“They’re some of the best amps I’ve ever played”: Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready on why he made the switch to Fender’s digital Tone Master amps

Mike McCready of Pearl Jam performs onstage at Pearl Jam Performs Live At The Apollo Theater For SiriusXM's Small Stage Series on September 10, 2022 in New York City.
(Image credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

Throughout Pearl Jam’s three-decade-plus career, there have been two constants in Mike McCready’s guitar rig: an array of desirable vintage guitars (not least his ’59 Les Paul and ’60 Strat), and a backline rammed with multiple tube amps – usually at least a couple to handle clean and dirty duties.

But the Seattle greats’ lead guitarist made a surprising change to his setup for Pearl Jam’s US tour in May last year, swapping out his traditional Fender tube combos for the company’s new digital Tone Master equivalents – in this case, the series’ Deluxe Reverb and Blonde Twin Reverb.

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Michael Astley-Brown
Editor-in-Chief, GuitarWorld.com

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism from Cardiff University, and over a decade's experience writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as 20 years of recording and live experience in original and function bands. During his career, he has interviewed the likes of John Frusciante, Chris Cornell, Tom Morello, Matt Bellamy, Kirk Hammett, Jerry Cantrell, Joe Satriani, Tom DeLonge, Ed O'Brien, Polyphia, Tosin Abasi, Yvette Young and many more. In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.