John Frusciante’s Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail V1 Reverb

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 Major. 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 (clean) and Marshall Silver Jubilee (crunch sound) [thanks Beardog for pointing out the previous mixup]

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 the 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).

The EHX HolyGrail was not seen on John’s Unlimited Love pedalboard (see John Frusciante’s 2022 Pedalboard).


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4 years ago

Would like to the mention his amp use. The Marshall major will be the clean sound. It’s a 200 watt amp, no way that’s the crunch. So the silver jubilee would be the crunchy amp, and the major being a full body clean sound. Practically endless headroom in those old rare 200 watt Marshall amps. Great source of info though!