The long awaited and requested Justin Chancellor Bass Rig has arrived. Tool have carved out a their own cult following and committed fan base. Justin Chancellor has always been praised as a big part of that due to his unusual hypnotic bass lines.
Did you watch the video?! Would you like to know when the next one is out?
Paul D’amour’s basses in Tool
Before Justin joined tool it was bass player Paul D’amour who recorded the first two albums Opiate (1992) and Undertow (1994)
Paul’s beefy tone was originally crafted using an Ovation Magnum and then a signature Chris Squire Rickenbacker. Just prior to his departure, he was also using a MusicMan Stingray*.
Paul left during the recording of 1996’s Enima.
Just Chancellor joins Tool in 1996
Justin Chancellor then took Paul’s place and tried his best to recreate the original tone using a MusicMan Stingray* himself.
He had said in interviews it worked well in the rehearsals but it was lacking a mid range punch when it came to recording the album.
After a recommendation from Greg Edwards (of Failure). Justin tried a British made Wal bass and never looked back.
Justin Chancellor and Wal Basses
A major attraction to Wal basses are their unique multicoil pickup construction. Each pole piece has its own ceramic magnet wrapped around the coil. Giving a warm, loud tone that is abundant in a high midrage.
Justin has two Wals that are his main go to basses
- Wal Mark 2 – with birds eye top maple and mahogany core, active pickups and 24 frets
- Wal Mark 2 – in walnut and said to be used mostly to record Lateralus 2001
The Walnut Mark 2 has less midrange due to the walnut body.
In Justin’s collection lies 3 other Wal basses used for various tunings and backups.
- A Wal Mark 1 – (with 19 frets)
- Wal Mark 2 – fretless (used on one song in Lateralus)
- Wal Mark 2 – In greenburst (used on Lateralus)
In an interview with German GuitareeBass.de in 2017 Justin states he has 5 Wal basses
There are now five. One of them is a fretless bass that I can not actually play (laughs)… Then, in addition to my standard bass – of which I have an exact copy to replace – I have a walnut and a MK-II in green.
Interview with Justin Chancellor
GuitarreBasse.de July 2017
A connoisseur of the bass guitar
Justin has a brilliant ear for detail and is a connoisseur of bass guitars. Regularly trying different combinations of woods in search for a specific tone and sometimes just the sound of one note.
“I’m trying to find more dynamics in my sound … referring to subtleties—individual note choices here and there, and melodic variations.”
An Inside Look at the Band’s Next Album
Bass Player Magazine December 2016
Seen in Justin’s studio space, amongst his Wal basses are.
- Rickenbacker 4003*
- Rickenbacker – Chris Squire signature model
- Fender Precision bass* – in red (vintage)
- Fender Precision bass – in sunburst with bell cover (vintage)
- Alembic series 2
- Gibson Flying V bass in silverburst, (from 1981)
On tour in 1996 he also used a Gibson Thunderbird.
In 2016 in an interview with TopGuitarPoland he mentioned a Fender Precision in lake placid blue from 1963. This was also seen recently in March 2018 while playing with Deathgrip.
Justin Chancellor returns to the public eye in 2016
In the interview with TopGuitar Poland September 2016. Justin also stated he was participating in the Warwick Bass Camp as a student and was very interested in buying a Warwick bass.
It’s also interesting to note, this video looks like it was filmed at the time of the Warwick bass camp in September 2016. Justin is wearing the same clothing as well as the event wristband.
Justin Chancellor’s Warwick Custom Shop
In the summer of 2017 Warwick released promotional material for a custom shop bass they made for Justin.
The new Custom shop Streamer Stage 2 is made with a beautiful combination of materials.
including a Bubinga Pommelé Body and Tiger stripe ebony fretboard.
It’s full specs as as follows (click to open);
Customer Streamer Stage 2
Custom Nordstrand BigBlade man pickups
Around the same time of this release, owner Carey Nordstrand of Nordstrand audio released a video explaining the inspiration behind the Big Blademan pickups as seen on the Streamer 2.
In this video, Carey decided to build a bass in order to test specially built custom pickups. As a result the Big Blademan was born in tandem with a Justin Chancellor (JC-3b) preamp. Aiming for something familiar yet still different to Justin’s’ usual Wal sound.
Carey says in the video that Justin kept this bass in September 2017, however in March 2018 the bass appeared on Carey’s Instagram page stating Justin had settled for the Warwick.
While Justin didn’t keep the Nordstrand bass, he did however have keep the new BigBlade pickups and custom preamp, fitting them both on the Streamer 2.
It’s dual coil pickups are described as “mean, gritty, powerful, bombastic, and loud.” Nordstrand build with ceramic magnets and laser cut vulcanized fiber bobbins. Which are a neat modern day alternative to Wal.
New Tool album in 2018
Some news outlets have reported all musical tracks have been recorded and it’s up to Maynard to lay down the vocals.
It’s possible the new album will be out this year and we can see first hand how the Warwick Streamer 2 shapes Tools iconic rythmn section.
… But I wouldn’t bet on it.
Justin Chancellor’s Effects Pedals
Coming up in part 2 we go into great detail about Justin Chancellor’s Amplifier’s and Effects pedals.
Using Gallien Kruger heads and Mesa Boogie cabinets, the volume is not a thing to be missed.
More from Know Your Bass Player
Justin is probably the second most requested bass player to come across my channel. However in first place it was Cliff Burton formally of Metallica that takes the top stop. You can watch the video and read the show notes on the Cliff Burton Bass Rig.
Tweet me and subscribe on YouTube
Have you enjoyed your time here? Want to know when the next video is out?
Watch more from Know Your Bass Player
*Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase from that site, we will earn a commission. As a result this commission comes at no additional cost to you and helps support our site and video series.