UPDATED 06/28/16

Welcome back! This isn't a major update (check out the Song Database or Discography if you're looking to get lost for a while...) but here's a handful of cool things I've been meaning to share for a while. I probably should have updated four years ago, when August 2012 saw the recovery of two more guitars stolen in '99. Unfortunately, there was a twist...read more!

2012 also saw the release of SY's archival "Smart Bar" live 1985 release. One of my favorite parts of the album was its artwork - stunning live shots taken from 2 gigs in August '85. These pics are rich with detail of the band's gear and devices. Even more from the series were published online. Photo/video from this era is fairly rare, mostly limited to the Stache's and Brighton Beach sets. What jumped out at me when I first saw the front cover was the back of a sunburst guitar next to Kim's legs. There's a tuning written there, and you can barely make it out - GADDCC?? Not sure...nor am I 100% sure which guitar that is, though my best guess is Thurston's Teisco ET-220, seen in the Bremen 10/10/85 video. It's his F#F#F#F#EB guitar, and unfortunately it's hard to make out in every picture. For example, in this picture I think he's playing the Teisco - note the wood Jag, blue Jazz, and Harmony Stratotone...Hey, what? Yeah, I fucked up! Going way back, when I first checked my grainy 8th generation tape of the Stache's 08/01/85 gig for gear details, I mistakenly thought the guitar Thurston used for "The Burning Spear" was the plain ol' Drifter. But no! It's the much debated "fake Drifter" from the Put Blood in the Music documentary, and I actually had no idea it had ever been used live, yet alone years earlier! Its sole purpose seems to have been "drumstick guitar". Also, I wasn't previously able to identify the guitar Lee used on that same "Burning Spear" - with a brighter, clearer copy I'm able to see it's the Kimberly, its first known usage and only time it wasn't used for "Shadow of a Doubt"! (Okay, there was that Plato's Cave thing...and possibly Made in USA? Hey, did you get SPINHEAD SESSIONS yet???)

I'm haunted by another guitar from the '85 era. I'd previously added the Hagstrom Viking based on this picture of Lee and a bunch of guitars, from the spring '85 European tour. I couldn't imagine what it was used for - "Halloween"? - "Satan is Boring"? - and then I stumbled across a picture of Lee actually playing the damn thing! Undated - but Kim is singing. Hmm. And wait...there's a screwdriver at the 9th fret? So, Kim is singing...there's a screwdriver..."Flower"? Possibly this was a spare GDD#, a back-up for the Kent? Could it be anything else?

I'm curious if anybody can identify the black effects box seen in these pictures. I wasn't able to find anything with an 8-knob configuration that matched what I thought Lee would be using in '86, so I'd appreciate any help! The main picture was taken July 86 in Columbus and the insets were taken December 5th 1986 for Mike Kelley's "Plato's Cave.." performance, and may be the first time I've seen the BOSS Compression Sustainer and Crybaby(?) wah.

Moving on to 1987 effects, I tried to identify the effects seen in that amazing Pukkelpop '87 footage. Kim is definitely using an Aria MP-5 Metal Pedal and a Crybaby wah in this picture. Lee's are a bit trickier:

  • a BOSS HM-2 Heavy Metal seems certain (replaced by a BOSS DS-1 later in the year?)
  • (possibly) an Ibanez CS9 Stereo Chorus (this is his "watery effect", and color wise, the CS9 seems possible - but it's hard to tell how many knobs there are)
  • a BOSS CS-2 Compression Sustainer
  • a Dunlop Crybaby wah
  • (possibly) a Pearl AD-08 Analog Delay

    This picture from 10/22/87 @ the Cat Club in NYC reveals something interesting - Lee playing Thurston's black Ibanez Roadstar, which he'd been using for F#F#F#F#EB until that point. Lee's F#F#F#F#EB guitar ends up in Thurston's hands in 1988, so it's possible they just swapped towards the end of the Sister tour.

    I never had a clear picture of the band's gear during the Daydream Nation era. When I first researched this site, the only full show available was a grainy video from 3/89, and a few other TV things that offered clues. Since then, a decent amount of '88/'89 photo/video documentation has surfaced and helped put some of the puzzle pieces together.

    The deluxe edition of the album confirming the filming date of the "Silver Rocket" video (and therefore most of the Put Blood in the Music documentary) as August '88 was a good starting point. I discussed this at length in a previous update, with video captures from that documentary. With more '88 media available, I have a better idea of what they likely used on the album, which was recorded in July/August. All theory, of course, but my guesses:

  • TEEN AGE RIOT - Sunburst Mustang (T) / Tele Deluxe (L)
  • SILVER ROCKET - Quest (T) / Hondo Strat copy (L)
  • THE SPRAWL - Blue Jazz (T) / Tele Deluxe (L)
  • CROSS THE BREEZE - Blue Jazz (T) / Sunburst Mustang (L)
  • ERIC'S TRIP - Drifter (T) / Red Mustang? (L)
  • TOTAL TRASH - White Mustang (T) / Tele Deluxe? (L)
  • HEY JONI - Sunburst Mustang (T) / Red Mustang? (L)
  • CANDLE - Quest (T) / Hondo Strat copy (L)
  • RAIN KING - Ibanez Roadstar II (T) / Red Mustang?? (L)
  • KISSABILITY - Quest (T) / Red Mustang? (L)
  • THE WONDER - White Mustang (T) / Harmony Les Paul (L)
  • HYPERSTATION - White Mustang (T) / Harmony Les Paul (L)
  • ELIMINATOR JR - White Mustang (T) / Ovation Viper (L)

    Here's my rationale:

    Thurston is clearly using the sunburst Mustang for GABDEG in the November '88 Los Angeles pictures. It's seen in the documentary, but not before (that I'm aware of). Lee uses the Tele Deluxe for all known footage of GDG songs during this era, replacing the "Beauty Lies" tuning. Thurston uses the Quest for "Silver Rocket" on 11/03/88 in Toronto, early in the tour. This was upgraded to a new red Jazzmaster by the time of the LA gigs later in the month. For the "Silver Rocket" video filmed in August, he used the white Mustang, which was normally in GDD#. Of course, he could have retuned any guitar and used it for any song in the studio, but I like to think that the new tunings are inspired by certain guitars (but the white 'stang still looked cooler than the Quest for the video shoot, I guess?). Lee's Fernandes Strat isn't seen in the documentary, and he uses the Hondo "Fame" Strat copy for the "Silver Rocket" video, so I'm leaning towards that being the AEA guitar on the album, replaced by the new Fernandes before the North American tour.

    The only hesitation I have is this photo which I can't date - it looks like they're playing "Silver Rocket" but Thurston is using the sunburst Mustang and not the Quest. If this pic is truly from CBGB (some captions suggest 1986! No way!) it may be the December 11 1988 closer of the tour, and the tunings may have shifted by then. Alternately, it could be from a June '88 show, which throws a wrench in my theories.

    The Blue Jazzmaster is seen in October '88 for CCEBGD, and it seems likely that this was used on the album. Likewise, Lee's sunburst Mustang seems to have been designed for "'Cross the Breeze" - it was even used when the song was resurrected for the complete performances of the album in 2007. Of course, the Drifter was also designed for "Eric's Trip", and the red Mustang seems likely based on the documentary footage and the 11/26/88 Austin video. "Total Trash" was a rarity even back then, and while I assume Thurston would have used the white Mustang, which was his GDD# guitar from late '87 until '89, and it's likely Lee used his Tele Deluxe, there could be another GDG guitar...(read on!)

    Thurston can be seen using the black and white Ibanez Roadstar for "Rain King" in the documentary. Lee uses his Tele Deluxe for the same song, but no GDG song is played in the 3-song set so it's likely retuned. The red Mustang is there, probably used for "Kissability" though only Kim is shown during that song. Lee is seen using the Harmony Les Paul for GGC#DGG in footage from 11/03/88 Toronto and onwards. While he uses the Univox Lucy for "Eliminator Jr" in both the 11/26/88 Austin and 12/11/88 Washington videos, I think he used the Ovation Viper earlier in the tour, with some footage seen (but not heard) in the Toronto clips. The Viper is seen in his arsenal at several '88 shows. In Guitar Player 1989, Lee says "When you run a slide over the Viper's pickups, it cancels out at one point so you get this weird 'wacka-wacka' sound." and that's exactly what he does on "Eliminator". My guess is he used it for the album and then replaced it with the Univox early in the tour.

    As for other guitars, the sets were almost exclusively Daydream Nation but Thurston did use his blue Ibanez Roadstar for "I Love Her All The Time", with Lee presumably using his f-hole Tele. Encores of "Be Yr Dog" generally used a borrowed guitar for standard tuning. '89 saw some older songs return and some guitars change duty. I'm not aware of any footage from January/February, but March and April have some pictures and video. First seen in London, Thurston obtained a new sunburst Jazzmaster which he began using for GABDEG, and the sunburst Mustang was never seen again. Lee had a new sunburst Jaguar that he was using for EBEEAB, though the red Mustang was still around and in use. In Vilnius, Lee is using the Tele Deluxe for "Eliminator Jr", so the Univox probably didn't make it across the pond. The return of "Expressway" brought the need for EG#EG#EG# guitars - Lee chose his trusty "old wood" Jaguar and Thurston premiered a guitar that became a legend itself, the Musima Eterna. As of Amsterdam, the Eterna had switched to GABDEG, so the sunburst Jazzmaster probably became the new EG# guitar.

    With "White Kross" back in the set, Thurston had another new red Jazzmaster, different from the one he was already using for ACCGG#C. This was my major mistake when I did the 2010 gear rundown, for all my obsessing over a strip of fucking duct tape I didn't realize that he had two different red Jazzmasters in the April '89 Hamburg pix! So, the one he used in October '88 (replacing the Quest, seen on the cover of Trees Outside The Academy) was only ever used in '88/'89 for ACCGG#C. The second Jazzmaster, initially used for F#GA, became one of Thurston's main guitars until its theft in 1999. In fact, he used it for "Silver Rocket" on Night Music instead of the first one. While there may be some holes or errors in conclusion (access to June '88 live pix would be stunning...), I think this is a pretty accurate assessment of the era.

    Jumping ahead a decade, I was never quite able to pin down one of the guitars on the band's stolen gear list, but with new info I can confirm that the "Fender Jazzmaster, red, 140682, Squiggly pen lines on body" guitar is actually Lee's "redhead" Jazzmaster, first used on the Washing Machine tour. It's most visible on "Sugar Kane" during the 04/07/96 Germany "Easter" set. Apparently Thurston was using this guitar as a back-up for the blue Jazzmaster in F#F#F#F#EB on the '98 tour. He uses it for "Death Valley '69" in the encore of the 05/19/98 Denver show, and you can clearly see it now has squiggly pen lines all over it.

    Lee's red Yamaha, which replaced the Travis Bean post-theft when they started playing F#F#F#F#EB songs again, seems to be an SG-40 model. It didn't last long before being replaced by another Travis.

    In 2011, the band auctioned off some old, obscure gear to raise money for the ShelterBox Japan Earthquake relief fund. The gear included the following:

  • Ibanez Roadstar II - Thurston used this live during 1986 and 1988. It likely appeared on EVOL.
  • Epiphone Genesis - Thurston used this live for "Cross the Breeze" in 1990, possibly also on "Disappearer". Lee plays it in the "Dirty Boots" video.
  • A xylophone - used on "Kissability".
  • A glockenspiel - purchased by Steve while in Michigan working on early Wylde Rattz demos with Ron Asheton
  • A custom made passive mixer - built on tour by Dave Rat out of a microphone case for Kim to use on stage in the early 90s. Rat said “I made it out of parts from my workbox and a mic case. Its a 4 in 1 out passive mixer. Super simple and yet it sure made it easy to get the 8 track player and toys in the mix. Ha! Since it is passive, the frequency response is like 0hz to 100k flat! I also remember modifying the 8-track, toys and TV and putting guitar jacks on them so they could be plugged in rather than mic'ed. Rock on!"
  • AceTone Rhythm Ace drum machine - "a Sonic Youth studio staple for years"
  • Moog Rogue synth - used by Lee on NYC Ghosts & Flowers and the tour, perhaps for "Lightnin"?
  • some hardshell cases

    In October 2013, the Rajah Zeetar seen in the "Starpower" artwork was also auctioned on eBay.

    Throughout the site I've updated gear usage to be current through the end of 2011. New pictures here and there, too. Also, at long last, I've added some more set lists to the "interactive sets" feature. That's pretty much it for now, but there will be more detailed gear discussion coming soon. Big thanks to the following, who've been waiting years for me to add their fantastic observations to the site: John Southwood, Ben, Mat & Maxime Lepot, Ryan Hahn and more I'm certainly forgetting. Of all the sites, this is the one that I most enjoy communicating back and forth with readers, especially with new info on the table. Please keep writing and helping with those finer details!

    UPDATED 10/10/10

    Good evening and hi everybody! If you haven't been here in a while, please see the 05/08/10 update below and start from there, then move on to today's, which is more of a bullet point supplementary add-on with a few things I've learned since the last update went up. If you've already checked out the last update, read on...

    UPDATED 05/08/10

    Hi everybody! Well, it's been about 9 months since I posted "The Eternal Tour Equipment Exposé", and to be honest, I'm surprised to have received virtually no comments on it whatsoever. I might be wrong, but I don't think many bands out there openly allow their gear to be meticulously photographed and shared online, particularly a band with such unique and exclusive instruments, so I always expect more of a reaction when I get the privilege of sharing such detailed pictures with you. Truth be known, I'm probably the biggest fan of this website, along with a handful of people who actually do e-mail me (and oh, how I appreciate their feedback!). So, fortunately for that handful, I don't let the silence discourage me, and instead I reconsider my approach. Perhaps rather than lifesized, clear images showcasing every angle of the band's current gear arsenal, people are more interested in grainy, indistinct video captures of the equipment the band used during the first decade or so of their existance? Maybe last year's update featured too many eye-pleasing photographs and just didn't contain enough longwinded and rambling text? If that's the case, this year's update is sure to captivate, fascinate, and educate. Please, read on...

    (just in case you haven't visited in a while and are legitimately curious to see last year's update, i've left it intact below, though all of this information is now incorporated into the individual guitar pages, some of it updated with new details, so please explore the site after reading the newest update!)

    UPDATED 08/04/09

    Hello again! Here's part 2 of the great summer 2009 gear guide update, aka The Eternal Tour Equipment Exposé! I took about 200 pictures of SY's gear before soundcheck in Portland on July 28th, my first chance to do an in-depth photo session since July 2006. In the interest of efficiency (and at the mercy of a very poorly timed uncooperative camera), I chose to focus first on new gear and items not previously photographed, then capturing previously documented guitars as time allowed. As a result, you won't see every guitar in this update, but I assure you anything missing (mostly Thurston's stuff) has not changed much since 2006.

    My eternal thanks to sonic techs Eric and Matt, who demonstrated remarkable patience and provided me with more information than my mind could handle (literally!). I tried to write down as much info as I could to supplement the photographs but I have to admit I was fighting pretty hard with my camera and a lot of the hardware-specific details they threw at me probably did not make it to paper. Perhaps a separate photo session/conversation would've yielded better results, but fortunately the photos turned out well. Those two deserve a huge amount of credit for their enthusiasm and knowledge, not to mention the hard work they do on the side of the stage each night! I should also thank crew dudes Aaron and Jeremy for accomodating me while they were doing real work, and of course the band for letting me get this stuff out for y'all to see.

    So, in short: here's a shitload of pix and as much corresponding information as I managed to scrawl down. For now, I'll just stick them all together here, and add them into each guitar's page 'soon'... As always, the pictures are comically oversized and I'd recommend opening them in a new window if you want to resize them. Otherwise, enjoy the detail!



    JAZZMASTER (MASCIS) -- This is a J Mascis signature Jazzmaster that Kim uses for DADABD ("Antenna" "Leaky Lifeboat" & "Massage the History"). Eric replaced the stock white pickguard covers, knob, and switch with black parts. PIX: body - neck - back of headstock - body

    JAZZMASTER (RED) -- Okay, not so pink! Eric built this one for her, it has a Japanese reissue body, P-90 pickups, an Allparts neck, and a Mastery bridge (more on those later). It appears as 'New Jag' on set lists, though that's kind of misleading... She uses this one for DDAF#AD ("Calming the Snake" "No Way" "Walkin Blue" "Poison Arrow" "Anti-Orgasm"). PIX: body - neck - body - back of headstock

    JAGUAR (RED) -- Kim is using this mostly for 'What We Know' (in CGDACD). Possibly for 'Thunderclap' as well, though that seems to be out of the sets. I'm guessing this still gets retuned to standard if they decide to do 'Shaking Hell', but not sure. PIX: back of headstock - back - front - body - body - body

    IBANEZ TALMAN -- Been a few years since this was on the road, now it's being used in a weird tuning for 'Malibu Gas Station'. I wrote down 'CGDADG' but Eric's notes say 'CDGADG' - the gauges look like they'd make more sense for CGD, but apparently the high G is actually tuned higher than high E, so who knows! Of course, this is the one headstock I didn't get the back of... The Bigsby has been removed, otherwise it's basically the same as it was before. PIX: body - neck - body

    GIBSON BASS (no page yet) -- Kim's newest bass was actually given to her by Mike Watt! Dig his name scratched into the back of the headstock. PIX: bass - body - neck - back of headstock - back of body

    GIBSON THUNDERBIRD BASS -- Surely this needs no introduction... PIX: body - close-up of writing - close-up of writing - headstock - back of headstock


    JAZZMASTER (WOOD) -- This is a '65 Jazzmaster they bought off of eBay from someone in Wyoming. Used in CCEBGD for 'The Sprawl' and 'Cross the Breeze'. PIX: body - close-up - body - back of headstock - body

    JAZZMASTER (GREEN) -- This was built by Eric (see the page for specs), and served as the inspiration for Thurston's signature Fender. While originally in GDD# for the 'Daydream' tour, this is now in DDAF#AD and is played on almost all of 'The Eternal' songs ('Sacred Trickster' 'Anti-Orgasm' 'Leaky Lifeboat' 'Antenna' 'Calming the Snake' 'Poison Arrow' 'No Way' and 'Walkin Blue'). Check out the cheat sheet lyric notes for 'Antenna' written all over the body! PIX: body - body - neck - body - back of headstock - back - side

    JAZZMASTER (SIGNATURE) -- The signature Fender model is along for the ride too, but seems to be scarcely used compared to the original green one above. It's designated as a back-up for that one, but was in the EGDGED tuning when I snapped it. The adjust-o-matic bridge has been replaced with a Mastery bridge, like the other green jazz (and almost every other Jazzmaster in the band's arsenal). PIX: body - body - back of headstock - back of gtr

    G&L TELECASTER -- Possibly built by Thurston's brother? This is the 'GABDEG' Tele (Hey Joni, Teenage Riot). PIX: body - body - close up - headstock - back of headstock - back of gtr

    I once again failed to get a picture of his acoustic, which is the same one Lee was using on 'Or' in 2006. It's a (recent) Martin 000-18, and is in DDAF#AD as well. He plays it on 'Massage the History'.

    Those appear to be the only guitars of Thurston's I photographed, but he also had these in his rack:

  • Jazzmaster (sunburst) - F#F#F#F#EB
  • Jazzmaster ('64 sunburst) - DD#AD#GG or DDAF#AD back-up (he did use this for much of the Seattle show after the green one crapped out in the first song)
  • Jazzmaster (gold) - EG#EG#EG#
  • Jazzmaster (red) - ACCGG#C
  • Jazzmaster (blue) - GGDDD#D#
  • Jazzmaster (seafoam) - F#F#GGAA
  • Jazzmaster (black) - CGDGCD (What We Know, Malibu Gas Station, Thunderclap)
  • New Drifter - BBF#F#

    In case they feel left out, here's two group pictures: bodies and necks.


    JAZZBLASTER (SIGNATURE) -- This is actually the 2nd prototype designed for Lee's signature model. The first one didn't seem to be on the road with him. For the 2nd prototype they switched to a matched headstock, and changed the pickups to be closer to Lee's specs (the first one had standard Tele Deluxe humbuckers). Like Thurston's green jazz, Lee uses this guitar on the bulk of 'The Eternal' set, in the classic 'DDA' tuning originally featured on Sister classics like 'Schizophrenia' and 'Catholic Block'. PIX: gtr - body - headstock - back of headstock

    JAZZBLASTER (RED) -- This may be a '68. He uses this one for 'Joni' now in EBEEAB, to replace the Telecaster. PIX: body - neck - body - back of headstock

    TRAVIS BEAN ARTIST (KOA WOOD) -- Okay, I'm pretty damn excited to finally see this thing up close. Why, you ask? Click the link and see the only existing pictures I had of this guitar...then look at these: body - body - neck - side - back - resting with its replacement (by the way, it's in F#GA)

    FENDER MUSTANG (SUNBURST) -- The original 'Cross the Breeze' beauty. Still in EEEEF#F#. Note the Mastery bridge! PIX: back of headstock - body - neck - attempted close-up of infinity

    FERNANDES STRAT (PINK) -- Still in AEA, 20 years later. PIX: body - back of headstock

    JAZZBLASTER (CORAL) -- Still in CGDCGD ("What We Know", "Malibu Gas Station", "Anti-Orgasm", "Thunderclap") but also has tons of peculiar tunings written all over it! Can anybody decipher what these might be for? A#A#A#FA#A#?? CGCDF#B (FMC tuning)?! BbBbF#BbF#C# - "PIPES"?!? DAFAAD "BOAC"?!? Okay, I'm guessing 'BOAC' might stand for 'Bang On A Can', so my assumption is that these are alternate tunings he uses for various non-Sonic noise gigs. I'm quite curious if anybody can identify what 'FMC' or 'PIPES' might be, though! PIX: back - body - close-up - close-up - close-up

    JAZZBLASTER (MAGENTA) -- This is a back-up for the CGDCGD tuning, and even has all the same "BOAC" and "PIPES" tunings on it as the Coral jazz, which only furthers my curiousity... PIX: body - close-up - back of headstock

    JAZZBLASTER (WHITE) -- Here's the cream Jazzblaster these days, once the primary DDA gtr, now just a back-up for the sapphire... PIX: body

    FENDER XII -- The Fender 12-string is the primary EG#EG#EG# guitar for 'Expressway' and 'PCH' these days, the Deimel is nowhere to be seen... PIX: body - back - back of headstock

    KOLL JAZZBLASTER (CHERRY) -- No longer in GGDGGA, this is now in GDD# for 'Stereo Sanctity'. In years past Lee has generally used the same guitar for GDG, GDF, and GDD#, but I guess the gauges are different enough that he uses two guitars now (plus the pick-up behind the bridge is key for that 'Stereo' sound...). PIX: body - back of headstock

    JAZZBLASTER (GREEN) -- Still the primary GDG guitar, compare the gauges to the Koll, pretty big difference on top... PIX: back of headstock

    TRAVIS BEAN (YELLOW) -- Still Lee's main F#F#F#F#EB/AF#EF#EB guitar. PIX: side of guitar

    EPIPHONE DOT -- Still Lee's F#AE (Shadow of a Doubt) guitar. PIX: back of headstock

    These are all the guitars that were in Lee's rack, aside from the "Tele 3" which he uses on 'World Looks Red' and 'Shaking Hell'. Now, several days earlier in Spokane I had taken a few quick snaps of his rack, and at that time it contained the 3 other Teles: "Tele 1", the Bigsby Tele (aka 'Sparky', for the South Park sticker), and the F-hole Tele. In addition, the Les Paul and sunburst Koll were also waiting around. I asked about these in Portland and Matt literally opened the box -- a roadcase full of extra guitars 'just in case'. Not only were all 5 of these guitars hiding in there, they had some very interesting companions...:

    JAZZBLASTER (WOOD) -- Hey, it's that wood blaster I saw him use on 'Teenage Riot' once! Apparently it was being used for GGCGCD at some point, but 'Bull in the Heather' has seemingly been shelved for the time being, so in the box it stays... PIX: body - close up - headstock - back of headstock - tuning underneath

    LES PAUL (MAROON) -- I haven't seen this thing since it was Thurston's main 'nyc ghosts' guitar, and I did not expect to see it come out of Lee's case! It also appears to have been used for GGCGCD at some point. PIX: body - headstock - back of body - back of headstock - tuning underneath

    FENDER MUSTANG (RED) -- It's baaaack. It spends most of its time locked in a roadcase, but it's back! Lee did consider using this (the original 'Eric/Joni' gtr) again for the obvious tunes but I guess it didn't quite cut it (even with a Tele Deluxe humbucker in the middle!). PIX: body - headstock - close up - body

    So let's see... they've gotten 4 guitars back. Well, Lee has. The Koa Wood Travis Bean still seems to be worthy of being the primary F#GA guitar, and that F-hole Telecaster was one of the main 'Rather Ripped' guitars last tour, even if it spends most of its time in a roadcase now. The Mustang isn't quite up for the competition, but what happened to the other Travis Bean? The infamous 'target' guitar relied on by Lee for the F# tuning throughout most of the 90s, recovered with the Tele in 2005 but in considerably worse condition (here's a side-by-side reminder, if you need one)? Surely this is leading somewhere?

    TRAVIS BEAN ARTIST -- Take a look at her now! PIX: body - body - headstock // I think this was in F#F#F#F#EB, but it probably won't be used. (Had my camera behaved, I would've taken a lot more pictures of this one!)

    As for the other five I mentioned above, the sunburst Koll is still ready for 'Incinerate' in D#D#A#D#GG, same tuning as the Les Paul Custom (for 'Pink Steam'). 'Tele 1' was being used for 'Joni' as late as Spokane, replaced by the red Jazzblaster the next night in Seattle. The 'Sparky' Tele has seen many different tunings and at the moment it's in EEBBEF# (I suppose to match with Thurston's custom Jazzmaster in EGDGED?). The F-hole Tele is still on hand for 'Jams Run Free' in D#A#D#BC#F#.

    You'll note that almost all of their Fender style guitars have Mastery bridges on them now. These bridges are designed to solve all of the inherent design flaws of the common Jazzmaster/Jaguar bridge, and Lee & Thurston even offer their combined satisfaction in a blurb at the official site -- "After years of modifying Mustang® & Tune-o-Matic bridges to fit our JazzBlasters, the Mastery bridge is the exciting and cool solution we've been looking for. It slips in easily for replacement, sounds great, and the strings can't slip off. Rock on!"


    Mark's still using his '71 P-bass, though Kim's blue P-bass is around as well.



  • Peavey Roadmaster head w/ Marshall 1960 Lead 4x12 cab
  • Toneworks DTR-1 Digital Tuner
  • Fender Deluxe Reverb amp (for radio + contact mic thru Walco Signal Booster)

    Thurston runs the radio into the 'Normal' channel of the Deluxe Reverb, and the contact mic thru a Walco Signal Booster into the 'Vibrato' channel. The footswitch is presumably a Vibrato/Reverb?

    PIX: Fender Deluxe w/ radio+mic / aerial view of Thurston's noise corner / more Fender Deluxe w/ radio+mic / more Fender Deluxe w/ radio+mic / Roadmaster w/ cab / Roadmaster head close-up (w/ tuner) / Roadmaster head close-up / close-up of skull slide / close-up of boring slide / 'Calming the Snake' file


  • Fender Super Reverb head w/ Fender 4x10" cab (read notes)
  • Fender Vibro-King
  • Furman power source
  • Toneworks DTR-1 Digital Tuner

    Lee had an amp mishap in Spokane and as of Portland, his Super Reverb head was actually wired to the Vibro-King's speaker (teasingly decorated with a fan's request for 'Theresa's Sound World') and the Vibro-King was going through the 4x10 cab. His guitar goes into the Vibro-King's head and out of the 4x10 cab, and his walkman goes into the Super Reverb head. In addition to the walkman, Lee also has two drumsticks, a screwdriver, and some bells at his disposal.

    PIX: Super Reverb head w/ tuner/power source / Super Reverb head / Fender 4x10" cab w/ infamous Jasper Johns 'Target with Four Faces' painting / Lee's bells / Vibro-King w/ infinity box, drumsticks, screwdriver, and walkman / another angle / and another / Vibro-King


  • Ampeg SVT-3 Pro head w/ Ampeg Classic 8x12" (?) cab
  • Fender Bassman head thru Fender Tweed 4x12 cab

    She uses a Loop Master A/B box.

    PIX: Bassman head w/ drumstick, slide, and files used for 'Calming the Snake' and 'Anti-Orgasm' / Fender Tweed cab / Ampeg stack w/ new bass


  • Ampeg SVT Classic head w/ 2 Ampeg Classic 4x12" cabs

    PIX: Ampeg stack / Ampeg head / Ampeg head



    Surprisingly, Lee's effects haven't actually changed since 2007!

  • Moogerfooger Ring Modulator
  • Ernie Ball Expression pedal for Ring Mod
  • Electro-Harmonix Micro Synthesizer
  • MXR Blue Box
  • BJF Honey Bee
  • Ibanez AD-80 Analog Delay
  • Hughes & Kettner Tube Factor
  • Klon Centaur
  • Digitech PDS 1002 2-second Digital Delay
  • Voodoo Lab Pedal Power

    In addition, Lee also has the 'Antenna Box', a custom delay built for him by Matt Zivich. It sits on a platform connected to his mic stand, and he uses it for the intro of 'Antenna'.

    PIX: Digitech Delay, Klon Centaur, Tube Factor, Ibanez AD-80, Honey Bee / Blue Box, Microsynth, Exp pedal, Ring Mod / Digitech Delay, Klon Centaur / Tube Factor (note the slide!), Ibanez AD-80, Honey Bee / Blue Box, Microsynth / Expression pedal, Ring Mod / Microsynth / Ring Modulator / Digitech notes / AD-80 notes / The ANTENNA BOX!

    That last one would make pretty cool wallpaper...


    Kim's abandoned her TC Electronic phaser as well as her Tube Screamer. She's replaced them with a Boss PH-2 and a Sitori Sonics 'Brownies and Cream'. She's also added a Deluxe Memory Man.

  • Boss TU-2 Chromatic Tuner
  • Radial Engineering DI box
  • Electro-Harmonix Hot Tubes
  • Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man
  • Boss PH-2 Super Phaser
  • Sitori Sonics 'Brownies and Cream'
  • Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Octave Fuzz
  • Ibanez AD9 Analog Delay
  • Mutron Wah-Vol

    PIX: Super Phaser, Memory Man, Hot Tubes, DI, Tuner / Hot Tubes, DI, Tuner / Super Phaser, Memory Man / Ibanez AD9, Octave Fuzz, Brownies & Cream / Wah-Vol, AD9


    Are you sitting down? As I approached Thurston's area of the stage, I noticed his pedalboard was considerably less...blue. Upon closer inspection, it appeared the MXR Blue Box, a staple in Thurston's (non-changing) set-up for over a decade now, was nowhere to be found! Could it be? Has Thurston finally deviated from the same six effects pedals he's been using since the mid-90s? Well...yes! Check it out!

  • Sitori Sonics 'Harem Fuzz'
  • MXR Phase 90
  • Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Octave Fuzz
  • Crowther 'Hot Cake' overdrive
  • Electro-Harmonix/Sovtek Big Muff
  • Mutron Wah-Vol

    PIX: Phase 90, Harem Fuzz / Hot Cake, Octave Fuzz / Wah-Vol, Big Muff / Phase 90, Harem Fuzz


    Mark's pedals haven't changed, but here they are again!

  • Boss TU-2 Chromatic Tuner (into a Radial Engineering JDI as well as the SansAmp)
  • SansAmp GT2
  • Crowther 'Prunes & Custard'

    PIX: Prunes, Sansamp, Tuner


    I think Steve's set-up is pretty much the same. '68 Ludwig kit, K Classic Dark Custom cymbals (13" hi-hat, 17" crash, 20" ride), Zildjian plates and gong. The Thumper is still there too (check out its little amp!). There's new kick drum art, though! Shinya Yamamoto painted two heads for Steve, and the first one was used on the 'Rather Ripped' tour and beyond (check the '06 pix). Now he's replaced it with the second design.

    PIX: kit from the front / / kit from behind / kit from the back / kit from the side / Thumper device attached to stool / ZT Lunchbox amp (for the Thumper) / Lunchbox / Zildjian 12" Jing Gong, Earth Plate low, Earth Plate high / Zildjian plates & gong / Jing Gong / some extras / toms and ride / snare, hats, crash, tom / Shinya Yamamoto painting

    So, that's about it. If you haven't visited the site in a while, you may have missed that I also updated last month, so be sure to check that out below. Please send any comments/corrections to Chris Lawrence. Thanks for visiting!

    UPDATED 07/04/09

    Hi everybody! It's been two years since the last update, so I figured I had to make this one worth it...I think I've succeeded, and I hope you agree. Before I discuss specific updates, I want to point out some site design changes I've made.

  • I had previously designed the page using 800x600 resolution -- I doubt many people use this anymore, even I don't use this anymore, so I recoded every page to fit the screen it's being viewed on. I hope this worked the way I intended, but please let me know if it's a drag. Part of this also involved eliminating the 'single file' horizontal nature of the photographs, which are now portrayed in a haphazard cluster instead. Hurray!
  • Speaking of pictures, I've added tags to many of the photos so you can hover over them with your mouse and get some extra info (generally just the year the picture was taken, helpful for guitars used over a long period). I also upgraded TONS of pictures that were previously just digicam snaps of my television screen with a VHS tape paused -- now they're caps straight from a digital source. Compare this to this for just one example.
  • I added a link back to the main screen on each individual guitar page. Not to be used while navigating the site, but if somebody views an isolated guitar page outside of the framework of the site, they can click the link and have the proper frames load.
  • I've grouped all guitars I can't identify with an 'Unknown' prefix at the bottom of the lists. Please let me know if you can help with any of these!


    Okay, on to the updates... Well, there's a few major items that you're likely all aware of now.

    FENDER ANNOUNCES SONIC YOUTH SIGNATURE JAZZMASTERS -- Lee and Thurston both have signature Jazzmasters available now. Check out their page on Fender.com, and view their entries on this site as well. The guitars come with a very cool zine that I'm hoping to incorporate into this site eventually, it has a plethora of cool sonic tech notes on tunings and guitars as well as revealing interviews with all of the band's techs that discuss the modifications SY make to their guitars and their usage over the years. COOL!


    ONE MORE STOLEN GUITAR RETURNED! -- Lee's red '69 Competition Mustang is back in his possession after a fortunately honest collector who'd purchased the guitar on eBay realized what he'd found. See the guitar's page for more information and pictures galore!


    So, after the last update in 2007 I did actually take some pictures of SY's gear at a July 2007 show in California. They're mostly snaps of amps and pedals that don't reveal many changes from 2006, but they're each available on the member's pages by clicking their names at the top. Not sure why it took me 2 years to post them, but I'm hoping to be able to provide yet another 'full visual report' on the band's gear if things work out when they head west. Stay tuned...


    Here's the thrilling continuation of a running joke/handy feature:

    OKAY, if you're interested in what guitars SY have been using during 2006, I've prepared a graph detailing their gear on a song-by-song basis. It's available here. Enjoy!

    OKAY, if you're interested in what guitars SY have been using during 2007, I've prepared a graph detailing their gear on a song-by-song basis. It's available here. Enjoy!

    OKAY, if you're interested in what guitars SY have been using during 2008, I've prepared a graph detailing their gear on a song-by-song basis. It's available here. Enjoy!


    During research for this update, I've discovered that at least FOUR guitars are listed twice in this guide, and have merged them all with the appropriate information explaining the changes. One was even listed 3 separate times! I blame grainy VHS... Here's a list of all the guitars with major updates, but look around because many guitars had some kind of update to the notes or tuning usage...

    Drifter -- added info on 1986 usage + new pix
    Fender Tele Deluxe -- added picture of Kurt Cobain using guitar
    Blue Jazzmaster copy -- merged with 'Fender Jazzmaster (blue)' + added more pix
    Knox -- identified gtr + added new pix
    Gershon SG -- added new pix
    Fender Jaguar (old wood) -- merged with 'Fender Jaguar (old)' + new/upgraded pix
    Favilla acoustic -- changed tuning + added better pix
    Kimberly -- upgraded + new pix
    Fender Duo Sonic -- added new pix
    Black Metal Strat -- added new pic
    Univox Plexiglas -- added new pix
    Quest -- upgraded pix + new pix
    Kapa Continental -- identified gtr + added more pix
    12-String Strat -- added new pic
    Fender Mustang (sunburst) -- added new pictures/upgrades
    Fender Jazzmaster (sunburst) -- merged w/ 'Fender Jazzmaster (green)' AND 'Fender Jazzmaster (sunburst)' + added many new pix
    Fender Mustang (red) -- stolen guitar returned! many pix
    Fender Jaguar (red) -- added new pic
    Epiphone Genesis -- upgraded pix
    Fender Mustang (black) -- added pix
    Fender Jazzmaster (sunburst) -- upgraded pix
    Fender Jazzmaster (white) -- added new pic
    Gibson SG -- added pics
    GABDEG Tele -- added pic
    Reject Strat -- upgrades + new pix
    Fender Jaguar (leopard) -- added new pic
    Fender Jaguar (blonde) -- added new pic
    Yamaha Pacifica -- added new pic
    Fernandes Vertigo Pro -- merged with 'Fernandes Jazzmaster', added pic
    Fender Jazzmaster (coral) -- added new pic
    Harmony -- added new pic
    Hollywood Hollowbody -- upgraded pic
    Fender Mustang (white) -- upgraded pix
    STP Strat -- upgraded pix
    White Kent -- upgraded pix
    Fender Strat (purple) -- upgraded pic
    Painted Strat -- upgraded pic
    Blue Metal Strat -- upgraded pic
    Fender Musicmaster -- added new picture
    Framus Jaguar -- upgraded pix
    Superstar Plexiglas -- upgraded pic
    Fender XII -- added pic
    Fender Jazzmaster (black) -- added info + new pic
    Gibson Les Paul (conan) -- added pictures
    Gibson Sonex (New Drifter) -- changed name
    Martin acoustic -- added pic


    Fender Jazzmaster (wood)
    Fender Jazzmaster (green)
    Fender Jazzmaster (wood)
    Fender Jazzmaster (red)
    Fender Jazzmaster (black)
    Fender Jazzmaster (mascis)
    Travis Bean
    Fender Jazzmaster (pink)
    Fender Jazzmaster (sapphire blue)
    Fender Jazzmaster (LEE RANALDO SIGNATURE)
    Fender Jazzmaster (THURSTON MOORE SIGNATURE)
    Various acoustic guitars


    Ovation Magnum -- new pic
    Gibson Thunderbird -- new pic
    Rickenbacker -- new pic
    Gibson Ripper -- upgrade
    Fender P-bass (cream) -- upgraded pic
    Fender Musicmaster -- upgraded pix
    Fender P-bass (yellow) -- new picture
    Fender P-bass (mark) -- new pic
    Fender P-bass (mark 2) -- new bass!

    So, this update was definitely focused more on guitars, but I've been checking out a lot of old video of the band to try to figure out their amp/drum/fx usage in the big holes in the 80s where I have no information. I really don't find amplifiers as 'sexy' as other gear, so I often can't identify them...if you're ever looking at vintage SY footage, and you notice a specific amp (or drumkit), please let me know! I'd hoped to have more of this stuff included in this update, but it'll have to wait. I did get some blurry caps of Lee's surprisingly many effects from an '87 show, but I can't really identify any of them. I'll post those in the next update...

    A couple of additional requests for readers:

  • If you're fortunate enough to visit the 'Sensational Fix' exhibit, take some nice close-up pictures of all those guitars they hang on the wall! The Kent Polaris, Kent 12-string, Harmony, Ovation bass, etc all seem to be part of the show.
  • Lots of guitars that I think of as really common only have pictures of the guitar itself listed (example: this one, this one, this one, this one, this one, this one, and this one) and it seems to me like it should be easy to find pictures of them using these instruments. So, if you come across a good one, please let me know!

    As always, comments/corrections welcome:

    -- Chris Lawrence