Joe Satriani’s Guitar Rig And Setup

Whenever someone starts talking about who is currently among the best guitarists alive, one name appears every single time.

Joe Satriani is considered to be the true master of guitar. There are many great guitar players out there, but rarely anyone reaches the level of skill this man has.

Now watch as he lays down the classic “Surfing With The Alien”, live at Sweetwater.

Satriani is capable of squeezing out performance from his gear which is often beyond what is considered possible. A true virtuoso.

For someone who experiments with sound to a such as extent as Satriani does, it takes a lot of equipment to satisfy his requirements.

joe-satriani-playing-guitar

Our task today is to make a shortlist of Satriani’s most favorite gear. This will include his choice of guitars, amps, and effects pedals. As you are about to find out, all kinds of brands will appear in his equipment inventory.

Some of them are expected to be seen there, others maybe not so much. Either way, if you’re trying to figure out how to replicate a portion of Satriani’s sound, you are in the right place.

Joe Satriani’s Rig Rundown

Much like his former student and another god of electric guitar, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani also has a long lasting relationship with Ibanez.

This guitar manufacturer definitely knows who to work with, which is apparent from the success of the resulting signature models.

In Satriani’s case, he actually uses several of the guitars he helped design. Let’s see which ones are commonly used by him on stage.

Guitars

Ibanez JS-2400 in white is one of the Satriani’s main choices. He’s been seen playing this particular model numerous times, both on and off the stage. Ibanez JS2400 features a somewhat different body style than what we can usually see in Ibanez lineup.

The pickups are DiMarzio Mo’Joe and Pro Track, which give it the unique voicing. Needless to say, if Satriani chose this very guitar to be one of his top picks, it’s a must-have model for anyone who can afford one.

Going further down the list we’ll find Ibanez JS-1000 and JS-1200. These two also belong to his signature series but are not used as often as the JS-2400. With that said, he has been seen using both of these guitars on occasion.

Ibanez JS 1000
Ibanez JS-1000

When it comes to acoustics, Satriani also prefers his Ibanez models. One that comes to mind is JSA10 in black. Just like the JS series we have mentioned earlier, JSA line of acoustic guitars also belongs to his signature series.


Boss Bf-3 Flanger Guitar Effects Pedal

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D’Addario Exl120-3D Nickel Wound Electric Guitar Strings, Super Light, 9-42, 3 Sets

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Vox Valvetronix Vt20X Modeling Amplifier

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Amplifiers

Joe was always a Marshall guy. Unlike other guitar players near his caliber, he didn’t get his own signature line of amps until just recently when he made a deal with Peavey.

Prior to that, Satriani mostly used Marshalls. One of his main pieces was the Marshall JVM410H amp head.

marshall jvm410hjs_1

However, this was no ordinary JVM. He had the head modified by Santiago Alvarez – one of Marshall’s most talented engineers.

Another Marshall head he was seen using was the Marshall 6100 Anniversary head.

In terms of cabs, Marshall’s 1960Bs were the go-to option. Each one had four 12-inch Celestions whose color Satriani found to be just perfect for his tone.

Once he got official backing from Peavey, his gear changed. Instead of Marshall heads we just mentioned, Satriani used the Peavey JSX Signature head along with JSX 212 combos.

Cabinets for this setup were always Peavey JSX 412s. With that said, Satriani has announced that he’s going back to Marshall.


Effects Pedals

Listing all the guitar effects pedals Satriani uses or has been seen using would be too much for one article alone. We are just going to go over some most notable models.

Since Wah is such a big factor in his sound, let’s begin this rundown with the pedal he uses for this purpose.

Vox Joe Satriani Big Bad Dual Wah was developed in cooperation with Vox, and it’s exactly what Joe wanted from this type of effects pedal.

How different it actually is from other models which are available depends on how much you care about subtle changes to the tone.

For his distortion, Joe used the Vox Satchurator distortion pedal a lot. Only other model that has seen a lot of stage time besides this Vox unit, is a modified Boss DS-1.

In terms of modulation, there’s a lot of familiar names on the list. We have Boss BF-3 Flanger, Boss CH-1 Super Chorus, Ibanez FL9 Flanger and more.

boss-bf-3-flanger-guitar-effects-pedal


Accessories

Believe it or not, Satriani actually uses a lot of his signature model products. This goes way beyond guitars and amps. For example, you will find him playing his tours using Joe Satriani signature model picks.

Same goes for guitar straps. It’s not that he’s trying to sell this stuff by using it. On the contrary, he designed all of his signature products in a way that fits him the best.

joe-satriani-guitar-picks-planet-waves

Finally, let’s talk strings. Satriani is a huge D’Addario fan. On any given day you will most likely see D’Addario EXL120 electric guitar strings on all of his axes.

For the acoustics, he also uses a D’Addario set, only this time it’s the Phosphorus Bronze EJ16s.

daddario-exl120-3d-nickel-wound-electric-guitar-strings


Final thoughts

Satriani’s tone is among the most desired ones in the world. A lot of guitar players are trying to nail down the same color of tone he achieves, but only a handful actually succeeds.

As you might imagine, the extensive list of equipment Satriani uses has a lot to do with it. The best way to start is to get one of his Ibanez signature models. The rest can be built piece by piece.

He is set to release his own Marshall signature amps which should, in theory, bring the same sound he used before switching to Peavey.

Maybe even better. If you are really trying to copy Satriani’s tone, these two items should be on top of your list. With that said, a lot of one’s sound comes from the way that guitarist plays guitar. And that is something that is much harder to emulate.

Dave Mustaine Guitar Rig Rundown

dave mustaine rig rundown

Just how important Megadeth was for the evolution and propagation of metal is easy to figure out. They’ve introduced a lot of new ideas that weren’t necessarily present in the mainstream scene.

Just how important Megadeth was for the evolution and propagation of metal is pretty easy to figure out. The band has introduced a lot of new ideas that weren’t necessarily present in the mainstream scene before.

One more thing this band did was to show people that driving leads can push a song to a whole new level. However, there’s one man that stands behind this band’s greatness, and that’s the guitarist and singer, Dave Mustaine.

What’s more, some would even argue that Megadeth is Mustaine’s solo project. However, this is debatable and better left for some other occasion.

what gear does dave mustaine use

This hard-working, innovative, and talented musician is known for using a variety of pretty interesting guitars. Although his tone is a little “conservative,” it pretty much set the standards in all of the sub-genres of metal music.

So with all this said, we figured that we could take a look at what kind of guitars and gear Dave Mustaine has been using over the years.

After reading this guide, you’ll get the overall idea of how you can replicate his legendary tone, at least to some extent.

Just to remind everyone who we’re talking about, here’s a clip of Megadeth playing live and you can hear that tone live and loud in this blistering solo from “She-Wolf.”

Guitars

We are going to kick things off with the guitars that Dave Mustaine uses.

If there’s one thing that you can tell straight away, that is Mustaine’s affection for Flying V guitars and other “unconventional” guitar body styles.

He was also among the first metal players to use electric guitars with two necks. With that said, let’s check out some of the notable models he was seen using over the course of his career.

B.C. Rich Bich Perfect 10

B.C. Rich Perfect 10 Ten-String Electric Guitar, Dragon Blood

When he was just starting out, long before he ever laid his hands on a Flying V of any kind, Mustaine rocked a B.C. Rich Perfect 10. It was a decent guitar, and it still is.

However, his relationship with this particular model didn’t last for too long. Just when the 1980s rolled around, Dave Mustaine shifted his focus to some more interesting models that just started appearing on the market.

Either way, B.C. Rich Perfect 10 is somewhat of an unusual instrument, featuring an unconventional design. But these were the late 1970s and early 1980s, so companies were open for experimentation.

Hardcore Megadeth fans will still respect this particular B.C. Rich, and give it a certain amount of credit for Mustaine’s success so far.

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As soon as Mustaine first saw this guitar, he changed camps for good. His love for Jackson began in the mid-’80s and has resulted in an endorsement deal with this company.

Needless to say, he could choose whichever guitar he wanted at that point, but Dave still remained in the Jackson camp for a long while.

The significance of Jackson King V is the fact that it was one of the first Jacksons Mustaine ever played. Because of that, this guitar definitely deserves praise and attention.

After all, this devilish-looking “V” model is one of Jackson’s longest-running products. Starting their production in the 1980s, the guitar’s main features are almost unchanged to this day.

It’s a standard thrash metal banger with two humbucker pickups on it.

Jackson King V Kvxmg X Series Electric Guitar – Black

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While we’re at Jackson’s V models, Mustaine has his “Number One” Jackson. This silver-colored instrument has been in use since the “Peace Sells” album, and he’s been recording a huge portion of Megadeth’s studio recordings with it.

In addition, he used it for many of Megadeth’s live shows. There are many other Jacksons in there, including the KV1, Y2KV, and even the unusual Y2KV double-neck guitar.

This last one is a weird instrument that was used by Mustaine for a while, mostly around 2001. But it was auctioned off along with most of his other Jacksons, so it’s no longer in his possession. There were actually a few of these in his collection, but their whereabouts are currently unknown.

Dean VMNT Dave Mustaine Angel of Deth Electric Guitar

Mustaine’s gig with Jackson wasn’t the only endorsement deal he ever made with guitar manufacturers. Dean was another brand that was more than happy enough to work with this incredible artist. Over the years they have released a number of Dave Mustaine signature model guitars that all featured the Flying V design.

On a similar note, he had a short stint with ESP as well, which also produced some Flying Vs based on Mustaine’s input. The guitar model in question is labeled as DV8, but he also has a few other versions, some even featuring some thematic Megadeth artwork on them.

Dean Vmnt Dave Mustaine Peace Sells Electric Guitar

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While we’re at ESP guitars, he also has his signature Axxion Dave Mustaine model. This is a fairly unusual guitar, with the innovative and unconventional design being its most notable trait.

The guitar was actually conceived by Mustaine himself decades ago, but no other company other than ESP was up to the task of actually bringing this instrument to life.

Although we don’t think of him as an acoustic player, Mustaine has some great stuff in this department as well. So as far as the acoustics go, he prefers stuff like Ovation T357.

Of course, he also made his signature acoustic guitars with Dean and he owns a few Dave Mustaine Mako signatures.

Just to pay tribute to all the great guitars in his collection, we should also mention a few Dean Zero signature guitars, as well as his Ibanez Destroyer.


Amps

When it comes to amps, Dave Mustaine started pretty simple but ended up using a variety of different brands and amp models.

What you will notice is that most of his amps, at least ones he is personally fond of, are various Marshall models.

Mustaine never really felt the need to swap them for anything else, while he included various preamps to get the desired effect.

Marshall JCM800

Marshall JCM800 2203X 100W Tube Head

Back in the old days, Marshall JCM800 was a very popular choice for many metal lovers. It was used by a large variety of artists, but it just seemed to be naturally good at delivering a more than just a decent metal sound.

As a matter of fact, Mustaine used the JCM800 to record a number of Megadeth’s initial albums. Ever since then, his love for Marshall has only grown.

Marshall Jcm800 2203X 100W Tube Head

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Marshall JVM410

jvm410h

Another notable amp we have to mention is the Marshall JVM410.

It has found its way into Mustaine’s set-up quite recently, but he was more than happy to use it for a very long period of time.

Did it significantly change the sound of the band? No, not really. Marshall amps are Marshall amps.

They all share that same core quality which is the main reason why so many people love them in the first place. The Marshall JVM410 is just a more modern representation of that very sound.

To put it simply, the first thing that comes to mind at the mention of Mr. Mustaine is a Marshall stack.

Any of his setups is Marshall-oriented and there have rarely been any other brands in his rig. He always paired the Marshalls with matching cabinets, like the classic 4×12-inch V30.

Aside from the aforementioned JCM800 and JVM410, he also used the company’s power amplifier, the very powerful and potent EL34 100/100. It’s not certain what preamp he paired it with, but he used it occasionally over the years.


Effects

If you’ve been listening to Megadeth for any significant period of time, you will know that Mustaine’s tone is pretty conservative.

Dave isn’t exactly a fan of large pedalboards that are filled with layers upon layers of distortions, overdrives, and those wacky colorful choruses.

His policy is to get the best sound out of those tubes and use that to achieve the wanted results. With that said, Mustaine does use some guitar pedals.

Zoom G2.1DM

Zoom G2.1DM Dave mustaine signature pedal

One of the most interesting things you will find in Mustaine’s signal chain is this Zoom effects processor, the G2.1 model.

Not only was it designed based on the input of this great guitar player, but it pretty much gives you that Megadeth sound straight out of the box.

In fact, it is so good that Mustaine himself uses it quite often. This is definitely an unusual choice of an effects pedal for a high-level metal professional. Usually, guitar players of his caliber will stay far away from devices like these.

However, no one can deny the practical value of this unit.

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At this point, Dave even has a special signature version of the processor, labeled as G2.1DM. It’s a fairly cheap device and you can get some great Megadeth tones right from the factory.

But although he’s not keen on having many pedals and other devices, this doesn’t mean that there’s nothing else to mention in Dave’s rig. There are a few straightforward pedals that he used over the years, like Boss CH-1 Super Chorus.

CH-1 Super Chorus

This classic pedal is pretty popular both among professionals and amateurs.

It has four basic controls on it, as well as an option to use it as a stereo effect. Just one simple classic Boss pedal that gets the job done without too many fancy complicated additions.

Looking further into the matter, Dave does use a few pedals here and there. Another example that he implements occasionally is TWA Triskelion 2.0, also labeled as “Harmonic Energizer.”

This is a fairly rare and expensive one, but it provides some very harmonically rich distorted tones. You won’t find any other dirt pedal like this one.

Aside from the aforementioned Zoom multi-effects processor, he also used DigiTech’s GSP1101 preamp.

DigiTech's GSP1101 preamp

This is a very detailed and advanced rack-mounted piece. It’s nothing like the G2.1DM, but rather a fully professional piece.

According to some confirmed data online, Mustaine also implemented Rocktron Prophesy rack-mounted guitar effects processor. This was most likely during the mid-2000s.

To control the rig, he also used the Rocktron All Access LTD Foot controller.

Rocktron All Access LTD Foot controller

There are some theories about other pedals that he used, but some of the stuff has just not been confirmed.

And again, as we said – he was never really keen on having too many pedals. As we can see with these multi-effects processors, he likes to keep things simple.

It’s definitely easier to have multi-effects units rather than complicated pedalboards.


Conclusion

Dave-Mustaine playing Dean VMNT

In this brief guide, we gave you a rundown of the most notable guitars and gear that Dave Mustaine used over the years. As you can imagine, he most likely has a much wider range of equipment than what we listed above.

It’s worth noting that most of that gear is rather stage-oriented stuff that you probably won’t need to use anytime soon. The stuff we listed will be more than enough to perfectly replicate this tone.

Sure, it’s not that complex of a tone to emulate, but if you want to literally mirror his setup, these instruments and accessories will get you there with the least amount of effort.

On the other hand, a lot of the stuff that we mentioned would be pretty expensive for an average guitar player looking to emulate Mustaine’s tone.

If you want the cheapest option, getting a Zoom G2.1DM comes as a great solution. But if you want to make it more convincing, then using a tube-driven Marshall can do the trick.

Some additional overdrives that would get the natural tube distortion running would be a great addition, as well as a simple Boss chorus for some of the clean parts.

Mustaine’s very simple and spartan approach to his gear has led many to follow his example. This is especially true today when a lot of guitar players are ditching their solid-state amps and are turning to more traditional tube amps to get that organic sound.