Dave Grohl’s Guitars and Gear

David Eric Grohl was born on January 14, 1968 in Warren, Ohio. He grew up in Springfield, Virginia with his mother, after his parents divorced. He began playing guitar at the age of twelve, and learned it mostly by himself. Later in high school  Dave played in couple of bands, including “Freak Baby” at the time of which he learned to play the drums. At the age of seventeen he dropped out of high school, end went on a tour with the band “Scream”. In 1990 he became friend with Buzz Osborne from the band “Melvins” who introduced him to Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic. Few months later he joined “Nirvana”. and started working on the “Nevermind” with Kurt and Krist. Album proved to be great success for the band, becoming number one on the Billboard chart in 1992.

After Kurt’s death in 1994, Dave started working on his own stuff, and played with few bands on occasions, like Pearl Jam and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. In July 1995 Dave recruited members for his own band, with whom he released the album called “Foo Fighters”. In 1997 came their second album, “The Color and the Shape” which spawned several hits like “Everlong” and “My Hero”. Dave continued working with the Foo Fighers and released six more albums, last one in 2011 named “Wasting Light”.

Dave Grohl’s Electric Guitars:

Gibson Trini Lopez

Dave Grohl Guitar Gear Amps Effects EquipmentFrom an interview with Gibson“This guitar I’ve made every single Foo Fighters record with,” said Grohl, while holding the hollowbody guitar. “This is a [expletive] beautiful guitar. I saw this in a guitar shop in Bethesda, Maryland. I think it was 1992, ’93 or something like that. I think I was still in Nirvana when I bought it. I thought it was unusual. It looks like a Gibson ES-335, except it has diamond-shaped f-holes and has this different headstock on it. And I didn’t really know anything about Trini Lopez, the artist, when I bought it.”

As said, this guitar is featured on all Foo Fighters’ albums, and is one of Dave’s favorites. “This is the sound of the Foo Fighters, this guitar,” Grohl continued. “On every record, I might use different guitars now and then. For the most part, it’s just this.”

Dave has couple of different guitars of the same model. His main is the red one, but he also uses a Gibson custom series DG-335 guitars, which are based on this guitar. Dave uses them on live gigs along with the original one, and he has at least two in black and one in blue (probably a few more).

Here’s an interview with Dave explaining his rig.

Gibson Explorer

Dave Grohl Guitar Gear Amps Effects EquipmentDave has four Explorers, one in white, and three painted black. He played them mostly on live performances, from the period of the first album in 1994, up until the release of “One by One” in 2001.

Gibson Firebird

Dave Grohl Guitar Gear Amps Effects EquipmentDave had a few of these, some in perham blue, and some in black. He used them during the “In Your Honor” era.

Gibson Les Paul

Dave Grohl Guitar Gear Amps Effects EquipmentAlthough Dave is not known for using Les Pauls, he played them on few occasions. Probably the most notable performance was with the Budweiser Les Paul he played the day after American race car driver Dale Earnhardt died. Dave said that Dale Earnhardt Jr. gave him the guitar, so he played it as a tribute.

Source from Wikipedia notes that he owned at least three more Les Pauls, two black and one white.

Gibson SG

 Dave Grohl Guitar Gear Amps Effects EquipmentUsed from 1995–2000, two white, one black, and one cherry red.

Ampeg Lucite Dan Armstrong Plexi Guitar

Dave Grohl Guitar Gear Amps Effects EquipmentDave has atleast 4 of these, and he had played them as his main guitar during the “One By One” era.

The body on this guitar was built of plexiglass, and it has custom removable pickups.

1972 Fender Telecaster Custom

1972 Deluxe Telecaster Dave GrohlDave usually uses 1972 Deluxe models equipped with a humbucker in the neck, and single-coil in the bridge position.

Gretsch White Falcon

Dave Grohl Guitar Gear Amps Effects EquipmentSeen in the Monkey Wrench video.

Dave Dearnaley Flying V

DAVE DEARNALEY FLYING VUsed in “Rope” music video.

Manson MA Custom

Dave Grohl Guitar Gear Amps Effects EquipmentUsed live at the 2011 Isle of Wight Festival.

Dave Grohl Acoustic Guitars:

Gibson Elvis Presley Dove

Dave Grohl Guitar Gear Amps Effects EquipmentDave’s main acoustic; seen on many live performances.

Martin D-28

Dave Grohl Guitar Gear Amps Effects EquipmentOne of the most popular videos of Dave on YouTube is one in which he sings Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer”. The guitar he used was a Martin D-28.

Here’s a link to the video: Dave Grohl Tiny Dancer


 Dave Grohl Guitar Gear Amps Effects EquipmentDave seems to be using couple of different models of Taylor acoustics.

If you’ve seen the video clip where he plays the “Stairway to heaven”,  he seems to be using Taylor early 900 series, and on the “Wheels” acoustic he used the Taylor 612ce.

Dave Grohl’s Amps:

– Fender Tone Master Heads
Dave has two of these, and uses them as his main amps on-stage.

– Custom Audio Amplifiers 100W
These are custom made 100W heads. Dave has two of them.

– Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier
Dave used these for the “dirty” sounds. He later switched to Mesa Boogie Road King heads.

– Vox AC-30
Used for clean sounds.

To explain this a little bit further, here’s a quote from Dave’s technician Joe Beebe: “I got rid of the extra amps. Before, when he [Grohl] wanted a cleaner sound, the A/B box would get a signal from the Vox AC30, which sounded great. When he wanted a dirty sound, he would go to the Mesa Boogie, and there was a Marshall that was in the mix every once in a while. I got rid of that and I bought a three-channel amp at the time, and now we use four-channel amps, so I can get a wide range of tones and sounds. I like the Mesa Boogie Road Kings because 1) they sound good, and 2) they’re bullet-proof. We’ve dropped our racks off the loading docks, and when you fire them up to see if they work, they actually sound better! And they’re a big company that have a lot of gear in every country and you get a lot of support. If I need anything, they really take care of us!” For full interview click here: Joe Beebe: Dave Grohl’s Guitar Tech

Dave Grohl’s Effects:

– Boss DD-3 Delay

– MXR Phase 90 

– Boss TU-2 tuner (two of them – for acoustic and electric)

– Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus (power source)

– ProCo Rat Distortion

– MXR Smart Gate

– Shure UHF-R wireless system

Dave Grohl’s Guitar Strings:

– D’Addario EXL 115 with the .42 for the A-string and .60 for the E.

Dave Grohl’s Guitar Picks:

– Dunlop .71mm Gator Grip

Contributors: nojkar


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