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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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.

John Mayer’s Guitar Setup And Rig Rundown

john-mayers-favorite-amps

In every generation of musicians, there will be a couple of those that stand out from the rest. It’s the type of artist you can instantly know will reach the stars, and become one of the best in their respective fields. 

During the ’60s we had Jimi Hendrix while the next decade was all about Eric Clapton.  Today, one name that definitely has the necessary potential to join the rock and roll hall of fame is John Mayer.

Whether or not you like his music, you have to admit that he has some serious skill in his fingertips. Not only that, but he can sing as well. What makes Mayer so special is his ability to fuse various genres of music in a way that actually sounds great.

With that said, a lot of people are wondering just what kind of gear is necessary to replicate his tone. As you are about to find out, Mayer uses a pretty standard setup which makes it easy to dial in his sound for the rest of us.

We are going to go over his guitars, amps and effects pedals today, which should give you a clear enough picture of what his tone is made of. Without further ado, let’s get on it.

Rig Rundown

If you really think about it, most of the modern guitar wizards can be divided into two types. There are going to be those who are heavily dependent on various equipment to create their sound, and then there are those who like a more basic setup.

Mayer is somewhere in the middle. His pedalboard is definitely saturated with different pedals, but most of them fall within what you could consider as average. On that note, let’s check out what kind of guitars Mayer is playing these days.

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Let’s dig in!


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Favorite Guitars

John Mayer is a huge guitar collector. On any given performance, he will have at least 10 to 20 guitars backstage, sometimes even more.

If you look closely at any of his long shows, he has a specific guitar that he uses for each song. With that said, it’s no secret that he’s a Stratocaster fan.

Mayer owns a number of Strats, including several of his signature models. His very first one was the Fender Stratocaster SRV Signature model which he got while still working at a gas station.

At that moment, he probably didn’t even think that one day he would have his own signature Strat.

Aside from his Stratocasters, Mayer loves a good Gibson tone from time to time. You will often times see a Gibson SG Stardard T in his active lineup, although there are some Les Pauls in there as well.

As of late, Mayer turned heads by rocking a PRS Silver Sky, adding yet another range of slick guitar tones to his sonic arsenal.

In terms of acoustic guitars, Mayer has a signature model Martin OM28, which is also his main go-to guitar when he needs to go unplugged.


Favorite Amplifiers

Mayer’s amps represent a very interesting combination of brands and models. For the most part, his amp setup is dominated by several Fender models.

One of the reasons for this is the pure quality of clean channels on models such as the Fender Band Master or Vibro-King. john-mayers-favorite-amps Aside from these, there are two rather special models in his inventory.

He has a Two Rock signature model of his own, and a Dumble Steel String Singer.

Both of these, combined with a Fender amp of his choice for the day, are hooked up to several Alessandro cabs which are packed full with Celestion speakers

Even though this is a bit of a non-standard combination, Mayer and his sound tech crew figured out a very sweet and balanced tone which is a result of all three amps being hooked up together.

When connected to his pedals, Mayer gets a lot of versatility in terms of tone shaping.


Effects Pedals

Before we get into various effects pedals you can see in his setup, let’s quickly mention the system that he’s using to control said pedals. Instead of a standard pedalboard, you will see him using the Custom Audio Electronics Power System.

The whole idea behind this is to have pedals in a remote location backstage, and control them using a footswitch board. Even though this might sound like a redundant solution, Mayer can actually use more pedals this way while the Power System allows him to save several presents he can call up at any time. mxr-mc403-power-system

In terms of pedals themselves, his overdrive selection comes down to the good old TS808 Tube Screamer, along with the Fulltone Fulldrive 2. Aside from these two, you will also see a Klon Centaur overdrive in there as well.  

One of his favorite stompboxes is the Keeley Katana clean booster pedal, which he likes to use in just about any of his presets. Watch this video demo of the Keeley Katana to get a feel for this little stompbox does. 

Moving on to delays, we see a Way Huge Aqua Puss and Eventide Timefactor.

As a matter of fact, Mayer actually has several Timefactors which are set up in a different way. When it comes to other pedals worth noting, we have to mention the Boss GE-7 seven-band EQ and the Boss RT-20 processor. 

And let’s not forget another one of John’s secret weapons – the Source Audio SA170 Programmable EQ pedal.


Conclusion

As you can probably see by now, there is nothing all that special in his guitar rig that is hard to obtain. You can pretty much achieve his tone by using a TS9 or TS808, a Fender Stratocaster of some sort, and a Fender amp.

If you really want to go authentic, then you would probably need to get his signature model Strat as it comes packed with rather special pickups.

Other than that, Mayer bases a lot of his sound on nothing more but his skill. With him, it’s all about making that guitar sing in ways others are rarely even trying to achieve.

Some might say it’s a bit pretentious to have approximately 40 guitars present at any given live show, but the man loves to be precise with his tone.

We hope this short rundown of John Mayer’s guitar rig has given you a good idea what he uses, and what kind of gear you’d have to get in order to replicate his tone.


John Mayer – Live in Concert

Crowther Audio Hotcake Distortion Pedal Review

crowther-audio-hotcake-pedal

Boutique grade effects pedals have been taking off in popularity in recent years. More and more people seem to be looking for something unique, which is a requirement most commercial pedals are just not capable of meeting.

The issue with boutique effects pedals is that they usually offer a pretty niche performance. Most of the time, the models in this category reflect the ideas of their creators who are usually smaller shops. Speaking of which, there are well-known and not so well-known boutique pedal shops. Some of them reach fame, while others are still pretty obscure. The one we are going to talk about today is somewhere in between.

crowther-audio-hotcake

The Crowther Audio Hotcake distortion pedal is the work of Paul Crowther – a very well known New Zealand based boutique effects pedal builder. His creations are not numerous, but he’s the type of a guy who always strives for quality over quantity. In the case of Crowther Audio Hotcake, that approach turned out to be the key to success.


Crowther Audio Hotcake Distortion Pedal Review

Boost and overdrive pedals are the essential part of every quality rock tone, especially if you are going for a more vintage vibe. Considering how close in nature these two effects are, sometimes it is hard to find the line of separation between them.

Crowther Audio Hotcake falls within that gray area. With that said, whatever magic Crowther used, it just works. A testament to the quality of Hotcake is the fact that Mark Knopfler from Dire Straits has been using this exact model for years now. It took Crowther decades to achieve that type of reach. After all, Hotcake is old enough to be considered a vintage pedal.

Take a look at this Crowther Audio HotCake demo courtesy of Tone Factor.

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Features

When you first look at the Hotcake, it looks just like most other overdrive pedals on the market. The enclosure is made of quality metal capable of taking constant abuse, which makes it great for stage use. Graphic design is reduced to a minimum. You have an all white theme with the control designations written in black, along with a Hotcake logo surrounding the foot switch. In terms of controls, you have your standard Drive, Level, and Presence.

Drive lets you adjust the amount of distortion in the signal, while presence is your EQ control. The Level knob is self-explanatory. The combination of these three knobs is more than enough to tap into both the boost side and the overdrive side of the pedal.

On the inside, you can find hand-wired circuitry and a neat little jumper that lets you switch between the standard Hotcake and Hotcake Bluesberry setting. This is a relatively new addition, which only makes the Hotcake that much more versatile in general. The pedal can either be battery powered or you can use an adapter – pretty standard stuff.

crowtheraudio_hotcakeoverdrivedistortion

Performance

The type of sound you get from the Crowther Audio Hotcake is where this pedal stands out from the competition. If you leave the Drive alone and only increase the Level, you get a booster type effect. What is truly awesome is the fact that adding distortion doesn’t influence the clean sound of your guitar.

Instead, it adds layers of overdrive while preserving the nature of the clean channel, much like a tamed fuzz box would. Once you start cranking the Drive knob, you can go pretty far without hearing any significant change in your tone. For example, with the drive at some 12 o’clock, you will still have a perfectly clear clean tone, however hitting a chord with some force will produce a light and crunchy overdrive.

The more you go clockwise, more overdrive you add to the signal. Simple as that. What people have figured out in the meantime is that Crowther Audio Hotcake works great with Vox tube amps, especially the AC line. It’s not something you want to use in an effects loop, which is also what Crowther himself recommends. The range of tone colors that are possible with the Hotcake goes anywhere from light bluesy sound to a more Plexi-like overdrive. Playing with the Presence knob reveals a whole array of great sounding configurations. The way the EQ works is pretty transparent for a pedal of this type.

Using the internal jumper switch is not something you’d want to do often. It’s there to basically allow you to adjust the pedal in a way which makes it work better with your amp. Switching between two available modes frequently can cause damage to the circuitry, or at least put the integrity of the effect at risk. Once you figure out which jumper position works for you, it’s best to leave it at that until you have a real necessity to temper with it again.

It’s worth noting that Crowther Audio Hotcake is not really a cheap pedal. It will cost you a pretty penny, but it is definitely worth it. The pure range of boost/overdrive you can achieve with this stomp box is impressive, to say the least. That type of performance is worth paying extra for.

Check out another demo for the Hotcake here, this time by YouTuber David Fisher.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, Crowther Audio Hotcake is something you would want to use for rock, blues or similar genres of music. The fact that it combines a pretty transparent boost with the ability to stack a nice layer on top of it, is great for who know exactly what kind of tone they want.

From 1976 to this day, Paul Crowther created and perfected a very capable little pedal that offers the quality and performance rarely seen these days. He is still relatively unknown outside certain circles, but those who are looking for a more refined overdrive are bound to run into his name during their research. Paul is undoubtedly a master of his trade, and he knows it.

This guy has reached a level where he doesn’t have to produce a ludicrous amount mediocre of pedals in order to stay afloat. Instead, a good amount of guitar players are turning to him for pure quality, and Crowther delivers.

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Mark Knopfler Guitar Setup And Rig Rundown

mark-knopfler-guitar-setup-and-rig-rundown

Dire Straits, one of the rare bands who had such a reach around the world without conforming to outside pressures or temporary trends. Their repertoire is full of hits that even those who don’t necessarily listen to rock know.

No matter what some people say, Mark Knopfler is definitely the brains of the whole operation.

His guitar skills, creativity, and voice are all on a level of their own. Aside from having some of the best songs in the history of rock music, this band also has a pretty refined and unique sound.

mark-knopfler-guitar-setup-rig-rundown

Again, that is in good part thanks to Knopfler, who has been the main driving force behind Dire Straits for decades. Because of that, we are going to take a closer look at Mark Knopfler’s guitar rig now and see what his regular setup consists of.

As you are about to find out, with Knopfler it is all mostly about simplicity. Even so, he has managed to dial in some of the most legendary guitar tones known to man.

Throughout his long career, we’ve mostly heard him with those crystal clear tones through his Fender Stratocasters. However, he’s also been known for his use of Gibson Les Pauls and Schecters, but we’ll get to all that in a few moments.


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Guitars

They say that one’s first guitar is always going to take a very special place on the rack, no matter how crappy it is or how many expensive guitars you get afterward. That is exactly how Knopfler views his first electric guitar.

The model in question is 1962 Hofner Super Solid V2.

mark-knopfler-1962-hofner-super-solid-v2

He received this one from his father as a gift, which was pretty cheap back in those days. Even though he has reached global fame, Knopfler still has this guitar and is most likely keeping it in a safe and secure place.

We could easily say that he will never play it on stage ever again. Glancing at this old guitar model now, it’s definitely something that looks pretty unconventional at this day and age.

It comes from the early 1960s and features an unusual looking tailpiece and a tremolo bar, two humbucker pickups, one volume and two tone controls, and a weird 3-way pickup selector switch.

Before he became a Schecter guy, Mark was riding the Gibson and Fender train for quite a while. He owns a 1959 Gibson LP Doublecut – a somewhat of a rare model that he sharpened his teeth on in terms of sound.

gibson les paul special double cut

It features two P90 pickups and a simple stop bar as a bridge. The overall features are similar to those old Les Paul Junior and SG Junior guitars.

Afterward, he got a hold of a ’61 Red Stratocaster, which would define the start of his affinity toward Strat style guitars in general.

61 red strat sultans of swing

Currently, this specific guitar is probably sitting somewhere next to that Hofner we mentioned above since it’s pretty special to Mark.

Buying it sometime before the recording of Dire Straits’ debut album, this is most likely the instrument we can hear on the band’s legendary song “Sultans of Swing.”

Check out this video where YouTuber Dusty Strings lays into the í59 Gibson Les Paul Special.

Going over to another one of his famous Stratocasters, there was also a red ’62 in his collection.

However, it is rumored that this is actually a Japanese copy. There have been many theories about this instrument over the years and there’s still some mystery of about its origins surrounding it.

Although he’s not known for these models, there have been a ’69 black Fender Telecaster and a white Gibson SG Custom with three pickups, built sometimes in the 1960s.

Now going over to some other of his memorable guitars, the 1980 Schecter Stratocaster in red is another one of his important instruments.

schecter-red-1980-2

For all the fans of Dire Straits, this is the guitar they probably imagine Mark playing when they think of the most memorable performances. The guitar came with a maple neck and Schecter pickups, which were later replaced with a set of Seymour Duncans.

There’s a 1980 Schecter Strat that he got it in the early ’80s. The guitar was played all the way through the decade, up to the early ’90s.

There have also been some other Schecter guitars in his arsenal, including a 1984 Telecaster that he used on “Cal”, which is the soundtrack to the film of the same name, released in 1984.

After using Schecters for a significant portion of his career, Knopfler later switched over to a mix of Pensa-Suhr, Gibson Les Pauls and Fender Strats.

There have also been other interesting guitars in his collection, like the Steinberger GL2 Standard. However, none of these guitars were as notable as the ones we mentioned above.


Acoustic guitars

But of course, we should not forget about his extensive use of acoustic guitars over the years. National Tricone and ’37 National Duolian Resonator are some of the most interesting instruments in his collection.

Especially the Duolian Resonator, which he got back in 1978 from Steve Phillips. The two of them actually performed under the name The Duolian String Pickers for a while.

This guitar was also used on Knopfler’s 1982 song “Telegraph Road” as well as his 1980 tune “Romeo and Juliet”.

Mark’s Martin D18, made in the 1930s, stands out as one of his favorite instruments of all time. As Mr. Knopfler explained once, this guitar has its own character and that vintage dry tone.

martin d-18 mark knopfler

As for the other acoustic guitars, he was mostly focused on Martin and Gibson guitars and he used them on numerous occasions throughout his career.


Amps

Mark’s choice of amps is a pretty interesting one. If you’ve listened to more than one album of Dire Straits, you probably have a clear enough picture when it comes to his tone. Interestingly, he used a number of different amps to get all those different types of tone.

Fender Vibrolux comes to mind as the first important amp. It was used for their first album, while it came to foreground the most on the “Sultans of Swing.”

Next amplifier that is worth talking about is the Mesa Boogie Mark II.

This one was Mark’s choice for “Brothers in Arms” album, along with the Marshall JTM45. Speaking of which, that JTM45 is responsible for the crisp tone we heard on the song “Money For Nothing”.

marshall jtm45

This is, by far, one of the company’s most famous products and one of the most diverse amps. It’s been designed after the legendary Fender Bassman amp model.

Here’s a quick demo of the Mesa Boogie Mark II.

When it comes to his main rig in more recent years, Soldano SLO100 comes up every time. It appears that Knopfler settled down on this model and decided to use it as his foundation.

This 100-watt amp is known for its great sound and great looks. First released back in the late 1980’s, it’s been used by guitar players from softer genres, all the way to crushing heavy metal.

But although Mark started his guitar playing career way back in the 1960s, he’s certainly open to new technology which is rather unusual for musicians of his age. It has been revealed in 2019 that Knopfler got into the world of digital modelling amps.

The amp (or should we say effects processor) in question is Kemper, which has also been praised by many other guitar masters, including Steve Vai.

Although somewhat of an unusual turn of events to witness him play through this, Kemper definitely manages to recreate the tone of various guitar amps, both older and newer ones.

products_head-bl-front_1280

Besides, it is way more practical for taking on those long tours overseas since it’s compact, does not require expensive maintenance, and brings more consistency. And the fact that Mark’s decision to start using it is clearly a proof of Kemper’s greatness.

Some other amps have also been present in his various rigs over the decades, including Crate VC 5212, Fender Super Sonic, Tone King Imperial MKI, Music Man 212-HD, and even Reinhardt Storm 33 which is somewhat rare to find these days.

reinhardt storm 33


Effects Pedals

If you know Mark, you probably know that he is not a big fan of effects pedals. In fact, he prefers to let this guy backstage take care of the effects almost completely.

With that said, there are some pedals he has used, which have left a mark on both his tone and understanding of guitar effects in general.

Morley volume pedal was definitely a big part of Mark’s main rig back in the day. He used it for his live performances, and it gave him the edge he needed when racked effects just couldn’t cut it.

These days he hasn’t included this Morley into his setup too many times, but it’s suspected he is still using it for studio work.

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Dunlop Cry Baby Wah is another pedal that comes to mind. However, Knopfler didn’t really use it as most other guitar players would. Instead, he fixed the wah in a certain position and played it that way.  This is one of the main secrets behind the tone on “Money for Nothing”.

Playing through his Gibson Les Paul, his Shure SM57 microphones were placed in a particular way by accident, which also contributed to the tone on this well-known song. 

Lately, Crowther Audio Hotcake seems to be his dirt of choice. The pedal is a booster/overdrive combo box and a pretty conservative one at that. With that said, Knopfler was seen playing through it on recent tours.

crowther-audio-hotcake

Read our review of the Hot Cake here

Check out this video by YouTuber Prymaxe playing the Crowther Audio Hotcake Distortion Pedal.


Accessories

One of the more interesting things that are worth mentioning is Knopfler’s affinity towards D’Addario strings. Most of his guitars are stringed with one of their models, or another.

He has chosen D’Addario quite some time ago, and he still prefers them over most other brands on the market. Just how much of an impact this decision had on his tone is hard to determine, but we believe it definitely played a part.

For the most of his electric guitars, he’s been using D’Addario EXL120 which are a 9-42 set.

EXL120-3PK-large

Although he’s clearly a fan of lighter gauge strings, his acoustic guitars mostly feature Dean Markley strings that are 12-53, which are most certainly quite heavier compared to his electric setup.

His National Tricone and National Duolian are somewhat of an exception as he uses D’Addario EJ15/3D 10-47 sets on these two guitars.

And since Mark Knopfler has been, of course, a lead vocalist all throughout his career, he always needed a solid microphone for his work. And for this purpose, Mark has been using a Shure SM58.

This particular microphone is pretty much an industry standard. This is not only due to the sound quality but also due to its ability to withstand rougher handling. As for other microphones, he’s also been seen using Audio Technica AT4055.

at4055 handheld cardioid condenser


Conclusion

If you were to ask us what single trait makes Knopfler a great artist, we’d say it is his approach to music in general. Mark’s a simple man when it comes to sound.

Give him a good amp, a good guitar and just watch him completely align everything toward a pretty awesome tone. Sure, there’s a decent number of effects in Dire Straits songs, but those are either added by technicians during recording or in the post-production process.

Knopfler himself rarely deals with that, and that is the way he always was.

mark-knopfler-corbis-970-80

Most of his tone’s character comes from his own ability to make the guitar sing. Mark’s technique and subtle details are the core of Dire Straits’ music. Those who strive to do more with less are definitely going to appreciate his style.

There are certain guitar lovers that like to say that the tone comes from the guitarist and not the gear. Whatever is your take on that, Mark Knopfler could be, in a way, a proof that this saying is true as none other would sound like him through the same rig that he’s using.

Jerry Cantrell Guitar Setup And Rig Rundown

jerry cantrell guitar setup rig rundown

They say that each decade has its own genre of music that defines it. In the ’60s it was pure rock – garage rock, psychedelic rock, progressive rock, hard rock, and the beginnings of metal with Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath..

When the ’80s came around, we saw glam metal draw nigh, with bands like Ratt, Warrant, Motley Crue, and Bon Jovi.

However, compared to both of these genres, what took the stage in the ’90s was a lot darker – grunge – and it originated in Seattle.  Here’s a famous clip of the song “Man in the Box” by Alice in Chains, written by the subject of today’s article – Jerry Cantrell.

Grunge was a relatively unique type of music whose message reached millions around the world.  It was an unlikely genre, as the musicians who played “grunge” were labelled grunge rockers by music industry people, and the fashion, if you can call it that, was based on the sort of thrift store chic, with baggy clothes, hats, combat boots, flannel, and sort of lumberjack attire as it was based out of the Pacific northwest.

You’ve probably heard of at least four (ie. the “Big Four”) famous grunge bands, and one of them is almost always going to be Alice in Chains.

The lead guitarist and the brains behind some of their most influential songs, Jerry Cantrell, can be thanked for the direction that helped the band rise to its current fame.

Their riffs are dark with elements of pure metal, some glam (from their humble beginnings), sludge rock, doom rock, and prog rock, while the style of singing that Layne used being something of a one-of-a-kind sound that was often imitated, never duplicated.

Cantrell’s vision was always crystal clear, and he had no problem realizing his goals. What we want to know today is what type of gear did he use to get that job done.


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Guitar Setup

Aside from a number of Gibson Les Pauls and Fender Telecasters, Jerry’s main choice in guitars mostly came down to G&L creations.

One of the most memorable models is the G&L Rampage, which he promptly modded by adding Seymour Duncan pickups and replacing the tremolo bridge.

This guitar would later be used as the basis for G&L Rampage Signature Jerry Cantrell model. His affection for what most people consider to be true Leo Fender designs doesn’t stop there.

He went on to get a G&L ASAT as well.

jerry cantrell g&l guitar

In terms of his acoustic guitars, there’s a decent number of recognizable models on his inventory list. For example, he used a Martin D-35, a Guild D50 along with their JF30 acoustic guitars.

Cantrell even played a Line 6 Variax for a period of time.


Amps

His choice of amplification had a major impact on the Alice in Chains overall tone.

Although the number of different models he was seen using over the course of his career is extensive, a clear pattern is visible once you glance over that list.

For example, he has a thing for Bogner Amps, including the Bogner Alchemist and Bogner Ubershall.

These were usually paired with Bogner cabs which featured Celestion speakers. You can also see a Fender Twin Reverb sitting alongside a Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier.

However, when Eddie Van Halen gave Cantrell an EVH 5150 that changed everything.

Overnight, this became his main amp and he shows no signs of wanting to change that.

bogner-alchemist

With that said, he has one of the more developed inventories of amps.

There are numerous different heads there, including some Hiwatts, Marshalls, and more. He also used a standard Vox AC30 for some specific sections of their songs.

Needless to say, Cantrell wasn’t shy when it came to mixing things up and trying to find the exact type of sound that would fit into a song like a glove.


Effects Pedals

Effects pedals are something you will see an abundance of in Jerry Cantrell’s gear.

His pedalboard is mostly comprised of popular models, but there are some in there which are more obscure. Let’s start with the wahs.

Dunlop makes a signature model for Jerry called the Cry Baby JC95. Besides that model, he used Dunlop’s 535Q Multi-Wah as well as their Dimebag model.

dunlop-535q-multi-wah-crybaby-pedal

Cantrell’s distortions are pretty straight forward. We are talking Big Muff Pi sitting next to a ProCo Rat.

He also loves the MXR M222 Talk Box, which he uses prominently in Man in the Box.  In fact, you could credit this pedal for AiC’s fame, as Man in the Box was their first huge radio hit.

In terms of modulations, there is plenty to see. He has a Boss Chorus Ensemble, MXR Bass Octave, and even the Line 6 MM4 as well.

Among the more obscure pedals, you will find Eventide Time Factor, BBE Soul Vibe, and an ISP Decimator.

Check out this video demoing the ISP Decimator Noise Reduction Pedal courtesy of Matt Manzella.

This whole configuration, plus all the other pedals we didn’t mention, is powered by a single Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 2 Plus unit.

That model brings all isolated channels with enough juice to run just about any setup.

Some of you will probably wonder why didn’t go for something more professional, and that’s a question only he can answer.

In the mean time, that Power 2 Plus box is getting the job done with little to no effort.

voodoo-labs-pedal-power-2-plus

All things considered, his pedalboard is rather busy.

The fact that you can’t even hear a good portion of those effects unless you actively search for them, tells a story of how efficient he is in their use.

Often when you see pedal boards this saturated, you expect to have that guitar player just drown the signal with various effects.

Not Jerry, though. He knows how to be as subtle as it is necessary to get his message across.

Conclusion

Many critics are crediting Jerry Cantrell with shaping an entire generation and influencing future artists in a very profound way.

His alternative creativity is not something you see every day.

Even though the gear he uses is pretty extensive, and his pedalboards are usually full to the brim, Jerry is first and foremost a master of guitar.

Grunge as a genre is pretty open to all kinds of variations and personal touches. Someone like Cantrell simply flourishes in that type of environment.

He experimented a lot, both with gear and sound, only to create one of the best grunge bands of all times in the process.

With that said, copying his tone is not too difficult. In broad terms, it’s not that much different than what you can get with a somewhat decent setup.

It’s when you start going into fine details where things tend to get complicated.

Not a lot of people will equate grunge with sophistication of any kind, but the truth is definitely something else.

Cantrell might not be the best technical player in the world, but he has managed to create a revolution in other ways.

Here’s an awesome video of Jerry Cantrell giving us a rig tour thanks to Total Guitar.

Jimi Hendrix Guitar Setup And Rig Rundown

jimi-sunburst-strats-1967-2_zpss2mfmikg

Ever since electric guitars were first invented back in the ’50s, there have been hundreds of guitar players who have all been considered to be the masters of their art.

However, there is one man who probably isn’t the most technically proficient guitar player who ever lived, but that one man is considered to be the best guitar player who ever walked the earth.

The one that is at the top of every internet list all the time, and rightfully so as his playing has influenced players of all genres from jazz, blues, and all the way to the heaviest of metals.

If you haven’t guessed it by now, we are talking about none other than Jimi Hendrix.  Cue awesome and rare Hendrix solo…

There are numerous reasons why we make this claim along with thousands of other music critics.

His way of handling electric guitar was simply unique at the time. He was a lefty, but he insisted on playing a right-handed guitar turned upside down. This seemingly inconvenient method of playing allowed him to have a pretty distinctive sound and approach to his left and right hand techniques.

That sound combined with his own take on standard blues boxes is what made him one of the elite, one of the best guitarists in the history of rock music.

Even to this day, you’ll hear people praising his songwriting, guitar playing, and arrangement skills. Hendrix pretty much set the standard for all the musicians that came after him.

In this article here, we are going to go over the gear he used during his career and talk about the technical aspect of his style.

Photo of Jimi Hendrix 10 denmark


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Guitars

The most obvious thing anyone watching Jimi Hendrix perform for the first time would notice, are his guitars.

As we have mentioned before, he always used the right-handed models which he played inverted.

Not only did he achieve a unique tone that way, but the whole performance looked completely amazing as well.

Those who have spent some time going over the footage of his live shows and you have probably noticed that he almost exclusively used a Fender Stratocaster.

That is true for the most part. However, he used a variety of other guitars. Let’s go over some of the most notable models in his collection.

Believe it or not, Jimi’s metaphorical guitar rack was full of a variety of guitar models, some of whom were not often seen in his hands.

We will get to his Stratocasters a bit later. For now, let us start with his very first electric guitar. The model in question is a very elusive 1957 Supro Ozark 1560s.

This was a pretty cheap and rather unusual electric guitar which was gifted to Jimi by his father back in 1959.

As fate would have it, Hendrix only got to play this guitar for a year or so before it was stolen after one of his early performances. This one was made by a now mostly forgotten company named Valco.

The model itself is somewhat of a collectible item among the guitar enthusiasts, but just imagine how much it would sell for if someone was to dig up this Hendrix’s guitar and prove that it was, in fact, the one he played on.

Next guitar he got was a Danelectro Shorthorn 3012. This one was a replacement for the stolen guitar. It’s a simple instrument that was popular at the time, featuring one single-coil pickup.

There were some discussions over the years between the music historians whether this was a 2013 or a U-1 model, but it was later confirmed that this was, in fact, a 3012.

1960s Danelectro Bronze Standard

Later down the road, he got into Strats. But before that time, he owned an Epiphone, a Fender Duo-Sonic, Fender Jazzmasters, and even an old Ibanez called Jet King 2 which was pretty much a Jazzmaster copy.

The Epiphone in question was the 1961 Wilshire, and he used this particular instrument while performing with a band called King Casuals, sometime in the early 1960s.

His Strats start out with the 1964 model he got in New York City circa 1966. And that was the moment he fell in love with this specific model. The guitar was white with a rosewood fretboard, which is something Hendrix would go on to abandon completely later on in his career.

His 1965 Strat is among the more notable guitars he ever played simply because it was the first one he burned during one of his performances. This unusual practice would become his signature thing.

Check out PlayRockZone kicking out some Little Wing.  Hear that sound?

However, the most important guitar to ever be played by Jimi Hendrix is the 1968 Fender Stratocaster.

This was Jimi’s favorite guitar, and the one he played the most. It was a black Strat with a maple fretboard. Its been said that he played this very Strat the night of his death. Current whereabouts of this Strat, unfortunately, still remain a mystery.

Check out EddieVegas in this video showing off the ’68 Strat.

Aside from these, Hendrix was seen holding some other guitars at the hight of his career. There was a Bartell Black Widow, a semi-hollow body guitar that isn’t that easy to find these days. He traded it for one of the Stratocasters.

Although a Fender guy, it wasn’t that unusual for Hendrix to be seen holding an instrument made by Gibson, their biggest competitors. He owned a few Les Pauls, the most notable one was a right-handed black ’56 Custom. This one is currently owned by Hard Rock Cafe International.

Hendrix also owned two Gibson Flying V guitars. One of those is a hand-painted Flying V that Gibson even revived as a very expensive Custom Shop version in the 2000s.

Among other Gibsons, there were a few SGs in his collection. This does not come as a surprise as the SG’s design had some advantages for left-handed players who had troubles finding instruments they could use properly.

There was a white 1967 Custom Shop SG that he used over the years. This guitar is also currently owned by Hard Rock Caffe.


Amps

In terms of amps, Hendrix was a pretty straightforward type of guy. During his early days, he was very much involved with Silvertone Twin Twelves, Supro Thunderbolts, and finally the legendary Fender Twin Reverb.

Later on in his career, Hendrix became a huge Marshall fan.

Take a look at this Silvertone 1484 Twin Twelve, with playing courtesy of Rocket Music.

And here is ProGuitarShop Demos with a demo of the Supro S6420+ Thunderbolt.  Behold!

He went through a huge number of Marshall Plexis which included a variety of models. Among the most notable Plexi amps, we could find is the JTM45 and 1959 Super Lead.

The Super Lead is a legendary amp, also used by many other guitar heroes of the ’60s and the ’70s. Both of these amps have that trademark vintage Marshall tone which many guitar players around the world still love to this day.

Hendrix really knew how to push those tubes to the point of breaking, which did happen more than several times during his performances.

Here’s Guitar Gear Demos with a great demo of the Marshall JTM45 1965 Plexi Vintage ORIGINAL Guitar Amp!

And here’s Brigado70 playing the Marshall 1959 Super Lead with his Gibson Les Paul..

There have been some more “obscure” amp models in his arsenal that are definitely worth mentioning. One of those is an Ampeg Portaflex, the B15-N model.

And there were also some Sunn amps in there as well, like the 100s. He even made a deal with the company to provide his band with equipment after the legendary Monterey Pop Festival.


Effects Pedals

Effects pedals are not something Hendrix is known for too widely. Which is not really a surprise since the 1960s was not exactly the era of guitar pedals and not that many of them were widely used back in those days.

All in all, there are few pedals that he implemented, with two of those being different Vox wah pedals. Wah-wah, of course, became one of the most important effects in his rig, something he even became very well-known for.

With that said, he did love one single pedal which he based his whole tone upon. That is none other than the legendary Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face.

Here’s Graemey demonstrating the power of the pedal.

Hendrix carried this thing with him just about everywhere he went. He is also one of the reasons why this particular pedal became so popular in later years.

Today, Fuzz Face is made by Dunlop and it represents a very true copy of the original one Hendrix used.

Back in the late 1960s, the Fuzz Face was made by Dallas Arbiter. The idea behind this peculiar design was for it to serve as a microphone stand. While it didn’t serve this function, it had a pretty great tone.

However, the very first series of Fuzz Face came with germanium transistors and were known for amazing tone. However, these were a bit unstable and tended to overheat, ultimately changing the tone mid-session. They were then replaced by the standard silicon transistors.

Of course, the robust and large casing would be kind of impractical these days, so Dunlop basically makes those mini versions of the Fuzz Face that nicely fit into any standard pedalboard out there.

There was another dirt box that he used, the Roger Mayer Octavia. This is an octave fuzz pedal, something that was popular at the time.

We should also not forget the legendary Univox Uni-Vibe pedal that delivered some of the best-known vibrato and chorus tones. Not to mention that it has also been seen in signal chains of many other guitar heroes throughout the decades.


Conclusion

Replicating Jimi’s sound is, seemingly, not too hard, especially with the abundance of equipment we have today and the fact that he kept everything simple.  In some ways, you could definitely scale down his whole setup to a vintage Fender Stratocaster, a Marshall Plexi and a that Fuzz Face pedal.

jimi hendrix live

However, those subtleties he was the master of – now, those are going to take a lot of skill and knowledge to get down correctly!  The list of gear we showed you here represents the most important equipment he Hendrix used during his brief career.

You can start by using a Fender Stratocaster, or even a cheaper copy although quality single-coil pickups will help you out in the process. Many Marshall amps these days and various digital modelling units also have presets that will replicate Hendrix’s tone.

If you really want to go old school, an old vintage fender, Marshall Super Lead, and the Fuzz Face will help you out. In case that’s too expensive for you, you can go with a Mexican Strat, a small tube-driven Marshall, and any kind of a fuzz pedal.

You should also not forget about Hendrix’s extensive use of wah pedals and there are many products out there specially designed to help you copy his wah tones. However, even the standard Dunlop Cry Baby GCB95 can come in handy in this case.

In the end, replicating Jimi’s tone also takes a lot of practice. Even if you had the same exact instruments and amps, it’s not exactly easy to make it all sound like him.

It will take time, but closely listening to his dynamics, the way he picked the strings, his choice of notes, and all the other things will help you get there. This is all of huge importance if you’re trying to get it close to his tone.

His skill, tone and overall charisma drove millions of peoples for decades, and chances are he will have that same effect on fans of hard sound far into the future. The gear he used to achieve his impressive sound is nothing too special.

For the most part, it’s a somewhat standard combination of guitars and amps with a sprinkle of thick fuzz. The core of his characteristic tone lies within the way he played the guitar, how he made it scream.

Jimmy Page Guitar Setup And Rig Rundown

jimmy-page-playing-guitar

When you walk into a guitar shop, chances are there will be a sign in the area designated for trying out guitars, that says “no Stairway to Heaven” on it.

This might be a silly example, but it’s little things like this that really paint a picture of just how influential Led Zeppelin was, and what kind of impact this band has had on the course of modern rock and metal music and even other genres.

In addition, “Stairway to Heaven” is, indeed, one really overplayed song. But for a good reason – it’s so damn great that it’s just unavoidable in one guitarist’s musical journey.

The main driving force behind this legendary band were two guys – singer Robert Plant and guitar player Jimmy Page.

The way Page played (and still plays) guitar is considered to be revolutionary for the time frame we’re talking about. Even today, you’ll be able to hear his impact in the playing of some younger guys.

He’s a type of guitar player who not only has the technical know-how, but also the impressive creative capacity. His riffs, solos, and licks are among the greatest ever played on electric guitar. And there’s no discussion about this whatsoever.

Our task in this article is to find out what type of gear Jimmy Page used, and how that gear impacted guitar tone and the overall artistic output. We will take the time to look into his guitars, amps and effects pedals.

Hopefully, by the time you are done with this piece, you will have a better understanding of what hardware lies behind Led Zep’s tone. Now let’s take a listen to one of the many, many great Zep tunes, this one from “Physical Graffiti” – the classic “Trampled Under Foot.”


Guitars

The most important component of every guitarist’s setup are – obviously – their guitars. Jimmy Page has a very distinct taste when it comes to the instruments that he plays. Which is most definitely not a surprise for such a sophisticated and experienced musician who started his career as a session musician.

Most rock music fans will instantly recognize his immense affection for Gibson Les Pauls. That is no surprise considering that his inventory of guitars mostly came down to this model.

jimmy-page-number-one-guitar

With that said, there is one guitar that is truly special both to Page and to us. It’s his 1959 Les Paul Standard he named “Number One.”

This guitar is followed by two more Les Pauls that are designated as “Number Two” and “Number Three.” However, the first one is still the most notable piece he has.

In essence, it’s a regular 1959 Les Paul Standard, which is pretty special in itself.

Once Page acquired this Les Paul, there were a number of modifications done to it. Most notably, the neck was sanded down for more speed and playing comfort.

Page, a Telecaster man until that moment, took the “Number One” and swapped the tuning machines along with pickups at a later point in time.

All the Les Pauls that were made back in 1959 are still, even to this day, considered as the “holy grail” of the guitar world. It is one Gibson series with such quality that all the other series strived to achieve this level.

Needless to say, these guitars are highly valued and can sell for more than $100,000.

jimmy-page-playing-a-les-paul-guitar

His “Number Two” and “Number Three” were mostly based on this customized Les Paul since Page was so impressed by what the guitar could do.

Aside from these, Page also used some pretty weird guitars. There’s the 1970 Gibson EDS-1275 Doubleneck guitar that he liked to pull out specially for Stairway to Heaven.

This particular model has also been used by countless other guitar heroes over the years and features one neck with 12 strings and the other features the regular 6-string setup.

Arguably the most unusual axe he ever used is the 1967 Vox Phantom XII, which is a 12 String. This thing has the weirdest body shape among all of the Jimmy Page’s guitars throughout his career.

While we’re at some of the weird instruments in his collection, Page also used somewhat of a rare guitar, the Danelectro Longhorn double-neck.

As opposed to the usual setup of double-neck guitars, where one is a 12-string and the other one a 6-string, here we have two 6-string necks. The only difference between the two parts is that the lower one has a longer scale length, serving as a baritone guitar that goes into some lower tunings.

While writing and recording music for some of the 1980s films, like the “Death Wish II,” Page played on a Roland G-707 guitar.

As these were the times of experimentations and innovation in both technology and music, the G-707 is one of those synth guitars from the decade that were all responsible for revolutionizing the music world.

It can essentially be used as a MIDI controller along with a synth processor unit to create various tones, even imitating pianos, strings, and countless other instruments.

But, of course, one should not forget about one more of his legendary guitars, the well-known hand-painted Fender Telecaster. Being a gift from his good friend (and another guitar master) Jeff Beck, the instrument was implemented on Led Zeppelin’s self-titled debut album.

This comes as a surprise to some, not only due to the obvious Les Paul affection that Jimmy Page has but also due to the fact that it’s really unusual to hear a Telecaster sound so heavy. Aside from the debut record, Page used it for some of the band’s earliest tours as well as on the famous groundbreaking solo for “Stairway to Heaven” from the band’s fourth album.

Of course, there have been many other guitars in his collection and we could probably write a series of articles to cover each and every one of them. Bear in mind that these are just some of the most notable ones, along with some oddballs worth mentioning.


Amps

In terms of amplification, the hardware list is almost as colorful as it is with his guitars. Naturally, his selection of amps dictated a large portion of his tone, which was nothing unusual back in those days.

One of the first amps he ever used with Led Zeppelin is the Rickenbacker Transonic combo. This is an old piece of gear, a very rare transistor amp coming from the 1960s. If in good condition, some can reach the price of a few thousand dollars if sold today.

This monolithic amp, and one rather unusual unit for today’s standards, was with Page during their first US tour, only to be used for a number of occasions afterward.

Next notable amp that he had in his collection is the Hiwatt Custom 50 and Custom 100. This was his main choice from 1969 to 1971.

Both of these were slightly modified according to his own taste, however, it’s fair to say that he didn’t really change the core of the sound. Rather, his customizations gave these amps an edge of sorts.

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Of course, one of his favorite amps has got to be the Marshall SLP-1959 Super Lead. This was an old school Marshall stack that had 100 Watts of power and two channels.

It was one of the first amps to come with an overdrive. He used this configuration extensively throughout 1975 and later on as well.

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However, the story goes that Jimmy Page’s Super Lead was modded and that it went up to the power of the very impressive 200 watts.

Maybe this was a bit excessive, but we know that Page is one of the people responsible for developing heavy metal music, so going into some dangerous areas was not unheard of in those early days of the genre. Especially knowing that those old bands competed in loudness on live shows.

When it comes to some less conventional amps, Supro Thunderbolt is the first thing that comes to mind. This was the amp that Led Zeppelin’s first album was recorded on.

In addition, some portions of “Stairway to Heaven” were also recorded using this old amp. So it’s definitely a piece of gear of great historic value. Paired with his Telecaster, he made some game-changing tones with it.

However, there have been some speculations whether this was a Thunderbolt or a Coronado model, but the story goes that the amp was modded and fitted with a 12″ speaker, instead of the standard two 10-inch ones.

Page’s affection for this particular Supro never went away, and it’s something he still likes to use today.


Effects Pedals

Effects pedals you could find on Jimmy Page’s pedalboard developed from a pretty simple setup in his early days, to a more complex configuration later on.

One of the earliest pedals he ever used was the Maestro FZ-1 Fuzz-Tone. This thing had a pretty raw tone, which definitely went along with Jimmy’s style back in the day. It is also the first-ever commercially produced distortion device in history, also used by the likes of Keith Richards and Billy F. Gibbons.

One particular type of effects pedals Page really loved was the wah. He owned a number of Vox models which could probably represent the evolution of their whole line in chronological order.

Notable examples are the Vox Cry Baby Wah ñ the original one developed by Thomas Organ Company, Vox King Way and Vox Grey Wah.

The aforementioned Vox Cry Baby model is the one that served as the basis for today’s Dunlop Cry Baby.

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Aside from these, you could see a number of different MXR models, including the M101 Phase 90 and a number of Maestro Echoplex pedals.

Speaking of which, his Echoplex EP-3 is something he keeps using to this day. These are, of course, all of those pedals that were produced back in the day.

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Conclusion

Jimmy Page, just like most guitar players of that time, relied heavily on their choice of guitars and amps. That was how they formed the core of their tone. Page’s sudden jump from Fender to Gibson is considered to be the pivotal point in his career.

Those Les Paul humbuckers had all the girth and width he wanted, which resulted in some of the most epic riffs known to mankind. If you are interested in achieving a tone similar to his, you should start with the Les Paul Standard.

If possible, make it a 1959 model although those are considered to be a true piece of treasure and are worth a fortune. However, even the new Les Paul will work as long as you get the electronics right.

Maybe you can start out with some of those replicas of vintage pickups, or some solid Gibson or Seymore Duncan pickups if you want to get the tone without spending money on a whole new Gibson guitar. A solid Epiphone LP with a new set of pickups might just do the trick.

Although bearing single-coil pickups, his old Telecaster helped him achieve some pretty heavy tones. All the Fender Teles today do a good job at making some pretty versatile tones. Even getting a cheaper model, like the Mexican Fender Telecaster, will be a good start if you’re the fan of Led Zeppelin’s self-titled debut record.

As for the amps, there are some Marshalls today that can help you replicate the old vintage hard rock tones. Or, a more affordable yet a controversial approach, is to have any kind of digital amp modelling device that does a good imitation of the Marshall Super Lead.

All the guitars and all the pieces of gear that we mentioned above are the ones that helped Jimmy Page shape his tone, ultimately giving a solid basis for the generations of guitar players to further develop their own distinctive rock and heavy metal tones.

But it’s not rare to find people who specifically try to get those exact Jimmy Page tones that we can hear on the old records. If you’re one of them, bear in mind that this will not exactly be the cheapest task. Especially knowing that he used some pretty old vintage amps that are extremely difficult to find today.

Hopefully, this article helped you understand the hardware behind Led Zeppelin’s sound and how Jimmy Page formed managed to achieve his well-known and easily recognizable tone.

Our Favorite Albums That Use Proco RAT Distortion Pedals

It’s no surprise why many a musician, famous and not, have gotten themselves a ProCo RAT to use and abuse.  It’s noisy, it’s heavy, it’s greasy, and it’s just the way mamma likes it!

RAT Distortion History

The RAT story begins in downtown Kalamazoo, Michigan, at the ProCo Sound Factory.

As RAT has always strove to be the “Sound of the Underground”, it seems only fitting that they found their beginnings in a basement, with actual rats, developing the prototype for what would become the first RAT pedal, the Bud Box Rat, from 1978.

There were only 12 of these pedals made, prototype included, and they were all hand made, drilled, and finished with a silk screen logo.

The first actual “RAT” came out in 1979 and was the first to be mass produced, achieving the classic look and sound of the pedal we (or some of us, probably excluding a few stuffed shirts out there) know and love.

From there, the RAT chronology goes a little something like this.

  • The Rat (ver. 2) 1981-83
  • Small Box RAT 1984-88
  • R2DU 1984-88
  • RAT 2 1988-present
  • Turbo RAT 1989-present
  • Vintage RAT 1991-2005
  • Brat 1997-2001
  • Deucetone RAT 2002-present
  • You Dirty RAT 2004-present

There are alternatives to the RAT pedal such as the VFE Alpha Dog, Dr Scientist Elements, Emma Reezafratzitz, and others.  But most RAT fans I think will agree that you can’t quite get the same effect as the real deal, which is why RAT users stay RAT users.

They might buy other pedals, but generally they don’t take the RAT away.

Not only have RAT pedals been used by just about everyone trying to get some decent distortion in their sound, but there’s a whole bunch of musicians you definitely would know that love the RAT’s distorted sounds to the point where they have featured the pedal in some of their biggest songs.

We wanted to share with you some classic albums that we think are life-changing for any rock fan to hear, that have a healthy dose of the RAT distortion sound.

Some of these albums you may know, some you may not, but we suggest you to go check these albums if you somehow missed ’em.

Kill ‘Em All by Metallica

When people think RAT distortion, they tend to think of that classic dirty sound, but then from there it becomes somewhat confusing as to what genres of music actually fully embrace the RAT.

The reason we say that is because in the gear forums, there are arguments on whether or not RAT pedals are good for metal or not?  Some say no, some say hell yeah.

The thing is, one of the metal gods themselves, Metallica, was big on RAT pedals back in the day, and featured them on their debut album – Kill ‘Em All.  Now, you might argue that Metallica wasn’t even “metal” at the time, but instead “thrash” (sub-genre of metal or punk? hybrid?).

But, the term actually lands, as far as we know, on “thrash metal”, so it’s a type of metal music.  No, it’s not not death metal, but it still falls under the metal banner, and paving the way for many bands to follow.  Because who is metal if not METALLICA!?

With Kill ‘Em All, we will say that there is even some debate about the presence of RAT distortion in the mix.  People attribute their sound back then to other parts of the early Metallica rig.

It does makes sense that it is slightly vague, because Metallica weren’t famous yet and so no one was keeping track of their rig by taking press pics or fan pics or whatever people do now to try to figure out what pedals a band uses.

However, we believe that RATs are in there, and once you tune into the sound, there seems to be no denying it.

Here’s a video that makes a good argument that Metallica was beefing up their sound with some RATs, particularly Kirk.  Watch this and see what you think.

If you are still on the fence about whether Kill ‘Em All was using RATs, it’s going to be hard to convince you 100% at this point, short of a direct quote from the band or a picture of their pedalboard (which we can’t find – goddammit).

Then, we feel, the question becomes – Can you use a RAT to get the Kill ‘Em All sound (since we can’t travel back in time to take pics of their gear back in ’83), and the answer to that we think is HELL YEAH YOU CAN.

Watch this video which seeks to mimic Search and Destroy’s tones and see if you think that the tones match.  We think you’ll agree, it’s pretty damn close.

Now, for the album in question.  Here’s Kill ‘Em All.  Listen and enjoy, and if you hear a RAT in the mix, let us know in the comments.


Monster by R.E.M.

rem-monster-album-rat-distortion

R.E.M.?  What are they doing here? 

R.E.M. isn’t necessarily the first band you think of when you think of “dirty” or “heavy”, since they are generally considered to be more of a jangle-pop band by reviewers trying to describe their sound.  R.E.M. were disciples of Big Star, and Big Star liked their riffs to be sparkly and jangly, not RAT-ified.  R.E.M., over the years, wrote songs that were typically full of arpeggiated guitar licks and they never did release a metal album of any sort, did they?

To be fair, R.E.M. did have a period back in the ’90’s where guitarist Peter Buck got into using that unmistakeable RAT distortion sound for their Monster album, especially live on tour that year in 1995. 

The goal, at this time, was to hit people with something that they maybe didn’t see coming – a real ROCK album, followed by a real stadium rock tour.

Tracks such as “What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?”, as well as severals others from this album, feature RAT distortion.

By the time Monster arrived in ‘94, R.E.M. had long since left behind being maybe the best underground band to come out of Athens, Georgia besides the B-52’s.  They were, by the mid-90’s, well known for albums like Green, Out Of Time, and Automatic For The People. 

For the most part, R.E.M. was almost known as a sort of alt-rock folkster band because they used a lot of instruments like mandolin and acoustic-y sounds which gave them more of a lighter touch on their mid-career albums.

On Monster, Peter Buck finally let loose with some decidedly heavier riffage, influenced most likely by the “Seattle Sound” that had swept across the nation a few years prior.  R.E.M. must have gotten sick of being sort of a bunch of nice guys, and at least Peter wanted to straight up rock out, since the band were fans of punk rock, to an extent.

Although tremolo was also a big part of the Monster album, the RAT pedal was in there just as much as the tremolo, providing some spicy mids. 

R.E.M. eventually did return to their more subdued side before calling it a day in 2011, but for a while there, they were rockin’ the RAT and getting some fat sounds that must have shocked some of their more sensitive fans who wanted to hear more “Near Wild Heaven” type of songs.

Here’s Monster, for what it’s worth…


Blur by Blur

blur-self-titled-graham-coxon-rat-distortion-pedal

Blur is a band that has been around since the early 90’s, and they started their career as a Brit-pop band, writing slightly woozy and somewhat psychedelic songs like “She’s So High” and “There’s No Other Way”.  In other words, songs that had nothing to do with RAT distortion.  That said, Graham was always an effects buff, so it was only a matter of time…

Anyway, once they hit their second and third albums, the band was getting huge in the UK, and basically writing some of the UK’s most classic albums with Modern Life Is Rubbish and Parklife.  Still, they were not known to get “heavy”, in a “Down with the sickness” sort of way.  They did have Bank Holiday, which was pretty damn fuzzy for an album like Parklife, which featured a lot of strings and stuff.

That said, Graham Coxon, the band’s resident wizard guitarist a la Jonny Greenwood, a la John Squire, a la Noel Gallagher, is a master of tones and effects and can write a riff as good as any axe-man alive.  So, as the band grew, so did his pedalboard.  It was just a matter of time before Blur decided to do what R.E.M. did at the mid-life point of their career – get kinda pissed off, and go heavy.

In 1997, the band was fed up with being “brit-pop” and hit the public with their most distorted song to date – Song 2.  You know, the “Whoo hoo!” song.  Damon was apparently going through something, and things were getting weird.  The band had heard Sebadoh and Nirvana, and were ready to show the world that they too were damaged goods.

Song 2, aka Woo Hoo, well – this song was brought to you by RAT – specifically, not one but TWO Proco Turbo RATs to get that beefy sound, and on the bass yet, and maybe the guitar too.  It’s just one giant wall once the song really kicks in. Apparently some deny that Song 2 was pure greasy-tailed RAT, but most just accept it as a fact.  

But we wouldn’t put this album, actually called Blur, on this list if the RAT was just used on Song 2. Actually, we might, but…

If you’ve actually listened to this album, you would know that there are several really distorted, dirty songs that really boost up the grunge a whole lot.  Blur is a band with so much talent, that they basically can’t stick to one sound, and so every album shows off something different, whether it’s a string arrangement, a gnarly riff, a fluid bass part, or what have you.

Blur by Blur, while being a fairly gnarly album, goes in several different directions at once, and this is because Graham, the guitar player, is having a field day with some new sounds for the band.  This album came out before 13, where he really cuts loose with some wild stuff, but this album is a precursor, and is pretty weird and wild itself.

The RAT was just one sound Graham and co. incorporated into this mish-mash of an album, but he managed to succeed in creating what is definitely the heaviest, most speaker rockin’ album of Blur’s career.


Foo Fighters – Self-Titled Album

foo-fighters-first-album-rat-distortion

You may not remember this, but the Foo Fighters were once a quirky little punk pop rock band, where Dave was the only member and he tried to hide the fact that it was his band.  And so lo’, their first album was released to no fanfare with an alien laser gun on the front, and even the singles from that time had UFO imagery all over them.  For those of us hanging around CD racks in 1995, this album just looked like another weird new release by some alt-rock band somewhere.  Kinda cool cover, what is this??

This timeframe of the band as a wacky UFO-themed band from Roswell Records only lasted about a year (Roswell kept going, but the band being an X-Files band didn’t), with Dave Grohl running into a studio and ripping through all the tracks in like a week or something.  Roswell Records was an imprint of RCA, so it wasn’t exactly an indie label.  By this point the guy had cred, so he wasn’t just doing a super micro-label thing – he had distribution power, or else no one would have ever seen it on the racks.

dave-grohl-1995

Coming from the punk scene of being in Scream and then Nirvana (and let’s not forget Pocketwatch!), and having worked with Butch Vig and Andy Wallace, it’s not surprising that the first Foo Fighters album was pretty grunge-y itself, but well produced and well executed.  That is, full of big drums and distorted guitars, but played by a grunge God / total perfectionist.

People gave Dave flack for “copying” Nirvana somewhat, but Dave’s response was basically “Are you kidding me?  What did you expect me to do?” (<- not an exact quote) He was a rocker, and most of the songs on the debut were from before or during Nirvana’s time.  He had been writing songs the whole time, it turns out.

Here’s the band’s first appearance on Letterman back in 1995. (They were also the last band to perform for Dave, as well)

Anywho, Dave really wanted things to sound dirty, and scream-y, and punky.. but also huge, a la Butch and Andy.  So he turned to RAT for a boost, like many 90’s alternative rock bands did at the time.  It was kind of either Big Muff, RAT, or both.

Anyway, that first album is a whole lot of RAT distortion, and you can check it out below:


Radiohead – The Bends

radiohead-the-bends-on-vinyl

Jonny Greenwood isn’t so much a guitar player as he is a guitar slingin’ mad scientist.  The sounds he can make with his instruments are definitely out of this world, but Jonny has always had a way of approaching his sound that is like Matt Damon in that movie (??) solving a huge equation on a 10 foot blackboard, in that it looks complicated to us, but to him it makes perfect sense cause he’s a genius.  

There’s a lot of things going on upstairs with that guy in terms of musical ideas, and it reflects in his playing.  Of all the members of Radiohead, Jonny is the reason they were never, and never will be boring.  Did he not CA-CHUNK “Creep” into being a half decent song, just because he couldn’t handle it being a normal song?

So by now, we all now Jonny is a guitar wizard, and here is a video showing evidence of that type of behavior…

So, yeah, the guy likes to mess around.  That said, if you cast your mind back to 1993, Radiohead was just a band that was considered a one-hit wonder with “Creep” from their album Pablo Honey.  Some people loved the song, others hated it.  But, what defined Creep, was those CA-CHUNKS.

At the time they released The Bends in 1995, bands like Oasis, Blur, and The Stone Roses were the big British alternative bands of the day, and it didn’t seem like Radiohead were going to take over as the next kings of British alt rock.  And then they did, becoming the 90’s version of Pink Floyd (atmospheric British arena band obsessed with production).

But what really made people take notice, when The Bends came out, was the video for Just, which got everyone talking about them.  Like, what was that guy saying???

While they were definitely an alternative band during the Pablo Honey days, it was their embracing of the Pixies loud-quiet-loud aesthetic for The Bends, as well as Jonny’s interesting use of pedals, that really set them apart from Oasis and Blur.

There is some debate who used what pedals back in those days, what with three guitar players in the band, all of whom enjoyed the sound of distortion.  That said, there was a RAT or two in the studio when The Bends was made.

While you might assume that Jonny was the one using the RAT pedal, it was supposedly Thom who loved using the Turbo Rat for The Bends (and for many distorted parts he’d play), while Jonny used a Marshall Shredmaster on songs like My Iron Lung, which is similar to a Rat.  Meanwhile, there’s Ed O’Brien, who is also known to dabble in weird sounds – mostly atmospheric, although even he was rumoured to use a RAT for a period of time – maybe on The Bends, but can’t be 100% sure. Oy vey, what a conundrum!

When it came to recording The Bends, it’s difficult to really say who did what in terms of guitar parts, as you’d have to be a fly on the wall to know which musician used which pedal for which song, although if you have a keen ear for guitar effects, you can probably make a good guess.  Each song does have an interesting melding of sounds, as a result of  the 3 guitarists in the band, each experimental in their own way.

What we can safely say is that Radiohead, particularly Thom, loves him some Turbo RAT distortion, and distortion was a huge part of what made The Bends such a classic album.  It slams!


Sonic Youth – Dirty

Sonic Youth has been around since the early ’80’s and they are one of those bands that has a ton of music that they’ve released.  Some people love the band, some hate it and don’t understand it.  They are definitely a strange group, with some pretty “challenging” songs to listen to.

At one point, they were dubbed as “no wave”, which is like a form of new wave but inverted to sound like the nightmare version of that movement, just kind of avant garde noise and the occasional sax.  In fact, Thurston might have been the one who came up with that no wave label in the first place.  They were always kind of a heavy band, though.

With songs like Shaking Hell, Society Is A Hole, and Tom Violence, Sonic Youth established themselves as a band that were not on friendly terms with mainstream society.  Even though they did achieve some sort of mainstream success, they were basically a punk band to the end, with some prog leanings, psychedelia, punk for sure, and plus some Jandek leanings.

In ’88, they surprised a few people with Daydream Nation, an album that showed that they had some great super catchy riffs up their sleeve, and were willing to take their creativity to the next level.  By this point they had Steve Shelley, who allowed them to really rock with some power.

It was then that their cult got very big, especially in Europe, where they toured a lot to some huge crowds who could relate to their “fuck absolutely everything” aesthetic that they managed to ooze through their amps and through the throngs of disenchanted Europeans of the ’80’s.

In ’92, Sonic Youth was back again with their album Dirty, which was…quite a dirty little album, featuring better production thanks to their label Geffen, more money thanks to Nirvana, but nastier and trashier songs that featured more noise, more guitar jams, and frankly more vision.  It was enough to drive your grandparents to go back to drinkin’ and druggin’.

Thurston Moore, being a real music nerd as he is, was always into pulling in as many influences as he could grab out of the air into the Sonic Youth palette, but one thing he always loved was a bludgeoning heavy dissonant riff.  Lee was the same way, it seemed, and so together it was two fractured souls against the world.

And yet, they also loved beauty, so him and Lee and Kim (who some say can’t play bass but meh, yeah she can) would come up with some nice, melodic passage, and then drop the hammer on it with some heavy distortion and “ruin” everything.

This is where the RAT pedal came into play heavily for Sonic Youth.  Thurston, being a RAT man for a long time by then, was way into the pedal by the time of Dirty and he really let it fly for that album. 

The RAT was the perfect pedal for Thurston to thrash out to, and when you turn it up loud, it really raises the hair on your arms and makes your dog go into spasms and your cat just drops dead from sound poisoning.  You better not have any wee ones around, they’ll also get a disease – headbanging disease that is!

The RAT isn’t the only pedal used on the album, because the band loves their effects pedals, but the RAT certainly it gets its day in the sun on Dirty.  Hear the full album here – best listened to while skateboarding at a mall.


So there ya have it – classic rock albums that sink their teeth into a RAT sandwich.  Visit the RAT website below.

Visit http://ratdistortion.com/

David Gilmour Guitar Setup And Rig Rundown

david gilmour guitar setup rig rundown

There’s only a handful of rock bands that can really be placed in the elite category, and Pink Floyd is definitely one of them.

Even though it’s still questioned whether or not they were the ones who effectively created both the psychedelic and progressive rock scene, it’s a fact that Pink Floyd developed it into what it is today.

One of the musical geniuses and creative forces behind this effort is David Gilmour.

His creativity and ability to transform complex shapes into music made him one of the contemporary guitar wizards.

Even though he wasn’t one of the founding members of Pink Floyd, Gilmour was there when the Dark Side of The Moon was being created, and was a big part of that project.

When it comes to the gear he liked using, the list is not that extensive, but it does include some of the more unusual models of equipment.

Today we are going to go over what this legend has been using throughout his career for his rig, and what type of gear you would have to get in order to replicate his sound, if you dare.


Fender Player Telecaster Electric Guitar – Maple Fingerboard

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Fender 65 Twin Reverb Neo 85-Watt 2X12 Inches Tube Combo Amp Wine Red

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Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi With Tone Wicker

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Dunlop Ffm3 Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face Mini Distortion

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Rig Rundown – Guitars

As usual, we will start with guitars. In the case of David Gilmour, things are pretty much straight forward.

He found out what works for him early on, and has since kept a more or less same selection of guitars. Later we are going to take a peek at his amps, and finally his effects pedals. Without further ado, let’s dig right in.

It’s absolutely no secret that Gilmour is a Fender man. More specifically, Stratocasters were always his thing.

The first decent guitar he owned was a 1960 Telecaster he got as a present from a friend. It was a stock model, and that is probably what sparked his interest in this particular brand.

david gilmour telecaster 1968

What followed afterward is a series of Stratocasters, with the most notable being his black 1969 Strat that has become his signature piece of gear.

He bought this guitar in New York in ’70s and has played it ever since. Over time, Gilmour modified the guitar in a number of ways.

The most obvious modification is the paint job since the guitar wasn’t originally black at all. The neck has been swapped several times, as well as the pickguard and pickups.

Speaking of which, depending on the specific year, you could see anything from Gibson PAF to Seymour Duncan SSL-1. The final configuration of pickups includes 1971 Fender single-coils in the middle and neck position, with an SSL-1C in the bridge.

seymour-duncan-ssl-1-vintage-staggered-sc-strat-pickup-rwrp

When he donated his black Strat to Hard Rock Cafe, he replaced it with a 1984 Strat ’57 Reissue model.

This one came in Candy Apple Red and was his main guitar until he requested his old black Strat back from Dallas Hard Rock Cafe.

david-gilmour-double-neck-strat-1972Among other interesting models in his collection, the Double-neck Stratocaster has got to be the most interesting one.

This guitar was made specifically for Gilmour by Dick Knight, and it featured two different Fender necks – one rosewood and one maple. Gilmour used this guitar for one tour back in 1972.

fender-custom-shop-custom-shop-david-gilmour-signature-stratocaster-electric-guitar-relic-black


Amps

In terms of amplifiers, Gilmour found a model that he loved all the way back in 1969.

The amp in question is a Hiwatt DR103, which is a 100 Watt head. He paired it with a WEM Super Starfinder 200 cabs that were fitted with four 12 inch Fane Crescendo transducers each.

Interestingly enough, Gilmour never stopped using these amps, and they have remained in his primary rig to this day.

Other amps he used, that are also worth mentioning, include several Fender Twin Reverbs, a Gallien-Krueger 250ML, and even a Yamaha RA-200 Leslie.

Speaking of those Fender amps, Gilmour had a Twin Reverb II paired with 4X12 Marshall cabs, which were packed with Celestions all the way. Just like his guitars, David Gilmour has a pretty defined taste in amps and cabs.


FX Pedals

The staple of Gilmour’s signal chain has always been the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi.

In some ways, he is directly responsible for the popularity of this effects pedal. Later on, he had Pete Cornish build him a custom pedalboard that included a variety of stompboxes.

electro-harmonix-big-muff-pi

Some of the notable models on this list include the Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face which is responsible for certain modifications being made on the black Strat, a number of MXR Phase versions, Cry Baby Wah, and more.

arbiter fuzzface

This board also included some Pete Cornish pedals. You could see his tone pedal, volume pedal, and the ST-2 booster unit.

As you would expect considering the sound of Gilmour’s guitar on most of Pink Floyd’s albums and his solo work, there’s a quite a bit of modulation in his signal chain.

With that said, he always knew how to use these effects without them coming across too strong.

Additionally, his pedalboard setup is a lot more complex and includes over 20 different effects, some of which were customized by Gilmour in a variety of ways.


Conclusion

David Gilmour’s music, both his work with Pink Floyd and his solo stuff, is on a level of its own. This guy simply knows guitars in and out.

The impact Gilmour had on the progressive scene is hard to measure. He influenced a lot of great bands that are pushing this genre and further developing it today.

Gilmour’s list of equipment and gear is not overly complicated, but it goes to show that you can achieve impressive results with a select number of effects.

One interesting piece we also have to mention is his guitar strap. He owns the original guitar strap that was used by Jimi Hendrix, which was gifted to him by his wife in 2006.

When Pink Floyd disbanded, it was probably one of the saddest events in the history of rock music.

Both the fans as well as other artists were hoping that this great band would come back together for at least one tour. Unfortunately, that is yet to happen.

Until then, we are left to enjoy Gilmour’s solo career.

Read more on the Pink Floyd tone here:

Celestion Ten 30 Guitar Speaker Review

James Hetfield Guitar Setup And Rig Rundown

james-hetfield-guitar-setup-rig-rundown

The story of metal music is a very interesting one. This genre slowly started coming out in the early ’70s with Black Sabbath showing us just how good the guitars can sound. From that point in time until today, metal has been through a lot.

With all that said, there is one band out there who single-handedly pushed this genre of music from a very niche environment to mainstream.

metallica-recent-band-photo

You’ve probably guessed it, we are talking about Metallica.

This group of guys took a new and aspiring type of music, infused it with energy, and spread it out around the world. They are considered to be the face of metal music, even today.

If there is one individual in this band who is responsible for the most of the achievement, it’s James Hetfield.

His talent, very peculiar singing style and overall great charisma are what put Metallica on the map in the first place.

Today we are going to do a quick rundown of his gear, and see what he used or still uses on stage to this day.

James Hetfield Rig Rundown

Achieving the type of hard sound Metallica relied the most on during their initial years was made possible by a very specific choice of gear they’ve used.

Some of that stuff is considered a golden standard today, but some of it still remains somewhat in the shadows.

Hetfield never liked to complicate things too much, but he did have his personal style when it came to his gear and setup.

Guitar Setup

One of the most popular things about James Hetfield, aside from his music and talent, are his guitars.

You will rarely see this man with a super Strat or Strat body guitar in his hands. It’s either Flying V’s, Explorers, or maybe sometimes SGs as well.

The number of specific guitar models Hetfield has used over the years is too long to count, but we are going to mention some of the more memorable pieces from his collection.

But first, here’s a little bit of Hetfield playing the riff for Judas Kiss, in case you forgot what he sounds like when he’s tearing up a metal riff.

Ibanez Ts9 Tube Screamer – Classic

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Esp Ltd Snakebyte Signature Series James Hetfield Electric Guitar With Case, Black Satin

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Marshall Jcm800 2203X 100W Tube Head

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Pro Co Rat2 Distortion Pedal

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The Electra Flying V

James’ Electra Flying V is by far one of his most interesting guitars.

It was a cheap axe he got from a friend, but something about it kept him coming back to this rather mediocre guitar.

Over time, he formed a bond with this instrument which is only possible when you go through thick and thin with it.

james-hetfield-electra-flying-v

In the end, his Electra Flying V was so badly damaged that it wasn’t even playable anymore.

Even so, Hetfield kept this guitar and went on to restore it. These days it’s spending more time as an exhibit that something he would use on stage.

Gibson Explorer

His 1984 Gibson Explorers are also among the most iconic pieces in his collection.

It’s no secret that Hetfield is a Gibson type of guy and that he prefers Explorers.

He has two of these awesome guitars – one named ‘So What’ and the other going by the name of ‘More Beer’ of all things. 

Both of these have seen a number of upgrades over the years, such as active electronics from EMG being installed and more.

hetfield-84-gibson-explorer

More recently, Hetfield has entered an endorsement deal with ESP guitars, which resulted in a number of great models being produced under his signature line.

One of the more popular ones is the ESP LTD Snakebyte. This six-string features a shape that is very similar to an explorer, and a number of upgrades Hetfield insisted on.

esp-ltd-james-hetfield-signature-snakebyte


James Hetfield’s Favorite Amps

When it comes to amps, things are pretty straight forward. In his early days, Hetfield mainly used various Marshall amps.

We are talking JML2203, JCM800, and others. Later on, you could see a number of Mesa/Boogies being included, most notably the MkIIC+ that was used on the Master of Puppets album.

During the Justice For All period, some Rolands were included in the mix, and have remained present ever since.

metallica-amps-on-stage

Somewhere around Load, Reload is when Hetfield started drifting away from the big brand amp and went on to experiment with more boutique type models.

For example, St. Anger was performed mostly on a mix of old Wizard amps and Diezel VH4s.

These days he is running anything from Krank Krankenstein to Revolution 1 heads.

Are Krankensteins any good?  Hear this…


James Hetfield – Favorite Effects Pedals

In terms of effects pedals, there really aren’t many that Hetfield has used over the years. He’s more of an old school kind of guy.

If you can tweak it on the amp, why bother with pedalboards and other unnecessary tech stuff? We can start this very short list of guitar pedals with his distortions, which there are two.

He is either going to be running a ProCat Rat, or the legendary Ibanez Tube Screamer. Both of these were features on some of the most popular albums Metallica has ever recorded.

pro-co-rat2-distortion-pedal

Aside from these, it’s worth mentioning his DigiTech Whammy and Dunlop Cry Baby Wah.

James is a firm believer in wah pedals and selective signal filtering in general. These two pedals are what he turns to when it is time to spice things up.

More recently James Hetfield ditched most of his pedals and instead uses a TC Electronics G-Major 2.

This unit allows him to call upon various effects and tone colors used on their previous work with little to no effort.

This has become his main solution since he has a dedicated tech who operates the board for him.

Conclusion

What kind of impact James Hetfield had on modern metal music is still being measured, but it’s substantial. Needless to say, Metallica is one of the most popular bands on the planet, which has a lot to do with Hetfield’s talent and charisma.

Metallica’s tone is not really that hard to dial in.

You don’t even need a ton of specialized hear to get there. A good guitar paired with a decent tube amp gets the job done in most cases.

On a similar note, Hetfield’s tone is exactly what defines the core of metal music.

It’s not about finesse, but rather that pure driving force that gives the music its girth. Hetfield understood that from day one.