Justin Chancellor’s Amplifier and Effects pedals – TOOL (2/2)

Justin Chancellor’s Amplifier Rig

Welcome back to part 2 of Justin Chancellor’s Amplifier and effects pedal rig. In this post we cover every amplifier rig he has used through TOOL. Then get down and dirty with some effects pedals. We also explore Justin’s 3 way output configuration and get tangled up in his strings.



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Amplifiers used in TOOL 1996

Right back from Justin’s first gig with tool all the way up to present day.  Justin Chancellor’s Amplifier has been Mesa Boogie cabinets and he’s done some major boogie experimentation along the way.

Justin’s first amplifiers when he joined TOOL in 1996 he was seen on stage with;

  • Mesa Boogie Road Ready 4X10″ (x2)
  • PH1000  (15″ sub with 10″ speakers)

Justin’s Amplifiers cabinets used on the Aenima tour

During the rest of the Aeneima tour it wasn’t uncommon to see Justin spice up this configuration. Juggling between  four or six Mesa Boogie Road Ready 4X10s on stage and and on occasion place the PH1000 in front of those.

Strangely, at a London show In 1997 he used only two PH1000’s and ditched the 4X10s altogether.

Then in 1999 he appeared with his regular 4X10s and two new Mesa Boogie 2X15s.

Justin powers his cabinets with Mesa Boogie Amplifiers

During this period, Justin Chancellor’s Amplifier cabinets were powered by two Mesa Boogie 400 plus heads and two Boogie M2000’s. Which are known for a real low clean sound.

  • M2000 (Mesa Boogie)
  • 400+  (Mesa Boogie)

These heads were also used in the recording of Lateralus which came out in May 2001.
Guitar Magazine released an article that June dating the use of this equipment Bitchin’ Utensils – Guitar Magazine July 2001.

After the release of Lateralus and onto the tour that following September.

The Australian Guitar magazine interviewed Justin, who then mentioned he was using Mesa Boogies newest amplifier; The M-pulse which replaced the 400 plus.

He also mentions the use of a Demeter preamp, using the DI for a brilliant clear signal.

  • M-Pulse
  • Demeter 201 preamp

Amplifiers used on the Lateralus tour 2001

The Lateralus tour now sees Justin using two 8x10s, the Mpulse, the M2000 and the Demeter DI. This three way configuration is absolutely vital to Justin’s sound and we explain more on this in the effects section.

  • 8X10 Powerhouse (x2 Mesa Boogie)
  • M-Pulse
  • M2000
  • Demeter DI 201

Recording the bass for 10,000 days

10,000 days was released in May 2006. Recording engineer Joe Barresi said in an interview with Mix online magazine that Justin’s bass tracks are a combination of cabinet miking and DI’s.

Barresi captured Justin Chancellor’s bass tracks with a combination of cabinet miking and DI. Chancellor played through Gallien-Krueger heads and Mesa Boogie cabinets.
One amp was set to a clean tone and the other had a dirty sound.
Barresi used Neumann U47 FET microphones on both cabinets.
Additionally, Chancellor’s bass went through a Demeter DI box directly to the console.
Joe Baressi
Mix online Magazine 2006

The new arrival of Gallien Kruger heads will stay with Justin even to present day. The only real change since 2006 is the configuration of the amplifier cabinets.

Amplifiers on the 10,000 days tour

The 10k days tour in 2006 sees Justin Chancellor’s Amplifier’s back with two Road Ready 4X10″‘s  and one 4X12″. These two 4X10″‘s were replaced in 2009 with a Mesa Powerhouse 8X10″ for the second time.

  • Road Ready 4X10 (x2 Mesa Boogie)
  • Powerhouse 8X10 (x2 Mesa Boogie) replaced the 4X10’s in 2009
  • Powerhouse 4X12″ (Mesa Boogie)
  • Gallien Krueger 2001RB* (x3)

DunlopTV Interview with Chris Schyler

Come 2010 and DunlopTV a release a video interviewing Justin’s bass tech Chris Schyler. Chris walks through Justin’s gear and his rack equipment. Where we find he has;

  • Korg Tone works tuner (DTR-1)
  • A Radial J7 splitter
  • Demeter 201 preamp
  • Demeter 201S preamp
  • GK 2001RB* (x3)

For the cabs he uses a Mesa Boogie 4×12 Powerhouse for the dirty signal and an 8×10 Powerhouse for the clean.

Justin’s 3 channel configuration – Dry, Dirty and Clean

Justin Chancellor’s Amplifier rig is built to have three outputs, A dry channel from the 8X10 , a distorted channel from the 4X12 and a clean channel from the Demeter preamp which has an onboard DI.

The mixing engineer then has far more control over the bass and gives Justin a better sound out front. With this in mind, let’s take a look at Justin’s effects pedals and signal chain.

On some of the most recent interviews with Justin his pedal board has at least 15 different effects on it and they’ve all been replaced over the years (Bass Player Magazine 2016).

The Dry signal chain

For the dry signal we follow the input chain right to left from his bass his signal goes into;Justin Chancellor's Amplifier

This chain goes into a line splitter on stage and into the Radial 7 splitter. A feed is then sent to the GK 2001 RB head in the dry 8X10 cabinet.

The Dirty signal chain

A second feed is take from the Radial splitter, back to the stage splitter  for the dirty signal.Justin Chancellor's Amplifier

From the Radial;

The output goes into the stage splitter and into the second GK2001RB, powering the 4X12 cabniet for the dirty signal.

The clean signal chain

Lastly, a third feed is taken from Radial and sent to the Demeter preamp. This clean signal is then sent directly to front of house via the onboard DI.

Justin has two Demeter models, the 201 and the 201S and it’s unclear whether uses both at the same time or one for backup.

Additional play pedal board

The DunlopTV video also mentions a few additional pedals which Chris Schyler describes as a play pedal board and is pretty much a few different modulation effects grouped together for practically.

These pedals were not included in the most recent equipment list in 2016 but they’re still worth a look at.

Effects Justin Chancellor has used in the past

As we discussed in Justin Chancellor’s Bass Rig Part 1, the man is a connoisseur of all musical things. The same is true for his effects pedals and there is no doubt he has tried any and everything.

These pedals have been listed in the past but dating them is tricky. They do show up in some photos, or in various songs and performances.

  • Ring Stinger
  • Flange With No Name
  • WobulatorJustin Chancellor's Amplifier
  • Brown Source
  • Big Cheese
  • Doppelganger
  • Meatball
  • Crowther Prunes and Custard
  • Line 6 FM4*

The above with exception to the Line 6 are Lonetone pedals created by UK based pair Vlad Naslas and Daniel Coggins.

Bass Effects on the new TOOL album in 2018

With the new album looming somewhere in the distance we learn more every week. We now know Justin is in possession of
a KHDK Abyss bass overdrive. His version has a rather awesome custom chassis but for the rest of us the normal version will have to do.

Will this replace Justin Chancellor’s Amplifier and Effects pedals?  We just have to wait and see.

Justin Chancellor’s Strings

Justin has used Ernie Ball strings since he joined TOOL and their String Theory video now confirms him using Hybrid Slinky’s up to 105*.

In an interview in for Bass Player Magazine 2001 Justin also said he swapped out the 105 string for a 110.

Has your sound changed since the previous album?

On a couple of songs I used a slightly different gauge on the bottom
strings – a .110 E for the thicker tone, a little less ambient string sound, and more crunch. Most of the songs are in drop D tuning, the rest in standard.
Justin Chancellor
Bass Player Magazine – May 2001

A second Bass player magazine article from December 2016 not only contradict Ernie Ball’s video, they incorrectly label the string type and size.

Justin says he uses a 110 sized string which can only be found on Power Slinky’s* (55-75-90-110) not Super Slinky’s* (45-65-80-100).

It is most likely he uses a Power Slinky’s pack and combines it with the Hybrid Slinky’s (giving him 45-65-85-110). This would give him a thicker E string with “a bit more crunch for down tuning”.

Additional notes on Justin Chancellor’s strings. There was some confusion on Ernie Ball’s part where they list Justin using 2733 Slinky Cobalt Bass Hybrid  45-1055*. Why go to the trouble of making a big feature feature showing Justin promoting the Hybrid’s only to then re-purpose their campaign with Cobalt’s?

As of 11/6/2018 Ernie Ball say Justin use Hybrids but their poster campaigns say Cobalt’s. Your Mileage May Vary.

I asked Ernie Ball this question but they didn’t get back to me.

Justin Chancellor Strings

More from Know Your Bass Player

On the next Know your Bass Player we look at the Les Claypool of Primus.
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