Adam Jones Pedalboard: What Does TOOL Guitarist Use?

Adam Jones Pedalboard

Adam Jones has a killer, near-instantly recognizable guitar tone that is built on very specific amps, cabinets, and, of course, pedals. Here’s a complete breakdown of Adam Jones’ pedalboard…


I was lucky enough to catch TOOL last week. I had amazing seats right at the front, so I could literally see everything Adam Jones was doing. I haven’t seen TOOL since about 2008, so it was a pretty spectacular gig overall – and they played plenty of older tunes too.

Part of the allure of TOOL and its overarching aesthetic is Adam Jones’ guitar tone. He plays in Drop D almost exclusively, uses either a Gibson Les Paul or a Gibson Flying V, and he runs a variety of rare, now-impossible-to-find amps. And A LOT of pedals.

What Amp Does Adam Jones Use?

But it is Jones’ amps that give TOOL’s guitar its fat, organic sound. Jones runs a Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier 100-Watt Tube Head, a Diezel VH4 100W Tube Guitar Head Amp, and an ultra-rare 1976 Marshall Super Bass to create and blend his guitar tone live. I knew he was fond of these amps, and these were the exact models he was using on stage when I saw them last week (May 2, 2022).

Adam Jones Pedalboard
Jones has played and used Gibson Les Paul guitars for the entirety of his career; his signature model, the 1979 Gibson Les Paul SIlverburst, is HELLA expensive, so if you’re on a budget, you’ll be better off looking at either an ESP model, like this one, or an Epiphone Les Paul

The secret to Jones’ iconic guitar tone is that his final sound is built from a combination of the three aforementioned amps; they’re all connected and run at the same time. From here, Jones blends the different attributes of the amps to create his overall guitar tone, taking aspects from the Diezel VH4, the Dual Rectifier, and the Marshall Super Bass.

With cabinets, Jones is known to usually run two Mesa/Boogie 4×12 cabs and a Marshall 4×12. He uses this setup both when playing live and in the studio. And that, for the most part, is what Adam Jones’ guitar rig looks like. But there is one thing missing – his pedals. And like any metal prog overlord, Adam Jones uses a solid amount of pedals…

What Pedals Does Adam Jones Use?

  • MXR M102 Dyna Comp
  • Boss BF-2 Flanger
  • Boss DD-3 Digital Delay
  • Dunlop Heil HT1 Talk Box
  • DOD FX40B Equalizer
  • Dunlop 535Q Cry Baby Multi-Wah
  • Boss RV-6 Reverb
  • Goodrich 120 Volume Pedal
  • Boss GE-7 Equalizer
  • Boss BF-3 Flanger
  • Boss CE-2W Chorus Waza Craft
  • Boss DD-5 Digital Delay
  • MXR M 292 Carbon Copy Deluxe
  • MXR M133 Micro Amp
  • Boss PSM-5 Power Supply & Master Switch
  • Boss SYB-5 Bass Synthesizer
  • Gig-Fx Chopper
  • Line 6 DL4 Delay Modeler
  • Xotic Effects RC Booster
  • MXR M-108 Ten Band Graphic Equalizer Pedal
  • Korg DTR-1 Digital Tuner

As you can see from the above list, Jones has a pretty extensive collection of pedals. Does he use ALL of them ALL the time? No. When I saw TOOL in 2022, his pedalboard looked a lot smaller, more refined. From where I was sitting, I saw the following pedals used during the show:

  • Boss DD-3 Digital Delay
  • Boss RV-6 Reverb
  • Boss BF-2 Flanger
  • Boss CE-2W Chorus Waza Craft
  • Boss GE-7 Equalizer
  • Dunlop 535Q Cry Baby Multi-Wah
  • MXR M133 Micro Amp
  • Korg DTR-1 Digital Tuner

He probably had more, in fact, I know he had more, but these were the main pedals I saw him using and that I could actually make out – BOSS pedals are pretty easy to spot when you know your pedals. Plus, with respect to TOOL’s sound there are some obvious choices as well when it comes to pedals – things like delay, chorus, and flangers, as well as his wah pedal, are obvious choices.

All of this means that if you’re looking to great a tone similar to Adam Jones’, you will need a delay pedal, a flanger, some kind of wah pedal, a reverb pedal, and a chorus one. If you have these in your arsenal, as well as a decent amp, you should be able to dial in something pretty close to Jones’ guitar sound. It won’t be perfect, of course, but it’ll be in the same ballpark, so to speak.

You’ll also need to use similar pickups to Adam Jones as well, and get yourself a nice Les Paul-style guitar. Jones has played and used Gibson Les Paul guitars for the entirety of his career; his signature model, the 1979 Gibson Les Paul SIlverburst, is HELLA expensive, so if you’re on a budget, you’ll be better off looking at either an ESP model, like this one, or an Epiphone Les Paul with the Epiphone models being the cheapest option of the two.

Beyond this, you’ll need to tune your guitar to Drop D and really work hard on your rhythm. Jones’ style is ALL about rhythm, odd time signatures, and simple but highly effective lead guitar. Like Steph Carpenter of the Deftones, Jones isn’t much for technical playing; instead, he focuses on the riff, the rhythm, and the overarching melody and chord changes. This is why most TOOL songs are fairly simple to learn.

You should also check out Adam Jones’ main influences to learn about the guitarists and bands that inspired him when he was coming up, learning his craft. As you’d expect, the bands and artists he likes are mixed and varied. But you’ll find plenty of the usual suspects in there, including Buzz Osborne of the Melvins, and Robert Fripp from King Crimson.

As for a new TOOL record, there is talk of new music being in the works – and we won’t have to wait 13 years for it this time either…

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