Buckethead’s Top Guitar Effects & Pedals
Good evening everybody, in our previous video we took an extensive look at the history of Buckethead’s guitars. So today, we’ll take a run through of the numerous effects pedals and equipment, that Buckethead has used throughout his illustrious career. Woo!!
1) Alesis Midiverb 2 (Boss DD7/DD3)
We begin with one of Bucketheads oldest pieces of equipment, the Alesis Midiverb 2.
Released in the mid-1980’s Buckethead has owned and used the Alesis from as early as 1989, all the way up to his most recent 2019 tour.
Buckethead has used the Alesis in the studio as well as live, for such classics as Big Sur Moon, Soothsayer, Interworld and tons more.
As seen in Photographs and live recordings, Buckethead uses the 99th preset of the Alesis, with the default set at a 4 second delay.
And whilst he has used other similar pedals, such as the Boss DD7 and more recently the DD3, which can often be seen sitting on top of the Alesis, the Alesis has always been his go to reverb and delay of choice.
Yep, 30 years of Buckethead and the Alesis Midiverb. Excellent.
2) Rockman Stack (Rockman XP-100 Amp / Rockman Pedal Board / Rocktron Intellifex)
Next up, we’re going old school, looking at Young Buckethead and his classic Rockman combo.
In the late 1980’s, Buckethead purchased the Rockman XP-100 amp, Rockman Pedal Board and later on the Rocktron Intellifex. He can be seen using the amp and pedal board primarily throughout his Deli Creeps days, and occasionally for shows right up to 1997.
And because this video is more about effects, we’ll focus on the Rocktron Intellifex.
Released in 1992, the Rocktron similar to the Alesis, was primarily a delay and reverb unit, although Buckethead seemed to use it more for its pitch shift function and 8 voice chorus.
Buckethead spoke about the unit in a 1992 article for guitar magazine, stating that he “generates his trademark semi-tone clusters by stacking up minor seconds using the pitch shift function on the Rocktron”. Ya know?
As for why Buckethead chose the Rockman combo, well, maybe he saw this ad and thought it was just meant to be. Yep, the Rockman XP-100, “Another one just Hatched”.
3) Digitech Bass Synth Wah / MXR Phase 90 (Block version) / Boss FZ-2 Hyperfuzz
Next up, Bucketheads 3 slabs of doom. The Boss FZ-2 Hyperfuzz, the MXR Phase 90 (Block version) and the Digitech Bass Synth Wah.
The 3 slabs debuted in 2016, when Buckethead returned to touring after an almost 4 year hiatus.
As each of their respective names suggest, Hyperfuzz is used for fuzz and boost. The MXR Phase 90 is used to get that classic Led Zeppelin style phaser effect. And the Bass Synth Wah acts a funky style envelope filter, that Buckethead often uses to get those funky style growls.
In 2019 Buckethead seemingly dropped the MXR Phase 90 from his set up, using just the Bass Synth wah and Hyperfuzz pedals. 2 slabs of doom, fuck yeah.
4) Electro Harmonix Micro Synthesizer
Next up, the Electro Harmonix Micro Synthesizer. A similar sounding unit to the Moewg Synthesizers famous used by Praxis legend, Bernie Worrell. Buckethead used the unit primarily during the early 2000’s, notably on the Axiology album, where producer Travis Dickserson said it was used extensively. And on the Viggo Mortensen collaboration album, Pandemonium from America.
It’s also very likely that Buckethead has used the unit to create the ambient swells and effects heard throughout his Death Cube K albums and other ambient releases.
5) Digitech Whammy (2, 5 and mostly 4)
Next up is a piece of equipment that’s a mainstay on Buckethead’s and just about every other guitarists pedal board, the Digitech Whammy.
Used to raise and low octaves, Buckethead primarily uses the 2 octaves up setting, and has done effectively for almost 2 decades. He’s used different generations of the pedal, but his go-to is always the whammy 4.
From classic songs like Jordan to King James, the whammy pedal can be heard on so many albums and during live shows that it’s become as much a part of Buckethead as the mask and Bucket.
6) ProCo Rat / Zoom Multi Effects (for Praxis)
Next up, two units that were known to be used by Buckethead during recording for the classic supergroup, Praxis.
In a 1992 article for guitar player magazine, Buckethead stated that producer, bassist and Praxis founder Bill Laswell convinced him to record “into a Marshall amp, sometimes using a ProCo Rat Distortion pedal” for the classic album, Transmutation.
Buckethead also stated in a 1996 interview with guitar player magazine, that the super heavy tones used on Praxis’ Sacrifist album were recorded “direct through a Zoom Multi-Effector”. And although it doesn’t say which Zoom model was used, based on the year the album was released, it was very likely one of these.
Next up is a simple yet highly effective effect that every Buckethead fan knows and loves, and every new Buckethead fan wants to know about…the Killswitch.
The red, arcade style killswitch button is used to cut the volume of the guitar, giving it a cool choppy sounding effect that we’ve all come to know and love.
Whilst the killswitch or toggle effect is more commonly known through Tom Morello of Rage against the Machine, it’s fair to say that Buckethead has taken the effect, made it his own and ran away with it.
The Killswitch become so synonymous with Buckethead, that Gibson eventually made a signature series les paul in 2009, with the killswitch being its main selling point. Fuck yeah.
And before we get to the final effects pedal used by Buckethead, here’s a brief rundown of some of the other units he’s known to have used, albeit less frequently, throughout his career.
A snarling dog’s mold spore -surprisingly not the Bootsy Collins signature model.
A Line 6 POD. Similar to the earlier Zoom effects pedals.
A Boss SE-50. Similar to the previously mentioned Rocktron unit.
A mid 90’s Lexicon Jam Man for looping.
Wah pedals. Of course. Notably a Crybaby GCB95 and Vox V847.
An amp farm plugin for protools on the “Cobra strike, thanatopsis and Deli Creeps” albums.
A Macbook for backing tracks during live shows.
and a Line 6 G30 wireless pack.
9) Line 6 FM4 Filter Modeler (Purple)
And speaking of Line 6, last but not least is an effects unit that every guitarist who wants to sound Buckethead-esque should own. It’s the Purple Line 6 FM4 Filter Modeler.
If you’ve ever googled or posted something in a forum along the lines of “what effect is buckethead using in this song”, more than likely it’s the FM4.
Whether its laser beams, popping, growls, swells, weirdness, it’s probably coming from the FM4.
Buckethead loves this pedal and you can pretty much call it the Pike album pedal, as he’s used extensively during his pike album series.
During live shows Buckethead has also used the green Line 6 DL4 and the MM4 units, but seemed to have dropped them during his latest 2019 tour, sticking with just the FM4. Good choice.
Along with the killswitch and Whammy pedal, it seems the Line 6 FM4 will be a mainstay in Bucketheads rig for many years to come. So, as always, exciting times ahead.