When it comes to electric guitar virtuosity, very few come close to the technical skill of Joe Satriani – a stalwart of instrumental rock for more than 40 years. Although he's well known for his solo work and collaborations with the likes of Mick Jagger, Deep Purple and Chickenfoot, Satriani is also acclaimed as one of the finest guitar teachers of the modern era, boasting an impressive list of alumni including Steve Vai, Kirk Hammett, Alexander Skolnick and Larry LaLonde. With a heavily anticipated Australian tour set to kick off in Perth on Saturday 24 November, we've examined the diverse assortment of signature guitars, amps and effects favoured by the world's favourite face melter, the inimitable Joe Satriani.
IBANEZ JS SERIES
For more than 30 years, Satriani has enjoyed an extremely successful ongoing relationship with Ibanez, with his acclaimed JS series spanning across dozens of different electric and acoustic designs.
Introduced in 1990, Satriani's first signature model with the Japanese manufacturers was the Ibanez JS1, a modified basswood version of Ibanez's own 540 Radius model, which was first endorsed by Satriani in 1987. Loaded with DiMarzio pickups, a double locking tremolo and a unique push-pull high-pass filter built into the master volume knob of the guitar, the JS1 laid down the blueprint for all subsequent entries into the JS series, with many OG shredders considering early JS1's to be the crème de la crème of Super Strats.
As the longest running model in the JS series, the Ibanez JS1000 builds on the legacy of the original JS1, remaining faithful to the design of the original while offering consumers a wider range of finishes.
In recent years, Satch has been favouring the re-contoured design of the JS2400, which adds two frets to the guitar as well as a DiMarzio single coil in the neck and a Mo' Joe humbucker in the bridge position.
On tour, Satriani can also be seen rocking a slightly modified variant of the JS2400 called the Ibanez JS2410, which features a unique Muscle Car Orange finish based on a 1973 Camaro. Satriani tends to use this one prominently when playing with Chickenfoot, his supergroup with ex-Van Halen members Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith.
Even the heaviest of shredders needs to mellow out on acoustics now and then, and when that occasion arises, Satch is ready. Since 2013, he's had a signature run of cutaway JSA10 and JSA20 acoustics with Ibanez, which feature engelmann spruce tops, solid rosewood back and sides, and Fishman electronics with an inbuilt tuner.
GIBSON LES PAUL GOLDTOP
Although it's rare to see Satch not rocking guitars from Ibanez, the 'Surfing With The Alien' shredder owns an incredible collection of vintage instruments, with a highlight being his 1955 Les Paul Goldtop. Satriani also owns multiple other pristine Gibson hollow bodies and double cut Les Pauls, as well as various vintage acoustics and Fender instruments.
For years, Satriani was a prominent endorsee of Peavey Amplification, with his 120 watt Peavey JSX Signature head being a mainstay in his rig for many years before he made the switch to Marshall in 2010.
As a Marshall artist, Satriani now records and tours with three versions of his signature Marshall JVM410HJS head, all of which have been modified by Marshall's head engineer Santiago Alvarez to include a custom noise gate instead of a reverb channel. This results in an incredibly responsive and dynamic sound, forming the crux of Satriani's onstage tone, particularly when fed through a wall of Marshall 1960B cabinets.
In addition to his partnerships with Ibanez and Marshall, Satriani is also a highly regarded Vox artist/ You’ll find his name adorned on several signature pedals with the company, including the Vox JS Satchurator Distortion, Vox JS Ice 9 Overdrive, Vox JS Time Machine Delay, and the acclaimed Vox Big Bad Wah pedal, which features two custom-voiced inductors to emulate wah-wah tones from famous UK and US artists.
As well as his signature Vox pedals, Satch has been known to use the likes of ZVex, Fulltone, EHX, Boss, Xotic and DigiTech on his board, and has recently been dabbling with Fractal's Axe-FX II with an expression pedal to add further character to his live performances.
For years, Satriani has endorsed D'Addario strings and Planet Waves picks, and favours EXL110 Nickel Wound Regular Light strings and Planet Waves Chrome picks.
Images via Joseph Cultice.