THURSTON MOORE

GUITARS

  • View all of Thurston's guitars

    AMPS

    Below is the information I can confirm for sure -- where there are gaps in years and the same set-up appears on either side of the gap, you can infer that it was continuously used thru that period.

    I will get around to adding amplifier info for the early-mid 80s in the future....

    1989

  • Peavey Roadmaster w/ no-name 4x12 cab
  • Peavey Encore 65 (for Sony Walkman)

    1991

  • Vintage Marshall 100-watt amp

    1992

  • Marshall 100-watt tube head
  • Peavey Roadmaster
  • w/ new Marshall cabs

    1994

  • 160-watt Peavey Roadmaster w/ 60s Marshall 4x12 cab on bottom

    1998

  • 160-watt Peavey Roadmaster w/ 60s Marshall 4x12 cab on bottom
  • 2nd Roadmaster + Marshall cab onstage for "My First Sony"

    Thanks to the now defunct original SY supersite evol.org, I can provide you with some photographs of SY's amp setups from the '98 "A Thousand Leaves" tour, specifically the 5/21/98 Portland, OR gig. Many thanks to Michael McCullough for taking these.

  • Roadmaster settings
  • More Roadmaster settings
  • More Roadmaster settings  

    1999

  • 160-watt Peavey Roadmaster w/ 60s Marshall 4x12 cab on bottom

    2000

  • Peavey Roadmaster w/ Marshall 4x12 cab

    2001

  • Peavey Roadmaster w/ Marshall 4x12 cab

    2002

  • Peavey Roadmaster head (2) w/ Marshall 4x12 cab
  • Fender Twin Reverb (for ALL TOMORROW'S PARTIES -- band didn't want to bring their full amp rigs across the country for one gig)  

    Here are photographs of Thurston's entire amp rig I took before soundcheck at the August 30th, 2002 Murray Street tour show in Portland, Oregon at the Crystal Ballroom (some are fairly large so you may want to open them in a new window):

  • Peavey Roadmaster heads w/ Marshall cab + rack illuminator

    2006

    Photographs taken by me July 14th, 2006 @ the Fillmore in San Francisco, CA.

  • Peavey Roadmaster head (Vintage Tube Series) w/ Marshall JCM 900 4x12 cab
  • Toneworks DTR-1 Digital Tuner
  • Fender Twin Reverb (for Panasonic tape deck/radio + contact mic thru gain pedal)

  • Thurston's guitar amp
  • Peavey head
  • Peavey head/tuner
  • Close-up of head/tuner
  • Back of head
  • Panasonic radio
  • Twin Reverb
  • Boost pedal

    2007

    I took this picture of Thurston's amp at the July 21st Santa Monica show. Looks to be about the same setup. I'm told that 'Boost pedal' is actually a Walco Signal Booster, which is apparently capable of ridiculous volumes.

    2009

  • 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

    EFFECTS

    In the early-mid 80s, Sonic Youth rarely used effects pedals. They relied on sheer volume for their distortion, and preferred to let their sound remain pure and free of too much processing. Towards the end of the decade they began to experiment w/ fuzzboxes, volume pedals, and of course, Lee discovered delay. Thurston typically relied solely on several distortion pedals before branching out to wahs & phasers & octave dividers in the mid 90s, while Lee had more freedom to roam about with modulation effects.

    Below is the information I can confirm for sure -- where there are gaps in years and the same set-up appears on either side of the gap, you can infer that it was continuously used thru that period.

    1989

  • Dearmond volume pedal
  • MXR Blue Box

    1991

  • Proco Turbo Rat
  • DOD Fuzzbox

    1992

  • Proco Turbo Rat

    1993

  • Sovtek Big Muff
  • Mutron Wah/Vol
  • Mutron Phasor II
  • Proco Turbo Rat

    1994

  • Sovtek Big Muff
  • Mutron Fuzz/Wah (70s) possibly the Wah/Vol?
  • Mutron Phasor II
  • Proco Turbo Rat

    1995

  • Mutron Wah/Vol
  • Ludwig Phase II Guitar Synthesizer  

    View the Phase II (used for Diamond Sea).

    1996

  • Mutron Wah/Vol
  • Ludwig Phase II Guitar Synthesizer
  • Sovtek Big Muff
  • Proco Turbo Rat

    1997

  • Mu-Tron Wah/Vol
  • Sovtek Big Muff
  • Proco Turbo Rat
  • Dunlop Hendrix Octave Fuzz
  • MXR Blue Box
  • MXR Phase 90

    1998

  • Sovtek Big Muff
  • Proco Turbo Rat
  • MXR Blue Box (Dunlop)
  • MXR Phase 90
  • Dunlop Hendrix Octave Fuzz
  • Mu-Tron Wah/Vol
  • Mu-Tron Octave Divider (not in tour rig)  

    Thanks to the now defunct original SY supersite evol.org, I can provide you with some photographs of SY's effects gear from the '98 "A Thousand Leaves" tour, specifically the 5/21/98 Portland, OR gig. Many thanks to Michael McCullough for taking these.

  • Sovtek Big Muff & Turbo Rat
  • Turbo Rat
  • Phase 90 & Blue Box
  • Mu-Tron Wah/Vol, Big Muff, Turbo Rat & Hendrix Octave Fuzz  

    1999

  • Sovtek Big Muff
  • ProCo Turbo Rat
  • MXR Phase 90
  • MXR Blue Box
  • Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Octave Fuzz
  • Mu-tron Wah/Vol

    2000

  • No pedals for "nyc ghosts & flowers" LP
  • Tour effects very similar to '98

    2002

  • Mu-Tron Wah-Vol
  • Electro-Harmonix Big Muff
  • ProCo Turbo Rat
  • Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Octave Fuzz
  • MXR Phase 90
  • MXR Blue Box  

    Here are photographs of Thurston's entire effects rig I took before soundcheck at the August 30th, 2002 Murray Street tour show in Portland, Oregon at the Crystal Ballroom (some are fairly large so you may want to open them in a new window):

  • Mutron Wah/Vol (w/ $295 price tag!), E-H Big Muff, Turbo Rat, Octave Fuzz
  • MXR Phase 90 + Blue Box

    2003

  • Mu-Tron Wah-Vol
  • Sovtek Big Muff
  • ProCo Turbo Rat
  • Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Octave Fuzz
  • MXR Phase 90
  • MXR Blue Box  

    2004

  • Mu-Tron Wah-Vol
  • Electro-Harmonix Big Muff
  • ProCo Turbo Rat
  • Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Octave Fuzz
  • MXR Phase 90
  • MXR Blue Box  

    2005

  • Mu-Tron Wah-Vol
  • Electro-Harmonix Big Muff
  • ProCo Turbo Rat
  • Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Octave Fuzz
  • MXR Phase 90
  • MXR Blue Box  

    2006

    Photographs taken by me July 14th, 2006 @ the Fillmore in San Francisco, CA.

  • Mutron Wah-Vol
  • Sovtek Big Muff
  • Turbo Rat
  • Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Octave Fuzz
  • MXR Phase 90
  • MXR Blue Box

  • Thurston's pedals
  • Wah/Vol, Muff, Rat
  • Octave Fuzz, Phase 90, Blue Box
  • Thurston's pedals
  • Thurston's pedals from other side
  • Wah/Vol
  • Big Muff
  • Rat
  • Octave Fuzz/Phase 90
  • Blue Box

    2007

    Picture of Thurston's effects taken at July 21st, 2007 Santa Monica gig. Same old setup!

    2009

  • 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

    These pix are from July 28th, 2009 -- earlier in the tour he was using the standard six he's been using for the past decade, but it appears the band picked up some Sitori Sonics boxes when they swung thru Alabama in early July.

    OTHER

    Miscellaneous instruments/tools.

  • Bass -- Thurston often played bass on SY's earlier songs, switching off w/ Kim on guitar (though sometimes she'd just sing). Songs include: "The Good and the Bad" "I Wanna Be Yr Dog" "Shaking Hell" "Inhuman" "Making the Nature Scene" "Beauty Lies in the Eye" "My Friend Goo", the DNA cover "Blonde Redhead", and most recently "Rats".

  • Drumstick -- the classic Sonic tool, sometimes used purely for noise, sometimes used to form a whole song. Examples: "Burning Spear" features a drumstick under the strings at the 12th fret, repeatedly struck with a second stick. "I Love Her All The Time" features the same, with the sticks continuously rubbed together to provide a droning feedback soundscape. "She Is Not Alone" and "Free City Rhymes" require a drumstick under the strings near the pickups, for plinky arpeggiations. "Eric's Trip" utilizes a drumstick in a slide fashion up and down the neck.

  • Slide -- while Lee has used a slide for melodic purposes before, Thurston's slide use is typically for random noise effects, as on "100%" "Youth Against Fascism" "Female Mechanic Now On Duty" & "Inhuman" (bass), with a slightly more calculated use on "Catholic Block".

  • Hammer -- used to pound strings on "Heather Angel".

  • Metal File -- placed over neck pick-up for Thurston's plinky guitar part on "Small Flowers Crack Concrete". Another metal file is used for "Calming the Snake".

  • Bike Horn -- wedged under the strings for "Lightnin".

  • Walkman -- for many years Thurston used a Sony Walkman onstage thru a Peavey Encore 65 amp to blare tapes between songs (this began during the Bad Moon Rising era when the band would try to keep their concerts a flowing unbroken mass of music). In addition to samples of the Stooges "Not Right" and Lou Reed's "Metal Machine Music" on Bad Moon Rising, other tapes used onstage include Ratt's "Round and Round", Madonna's "Into the Groove", Black Sabbath's "War Pigs", Gerardo's "Rico Suave", and SY's own "Scooter & Jinx" & "I Love You Mary Jane". Also, the piano backing track to "Secret Girl" was played onstage, with Kim singing her vocals live overtop.

  • Cowbell -- used in similar fashion to a drumstick/slide on "She's in a Bad Mood".

  • My First Sony -- a red children's sound effects unit used onstage during the "A Thousand Leaves" era. It comes w/ a microphone which Thurston fixed in front of his main Marshall cab, routing the signal thru the radio unit and into another Roadmaster/Marshall onstage, and he'd use the effects buttons to generate various noises (typically utilized during the improvisations that closed '98 shows).  

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