Rivers Cuomo's equipment

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Here's the whole set up, circa 1990.

Rivers Cuomo's Equipment has gone through many changes over the years, this page exists to list in detail the equipment that's been used in the past and present. Much of this article is derived from the old Weezer Equipment History Page on Weezer.com and was originally written by Karl Koch.


Equipment history


Right up to the moment Weezer had its first practice February 14, 1992, Rivers had a Charvel Stratocaster-style guitar, a "Model 2" that was plain white, but was repainted by Rivers in purple acrylic paint, including the headstock, which was originally black. According to a fan who is familiar with Charvels, the Model 2 : didnt have a pickguard, was a bolt-on, only had one humbucker, and had a crummy Floyd Rose, Jackson made copy, bridge. This guitar was left over from Rivers's "metal days" and was only used reluctantly at this point. This guitar met its end during a Weezer practice sometime later, when it was smashed to pieces. The broken headstock visible inside the first album photograph of the garage is from that guitar. No pieces remain today as far as I know. For an amplifier, Rivers used a Randall 120 watt non-tube head powering a Randall 4x12 cabinet. The Randall is still in use today, by Patrick Finn of Organic Mechanic. The speaker cabinet (pictured on the left side of the blue album garage picture) continues to be sold and resold, and has been spotted as recently as late 2000 in LA's "Recycler" Mag.


the psychedelic look, painted by Jason.
Several months later, after Rivers got fed up with the paint and scraped it all off.

So, almost immediately, the Charvel was replaced with a red Fender Stratocaster, which came from Jason Cropper, as Jason was assigned early on to acoustic guitar duties. This Stratocaster guitar was weird. Two of the 3 pickups were replaced with various humbucker pickups, and the selection switch was rewired to provide a large number of combinations thereof. One pickup was a black Seymour Duncan TB59B1, AKA the "Trembucker 59", and the weird looking red and yellow one was a DiMarzio "Humbucker From Hell". the center pickup was some sort of flat lipstick style pickup. This re-wiring job was dubious to begin with due to Jason's fledgling soldering skills, and suffice it to say that the guitar had some pretty strange sounds! Additionally, Jason had painted the thing in a psychedelic paint scheme with thick acrylic paint, and replaced the volume knobs with 20-sided D&D dice, which were melted onto the metal knobs. Also, Jason had replaced the Fender neck with a thicker non-Fender one he had ordered from a catalog. The dice knobs eventually fell off, but I managed to save one. This was to be the only surviving piece of the guitar, as it was later passed on to the band Shufflepuck (containing Justin, later of both Psoma and Nerf Herder), and was smashed to pieces several months later onstage at a LA Shufflepuck show in 1994. In a weird bit of rock excorsicm, it was made sure that nothing from this guitar was saved. It all was thrown away deliberately, very strange... Adam Orth (also formerly of Shufflepuck, now in Roosevelt) writes: "Rivers gave the guitar to me and Justin for Shufflepuck good luck (which it did bring us. many songs that ultimately earned us our record "deal" were composed on this guitar). one night when we were headlining the whiskey, my guitar was giving me tons of shit all night. Tuning fiasco! the red guitar was our trusty back-up. in the middle of the last song in our set, i became so angry that i switched to the red guitar only to find it was more out of tune than the other. driven over the edge, i began to swing the guitar around over my head and proceeded to smash it to bits and pieces. needless to say, the rest of the band joined me and mass destruction ensued. the best part of the story is that as i was smashing the guitar, i noticed kevin ridel [of Ridel High, Peel, and AM Radio] at the front of the stage with a horrified look on his face. after the damage was done and the lights went up, Justin and i were packing up our gear, and i noticed that justin was ghost-white. i asked him what was wrong, and he said "i just sold that guitar to kevin this afternoon for $300". to this day, kevin is still pissed at me for that." -Adam

Early on there were no effects pedals in use by the band at all, except for a Jim Dunlop "Crybaby" Wah Wah. This later fell out of favor, only to be re-integrated into Rivers's set-up during the recording of Pinkerton. For an amplifier, Rivers was using his other "hold-over" from his metal years, a Randall 120 watt non-tube head powering a Randall 4x12 cabinet that looked exactly like a Marshall when the "Randall" tag was removed. This setup was to remain for several months. The Randall is still in use today, by Patrick Finn of Organic Mechanic. The speaker cabinet (pictured on the left side of The Blue Album garage picture) continues to be sold and resold, and has been spotted as recently as late 2000 in LA's "Recycler" Mag.

The ol Mesa Boogie, have you seen this amp? ...possibly the only existing photo of its backside.

While on Weezer's northern California "tour" in August '92, Rivers bought a curious Mesa Boogie amplifier (pictured inside the 'blue' album cover on the left side) at the Berkely Guitar Center. I have never ever seen an amp exactly like this one since. It was a very early issue Mesa Boogie, from approximately 1977 or 1978, and its face plate said "Mesa Engineering", which predates the addition of "Boogie" to Mesa-Boogies name. It was a 60-watt head which apparently didnt even have a model number (I remember looking for one several times). It sounded incredible, and its real bonus was still sounding rich and thick even at low volume, making it ideal for recording demos late at night in the Garage. Sadly, while on tour in '96 (by this time as a back up amp), the Boogie suffered a near fatal blow from an unknown source during shipping. At some point during the tour, the amp was fired up to check it, and it sounded terrible. It was supposed to have been taken in for repairs, but apparently was lost somewhere, either at Weezer's storage facility in LA or later, when Rivers was living in Boston. No one seems to remember where they saw it last, and it is gone. Several fans have written in with info on this amp, but most identify it from the reissues. I have checked the reissues but none are exactly the same. However, several people wrote in with the explanation that this was the 60 watt version of the Mark 1 head. The reason that the amp had no name on it is that it was not named until mesa boogie issued their next amp, the mark 2. A reissue version of the Mark 1 is available right now from Mesa Boogie in a 100 watt head or combo form with a switch to reduce the power to 60 watts, and it is that edition that some people were confusing the "vintage" amp with. Patrick Wilson today owns a Mark 1 reissue in fact, and can confirm that the old one had some pull out knobs that produced amazing sounds that the current reissues do not produce. Its entirely possible that the pull out knobs were a custom job. ...one person wrote in this facinating bit of info, leading us to speculate as to exactly what went down back in the day at the Mesa factory...

"...I have a little known, rare amp called a Mitchell Pro-100 that I am willing to bet is nearly identical to the one Rivers had. From what little I've heard about this company (not to be confused with the "Mitchell" that makes cheap acoustic guitars), the amps were hand built buy a guy who used to work for Mesa Boogie. I've never seen another one anywhere, and mine doesn't have a serial number. It says it is made in Riverside, California, and I found it used and beat up in the back of a music store for $500. I tell you all this because I have a very discerning ear (I am a budding engineer/producer as well as a musician/songwriter) and I played over 50 amps while in search of that "Weezer sound." I know I shouldn't be trying to copy someone's sound per se, but I couldn't help it...I needed to rock. Anyway, this thing just blew me away...better than all the Boogies and Marshalls I tried, and I tried A LOT of them. It is so thick and crunchy and full of bass and sparkle, even at low volumes...yet the pick attack is so clear you can hear the sound of the strings themselves and the wood cut through even the most earth-shattering distortion. In this way it is so completely unlike a stomp box which takes all the character and dynamics out of your playing. The back of the amp looks almost identical to the picture of Rivers' amp, except mine has 4 power tubes (6L6s) instead of 2. It also has 5 preamp tubes, I believe, which are 12AX7s and is switchable from 60 to 100 watts. The overall shape is about the same as the Mesa, too..."

1993 - Signed

The next significant change in Rivers's set up came when the band was signed to Geffen in the summer of '93. With the guidance of Jason, a new non-Fender Stratocaster copy was ordered as parts from the Warmoth catalog (still in buisness), in an effort to reconstruct a guitar similar to Jason's red one (by this time Jason had returned to playing electric guitar in the band, and besides, the red one was on its last legs). The parts and pickups were all custom selected, and the wiring was similar to the crazy red guitar's. (see below for details) This guitar was delayed in its arival, so the band went to New York to record the blue album without it, and would not see it till they were back in LA in October rehersing. So the red guitar made the trip to Electric Lady studios, but once Rivers got aquainted with Ric Ocasek's guitar collection, it was hardly needed.

The one thing Rivers did manage to select before they left for New York was a new Marshall speaker cabinet. Well, it wasn't "new", it was a very unusual 1968 Marshall. This cabinet was from a now-rare series that mounted the usual 4 12" speakers into a special cabinet that was designed to fit 8 10" speakers. These are known as "mock 8x10's". They originally were sold in sets with plexi 50w Tremolo amps. They were manufactured from 1967 till the early 70's, but apparently the later years are distinguished by cheaper materials, particularly particle board backing panels. ...Thanks to Jaques Stompboxes for info and assistance!

As can be seen above, Rivers's tall cabinet needs some help in the speaker department. The right speakers are (we think) original Celestion Sidewinders, whereas the left are replacement speakers (or its possible that the Celestions are the replacements). Also, the top left speaker has a big hole in it (caused by a particularly expressive moment on stage with Rivers in 1997) and does not work. Fortunately the guys arent using the tall cabinets these days...

Apparently, the story goes that Pete Townsend of the Who liked the new 8X10" "big tall super rock n roll" style, but insisted on retaining the 4x12" speaker setup he loved inside. Based on his request, Marshall ended up doing this variation for the general public, too, but it only lasted from 1967-69. Most of these cabinets you see today (when you in fact get a chance to see one) are the more common 8X10" inside. The amazing thing is that when we found this cabinet, it was part of a matched set of 4 of them! They were only $400 a piece, but we didnt have the budget to get the whole set. These 4 were apparently once owned by "the Mercinaries", as they all had "MERCINARIES" spray painted across the back. We selected one and sadly left the store. Unbeleivably, somehow our summer 2000 tour-mates Dynamite Hack ended up with one of the very same 3 cabinets we left behind that day. I nearly lost it when I saw the "MERCINARIES" across the back of their "Tall" Marshall, so I knew what lay inside...Who knows how it made its way to Texas in the intervening 7 years, but it did. The other two are still at large...(note Brians is also a "tall" 4x12", but was obtained later from a different source. More on that later)...

A note on strings and plectrums:

Rivers has always used GHS strings, size .10's, He has experimented with both TNT's and .11's at various times.

He has always used plain gray picks, the .73's from 1992-1999, and most recently uses the light-grey .60's.

1993 - Blue

Ric Ocasek's guitar collection with Jason's Telecaster between them.

In New York, Ric Ocasek introduced Rivers to his guitar collection, from which three guitars got heavy use on the record: A red 60's Fender Jaguar, a 1955 (according to Ric, but it looks like a '59 to me...) Gibson Les Paul Junior Special, double cutaway, and another Les Paul Junior Special, in yellow [not pictured] Here they are picture at right, with Jasons Telecaster (more on that later) between them.

The Gibson (above) is definitely one of the finest guitars ive ever seen, and its sound is unbeleivable, responsible for a lot of the sweet crunch found on the blue album. both of the Les Pauls would later return for the Green Album, though by this point Rivers heavily favored the yellow one. [see Green Album section]

Also responsible for that sound is the Mesa Boogie, which was still in top condition at this time. The Mesa was run through the tall Marshall, often at unusually low volume, to get some of the sounds on the album. As far as I know, there are NO effects pedals on the guitar sounds on the Blue Album. Rivers would not start really fooling around with recording with effects and pedals till later...

Rivers 1974 Gibson acoustic heard on the intro to "Jonas" and "In The Garage."

Rivers also picked up an acoustic guitar at this point, and brought it to Electric lady, where it is heard on the intro to "Jonas" and "In The Garage". This was a 1974 Gibson. I dont have the exact info on this at the moment, but I know it was either a J-45 or a 70's descendent of a J-45. It sounded amazing. Sadly, this guitar was to meet a tragic end later, when Rivers had his leg brace. The brace wore a huge hole right through the bottom of the guitar, which Rivers duct taped together for a while. The thing still sounded pretty good in this state, but it didn't last. The guitar was either trashed or given to Justin Fisher [ of Shufflepuck, Nerf Herder, and Psoma ]. I'll have to check with Justin on that one.

Note that the acoustic guitar shown inside the blue album cover is a Yamaha F-310, which is a basic, cheap, decent sounding guitar. This guitar is not the one heard on the blue album, and I'm not even sure whose it is, or if it still exists. It isn't likely to be Jason's, as this photo was taken after Brian joined the band, but it is possible its one of the several acoustics that Jason played in the band in the earliest Weezer days, before he went electric. (see Jason's section)

Keyboards on Buddy Holly: In 1993, a friend was storing his late 80's digital synth at 'the garage' where Weezer practiced and cut demos. This was a Korg M1 type synth, definitely not vintage or cool in any way, especially then. But it had a huge library of sounds, and in between the koto drums, etc, Rivers stumbled across a slippery little sound that he decided was just right for his new song "Buddy Holly". Later, in NYC recording the Blue Album, Rivers tried in vain to get that same sound from different equally digital synth that was brought in. For whatever reason no one could find the same model as the one back in L.A. The sound used was basically as close as Rivers could get it to what was on the demo.

1993 - After Blue

Oct '93: in the background, the SL-X amp can be seen on top of the tall '68 Marshall 4X12... Rivers playing the Gibson Les Paul Jr. This image was also used as the cover for the first album of Rivers Cuomo's Alone Series.
Once back in LA, Rivers finally got to "meet" his new blue guitar, which had finally arrived in the mail. He soon tired of the confusing electronics set-up and had it simplified so that there was only a volume knob and a switch to choose between the two pick-ups. One pick-up was a black Seymour Duncan TB59B1, AKA the "Trembucker 59" (same as the red guitar), and the other was a cream colored DiMarzio that was almost certainly a SuperDistortion2 (I have learned that the"Humbucker from Hell" only came in the yellow and red model that was in the red Strat). Additionally, there was a special capacitor added to the wiring that kept the tone thick and crunchy, even when the volume was turned down low (hence the nice "quiet-yet-crunchy" live concert tone on the quiet parts of "say it aint so", etc...)This may have been a "Black Ice" module, which replaces the capacitor on the tone knob and is a passive overdrive/distortion circuit, controllable by the tone knob once you put it in place of the tone capacitor.
Rivers' blue strat before the stickers and damage, summer 1994.
However, as only the volume knob was left functioning, I believe it was instead hooked into the volume knob, thus increasing its activity as the volume was turned up (or down?)

Additionally, Rivers now picked out a new 1993 Marshall 100 watt JCM-900 "SL-X" Model amplifier. This was chosen because it just went "over the top" compared to all the other amps we checked out... and we checked out a TON of Marshalls that summer! Today it is still in use as Rivers's "Back Up" head on tour, and still sounds mighty fine. The other new guitar picked up by Rivers in the fall of 93 was a Gibson Les Paul Junior, inspired by the sound of Ric's "1955" '59 double cutaway. At the time of purchase, we were assured that the guitar was a 1958 that had been unfortunately re-finished, thus reducing its collectibility but increasing its affordability. Somewhat suspicious was the lack of a serial number on the headstock, which had been sanded down in refinishing. However, the guitar had (and still has) a wonderful chunky sound, so that combined with its unusual vintage affordability (in the $800 range I beleive), led to its purchase. We learned much later that its much more likely to be a early 70's issue, and that the neck, nice as it is, is likely from the 80's. Well, fortunately, the guitar has proven its mettle numerous times, and is still in use today (2001) with Brian.

1994 - Van Incl. Lush Tour

Rivers' blue strat he used on tour 1994-1997 (pictured in 1995 and 1997) and the fate of the body as of 2001. The neck, electronics and accessories live on today in the sticker-plastered Blonde Strat.

When heavy touring was imminent in the summer of 1994, the "1958" Les Paul Junior was put away, as it was considered too delicate for touring. So another guitar was bought, a brand new 1994 maroon Gibson SG. This was to remain Rivers's seldom used back-up guitar for the rest of the blue album and Pinkerton touring cycles, as the sonic blue Strat copy did all the work. It is still in use today as one of Brian's guitars.

One reason Rivers never seemed to need it was that he broke about 6 strings TOTAL from 1994-1997, and thats no lie! Even better, the Strat stayed in tune like no other guitar i've ever seen. Unless temperature conditions were extreme or Rivers bumped into something with the headstock, it wouldn't go out of tune even once in a show. Later, in 1997, this guitar suffered a major blow during a show, which cracked its body clean through, and down about 10". This didnt affect play at all (for a while), and the guitar remained in use till 2000.

1994 - Live tour

No change.

1994 - Europe Feb/Mar

No significant change. In europe the band had to rent some gear, so it is possible that at least speaker cabinets were rented. These would be some form of Marshall 4x12.

1995 - Spr/Sum Touring

Rivers next new amplifier was inspired by their 1995 appearence on the Dave Letterman Show. The SL-X picked up a horrible sounding hum once it was set up there, (probably due to the electrical configuration of the building), and it seemed hopeless, as the song was "Say It Ain't So", which has quiet parts. In the corner was an unused still in the box 1992 Marshall 30th Anniversary 6100LM amp, which apparently had been shipped in by the Cranberries for their upcoming performance later in the week. We borrowed the amp (sorry Dolores), and lo and behold it sounded much better. So we immediately set out to get one, and it became Rivers's main amp since then. Its this amp that I modified the "Marshall" letters to spell out "Weezer" in late 2000. Rivers settled on the "yellow" sound, which is the center of the 3 channels you can pick from (red is ultra metal, and green is mellow).

1995-1996 - Pinkerton

Rivers' Casio MT 205 keyboard he bought in 1994. It's creamy "pipe organ" tone appeared on several demos, and finally on the B-side "Waiting On You". Rivers still has this keyboard.

Keyboards on Waiting On You

During an early tour in the summer of 1994, we hit a pawn shop in (i think) Cleveland or St Louis, and everyone picked up cheap used Casio keyboards. At the time they were used as vocal warm up aids in the van, before shows. Rivers chose a Casio MT-205, which is actually one of Casio's better "beginner" keyboards, lots of sounds and a fairly versatile drum pattern bank. It's creamy "pipe organ" tone appeared on several demos, and finally on the B-side "Waiting On You". Rivers still has this keyboard.

Keyboards on Getchoo, Tired of Sex, IJTOTLOMD

In late 1994, Rivers purchased a vintage Electrocomp 101 monophonic synthesizer from a pawn shop in rural Connecticut. He paid a fraction of what these things are currently valued at by collectors. It saw use on several "Black Hole" demos, and finally appeared on Pinkerton's "Tired Of Sex" , "Getchoo", and B-side "I Just Threw Out The Love of My Dreams". He still has it today.

Acoustic Guitar on "Butterfly"

Rivers Cuomo - Gibson J-45

1996 - Summer Europe/Japan

Again, overseas touring required scaling back how much band gear could be brought over. Usually speaker cabinets were hired, the amps shipped over.

1996 - Fall USA

Gibson SG

1997 - January USA


1997 - Summer USA No Doubt + Solo


1997 - Japan/Thailand

In '97, we finally ordered several back-up Stratocaster copies, to complement the sonic blue one. Only one, a black one, showed up before all Weezer touring stopped in August 1997. This black one went on to become Rivers main guitar for performing "older" songs (the Blue album and Pinkerton are in "E flat" tuning, whereas the newer stuff is not, so they need 2 sets of guitars and basses onstage), and appears on the cover of the Green album (ironicly a CD full of songs that cannot be properly played on that black guitar). This guitar has had numerous modifications made, as it had serious electrical errors when it arrived. The idea was to duplicate the innards of the blue guitar, but since no one really knew what was going on in the blue guitar at the time, it didnt turn out right. After several years of tinkering by various experts, its all good now. The main difference beetween the black one and the original blue one is that the body was made of solid maple, which is very heavy and difficult to get a good tone with.

1997-1998 - Solo


1998 - Rehearse + GP shows


1999 - Weez


1999-2000 - Special Goodness


2000 - USA/Japan

2 other guitars were ordered, but didnt show up till the band was "off duty", and they didnt get used till the summer of 2000. These were also strat copies, and not maple but alder, like the original blue one. They were a vivid light green and a light blue, almost exactly like the original one. These also had some electronics issues, but were fixed up relatively easily.

Touring setup: 30th Anniversary Marshall driving 1 tall Marshall cabs, back up amp: the SL-X. 4 Strat copies: Black, Blonde, Light Blue#2, and Green.

2000-2001 - Green Album

Recording the Green Album:


The basic setup for recording Rivers' rhythm guitar tracks:

Ric Ocaseks 1960 LP Jr, run through...

Rhythm track 1: Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier amp; Marshall slant 4x12 cabinet w/ 25 watt green back Celestion speakers

Rhythm track 2: Marshall 100 watt (modified), formerly owned by Warren Dimartini of Ratt; Marshall slant 4x12 cabinet w/ 25 watt green back Celestion speakers [note that it is unclear who played what rhythm track. its possible the Rivers played both on some songs, or that Brian and Rivers shared these duties depending on the song and the circumstances of the day.]


song by song exceptions to the above formula, for guitar solos, etc. If the amp or other specifics arent mentioned, then they are identical to the "General" note above.

Dont Let Go

SOLO: Bobby Schneck's Les Paul Classic, using the bridge pickup (Seymour Duncan JB)


SOLO: Rivers' natural wood "stickered" Stratocaster copy; through a Z-Vex "Fuzz Factory" pedal [pedal knobs set at 2:00; 2:00; 7:00, 2:00; 1:30] WEIRD RADIO NOISES: from manipulating the"Stab" knob on the Fuzz Factory (this is a trademark feature of the Fuzz factory) while set up for the Solo.

Island In The Sun

RHYTHM CLEAN TRACK: Bobby Schneck's 1979 Gibson ES-335TD [using the bridge pickup]; through a Z-Vex "Super Hard-On" pedal, into a Vox AC 30 amp


SOLO: Bobby Schneck's Les Paul Classic, thru 'rhythm track 2' amp: Marshall 100 watt (modified), formerly owned by Warren Dimartini of Ratt; Marshall slant 4x12 cabinet w/ 25 watt green back Celestion speakers

Hash Pipe

SOLO: Bobby Schneck's Les Paul Classic, thru Bobby Schneck's Ibanez TS-808 Tube Screamer Overdrive (vintage original), thru 'rhythm track 2' amp: Marshall 100 watt (modified), formerly owned by Warren Dimartini of Ratt; Marshall slant 4x12 cabinet w/ 25 watt green back Celestion speakers

Knock Down Drag Out

SOLO: Bobby Schneck's Les Paul Classic, thru Bobby Schneck's Ibanez TS-808 Tube Screamer Overdrive (vintage original), into a Vox AC 30 amp.


SOLO(?): Ric Ocaseks 1960 LP Jr., thru Marshall 100 watt (modified), formerly owned by Warren Dimartini of Ratt; Marshall slant 4x12 cabinet w/ 25 watt green back Celestion speakers

Simple Pages

SOLO: Bobby Schneck's Les Paul Classic, into Bobby's Ibanez PQ401 pedal (set for midrange boost at 500 Hz), thru Marshall 100 watt (modified), formerly owned by Warren Dimartini of Ratt; Marshall slant 4x12 cabinet w/ 25 watt green back Celestion speakers

Glorious Day

SOLO(?) - Ric Ocaseks 1960 LP Jr., thru Marshall 100 watt (modified), formerly owned by Warren Dimartini of Ratt; Marshall slant 4x12 cabinet w/ 25 watt green back Celestion speakers O Girlfriend: SOLO(?) - Ric Ocaseks 1960 LP Jr., thru Marshall 100 watt (modified), formerly owned by Warren Dimartini of Ratt; Marshall slant 4x12 cabinet w/ 25 watt green back Celestion speakers

Special note

The "=w=" headstocked black flying V guitar seen in some Green Album publicity photos is a cheap copy that a woodworker modified for the photo shoot. It actually didnt even play at first, but Rivers asked Bobby Schneck to make it go, and it was fixed up to be a fair sounding guitar, but not a great one. Apparently its just too cheaply made to really rock, but is a very cool looking guitar, anyway.

2001 - Outloud Tour, USA

For a while in 2001 both bodies were replaced with unpainted "blonde" maple strat copies, as well as that of the original blue guitar. The original blue body has been "retired" due to its large crack getting worse over time (photo forthcoming). Rivers later decided to go back to the better toned ash(Alder?) green and new blue bodies.

The guitar up top, pictured above, has all the original "guts", pick guard, and neck from the first sonic blue Strat from '93. The ones below that on the left and right are currently body only, their guts and necks going back to the green and new blue bodies.

Touring setup:

30th Anniversary Marshall driving 2 tall Marshall cabs, one a "slave" via a split signal thru a slight delay unit, powered by the back up SL-X but sound from the 30th head. 4 Strat copy setup, Black, Blonde, Light Blue#2, and Green.

2001 Japan Tour


2001 - Hooptie Tour, USA

The Pod Racks from the 2001 Hooptie Tour.

The band made some significant changes to their touring gear at the start of the "Hooptie Tour", in order to adapt to extreme constraints of storage space and tour budget, as this tour was entirely a money-losing promotional thing. Some very compact gear was invested in, which would more than save money by eliminating the need for a huge truck. After much experimentation, the guitar techs recommended trying the Line 6 "POD" system, which is basically a very modern "virtual amplifier" which actually sounds really good, unlike the many rackmount systems of thew past which always sounded like a bad computer trying to copy an ampo sound (which is really what they were) The Pod actually DOES sound like real amplifier, so despite the extreme reservations of the band, they were tried out in rehearsals, and were an instant hit! So Rivers and Brian each got a guitar pod, and Mikey got a bass pod. The strange thing about the POD system is the POD's are kept offstage where the guitar tech's can service them if needed, so there is literally nothing on stage except the drum kit! The sound is sent directly from the POD's to the PA system, eliminating the need for speaker cabinets with microphones trained on them...

Rivers was using 4 guitars, 2 intonated and tuned to E (standard), and 2 intonated and tuned to Eb (1/2 step down), these were for the pre-green album songs. One main and one backup per tuning. All 4 are generic Fender Stratocaster style copies, all are heavy maple bodies of (unknown) custom origin, all fairly recently made in the last few years. The main "New song" guitar is a "blonde" (unpainted) model, plastered with stickers (as are all 4), with a Dimarzio super distortion humbucker and a Seymour Duncan humbucker. The main "old song" guitar is black, and has seen heavy exposure in a large number of magazine photos over the last year. This guitar is pictured on the cover to the green album. It has a pair of Seymour Duncan pickups, details on that to come. All 4 guitars are strung with GHS Guitar Boomers, in size ".10" to ".46" gauge. The guitar signal is sent via a wireless system (the Shure U4D) to a Line 6 POD Pro. The POD has a heavy and clean sound dialed in, switched by a footswitch on Rivers's pedalboard. The distortion sound is set on "British hi gain amp" send thru a "4X12 vintage 30 cabinet", with the gain set at about 50 percent. The clean sound is set on a "Blackface" through the "2x12 cabinet" setting. From the POD the signal is run out to the pedal board, where it goes through the pod clean/dirty switchbox, a Dunlop Crybaby Wah-Wah Pedal (standard model GCB-95), and a Boss Turbo Distortion overdrive pedal.

At this point, everyone switched over to an in-ear monitor system, where tiny wireless headphones are worn by each band member, through which a custom mix is pumped, depending on what the band member requires. This eliminated the need for monitor wedges all over the stage, which made things a lot easier during the Hooptie Tour with its tiny stages. The band has fallen in love with the system (also after major uncertainty and doubts), as they get a much more consistent sound night after night. Monitor wedges can sound very different night to night depending on the stage and electronics in use, and can "feed back" at inopportune times.

2001 - Europe Tour

The Europe Tour in summer 2001 had virtually an identical setup to the Hooptie Tour, as the band continued to experiment with the "ampless stage" look.

2001 - Midget Tour

Overall very similar to the "Hooptie" and "Summer" tours, with the following changes...This was the beginning of a new phase, in which Rivers did extensive experimentation, trying to determine whether he was going to continue with Statocasters or delve into Gibsons. He went through a huge amount of temporary try-out guitars. Rivers switches 2 of the Stratocaster bodies back to the green and blue ash (alder ?). The remaining complete Strats are the Black one and the Blonde one (with the extra billions of stickers). Also Rivers gets a new Marshall head, a JCM 2000. There was much debate as to whether to stick with the POD system or try amps again, and everyone was impressed with this amp so it was kept for future use and recording, despite the tour going on with PODs.

2001 - Extended Midget Tour

Overall very similar to the "Midget" tour.

Rivers got these brand new Gibsons during the tour and immediately loved them both. For a little while he was borrowing Brian's white Gibson Les Paul, then he took the Gibson plunge.

Rivers' revised pedalboard setup.

2001-2002 - Demos+Maladroit


2002 - Hyper Ext. Midget Tour

Overall very similar to the "Midget" and "Extended Midget" tours.

2002 - Spring Europe

Overall similar to the "Midget" and "Extended Midget" tours, with some modifications made to cut down the overall size of the equipment load.

2002 - Dusty West Tour

Overall very similar to the "Midget" and "Extended Midget" tours.

2002 - Japan

Overall similar to the "Midget" and "Extended Midget" tours, with some modifications made to cut down the overall size of the equipment load.

2002 - Demos/Early Album 5 Work

Overall similar to the "Midget" and "Extended Midget" tours, with some modifications made to cut down the overall size of the equipment load.

2002 - Enlightenment Tour


2002 - Japan/UK August 2nd


2003 - SIR and Swinghouse Rehearsal Studios (Pre-Make Believe)

A close-up of Rivers' pedal board.
Rivers' SG and pedal board at Swinghouse Studios, November 2003.

In April the band went into SIR Rehearsals in Hollywood. By November of the same year they found themselves at Swinghouse Studios (also in LA) to perform pre-production for the first Make Believe sessions which would follow in December at Cello Studios. Much of the same equipment was used in both studios.

Although it is not made clear in the photograph pictured at left (Rivers had two red SG guitars with one being tuned to E flat while the other was tuned to E) it's possible that this is the E flat guitar before placement of the sticker with the Thai word Farang, meaning "a white foreigner."

2003 - Make Believe Sessions


See also

External links