Ray Toro Guitar Rig

Ray Toro Guitar Rig (My Chemical Romance)

My Chemical Romance are one of those bands that people either love, or love to hate. Personally, I think that 'Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge' is a cracking good album, although 'The Black Parade' is a little bleak for my tastes. Guitarist Ray Toro is responsible for the bulk of the bands flashier guitar solos, and his guitar rig is one that will look familiar to anyone in to heavy rock.


Ray Toro Guitar RigEarly in his career, Toro played an Epiphone Elitist Les Paul Standard and Gibson X-plorer. For 'The Black Parade' tour, Toro used one Gibson Les Paul Standard (either 91 or 93) fitted with Seymour Duncan Phat Cat (SPH90-1) P90 style pickups and a '93 Gibson Les Paul standard with a Seymour Duncan JB (SH-4) fitted in the bridge. This was confirmed in a January 2007 interview with Seymour Duncan's Groundwire magazine. During this time he was also seen playing a Gibson Les Paul Junior.

Throughout the recording of 'The Black Parade' Toro mainly used his Gibson Les Paul Standard with the Phat Cat pickups. Occasionally he used a Fender Telecaster for some of the clean tones, for example, the clean verses of the tracks "Mama" and "I Don't Love You". A Fender Stratocaster was also used for the solo on "I Don't Love You".

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For amplification, Toro uses a Marshall JCM 2000 DSL100 with two Marshall 1960A cabinets for the bands live shows. For the recording of 'The Black Parade' Toro relied on a 100 watt Marshall JCM800 head he borrowed from Rob Cavallo after his DSL100 broke down during preproduction. He has described the JCM800 as being the "loudest and ballsiest amp" he has ever heard. In the studio a Hiwatt head was also used on occasions, paired up with a fuzz box or other effects pedals to add additional textures.

Marshall JCM 2000 DSL401 Combo Guitar Amp

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Guitar Effects

In an interview with Seymour Duncan's Groundwire magazine in January 2007, Toro described his approach to effects.

I don't use many pedals. I'm very basic. I just have a Dunlop Crybaby wah, Boss EQ pedal, Boss Pitch Shifter to do harmonies, Boss Chorus Ensemble, and Electro-Harmonix POG Polyphonic Octave Generator, which you can set up to play one octave below, an octave above, or two octaves above. You can make your guitar sound like a Hammond B3 organ when you use that in combination with the chorus pedal. It's a really cool pedal.

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While much of his tone is typical guitar into amp with splashes of wah, Toro experimented with a Roland midi guitar synthesizer for some of the stranger tones and occasional riff on the album.

We did use a Roland midi guitar synthesizer for all sorts of cool sounds. We used that any time there was a heavier riff on the record. We usually doubled it two octaves lower than the actual note. A lot of the stuff you're hearing is just straight guitar tones that are very layered. On certain songs, like "The End," which is the intro to the record, when the tone gets really heavy and the single-note riff comes in, we stacked it by tracking the lowest octave on the guitar to the highest. It's that Brian May-type mentality of making the guitars very symphonic.

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Toro uses Dunlop black nylon 1 mm picks and his guitars are strung with .011-.052 S.I.T strings.

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