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Extreme Rig Rundown with Nuno Bettencourt & Pat Badger

Extreme Rig Rundown with Nuno Bettencourt & Pat Badger
Rig Rundown: Extreme's Nuno Bettencourt & Pat Badger

Guitar legend Nuno Bettencourt crashes his own Rundown to showcase the “Bumblebee” guitar he cooked up to honor Eddie Van Halen, while bassist Pat Badger shares two killer stories about basses that once belonged to members of Van Halen and Aerosmith.

Nearly 40 years ago, Nuno Bettencourt walked into Mouradian Guitar Co. in Boston, where Pat Badger was working. They formed a bond that would change their worlds—and ours—with the multi-platinum band Extreme. In March of 2024, Badger, Bettencourt, and their tech John Thayer invited PG’s John Bohlinger to talk through their current rig.

Brought to you by D'Addario:

Washburn Wrecking Crew

This Washburn N4 was developed in collaboration with Nuno Bettencourt, Washburn, and Seattle-based luthier Stephen Davies. The guitar was introduced in the mid-to-late 1990s and became Bettencourt's primary guitar. The 4N features a balanced alder body with a Seymour Duncan ’59 in the neck and a Bill Lawrence L-500 in the bridge, plus an ebony fretboard and a Kahler whammy that was featured on the earliest iterations. Later production models included a Schaller tremolo before landing on the current Floyd Rose dive bomber for off-the-rack N4s. Nuno’s strings are a custom set of GHS Boomers (.009–.052) and his custom-made picks come from Grover Allman in Australia.

Sweet As Honey

This is “Bumble Bee,” a custom-painted N4 tribute to King Edward that was done by the luthier Craig Stofko behind CHS Custom Guitars, based out of Carmel, New York. It’s a standard Nuno Washburn signature, but with a maple fretboard (a first for Nuno and the N4 series).

Softer Sounds

This Washburn Festival EA20S-Nuno Bettencourt is in the video for Extreme’s song “More Than Words,” which was filmed over 30 years ago.

This custom-painted Washburn 12-string acoustic is heard on “Hole Hearted.”

Triple Duals

Nuno tours with three Marshall JCM 2000 Dual Super Leads. Usually, he only runs one through a Marshall 4x12 cab. (There are six total onstage but only one is hot and mic'd.) All the cabs are loaded with Celestion G12T-75s that combine a huge, tightly controlled low-end and aggressive mid-range with a softened top-end.

Nuno runs few effects. In front of the amp, there’s a battery powered Pro Co RAT (which stays on all the time), a Boss OC-5 Octave (plugged in and connected for just two solos), and a script logo MXR Phase 90 without a light. There’s also a Boss GT-8 that runs through the effects loop of the Marshall for delays.

Kingly Gifts

This Mouradian CS-74 bass is Pat Badger’s number-one. The alder-bodied bass, fitted with an EMG pickup, was built for Tom Hamilton from Aerosmith. About two years ago, Tom gave the bass to Pat. This and all of Badger’s basses are strung with Rotosound Ultramag Strings (.045–.105).

This Mouradian one-pickup bass was built for Michael Anthony from Van Halen. Michael passed it along to Pat a few years ago.

This classic ’80s Hamer Blitz bass is a recent Reverb purchase.

Badger's Den

Badger tours with two Ampeg amps: a SVT-4 Pro and a SVT Classic. There’s a wall of 4x10 cabs underneath them, but only one is used.

Pat runs his bass into a Boss TU-3 tuner, Boss GE-7 EQ, EHX Micro POG, Pro Co Rat, Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI, and EBS Billy Sheehan Signature Drive.