In The Style Of Joe Satriani

By Miguel Ángel Ariza

Getting deep into the sound world of an electric guitar beast like Joe Satriani takes something more than a few dozens lines, so we’re going to try and focus in the “the style of” section on the gear that never fails in a Joe Satriani show whether  he’s on a solitary project, with the G3 tours  or with his ‘superband’ Chickenfoot.

Let’s begin with his guitars. Perhaps the most common model he’s used throughout his career had been his own signature one by Ibanez, the brand that has accompanied him for decades, and we’re talking specifically about the JS1200. This model is the culmination of the evolution of his first models with the Japanese brand, where  other newer models of his originated and which is always the one hanging from his shoulder. Of course, mounted on the body are 2 humbucker pickups Di Marzio, another brand that he’s been with for many years. In particular, this model also has the PAF Joe on the neck, and the Fred on the bridge. Among his other signature models that are modifying the JS1200 sticks out the JS2400 (replaced by the JS2410), basically the same but with 24 frets and a bridge humbucker Dimarcio on a single coil format so that he never loses that tone from those ‘extra’ frets.

As far as the amplifiers he uses most go, we’re going to speak of two. The first is his own modified JVM 410 by Marshall built by company engineer Santiago Alvarez. He has mainly replaced the  power resistors from the reverb with noise gates and has tried to make the amp more versatile and dynamic than the original. Satriani himself has said that this amp should be a delight for any guitarist since its four different channels allow you to have all Marshall history in just one head.

Apart from the JVM we have to certainly talk about his own line of amps with Peavey, the JSX Signature amp,..On stage he regularly uses a couple of 120W heads with 3 channels that the New Yorker has defined as “clean, saturated, and extreme“.

Finally, we are going to speak a bit about what we always find in his pedal board. There are always the original classics that he has with him such as the legendary Roger Mayer Voodoo Vibe, and his line of pedals with VOX  which Joe relies  a high percentage of his sound on. We’re talking mainly about the Vox Satchurator, the Time Machine Delay (he usually takes 2 and almost always connected) and the Big Bad Dual Wah. Whatever endeavour he is on, this case of pedals is never missing. Aside from these ‘fixtures’ he uses other pedals as well known as the Boss CH-1, the POGs by Electro Harmonix and the Ibanez flangers... 

It may seem funny that a guy who usually distances himself from the conventional carries equipment that seems even ‘classic’, but what this proves is that in the end  the ‘alien’ and the guy who takes his music to another planet is Joe himself and those gifted hands that traverse the necks of his guitars...

Find you own way to sound like Joe Satriani