Bob Weir is a legendary musician and a founding member of the Grateful Dead, one of the most iconic bands in the history of rock and roll. As a guitarist and singer, Weir has developed a unique style that has become a hallmark of the Grateful Dead’s sound.
As the Grateful Dead’s music evolved over the years, so did Weir’s rig. He has experimented with different instruments, amplifiers, and pedals to find the perfect combination of gear that suits his playing style. He has played a lot of instruments.
In this article, we will be exploring the Bob Weir Guitar Rig. From his choice of guitars to his amplifiers and pedals, we will delve into the details that give Weir’s playing its distinctive tone and texture. So let’s dive into his musical world.
Bob Weir’s guitar rig showcases an eclectic mix of instruments, each contributing to his signature sound. At the heart of his collection is the iconic Gibson ES-335, a guitar he favored particularly during his formative years with The Grateful Dead.
Known for its semi-hollow body design, the ES-335 offers a versatile tone, adept at blending jazz, blues, and rock styles. Weir’s love for diverse sounds is further exemplified by his choice of the 1970 Martin D-28 for acoustic performances, a guitar renowned for its rich, resonant tone.
Additionally, the Ibanez Bob Weir Cowboy Fancy Guitar, custom-made for Weir in 1976, stands out with its unique design, featuring a mother-of-pearl tree of life inlay and a distinctive sunburst finish. These guitars, among others, form the backbone of Weir’s rig, each contributing to his distinctive sound and playing style.
Throughout his career, Bob Weir has utilized a wide variety of guitar makes and models. However, he liked the Gibson ES 335 throughout his formative years with The Grateful Dead more than any other instrument.
The Gibson ES 335 was the first Thinline archtop semi-hollow-body guitar that was commercially sold. It was first made available in 1958 as a member of Gibson’s ES line. The guitar isn’t wholly solid or hollow.
A block of solid maple wood runs parallel to the center of its body. The two hollow cutaways into its top bouts make up its wings
Compared to a solid body guitar, the ES 335 was made with the intention of producing a pleasant tone with no feedback. Due to its semi-hollow body, it blends incredibly well with a wide range of musical styles, including jazz, blues, and rock.
The guitar has a set wood neck and measures 24.75 inches in length. It has a premium tone knob with coil tapping.
There are rosewood and ebony versions of the fretboard. It has two humbuckers, a stopbar, and a tune-o-matic bridge.
1970 Martin D-28
When performing live and recording “unplugged” sessions at home, Bob Wier played a 1970s Martin D-28 acoustic guitar. Weir wrote: “I ran away from home to cowboy for a summer and make enough money to buy a Martin D-28 from a pawn shop” in August of 2013.
Ibanez Bob Weir Cowboy Fancy Guitar
The Ibanez company produced the Cowboy Fancy guitar, especially for Bob Weir in 1976. The specially built guitar features a mother-of-pearl tree of life that extends up to its fretboard and a body hue of swamp ash.
A sizable inlaid headstock is linked to an ebony fingerboard with 22 frets. The neck is made of maple and walnut and has a large D shape with a Strat size of 25.5″. The sunburst finish of this guitar gives it a unique look and makes it suitable for a final performance.
With its elaborate abalone binding, gold hardware, and the title of Weir’s solo album from 1972 performed at the 20th fret, the instrument is a sight to behold. It features a half-bone, half-brass nut, and an Accu Cast imitation bridge.
Bob Weir’s Amps
Bob Weir’s choice of amplifiers reflects his nuanced approach to achieving the perfect blend of warmth and clarity in his sound. Prominently, the Orange Rocker 15 stands out in his collection. Known for its versatility, this amp is particularly suited for low-volume situations, offering a lush valve tone that can be dialed back without losing its rich character.
It features a Custom Voice of the World Gold Label Speaker, and its EL84 output valves deliver a robust and articulate sound. The Rocker 15’s Natural channel is ideal for purists, with a straightforward volume control, while the Dirty channel adds more layers with its Gain, Volume, and three-band EQ settings.
The amp’s valve-driven effects loop ensures purity from input to output, making it a favored choice for Weir, whether in studio recordings or live performances, where its adaptability and tonal quality shine.
Orange Rocker 15
A fun, incredibly adaptable tiny amp for low-volume applications, such as playing electric instruments alongside acoustic ones. C cited on Bob’s Orange official artist website.
The amp comes with a Custom Voice of the World Gold Label Speaker and heavy transformers. Its EL84 output gives a powerful delivery of sound.
Even if you choose to scale back on the power, the sound you get is warm valve compressed and saturated with a full and fat tone. If you’re a purist, you will enjoy its Natural channel with just Volume control.
There’s the Dirty channel for those more experimental. The Dirty channel provides controls for Gain, Volume, and a three-band EQ. The valve-driven effects loop ensures that there is input-to-output purity.
The Rocker 15 is an extremely versatile amp and can be used conveniently in different settings to produce a mellow, natural sound.
Bob Weir’s Equalizer
Bob Weir’s use of the Boss GE-7 Equalizer demonstrates his meticulous approach to shaping his guitar tone. This equalizer, a mainstay in Weir’s gear, features seven bands of adjustable EQ sliders, ranging from 100 Hz to 6.4 kHz. It allows for precise control over the sound, enabling Weir to emphasize or diminish specific frequencies to suit different musical contexts.
The flexibility and control offered by the GE-7 are crucial for live performances and studio sessions, where subtle tonal adjustments can significantly impact the overall sound. Its ability to be powered either by a 9V battery or an adaptor, along with its robust construction, makes it a reliable and essential tool in Weir’s guitar rig.
Boss GE-7 Equalizer
Bob can be seen using this equalizer. The GE-7 graphic equalizer uses sliders for each frequency to control its operation. The range of its 7 available bands is 100 to 6.4 kHz.
According to the brand’s guidelines, it can be powered by a 9V battery or an adaptor. It contains a standard check indication that shows the battery’s life expectancy and whether the device is on or not.
Bob Weir’s Pedals
Bob Weir’s mastery in creating distinctive soundscapes is partly due to his skillful use of guitar pedals. Among his arsenal, the Pigtronix Echolution Multi-Tap Delay Pedal stands out for its versatility. This pedal offers a rich array of modulation options, including filter, LFO, and pitch shifting.
It’s fully controllable via MIDI and allows for deep customization through a PC or MAC editor. Additionally, the Boss GE-7 Equalizer is a staple in Weir’s setup, allowing him to fine-tune his sound with precision. Each slider on this equalizer adjusts a specific frequency range, providing Weir with the ability to sculpt his tone to perfection.
Together, these pedals exemplify Weir’s commitment to sonic excellence, enabling him to blend traditional rock elements with innovative soundscapes.
Pigtronix Echlution Multi-Tap Delay Pedal
The Pigtronix website states that Bob Weir employs an Echolution delay.
This incredibly adaptable multi-tap stereo modulation delay offers a huge selection of filter, LFO, and pitch shifting options that can all be customized, as well as expression pedal and envelope control over each knob and full MIDI control over every feature.
The behavior and sound of this unique sound design machine can be further customized thanks to a free, comprehensive editor available for PC and MAC.
In this section, we will answer a few FAQs to clear your mind further.
What guitar did Bob Weir love the most?
Weir’s favorite guitar was a Gibson ES-335. This guitar was co-designed by the Gibson company. He used it in the early years of his musical career.
Who is Bob Weir’s guitar tech?
Aj Santella is Bob Weir’s guitar tech. However, he observes his guitars personally to see if there is some issues or if any of them need moderation.
What was Bob’s favorite amp?
Bob loved Orange Rocker 15 due to its superior performance and premium construction. He used it while playing with a band or in a greek theatre.
In conclusion, Bob Weir’s guitar rig is a testament to his versatility as a musician and his commitment to finding the perfect sound. Whether he’s playing an acoustic or electric guitar, Weir’s gear is always tailored to suit his playing style.
His choice of instruments, amplifiers, and pedals gives him the flexibility to create a wide range of sounds. Whether you’re a fan of the Grateful Dead or just an aficionado, exploring Bob Weir’s guitar rig is a fascinating journey into the heart of one of rock and roll’s legends.