John Frusciante’s Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail Reverbaccess_time First seen circa 2002
John started using this effect pedal around the time of the ‘By the Way’ release, circa 2002. It was seen regularly on his pedalboard during the album tour, which means that the same unit was also likely used during the studio sessions. The pedal was also used extensively during the ‘Stadium Arcadium’ era.
Holy Grail and the Clean Sound
Apparently, the way John had it set-up most of the time was that it stud right between his Boss CE-1 Chorus and his Marshall Silver Jubilee. To remind you, in case you haven’t read about the CE-1 – he used the Boss to basically split his signal between a Marshall Major (crunch) and Marshall Silver Jubilee (clean sound).
Based on this, the Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail Reverb played a major part in how John achieved his clean sound – or at least it did when it was used in this fashion.
In the Studio
According to an interview John gave to Guitar Player magazine in 2006, as far as ‘Stadium Arcadium’ is concerned, this pedal can be heard on ‘Hey’, ‘Animal Bar’ (set to spring mode), and ‘Strip My Mind’ (used on the solo, coupled with a Big Muff fuzz). [Red Hot Chili Peppers’ John Frusciante]
Regarding ‘By the Way’ album – there doesn’t seem to be an interview in which John details the usage of effects. If you happen to stumble upon something, be sure to leave a comment below.
Please note that John used a vintage model of the Holy Grail reverb – one that you can only buy second-hand nowadays. It appears that the closest you can get to it is the new EHX Holy Grail Nano – which at least on paper offers the same functionality (but many still regard the original as being far better).