TOOL’s Adam Jones is one of the most iconic and influential guitarists working today. But who does Adam Jones draw influence from? Here are Adam Jones’ favorite guitarists of all time…
For the last two decades, Adam Jones has been one of the most influential guitarists working in music. No one sounds like Jones. And if they do, it is because they’ve lifted elements of his unique and instantly recognizable style of playing.
Jones plays predominantly in drop D tuning and he ALWAYS plays a Gibson Les Paul Custom. But beyond these constants, his sound – and the way he plays – is constantly evolving. From TOOL’s first sludge/grunge-infused LP, Undertow, to the soaring prog-drenched highs of Lateralus and 10,000 Days, Jones’ guitar playing is as majestic as it is heavy.
What’s really cool about nearly all of Jones’ guitar parts, however, is that they are seldom complicated, with the exception of a few songs (Jambi, for instance, uses a truly bonkers pull-off technique). Instead, Jones is more focused on rhythm and feeling. He’s also penned some of the most iconic metal riffs of all time – riffs like 46 And 2, Push It, Stinkfist, Sober, and Schism to name just a few.
But who were the guitarists that inspired Adam Jones? Who were the biggest influences to him when he was growing up and learning to play and hone his own unique sound? As always, there’s a few well-known influences as well as a couple of more esoteric ones.
Adam Jones’ Biggest Influences
Everybody loves Buzz. As the main songwriter and driving force behind the Melvins, Buzz Osbourne is one of the most influential guitarists alive and working today. Buzz has inspired the playing style of everyone from Adam Jones to Kurt Cobain.
Here’s what Jones had to say about how Buzz Osbourne influenced him:
Buzz’s playing has those same qualities of attitude and discipline that I learned from Fripp. The Melvins’ style is also so brutal. They rip their guts out every time they play.
Where I do more of a shoegazer thing onstage, Buzz will microwave a crowd. Many people don’t recognize the Melvins’ importance, and unfortunately, they probably won’t until the band’s dead and gone.Adam Jones
Robert Fripp is/was the guitar player in the seminal prog-rock band King Crimson. Fripp is well known for his masterful songwriting, amazing dexterity, and being the driving force behind one of the most influential and experimental bands to ever walk the earth. Jones is a massive fan of Robert Fripp.
Fripp’s playing caused me to ‘wake up’ to music when I was younger. Later, when we were to tour with King Crimson, I remember being horrifically nervous to meet him. But he was so gracious and ended up teaching me the two most important things about playing: attitude and discipline.Adam Jones
Ronald Jones used to play in The Flaming Lips and is something of a legend these days. Revered for his unique and, at times, bonkers style of playing, Jones was famous for his effects pedals, unique approach to tone creation, and, of course, his ability to write killer riffs and lead.
Ronald Jones was this completely innovative guitarist that used to play in the Flaming Lips. He used to play with a quarter for a pick, so he could slide it down the strings. I’ve also never seen a guitarist with so many effect pedals.
But like the King Crimson guys, Ronald was so good at incorporating new technology tastefully. He’s another guy that played from his heart and not his head.Adam Jones
Learn More About Epiphone Guitars: Best New Models, Buying Guides & Tone Tips
The latest and best gear we recommend right now…
Spark Amp – The amp itself is brilliant, coming with a bunch of great tones and plenty of power with its 50W speaker. But the real magic happens when it is paired with your phone, opening up access to thousands of effects and tones that you can customize to your exact specifications. And best of all? It’s not even that expensive either.
BIAS FX 2 – If you want to run your guitar through your PC or Mac, BIAS FX 2 is one of the best ways to develop and create amazing-sounding tones. BIAS FX is an amp and effects simulator and it is one of the best in the business. Inexpensive and perfect for jamming and recording, BIAS FX 2 is one of my favorite amp sims for Mac and PC.
Fender Mustang Micro – The Fender Mustang Micro is a small gizmo that plugs directly into your guitar’s jack. You then plug in some headphones and can switch between 12 of Fender’s Mustang amp, complete with effects and modification options. It doesn’t have any wires, it will fit in your pocket, and it even doubles as a USB audio interface too. It is one of the coolest things I’ve tested all year.
Fender Play – Learning guitar can be hard. It takes forever, seemingly, and progress is slow. But if you take a focussed approach with learning the basics and even more advanced stuff, you’ll develop much quicker. That’s why we love Fender Play; it has over 3,000 lessons and everything a beginner player needs. You can also get a free trial right now too – so you have literally nothing to lose!