Joe Satriani

Signal Chain: Vox Big Bad Wah > Voodoo Lab Proctavia > Roger Mayer Voodoo-Vibe Jr > Boss CH-1 Super Chorus > Vox Satchurator > Vox Ice 9 Overdrive > DigiTech Whammy > Radial JDI > Amp (Effects Loop) > Custom True Bypass Switch > DigiTech 33B (rackmount, not pictured) > Vox Time Machine > Vox Time Machine. Photo by Jason Shadrick

Joe Satriani pulls double duty with Chickenfoot and solo work these days, but when we caught up with him he was touring solo in support of Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards. “Besides the wah wah pedal and the delays, pretty much everything is used maybe for one song,” Satriani told us. “They take up a lot of real estate, but they’re little ear-candy pedals.”

Though his board is packed with signature pedals, he leans most heavily on the Vox Big Bad Wah and dual Vox Time Machine delays, which are always on. He gets his dirt from his prototype Marshall JVM410 heads—which he was tweaking nightly at the time, hence the handwritten, taped notes on the amp footswitch—but keeps his signature Vox Satchurator and Vox Ice 9 Overdrive on the board, “in case I change my mind on how I want to work with my gain levels.”

Photo by David Izquierdo

The specific-use pedals include a Voodoo Lab Proctavia, which is used for a solo in “Crystal Planet,” a Boss CE-5 Chorus used on “Crystal Planet” and on the outro for “Wind in the Trees,” a Roger Mayer Voodoo-Vibe used for the solo in “Pyrrhic Victoria,” and the DigiTech Whammy used for the outro on “Revelation.”

The black unmarked box is a true-bypass box built by Ben Fargen, which places Satriani’s secret weapon in the chain: a DigiTech 33B Super Harmony Machine. The rack effect (not pictured) is only used for the song “Why.” “It’s one of those rack effects you don’t really want to be sending your guitar through unless it’s absolutely necessary,” Satriani explained. “For the song ‘Why’ it gives me this unusual E minor harmony.”

The board is powered by three Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus units and is wired with cables built by Satch’s tech, Mike Manning, using Planet Waves cable kits. “I keep changing things and he’s got to react very quickly to pedals being moved around,” Satriani said.

Watch the Rig Rundown: