John Frusciante’s pedalboard is the stuff of myth and legend. So much so that guitarists have even gone to great lengths to replicate his gargantuan setup from the Stadium Arcadium era.
But what fans haven’t been able to get a good look at is the Red Hot Chili Peppers guitar great’s latest pedal rig. Sure, there are occasional awkwardly angled, zoomed-in pics or partial glimpses from the crowd, but it’s not the real deal. What we want is a Frusciante eye’s view of that mega-’board – and finally, we have it.
A snap of Frusciante’s pedalboard in all its glory was mysteriously posted on Reddit at the tail end of last week, taken at the band’s intimate show at New York’s Apollo Theatre on September 13 2022.
So not only do we get a conclusive overview of what the guitar hero is using on tour these days, but we can even have a proper gander at the settings (click the embed below to zoom in).
Of course, there are plenty of pedals that cropped up in the Unlimited Love/Return of the Dream Canteen sessions, which John revealed to us ahead of the first record’s release.
That includes old favorites – the stalwart Boss CE-1 and DS-2, Ibanez WH-10 wah, MXR Dyna Comp and Micro Amp – plus some new picks in the MXR Super Badass Variac Fuzz, ’78 Distortion and Reverb.
But there are some neat learnings here, too. The MuTron Micro-Tron IV and Moogerfooger Low Pass Filter MF101 handle the more esoteric sounds in the RHCP catalog, as does the Line 6 FM4, which you’ll note has a big ol’ button marked ‘Television’ – indicating it’s there purely for the step phaser sound in 2002 cut Throw Away Your Television. The Moog CP-251 Control Processor, meanwhile, nods to John’s love of modular rigs.
Also notable is the appearance of four different delays – the Dunlop Echoplex, MXR Carbon Copy, Boss DD-500 and DigiTech PDS1002 – to handle Frusciante’s newfound enthusiasm for the effect in all its forms.
Now, we were going to break the whole thing down, but the decent folk at John Frusciante Gear have done the hard work for us, so all credit to them.
The full John Frusciante pedalboard breakdown is as follows:
- Moog CP-251 Control Processor
- MXR Dyna Comp
- MXR Phase 90
- MXR Flanger
- Dunlop Echoplex
- MXR Dyna Comp
- Boss CE-1
- DigiTech PDS1002
- Boss DD-500
- Boss TU-3
- EHX Big Muff Pi
- MXR Micro Amp
- Boss DS-2 x2
- Boss SD-1
- Wilson Effects NotRite
- MXR Super Badass Variac Fuzz
- Ibanez WH10 V3 (modded by Wilson Effects)
- MXR Reverb x2
- Line 6 FM4
- Moogerfooger Low Pass Filter MF101
- MuTron Micro-Tron IV
- The GigRig Quartermaster (under the tier)
In our marathon interview with Frusciante last year, the guitarist was still gearing up for his first reunion dates with the band, and planning out his pedalboard picks. But he did explain why his ’boards tend to reach epic proportions.
“I never used very many!” he laughed. “A lot of the time, one pedal was just for one particular song, and so I had to have it there just in case we played that song.
“And it was also because sometimes after being on tour for a long time, I get bored with the same sound from night to night. I like to have pedals that are just there for me to do something weird and different if the mood strikes me.”
So Froosh might not hit any of these pedals for several gigs – until that one magic moment that calls for, say, the Micro-Tron IV.
Although many of the core pedals remain the same, Frusciante does swap stompboxes in and out from time to time depending on setlist or, indeed, mood. So we’re intrigued to see what might change over the coming year, as RHCP continue their marathon world tour with dates in New Zealand, Australia, US, Japan, Mexico and Europe, running from now through to July.
In other recent Frusciante news, the guitarist revealed he nearly abandoned his Eddie Van Halen-inspired guitar solo on tribute track Eddie, badging it “a mind fuck” as the last solo he tracked of all 48 songs recorded for the two RHCP releases last year.