Adam Jones (Tool) guitar rig

Adam Jones, guitarist for the band Tool, is arguably one of the most influential guitarist to emerge from the 1990's. Jones was rated 9th in Guitar World's Top 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists. Compiling an accurate guide to the gear used by Adam Jones is tricky business, as Tool as a whole are known for spreading misinformation about themselves and their music, which extends to gear.

Adam Jones is famous for his preference for Gibson Silverburst Les Paul Customs. The original Gibson Silverburst Les Paul Custom was manufacturer between 1978-1985 however was famously discontinued by Gibson due to complaints about the finish flaking and altering the tone of the guitar. This tone alteration is what Jones has says he finds appealing about the Silverburst Les Paul Custom. He is rumoured to own three Gibson Silverburst Les Paul Customs with Seymour Duncan SH-4 JB humbuckers fitted in the bridge position, although he has also been rumoured to use Seymour Duncan Trembucker's occasionally as well. Jones also uses a Natural finish Gibson Les Paul on for the tracks "Prison Sex" (tuned BADGBE) and "Parabol/Parabola" (tuned BEDGBE).

1981 Gibson Les Paul Custom Silverburst
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Adam Jones runs multiple amplifiers at the same time to build his guitar tone. Two amplifiers that have consistently remained in his setup since 1994 are the 1976 Marshall Super Bass and Diezel VH4 "Blueface" (manufactured between 1994-1997). The Marshall Super Bass is a non-master volume amp that has both of its channels wired together.

Jones has also used a Mesa-Boogie Dual Rectifier (2 channel version) live, particularly in the 1990's, although it would appear that this head has been replaced with a newer issue Diezel VH4.

When playing live, Jones does not switch channels on the VH4, leaving them set on channel 3.

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In more recent times Jones has experiment with a variety of amplifiers in the studio. A Sunn Beta Lead was said to have been used during the recording of Lateralus.

In an interview with, Joe Barresi, who was an engineer on the recording of 10,000 Days gave a detailed explanation of the gear Adam Jones used in the studio.

“Adam mainly runs three amps: He has a Marshall that he loves, a Diezel and then he was using a Mesa Boogie at one point. I brought in a Bogner Uberschall head and a Rivera Knucklehead Reverb, and several other things. Then we just experimented with combinations of heads and cabinets until it worked for the song. Most of the 4×12s were Mesa Boogie cabinets, which are superior for their low end, except for the Marshall head, which went through a Marshall cabinet, and the Rivera went through a Rivera cabinet. I usually used stock miking. For me, that's a Shure SM57 and a Sennheiser 421 on every cabinet. The third mic could be anything that I felt the sound needed more of.”

The signal chain for tracking guitar was a bit complex. “Adam would play into whatever pedals he needed,” Barresi says. “That signal then went into a Systematic Systems Splitter. Then it would go to between three and five heads. The signal from the heads went to their own individual cabinets. Each cabinet had two or three microphones on it. Then all the microphones came back to the console, and they were blended down as separated for each amp. The Diezel amp went to its own track. The Marshall amp went to its own track. The third track was a blend of the Bogner and the Rivera, or whatever I liked for the song. And that would be one take — three tracks of guitar.”


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Whilst Jones is on record saying, in a 1994 Guitar School interview, that he strongly disliked using effects pedals. In the bands early days he used a Boss Delay pedal and an equalizer in his live setup, later adding a Crybaby Wah and a Ibanez Flanger. The wah is thought to be a Dunlop CryBaby BB-535.

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With the recording of Lateralus Jones' setup began to feature more effects, and he has been quoted as saying that he uses an Access Virus B pedal hooked up to a Moog Taurus bass synth pedal for some tracks, in particular the introductions on "Reflection" and "The Grudge".

In an April 2006 interview with Guitar World magazine, Jones stated that he used the Gig-FX Chopper Effects Pedal. He also spoke of how a number of his effects had been modified.

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For the track "Jambi" from 10,000 Days he stated that he used a Foxx Tone Machine Reissue and a Heil talk box.

One of his more recent live pedal boards, as seen below, includes an Boss BF-2 Flanger, Boss DD-3/5 Digital Delay, Ernie Ball Volume pedal, MXR M-133 Micro Amplifier, Line 6 DL-4 Delay Modeller and StroboStomp Virtual Strobe Tuner, Boss- PSM5 Power supply/Master switch (x 2), DOD FX40B EQ.

BOSS BF-3 Flanger
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In a September 1993 with Guitar Player, Jones was quoted as saying that he uses an Epilady TRIO (a women's electric hair remover) in place of an E-Bow. "An Epilady is even better than an E-Bow," he said. "It makes great sounds when you push it against the pickups."

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Whilst the core of his pedal board remains consistent of Delay, Flanger and Wah, Adam Jones has been seen experimenting with a variety of other effects as well (as seen in the image below).

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Other pedals Adam Jones is rumored to have used, and not previously mentioned above include:

  • Snarling Dog Blues Bawls
  • Snarling Dog Mold Spore
  • Voodoo-Lab Tremolo
  • Dunlop Heil Talk Box
  • Boss SYB-3 Bass Synth
  • Access Virus Classic (Redtop)
  • Gig-Fx Chopper
  • Boss CE5 Chorus Ensemble
  • Buzz Box Signature Buzz Melvin Distortion
  • If you can only own one Tool cd, pick up Aenima.

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    If you have any comments, corrections or additions to this guitar rig, please feel free to post them in the forum here.


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