Maroon 5's James Valentine

Signal Chain: Keeley Looper (sent to Providence Anadime Chorus > Electro-Harmonix Micro POG 2 > Keeley Katana Clean Boost) > Fulltone Octafuzz > Z.Vex Octane 3 > Dunlop Zakk Wylde signature wah > Fulltone Fulldrive 2 > Fulltone OCD > Menatone Blue Collar Overdrive > Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor > Axess BS-2 Buffer/Splitter (split out to Korg Pitchblack tuner) > Dunlop Rotovibe > Boss FV-500H volume pedal > Keeley-modded Line 6 DL4. Photo by Chris Kies

Though his board has perhaps the most effects of any that we saw on the road this year, Maroon 5 lead guitarist James Valentine uses many of them for single songs—or even just parts of a song. When we caught up with Valentine during Maroon 5’s summer 2011 Hands All Over tour, his more heavily used effects include a Fulltone OCD for leads and the Line 6 DL4 set with a slight delay and a more dramatic delay that he taps into the tempo of the songs, “for that Police-y sort of thing we do a lot.”

Valentine has three flavors of overdrive on his board—a Menatone Blue Collar, Fulltone OCD, and Fulltone Full- Drive—but usually gravitates back to the OCD. However, his pedal usage is not set in stone. “I kind of change it up because we play so many shows that sometimes I’ll solo on the [Fulltone] Octave Fuzz because you’ll find that that will inspire different sort of ideas. My sound guy would probably prefer if I played the same thing every night, [laughs] but it’s a little more fun to experiment.”

The Dunlop Rotovibe, which he calls his “favorite swirly-type of effect,” is his go-to for chorus tones, and after trying out a number of wahs, Valentine settled on the seemingly uncharacteristic Zakk Wylde wah. “I love Zakk Wylde’s playing, but I don’t really play anything like him,” he told us. “Every wah has a different sort of range it sweeps from, and this one had a particularly good range and just works for the type of stuff I use it for.” The wah can be heard heavily on the band’s hit, “Sunday Morning.”

Some of his less used pedals include the Z.Vex Octane 3, which is only used for about four bars on “Never See Your Face Again,” which he says “really breaks up,” and the Electro-Harmonix Micro POG which made its way to Valentine’s board for the single, “Give a Little More.” He uses the pedal in conjunction with the Providence Anadime Chorus for the intro section of the song, but has been inspired to find more ways to use it since adding it to the board. The POG and Chorus are run through the Keeley Looper to keep the chain clean. “As soon as you add anything else to your signal chain, you start to see your signal degrading,” he explains. Valentine and his tech, Mike Buffa, took great care to make sure the chain has as little signal degradation as possible.

Valentine controls volume with his Boss FV-500H, smoothes things out with a Keeley Katana, tunes with a Korg Pitchblack tuner, and powers the board with a trio of Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus units. One of his secret weapons is the Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor. “We have a lot of dramatic pauses,” he explains, “so if there’s that extra in between that, it’s annoying.”

Valentine also uses his pedalboard to control his two-amp setup. His Divided by 13 Switchazel and Matchless footswitch sit side-by-side so he can switch both amps from clean to dirty at the same time or set one clean and one dirty. Valentine told us, “If you see me during the show, I’m kind of tap dancing a lot—I probably should switch to some sort of MIDI system [laughs].”

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