cheap and that it’s designed for professionals. But the abundance of options and the mind-blowing tone is worth it.

Three channels with separate EQ’s and voicing controls, 90 watts with 10- and 45-watt options, and even an additional independent switchable 5-band graphic EQ to add more flavor for special lead or rhythm sections.

This amp is a pure beast and something that you should check out.

Here’s a demo of the Mesa Boogie Mark V by MESA/Boogie.

Up next…some experts give their take on the question at hand.


Guitar Shop Picks

We spoke to Jim Deitzel from Cottonwood Music Emporium in Costa Mesa, California, to see if he had any favourite amps for rock he wanted to recommend. 

Jim says: “The Divided by13 BTR23 is a great amp for rock. It sports KT88 which rock, has a push/pull volume for extra gain.  It works perfectly with pedals and just kills.”

Good one!


Conclusion

If you are a musician and your goal is to play rock music, these are each amplifiers that you should at least take into consideration, before deciding what amp you really want to go with. 

Amps like these may sound great out of the gate, but there’s always new tricks to learn.  Let us know what you consider to be the best amp for rock music in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Celestion Ten 30 Guitar Speaker Review

Finding a good guitar tone comes down to many things. You will need a good guitar, a good amp and a good set of guitar pedals if that is what you like to use. If not, the first two items should do the trick. This sounds about right? You can go one step further.

What most guitar players tend to forget is that the speakers in their amps or guitar cabs are important as well. These are what give your tone that specific color.

If there is one brand of speaker manufacturers out there who has gained a lot of trust from the community over the years, it is Celestion.

Today we are going to look at one of their entry level speakers – the Celestion Ten 30 – and talk about how it can improve your tone.

Lets see why Billy Gibbons and so many other legends trust Celestion with their tone.


Celestion Ten 30 Review

Celestion Ten 30 8 Ohm 10-Inch 30-Watt Guitar Speaker

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The story of Celestion is a long one and includes a whole lot of chapters. They started out at the very beginning of the 20th century and have almost a hundred years of speaker manufacturing behind them.

When you show up with that kind of experience and knowledge, the market is bound to react one way or another. Being a British brand, Celestion’s journey to the legendary levels of popularity began when Marshall started using their speakers in their cabs.

Here’s the thing, though. Celestions don’t come in every guitar amp. In fact, you rarely find them these days if you take Marshall and Vox out of the equation.

So how do you access that awesome sound without owning these brands of amps? Simple, just get yourself a set of Celestion speakers.

Since most of their Greenbacks and similar 12 inch units tend to be quite expensive, we have decided to show you something that is much more attainable for most guitar players. Celestion Ten 30 is a great speaker that won’t break your bank account.


Design and Features

When it comes to design, there is nothing too outstanding about Ten 30. Celestion has used their standard steel harness which has been proven to be a good choice in the past.

One benefit of taking that route is the fact that the diameter of the harness as well as the position of the holes matches most standard cabinets.

The only thing to consider is that this is a 10″ unit so it won’t fit into a cab designed for 12″ drivers without some modification. With that said, the build quality of the harness is great.

This is the type of setup that reduces, or should we say eliminates any movement or wiggling once mounted. What that translates to is low vibration and low noise during use.

The magnet itself is a standard Celestion ceramic unit. This particular model is a 8 Ohm version, although a 16 Ohm is also available. Naturally, you would get the one that matches your amp.

When it comes to the frequency range Ten 30 covers, you are looking at 85-5000Hz range. As you can probably tell it digs into the lows quite well.


Performance

With all that said, lets talk about how this thing sounds. After all, that is what matters the most in the end. In an effort to be as unbiased as possible, lets just say that it sounds like a true Celestion.

That doesn’t mean that there are no flaws to this particular design. One of the things Celestion speakers are known for is their warmth. We won’t say that Ten 30 lacks that warmth completely but it is also nowhere near as warm as a vintage Greenback.

On the other hand, you would expect as much considering the sheer price differential between these two speakers. The overall sonic profile tends to be biased towards mids and trebles.

That much is proven simply by looking at the frequency response charts.

The real question is what kind of real world consequences does all of this have? Before we go any further lets just put this out there. If your amp is a budget one, putting one or two of these in there will give you a proper boost in performance.

That is just a fact of the matter. Pushing such a setup with a good overdrive pedal will yield a very recognizable tone. Even though this is an entry level Celestion, it still has the combined heritage of many generations of Greenbacks and other legendary speakers behind it.

What we are trying to say is that in the midst of that overdrive tone, you will easily recognize that true Celestion grit which many of us have learned to appreciate.

In case you are leaning more towards a clean sound, this speaker will still offer a great performance. Despite its inherent lack of warmth, Celestion Ten 30 is easily warmer than most factory speakers being installed in modern amps.

In a way, a set of Celestion Ten 30s is a great way of familiarizing yourself with the brand and learning just what kind of tone is possible should you decide to go for one of the more expensive models in their offer. In that context, Ten 30 is a really great choice.

 


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Final Thoughts

At the end of the day the whole deal behind Celestion Ten 30 is pretty cut and dry. There is no arguing that it is a budget speaker. However, it is also a full blooded Celestion.

If you are looking to upgrade your tone and you’re all out of ideas, getting this bad boy could be the solution you were looking for. The performance it offers is more than acceptable considering its price.

As a matter of fact it is one of the best bang for the buck deals you will find in the 10″ class at the moment. Fortunately for us Celestion is not the type of brand to pump up the price of their products solely based on their brand name.

Marshall JCM900 4100 Review

Marshall JCM900 4100

Marshall’s JCM series of amps has got to be one of the most legendary designs to ever grace the world of music. JCM800 laid down the groundwork for what was supposed to be an ever-evolving family of powerful tube heads.

However, in an odd twist of faith, JCM800 lived to become ‘the’ JCM. It’s successor, the JCM900 wasn’t so lucky. A few quirks in the original 900 series has marked the entire line of amps.

Marshall JCM900 4100 100W 2-Channel Tube Head

This unfavorable reputation is something that follows them even to this day. The question is whether or not Marshall JCM900 is a bad amp?

Well, Dave Navarro certainly doesn’t think so. After all, he has two he is pretty close with. Today we are going to review this least favorable JCM and show you why it still has a lot to offer.


Marshall JCM900 4100

From a distance, JCM900 looks more or less just like any other JCM head. However, this is a significantly different beast compared to its predecessor.

Marshall wanted to spice the series up a bit by offering the user more gain. It is believed that their line of reasoning behind this decision was to give the people more of what made the initial JCM so popular.

Even when 900 series hit the market, Marshall’s heavy OD sections were already well known.


Features

The core of the are its two ECC83s in the preamp stage and one ECC83 combined with four 5881 tubes in the power stage. These power two separate channels and are capable of delivering some 100 Watts of power.

On paper, this setup looks pretty amazing on its own. However, it was soon discovered that replacing the 5881s with a set of good old EL34s can really add a lot to the performance of any JCM900. More on that later.

The aesthetics are pretty familiar. Marshall mostly changed things on the inside, retaining the exterior of the existing JCM series to a certain extent. Speaking of design, this thing is a tank.

It’s heavy, it’s merciless and simply built very well. Same goes for the inside. Every connection, solder, lead – all of them are done properly. Marshall might sometimes gamble with the performance their amps, but durability is never brought into question.

A brief look at the control panel reveals a nonstandard Marshall layout. You have the Master and Reverb knobs for both Channel A and Channel B in their individual clusters.

Up next comes the Presence control that is followed by the three band EQ section.

Lastly, there are pre-amp gain knobs for each channel. On their own, these controls are pretty much all you need to dial in a variety of rich guitar tones.

Add the fully integrated FX loop and you end up with the standard Marshall configuration that has proven to work so many times so far.

When you look at the back side of the amp, there is a more or less standard I/O section with adjustable speaker outputs as well as the FX loop send/return ports.

Marshall left the back semi-open, with only a metal mesh separating the outside world from the tubes inside. Lastly, the footswitch comes as standard, which is to be expected from a head in this range.

Marshall JCM900 4100

Performance

This is where things get a bit tricky. Earlier models of the JCM900 felt like an unfinished product the moment they first appeared. You had constant diode clipping to deal with, on top of the seemingly underpowered 5881 tubes inside.

Later iterations of JCM900 ironed out a lot of those problems, however, damage was already done at that point. This is pretty unfortunate considering how capable recent JCM900 heads really are.

Right out of the box, you get a whole lot of gain to work with. Marshall specifically focused on infusing more power into the signal, thus making the overdrive channel reach the levels of distortion quite easy.

There is a catch, though. Cleans took a substantial hit because of all this. You no longer had that recognizable Marshall purity at your disposal. Instead, quality of the clean channel was sacrificed for more gain.

This is what divided most of the community. Those looking for a balanced, all-purpose amplifier were pretty disappointed with this latest JCM. On the other hand, those who were chasing the ultimate valve distortion were loving every bit of the 900 series.

One of the earlier solutions to this problem was to simply take out the 5881s and replace them with a set of trusty EL34 tubes. In most cases, this brought a significant boost in tone quality, but sometimes it simply didn’t work out.

People oriented towards a heavier tone found this trade to be more than acceptable. Dave Navarro is just one popular guitar player who has ditched everything for these amps.

The tone itself is pretty good. There is a lot of power behind it, making it fairly defined. Cleans will generally satisfy most tastes. The main problem is the ‘color’ of the clean channel, or in other words, its flavor.

It stands out from the competition but is fairly versatile. Marshall JCM900 is pretty much already defined by this. Metal fans will do just fine with one, while those chasing a vintage tube tone might end up disappointed.


Conclusion

The entire reason why JCM series amps even exist is because Marshall has decided to change things and defy the mainstream.

JCM 900 was first released during the ’90s. which was a time when the industry was doing their best to catch up with the popular demand.

That demand requested more gain. Whether or not Marshall could have done things better is up for discussion.

The truth is that JCM900 may not be the best thing since sliced bread, especially within the context of the entire JCM family.

However, this head is more than capable. It requires a different approach to tone shaping and some previous planning, but the whole thing is still more than competitive.

The Marshall JCM900 4100 is also featured here:

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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.


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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.

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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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.

Mike McCready Guitar Setup And Rig Rundown

mikemccready59-lp

The ’90s were a rather turbulent period for music in general.

Several genres skyrocketed in popularity, the scenery changed, and you could say that the stereotypical 1980’s shredder hair/glam metal bands, with that weird combination of uber-macho / feminine / androgynous appearance with their KISS inspired non-stop party music, were losing their traction at the very beginning of the decade.  Later gators!

The new type of rock music was appearing, dealing with different, more serious, lyrical topics, with an appropriate hard hitting, dark, and gritty sound to accompany this exciting new poetry-infused music.

Labeled as grunge with the emergence of the 4 grunge “gods” as they’re sometimes referred to as (Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam), we saw the rise of these soon to be huge musical acts, along with various different bands playing in this style that emerged in the very end of the 1980s and the early 1990s.

Among those bands featuring this new hybrid sound that really took off in this particular time frame, Pearl Jam holds a very special place for many rock fans even to this day.

pearl-jam-band-photo

For the fans, Pearl Jam are one of the pillars of Seattle’s grunge scene, with a huge output over the past almost-30 years.  Only Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains remain of the four great so-called grunge acts.

However, many will tell you that you can’t really say that Pearl Jam exactly fits into any specific genre or style of music – they are just simply Pearl Jam.  Calling them a “grunge” band is not really strictly true, but fans have taken to doing it over the years and so the label has stuck.

But whatever the case may be, and whatever your views are on their style, this band has formed one of the most authentic followings in the world of rock and they are still continuing to impress music fans of all different genres worldwide.

Their fan base has managed to remain loyal to the band even despite the fact that they completely disappeared from the world’s music scene at one point, ceasing all activity right down to giving occasional interviews here and there.

What attracted so many people to Pearl Jam was the recognizable hard-driving music that’s complemented with appropriate lyrics and profound message in them.

Something relatable to many young kids at the time, and something that still has meaning even today.

Aside from Eddie Vedder, the vocalist, one person who had a lot of influence on Pearl Jam’s style was Mike McCready.  This man has truly earned his place in guitar history from the number of riffs he’s written, to his prowess on the instrument, to simply the sheer passion he emotes when he plays.

mike-mccready-guitar-setup-rig-rundown

As a guitar player, he gave Pearl Jam their very own signature sound, consisting of powerful riffs and intriguing lead sections that can either be akin to a searing blues-infused solo, or it can be something weird and effects-based that is a pedal-based concoction no one but Mike McCready could have come up with.

Yes, both Stone and Ed wrote their share of great riffs too, but when it comes time to put a stamp on a song to make it sound sonically unique, that honour usually goes to McCready.

In this article, we will be taking a closer look at what he used to build that great tone which has been and remains as one of the most easily recognizable tones over the past few decades or so.


Mike’s Rig

When we said that you can’t really lump Pearl Jam into any specific category, it is because you can hear a mix of various genres in just about any of their songs. Mike McCready is always very specific about his tone, which has to be perfectly fine tuned in every aspect.

He, along with Stone Gossard, the rhythm guitar player, never seems really all that worried about the genre label that Pearl Jam are put into.

mike and stone

First and foremost, they were aiming to write good music, and give the lyrics a suitable vessel that would deliver the message in the best way possible. Which is something they most certainly succeeded in early on and it is something they continue to do.

With that being said, let’s check out the gear McCready has been using over the years. And, as always, we’re going to start with his guitars.


Les Paul Standard Plus Top Pro Heritage Cherry Sunburst (Renewed)

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Marshall Amps 1987X 50 Watt Plexi Head Amplifier Part (M-1987X-01-U)

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Ibanez Ts9 Tube Screamer – Classic

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Guitars

Unlike most guitar players who have reached his level of popularity, Mike was always running back and forth between two brands – Fender and Gibson.

Which might be unusual as most of the guitar players are quite often very strict about picking sides between these two legendary guitar brands and long-lasting competitors.

He started with a 1952 and 1953 Blonde Telecaster, only to move to a Gibson Les Paul Junior with double cuts. Two guitars he is most known for are the King of Kings ’59 Les Paul and the Fender 70’s Stratocaster Sunburst.

Speaking of the latter, he has several guitars that fit the description.

King of Kings Les Paul is still one of his favorite instruments. He got it back in in the day for some $25,000 which he managed to pull off by trading a bunch of guitars aside from fronting some cash.

This being a ’59 Les Paul, it is highly valued among guitar players and guitar collectors, who often refer to these instruments as the so-called “Holy Grail” of guitars.

Many other guitar legends, including Mr. Billy Gibbons, have any kind of ’59 Les Paul in their collection.

All things considered, that purchase was most certainly a great investment seeing how this specific model goes for as high as half a million dollars these days.

When it comes to some of the more unusual guitars in his inventory, McCready has a Gibson Flying V from the 1980s, and a 1991 Gretsch Silver Jet Reissue. The Flying V in question is white with white pickguard.

mccready gibson flying v

Interestingly enough, one of his main axes as of lately is the David Gilmour Signature Strat.

This guitar, made by Fender, is the replica of David Gilmour’s legendary Black Strat and is a model that the Pink Floyd guitarist himself had input in creating.

Speaking of which, Gilmour’s original Black Strat, the one he used for recording various songs over the years, was sold for over $3.9 million, making it the most expensive guitar in history so far.

Aside from these, McCready had some other models in his collection.

There’s the peculiar looking vintage-inspired Jeff Tweedy Signature Gibson SG with the Bigsby-style tremolo bridge.

Mike McCready's Gibson Jeff Tweedy Signature SG Electric Guitar

There is also one white double-neck Gibson EDS-1275 with a black pickguard, Gretsch 1955 White Falcon Electric Guitar, Fender Jazzmaster, Gibson Firebird, and even an Ibanez Iceman.


Amps

When it comes to amps, McCready has been known to use a variety of different brands and amp models.

Some of the more common models in his possession are the Marshall Plexi head and the accompanying Marshall 1960B cab with four 12 inch speakers.

These classic cabinets are very well-known for their Celestion speakers.

To be more precise, they’re the G12M Greenbacks and these particular speakers are voiced in such a way to give more clarity in the higher end spectrum of the tone while still retaining the power of the lower-end.

There’s also the legendary Fender Bassman Combo amp from 1959, as well as another classic amp used by many guitar heroes over the years, the Vox AC30.

vox ac30

If you think about it, Mike always pushed the ‘standard’ configuration of guitars and amps, modelling his tone mostly through using different effects pedals.

However, when we’re talking about someone like McCready, that is an approach to guitar tone is always subject to change.

Case in point, these days McCready is all about the 65 Amps. Something along the lines of the Empire or London has been seen resting on top of one Savage combo.

65 amp

A good chunk of his sound comes from the amps, and this sudden change to 65 Amps is just another move by McCready in his search for the perfect tone.

Looking past these, Mike also uses a somewhat rare Satellite Atom head, bearing the power of 36 watts. There is also, of course, the legendary JCM800 in his rig, Union Jack HG, and another Fender Bassman in the form of an amp head.

But looking at all these amps, he’s clearly a fan of those vintage tones yet he puts his own different twist to it.


Effects Pedals

If you were to take a look at McCready’s pedalboard at any given show, you would find a very busy setup that would rarely be the same one or two shows after.  After all, he’s very picky about his tone and loves to try out new things on a regular basis.

With that said, there are some pedals which Mike liked enough to keep around as constants. Let’s start things off with a few overdrives. For a long, long time, Mike was using mostly Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer.

Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer - Classic

This doesn’t really come as a surprise as this overdrive has been one of the most desired pedals over the years, used as either the main dirt box or as an additional boost for drive channels of tube amps.

There have also been some speculations about him using the Ibanez’s alternate version from the 1980s, known as the TS10 Tube Screamer. However, this has not been officially confirmed.

These were his primary choices when some bark had to be added to the tone. These days, he moved over to the Way Huge Green Rhino.

This pedal is a bit more niche in nature but still has that vintage style vibe and can deliver some serious tones. In addition, it is a bit more versatile than the good old Tube Screamer due to having more parameters to tweak.

There are also some other drives in his rig, like the very small, compact, and pretty simple to use Lovepedal AMP 50 Overdrive.

mike-mccready-pedal-board

When it comes to other effects, you could see an XO Micro POG from Electro-Harmonix, Hughes & Kettner Rotosphere, as well as Boss OC-2 Octave.

His most current setup consists of pedals such as Xotic’s AC Booster Overdrive (which certainly comes in handy for boosting those vintage tube amps in his collection), the MXR MC-404 Crybaby Dual Inductor Wah, Diamond’s Compressor, Line 6 DL4 Delay and more.

As for some other wah pedals, Mike has been known for his use of the standard classic Vox wah and the classic Dunlop GCB95 Cry Baby.

He definitely keeps mixing things up, but the core of his sound is more or less consistent in nature and you’ll always be able to recognize McCready when you hear him play, both on studio albums or live recordings.


Conclusion

Mike McCready is one of those guitar players who is always searching for new ways to spice up his signal chain.

Aside from the guitars for which he has developed a pretty distinctive taste, every other part of his gear is prone to experimentation even after all this time.

If you were on a mission to emulate his tone, you would first need to figure out which album you are going for. And you’ll definitely need a solid budget if you want to get it really close to what he’s doing.

However, while it might not be that easy, you’ll be able to pull it off as long as you have a Fender Strat, a Marshall amp like the JCM800, and the Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer or any of its different clones and variants. But at the same time, you’ll definitely need to sit down and tweak the knobs for hours until you finally manage to get it going in Mike’s direction.

Even though grunge musicians were never really known for their finesse, Mike and Pearl Jam took things into a bit more complicated direction. That is the main reason why he is considered to be one of the best guitar players in rock music.

Overall, looking at different guitars and pieces of gear, it is clear that Mike McCready is most definitely a fan of the vintage stuff.

While his tone is not a complete replica of the ones we can hear with those older players, it certainly relies on the classic ’60s and ’70s guitar sounds.

But in the end, as we already mentioned above, he gives his own twist to it and creates that grittier tone that goes well even with the more modern standards in rock and heavy metal music.

With this being said, Mike McCready’s playing and his guitar tone that evolved over the years are both worthy of our praise.

mike_mccready_59_sunburst_stratocaster_fender

Aside from defining one movement and even bringing it to a higher level, his work in Pearl Jam has been crucial for the countless generations of guitar players worldwide. If you’re trying to replicate his different tones, you’re definitely not alone as he’s one of the most looked upon guitar players of all time.

Tom Morello Guitar Setup And Rig Rundown

tom-morello-arm-the-homeless-guitar

Rage Against the Machine is one of those rare bands that started their work back in the 1990s and who managed to push something completely new.

Oftentimes carrying a strong political message within their work, they reached great success and cemented their place in the history of rock and metal music.

Now, you don’t usually see bands taking this route, as everyone knows how risky it may be. And, for most, this approach has backfired. However, this is not the case with Rage Against the Machine.

Taking a listen to their songs, the music and lyrics complement each other perfectly, delivering a really strong punch.

But for a band that has created such powerful tunes, you would think that one guitar simply wouldn’t be enough.

That might have been the case if the guitar player in question was anyone other than the almighty Tom Morello.

The genius of this man is elusive to a lot of critics. Morello’s ability to use his guitar as more than just an instrument is impressive, to say the least. Listening to any of the Rage hits will show you exactly what we mean.

Morello certainly knows how to balance his tone in such a way that he could go crazy with solos, but still align himself and work together with the bass guitar and drums for that extra girth.

Even though that is pretty much all about skill, having the right equipment surely plays its part. After all, a master of such caliber would need some great guitars, amps, and pedals to use his full potential.

So with all this in mind, we thought that we could do a brief overview of Tom Morello’s guitar rig, and talk about his primary choice of gear over the years.

The instruments and the setup, however, are not exactly conventional. Morello had a very specific approach, managing to push the boundaries of guitar-oriented music without using too much of a complicated rig in most cases.

Although not having quite a complex rig, he revolutionized the guitar and managed to inspire guitarists and other instrumentalists way outside the world of rock and heavy metal music. So let’s dig into it.


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Marshall Jcm800 2203X 100W Tube Head

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Digitech Whammy Pedal Re-Issue With Midi Control

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Dunlop Crybaby Gcb-95 Classic Wah Pedal W/2 Free Patch Cables

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Rig Rundown

And just like we usually do, the first point of business is going to be Morello’s guitars.

After that, we are going to quickly jump into some amps, and wrap up the whole thing by going into some details about his pedals and effects he’s used over the years.

For the most part, replicating the essence of Morello’s tone is not that much about gear, but it’s good to know that a relatively simple setup can get you on the right path.

Without further ado, here are all the details.


Guitars

If you take a peek into Morello’s guitar storage, you will see a variety of awesome and interesting guitars.

There will be some pretty standard models like the Gibson Explorer or SG, but there will also be some that are very unusual, like that Ovation Breadwinner he owns. But we’ll get to that.

With all that said, there is indeed only one guitar that is associated with Morello during his Rage Against The Machine years. We are talking about his famous Arm The Homeless custom piece.

This instrument has been by his side throughout his entire career. Here he is showing Carson Daly some of his ingenious scratching techniques with his famous guitar.

When Morello got this guitar from an LA shop in 1986, he went on to pick and choose every single detail on the guitar. The basis for the whole project was a blue Strat type body.

The main difference between this one and any standard Strat comes from the fact that Morello’s choice was loaded from the rear, not the front.

The neck he went with, in the end, was a Kramer design made of graphite, which is a rather interesting choice. Hardware wasn’t standard either.

The choice of the bridge was reduced to Ibanez Edge locking tremolo. Even though this might surprise some folks considering that Floyd Rose would have probably been a more logical solution, that Ibanez design fits Arm The People perfectly.

tom-morello-arm-the-homeless-guitar

In terms of electronics, we are looking at an EMG setup consisting of a somewhat standard EMG 85 and EMG H combo.

The guitar was used throughout his Rage Against The Machine career extensively, while he also used it recently while playing with Audioslave.

Interestingly enough, his first impression when he got the guitar out of the shop was rather negative.

After all, back in those days, it wasn’t exactly the easiest task for an unknown musician to acquire a good custom-built guitar.

The original version of the guitar had a few different parts and was modified as the years went by. Now, years later, it’s his main ax.

arm the homeless guitar

Another important guitar in his arsenal is that black Fender Stratocaster with the “Soul Power” writing on it.

The guitar was made sometimes around the year 2000, and Morello used it extensively during his time in Audioslave.

Featuring alder body, maple neck, and a rosewood fingerboard, it has the standard Stratocaster measures, like the 25.5-inch scale length.

big_Tom+Morello+tommorellosoulpowernightwatchm

As for the pickups, we can find Seymour Duncan Hot Rails on the bridge and two single-coils in the middle and neck positions. The guitar is also known for its mirrored pickguard, as well as the Ibanez Edge locking tremolo bridge.

Morello is also known for his use of Fender Telecasters, and there are a few of these in his collection. For instance, there’s the American Standard with the sunburst finish.

But the best-known of his Teles is the black “Sendero Luminoso,” which was his main instrument for drop D tunings.

Sendero Luminoso Guitar

As for other Teles, we have the American Designer edition and the custom-built James Trussart Steelcaster. The latter one is pretty weird, featuring that rust-like finish.

Now, there’s another somewhat unusual choice in his guitar collection, the Ibanez Artist that was custom built for Morello, sometime in the late 1990s. And this is a pretty interesting piece and an important one for Morello.

tom morello ibanez custom as200

First off, we have the black and red finish, which symbolizes some of Morello’s main political views. But what’s thoroughly exciting is the fact that this instrument comes with some built-in effects.

Morello used this instrument over the years, most notably on “Guerrilla Radio,” as well as on Cypress Hill’s “Rise Up.” We also got the chance to see him holding this one during Prophets of Rage shows.

There are plenty of other guitars we should mention. For instance, there’s a rather odd guitar Ovation Breadwinner. He was seen with the instrument, but not much is known about his particular model. They’re solid body guitars made of mahogany.

morello breadwinner

There are some SG models in there as well, like Kay K-20T. This was actually the first guitar he ever purchased and is a cheap beginner instrument.

Nonetheless, Tom still keeps this one as an important part of his playing career. Of course, there’s also the double-neck SG, the legendary Gibson EDS-1275 model. It’s not one that he uses that often, but it’s still worth mentioning here.

He also owns one Gibson Explorer, the E2 model painted gold. According to Morello, he spent countless hours practicing on this instrument.

To make things more interesting, he added a Kahler tremolo bridge on it, which is quite an unconventional addition to such an instrument. He also said that this modification ruined the guitar’s tone.

Although acoustic guitars are not much of his thing, we can find a few interesting ones in there. For instance, there’s the legendary Gibson J-45 and the Ibanez GA6CE which is a nylon-string instrument.


Amps

Those who know Morello probably also know that he’s a Marshall man to the bone. Ever since he started playing guitar, he used a Marshall amp of some sort.

When his first one got stolen, Morello went on to buy a JCM 800 2205 head, which he used extensively until just recently.

The head was paired with a Peavey 4 12 cab, not so much due to his taste, but rather pure necessity. That was the only cab available at the store when he went to pick up that Marshall Head.

tom-morellos-favorite-guitar-and-marshall-amp

This combo stuck around with Morello for a long, long time. He grew to love the tone, including the cab. Whatever you may think about his approach to amplification, you simply have to respect his utilitarian style.

Lately, however, Morello introduced some different amps. One of the few names that stand out is the Vox AC30, the reissued version, and the Marshall Lead 20 combo.

But other than these few shared examples, Tom Morello’s amp setup wasn’t exactly the most colorful one. He’s pretty much a Marshall guy.


Effects Pedals

When it comes to effects pedals, we see that same Spartan approach as well. If there’s a single effect that became synonymous with Morello, it has got to be Digitech WH-1 Whammy.

digitech-whammy-pedal-re-issue-with-midi-control

Ever since he found this modern classic, Tom fell in love with it. After all, you can see just how much of his tone was invested in this unit by listening to a variety of Rage Against The Machine songs.

The most notable example is the solo in “Killing in the Name” where he uses the full potential of the DigiTech Whammy and jumps up an octave and back throughout this whole section.

Aside from his trusty Whammy, Morello also used, and still uses a Jim Dunlop Crybaby Wah. In terms of pure modulation, there’s a small cluster of pedals that include Boss TR-2 Tremolo, Ibanez DFL Flanger, and others.

The aforementioned Ibanez’s DFL Flanger pedal is a rather interesting piece. This one was made back in the 1980s, and no other series of Ibanez pedals had anything similar. It’s a rare pedal and he still uses this same thing for live and studio work.

Distortion, or rather, overdrive, was always sourced from the amp. There are, however, a few simple and classic distortion pedals. The best example is MXR’s M-104 Distortion Plus. It’s one of the company’s best-known and longest-produced pieces.

He is also known for using his Boss DD-3 Digital Delay to make things space-like at times. Occasionally, Tom will also use a phaser pedal, most notably the MXR M101 Phase 90.

He also has a special place in his heart for analog delays. Just like the old Ibanez Flanger we mentioned, Ibanez’s AD9 delay is an analog piece relying on the so-called bucket brigade devices. As a result, the pedal gives that warmer and a little “muffled” tone, at least compared to digital products.

Like we already said, Tom Morello likes to keep things tidy. There’s nothing too complex about his rig, yet he still manages to deliver some of the best and most easily recognizable tones.


Conclusion

You could say that Tom Morello is one of those guitar players who know how to do more with less.

Whether it’s the simple fact of not having to deal with a complicated signal chain or his love for a pure tone, Morello never really complicated his guitar rig all that much.

It just so happens that this type of approach worked out perfectly with his style of playing, and the music he was creating.

That also translated well when he moved on from Rage Against The Machine and joined Audioslave.

Getting his exact tone comes down to a pair of EMGs and a decent Marshall amp.

This combo is probably as generic as it gets these days, meaning that any fan out there shouldn’t have much of a problem replicating Morello’s tone with high levels of accuracy. With that said, the impact this man had on the ’90s music scene is still to be fully revealed.

Rage Against The Machine gave a whole generation a common banner to stand behind together. Often criticized for their political standpoints, they are one of the few bands who stayed true to their cause.