“All the pedals… they’re right out of the box”: John 5’s super-simple pedalboard, according to his guitar tech

“Fans ask all the time, and I’m like, ‘No, those are just stock pedals,’” says David Vela.

John 5 performing with Motley Crue

Image: Don Arnold / Getty Images

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The pedalboard of Mötley Crüe guitarist John 5 is as simple as it gets, according to his guitar tech David Vela.

Speaking about John 5’s live rig in a new interview with American Music Supply, Vela explains [via Killer Guitar Rigs]: “Essentially, he has four pedals on that thing. You’re looking at six, actually. One of the pedals is doubled up, the Super Overdrive [Boss SD-1]. He doubles up on the Super Overdrive because when he wants really high-gain pinch squeals and harmonics.”

“He’s got that, a delay, a reverb, and a chorus. And the noise suppression, but you don’t really hear anything from the noise suppression.”

He adds that “None of the pedals are modded or anything. They’re right out of the box. Total John 5. Fans ask all the time, and I’m like, ‘No, those are just stock pedals.’”

Asked about the ‘cleanliness’ of John 5’s tone, Vela says that the secret to that – ‘besides John’s fingers’ – is the EVH 5150 EL34 amp that they’re now using, which gives a “very clean” sound.

“We do not need a lot of gain, but it sounds like there’s a lot of gain in there.”

“But yes, we love these. They sound amazing. He’s only using the first two channels — he uses a clean channel and the dirty channel. The three and the four are on lock. We don’t even touch them.”

Elsewhere in the interview, the guitar tech also touches on John 5’s signature Fender Ghost 2 Telecaster, which he describes as being both “a Tele and a Super Strat”.

“It’s got the kill switch, and the action is just so beautiful on it. The colour is amazing,” says Vela. “What’s cool about it is that we got the locking nut, and then we’ve got this Floyd Rose action here, which for the Mötley Crüe stuff, it’s very crucial — Kickstart My Heart.”

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