Premier Guitar features affiliate links to help support our content. We may earn a commission on any affiliated purchases.

Rig Rundown: Tim Pierce

Rig Rundown: Tim Pierce

The L.A.-based session ace takes PG through his studio and talks about his love for “player grade” guitars.

Tim Pierce’s guitar can be heard on more than a thousand recordings, starting in the ’80s, when he played on hits by Bon Jovi, John Waite, and Rick Springfield. In subsequent years, he’s added to his resume with recorded performances for Crowded House, Christina Aguilera, Seal, Avril Lavigne, Tracy Chapman, Joe Cocker, Ricky Martin, Meat Loaf, Rod Stewart, Elton John, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Rob Thomas, Rick Springfield, Phil Collins, Madonna, Toy Matinee, Don Henley, Santana, Rascal Flatts, Chris Isaak, Jewel, Faith Hill, Celine Dion, Dave Matthews Band, the Goo Goo Dolls, Lana Del Ray, Demi Lovato, Jason Mraz, Kelly Clarkson, and many more.

These days, Pierce also has a popular YouTube channel with more than 400,000 subscribers and offers an online masterclass program for thousands of users. You can get more information at

Meanwhile, here’s what we saw—and learned—when Pieces shared the wisdom and the gear he’s accumulated in four decades of playing sessions.

Brought to you by D’Addario XS Strings.

Tim’s Troupe

Here’s a look at Tim Pierce’s go-to instruments, including a 1962 ES-335, a 2020 Gibson Custom Shop 1960 Les Paul reissue with Arcane humbuckers, a one-off PRS McCarty 594 Singlecut in black with binding, and a ’62 Fender Jaguar strung with flatwounds.

Ol’ ’35

After nearly four decades of sessions, Pierce has pretty much every tool for any job. His heavy rotation includes this 1962 Gibson ES-335, which has enough wear to be considered “player grade,” with Ron Ellis pickups. Most of Tim’s electric guitars are strung with Elixir nanoweb strings, either .009 through .042, or .010 through .046.

Green Machine

This 2022 Mario hardtail S-style with a paulonia-wood body weighs a mere 4 pounds 13 ounces!

The Right Stripe

You’d be hard pressed to find a more beautiful flame top than this 2019 PRS McCarty Flame Top Doublecut. It sports a carved flame maple top on a mahogany body, a rosewood fretboard, two volumes, two push-pull tone controls, and a 3-way switch.

Marshall Power

Pierce has a lot of amps to choose from in his control room, including this 1967 Marshall Super PA 100 head (top) and 1968 Marshall Super Tremolo plexi.

A Park, Divided

There’s also a Park JTM 45-100 from a limited run of 10 and a Divided by 13 RSA 23 head, with 23 watts, natch.

More Amped Up

Rounding out the lineup of Pierce’s amplifiers is a Bad Cat Lynx, a Bad Cat Hot Cat, and a Joe Morgan custom 15 head (not pictured).

That’s 16 x 48

Pierce’s amp cabs live in a separate, sealed room, built specifically for isolation, far from the control room. They include these four vintage Marshall 4x12 cabinets, dating from 1968 through the early 1970s. There’s also a vintage Vox 2x12 with 15W Bulldogs.

He keeps his cabs miked with Shure SM57s, two Royer R-122V tube ribbon microphones, and two Sony C800 large diaphragm condensers from the early ’90s. A Scheops CMC5 condenser microphone is used for acoustic guitars.

Tim Pierce's Pedalboard

Pierce began the interview playing though his main mobile Pedal Board, which includes a Nobels ODR-1, a Strymon Lex rotary, a Keeley/Timmons Halo delay, a Meris LVX delay, a Karma MTN-10 overdrive, an XTS Modded Boss GE-7 equalizer and Boss TR-2 Tremolo, a vintage Boss VB-2 Vibrato, an MXR Reverb, a Fairchild Circuitry Shallow Water modulation pedal, a Providence System Tuner, two Dunlop mini expression pedals, a Dunlop volume pedal, a Voodoo Lab Dingbat pedalboard, and a Voodoo Lab Pedal Power Mondo.

Pedal Muscle, Part II

While in his studio cockpit, these are Pierce’s effects, which you can hear him play in his online videos: Ibanez MT10 Mostortion, Vemuram ODS-1, Nobels ODR-1, MXR Boost/Line Driver, Way Huge Red Llama, Boss OC-2 Octave, Boss VB-2 Vibrato, Way Huge Supa-Puss Analog Delay, Fender MTG Tube Tremolo, Universal Audio Golden Reverberator, Neon Egg Planetarium 3, Ebo E-verb, three Eventide H9s used with the iPad App, and a Boomerang Looper. And as you can see with the additional gear photos, Tim Pierce owns (nearly) every tone-tweaking device ever made!

The Return of Johnny Cash—John Carter Cash Interview
The Return of Johnny Cash—John Carter Cash Interview on Johnny’s New Songwriter Album

The Man in Black returns with the unreleased Songwriter album. John Carter Cash tells us the story.

Read MoreShow less

The GibsonES Supreme Collection (L-R) in Seafoam Green, Bourbon Burst, and Blueberry Burst.

The new Gibson ES Supreme offers AAA-grade figured maple tops, Super Split Block inlays, push/pull volume controls, and Burstbucker pickups.

Read MoreShow less

Mdou Moctar has led his Tuareg crew around the world, but their hometown performances in Agadez, Niger, last year were their most treasured.

Photo by Ebru Yildiz

On the Tuareg band’s Funeral for Justice, they light a fiery, mournful pyre of razor-sharp desert-blues riffs and political calls to arms.

Mdou Moctar, the performing moniker of Tuareg guitar icon Mahamadou “Mdou” Souleymane, has played some pretty big gigs. Alongside guitarist Ahmoudou Madassane, drummer Souleymane Ibrahim, and bassist Mikey Coltun, Moctar has led his band’s kinetic blend of rock, psych, and Tuareg cultural traditions like assouf and takamba to Newport Folk Festival, Pitchfork Music Festival, and, just this past April, to the luxe fields of Indio, California, for Coachella. Off-kilter indie-rock darlings Parquet Courts brought them across the United States in 2022, after which they hit Europe for a run of headline dates.

Read MoreShow less

How do you capture what is so special about Bill Frisell’s guitar playing in one episode? Is it his melodies, his unique chord voicings, his rhythmic concept, his revolutionary approach to pedals and sounds…? It’s all of that and much more.

Read MoreShow less