John Frusciante’s Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail Reverb

access_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).

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access_time 1990

Ibanez WH-10 Wah

This is John’s favorite wah pedal, and the one that he has been using consistently with the Peppers, probably from around Mother’s Milk era, all the way to Stadium Arcadium. He explained that he prefers this pedal over something like a Dunlop CryBaby because Ibanez has a wider frequency range. I have an Ibanez wah-wah pedal, because it has a wider range than the others. I use a Fuzzface and […]

access_time 1991

Boss DS-2 Turbo Distortion

This has been one of the longest-running pedals in John’s arsenal. The first time it was mentioned by John is all the way back in 1991, around the time of the Blood Sugar Sex Magic studio sessions, and ever since then, it has been used extensively on pretty much all of the albums John did with the Peppers. I have an Ibanez wah-wah pedal, because it has a wider range than […]

access_time 1990

Boss CE-1 Chorus Ensemble

John used this pedal from around 1990, and all the way until his departure from the Peppers in 2010. Usually, the pedal was used in the studio as a sort of a splitter, as John would plug his guitar into it, and split the signal between his Marshall Major guitar and Marshall Bass head. While playing live, the Boss CE-1 was used for the same purpose, although here splitting the signal […]

access_time 1991

DOD Stereo Chorus

John used this pedal during the BSSM studio sessions to split the signal between a Marshall guitar and a Marshall bass amp that he used together for a lot of the recording (not all though, as he went straight into the board on occasion, and used a few more different Marshall amps). Although he does not mention the exact model, the most likely one is the FX65. I used two […]

access_time 1991

Dallas/Dunlop Fuzz Face

John used this pedal early on, circa 1991. It is, unfortunately, unknown to which extent he used it, and if he used it at all during the BSSM studio sessions or just while playing live. Also, since there are no photos (to our knowledge) of him with the pedal, it is unknown whether he used a vintage model, or something like a 1990s Dunlop JH-2 Fuzz Face. I have an Ibanez wah-wah […]

access_time 1991

MXR Phase 90

Used in the early days during the Mother’s Milk/BSSM era. During the recording of the Californication album, however, John borrowed an MXR Phase 100, but as the band went on tour, he seemed to have purchased a Phase 90 for himself and used it live from then on. It is unknown whether he used this phase shifter exclusively, but it seems to have been on John’ pedalboard most of the time […]

access_time 1999

MXR Phase 100

Among others, this pedal was used at the ending of the song ‘Parallel Universe’ from the 1999 album, Californication. If you’re listening to the studio version of the song, you start hearing this effect at around 3:20. I borrowed an MXR Phase 100 from the people who were recording next door. I was looking for a way to approach that solo, and the Phase 100 worked out well. [Guitar Player […]

access_time 2005

Moog MF-105M MuRF

According to an interview John gave to Guitar Player magazine in 2006 (source available below), he used the Moog MuRF on the solo for ‘Tell Me Baby’. The effect was also featured on the second verse of ‘Dani California’ (listen to the video below). The second verse begins with a couple of guitars playing in harmony. After they were recorded, I ran them through a Moog MF-105 MuRF (Multiple Resonance […]

access_time 2005

EHX POG

John used this pedal on the outro part on ‘Snow (Hey-Oh)’, and on the second chorus on the song ‘She Looks at Me’, from the 2006 album ‘Stadium Arcadium’. During the outro section I used an Electro-Harmonix POG, which adds multiple octaves and makes the guitar sound like an organ. Towards the very end of the song I created an articulated arpeggio using three distorted guitar parts, each playing one […]

access_time 2005

EHX Electric Mistress Flanger

According to John, this pedal can be heard on the bridge section on the song ‘Hard to Concentrate’, from RHCP’s 2006 album ‘Stadium Arcadium’. The EHX Electric Mistress Flanger was also allegedly used on ‘By the Way’ album – but further research is needed on this. Please note that John most likely used an older version of the pedal, which now you can only buy from second-hand stores since EHX […]

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