Foo Fighters are one of the rare few bands today who still offer that authentic and raw hard rock sound. There’s no high gain distortion, no muddy sound. Just pure rock.
Dave Grohl is responsible for a large portion of this sound. He has a very unique outlook on music, and how he achieves the color of his guitar’s tone. Grohl manages to extract a lot of juice from not much equipment as you will see when we go over Dave Grohl guitar rig.
Dave Grohl is one of rare guitar players who likes to shape his sound by relying on his guitar and amp for the most part. Sure there are some effects pedals on his pedalboard, but you could probably find a more complex pedal chain at your local battle of the bands.
Today we are going to take a look at what kind of equipment Dave Grohl uses, including his guitars, amps, pedals, and see exactly how he achieves his sound.
If you manage to get backstage and take a peek at Grohl’s guitar rack, you will see an obvious pattern. Dave is a fan of Gibson guitars, and they make the majority of his selection every time he is touring with the Foo Fighters. There’s a lot of variety when it comes to the specific models of Gibson guitar he uses, while he has been seen with an Epiphone on one occasion.
There’s one specific model of Gibson guitars that is Grohl’s personal favorite. His Gibson Trini Lopez Standard Custom Reissue is what he used to record almost every single Foo Fighter record. He got that guitar in early ’90s and it never left his side since. He once even said that he sometimes sleeps with this guitar in bed right next to him. The man obviously loves his Trini.
Aside from his Trini, Grohl seems to prefer the classic Les Pauls. There are also several Explorers in the mix, which he used extensively during the early years of Foo Fighters. Grohl also expressed his affection for Gibson RD Artist several times, stating once that it was like “holding a kitchen table to your chest and having it scream like a jet fighter.” His acoustic guitars also include some Gibson models, however he seems to prefer his Taylor 900 series.
There are really only two amps that stand out in Grohl’s gear. His Vox AC30 and his Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier. These two amps are pretty much instrumental for the sound that Foo Fighters are known for. Vox AC30 is undoubtedly his favorite amp as it perfectly fits into Grohl’s ideology of achieving a good distortion without effects pedals. He likes to push that amp hard, cranking the volume up until those tube reach that sweet spot and start producing a very organic distortion. In all essence, he just loves that tube amp overdrive, and so do we.
Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier is a complete opposite, and offers a very sinister distortion. Grohl uses this amp when he needs a really dirty distortion that is rich in gain. Even though this doesn’t happen often, and he tries his best to achieve everything using the AC30, he does like that Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier.
Dave Grohl’s pedalboard is pretty simple and usually consists of only three pedals which he used for years now. Grohl uses the Boss DM-2 Analog Delay and Boss DD-3 Digital Delay depending on what kind of effects he wants to achieve.
These two pedals offer a minimally intrusive delay, and that’s probably why he likes them so much. There’s also the MXR Phase 90 on his pedalboard, which is a legend in its own right. Aside from these three effects pedals there are only two tuners that he occasionally uses.
Dave Grohl’s lack of effects pedals comes from his personal belief that they take away from what rock is supposed to be – raw and powerful music. He sees distortion pedals as being too sharp and introducing too much gain. In his opinion, pushing tubes to overdrive gives a much better sounding result.
Seeing how many artists use an overwhelming amount of effects in their music, Grohl’s approach is quite refreshing.
Dave Grohl has a pretty unique style that is responsible for a good portion Foo Fighter’s sound. Through his simplistic ways, Grohl has become a master of achieving a great distortion using only his amps.
Dave Grohl guitar rig is pretty specific, but you don’t need all that stuff if you want to achieve the same sound. It’s quite possible to recreate his results using rather affordable gear.
Vox makes low-power tube amps which share a good deal of identity with the Vox AC30, which allows you to crank that volume up high without it being too loud.
These amps are within what is considered affordable, so if you really want to follow Grohl’s path, you won’t have to spend a lot of money in doing so.