Every wonder what guitar pedals John Mayer uses? Well, you are about to find out!
John Mayer, the renowned guitarist, relies on a variety of pedals to craft his signature sound. He’s been known to change up his pedalboard on every tour. So for the purposes of this post, I’ll be using the photo captured by the John Mayer Gear Instagram channel that documented the pedals used on the 2023 tour. (The John Mayer Gear Instagram and YouTube channel are a fantastic source of information on John Mayer’s ever-changing gear).
I’ll also be including some of the John Mayers classic pedals that he’s used over the years. These can be helpful when trying to play some of his earliest songs.
If you’re curious about how Mayer achieves his incredible tone, keep reading to discover his pedalboard secrets.
John Mayer’s Standing Pedalboard
This is the pedalboard he uses when standing and playing the electric guitar. They include the following pedals:
|TC Electronic||Infinite Sample Sustainer||Delay|
Previously Used John Mayer Pedals
Here is a breakdown of some of pedals that John Mayer has had on his pedalboard. This includes pedals he most often used in the past and likely some pedals we’ll see again.
Volume, Wah and Expression Pedals
John Mayer has used a lot of different foot pedals over the years including:
- Ernie Ball VP Jr. Volume Pedal
- Moog EP-3 Expression Pedal
- Xotic XW-1 Wah Pedal
The Ernie Ball VP Jr. is a widely used volume pedal known for its simplicity and reliability and allows expressive playing that can be easily adjusted to control your guitar’s volume.
The Moog EP-3 is a universal expression pedal that allows you to control parameters in real-time.
This Xotic XW-1 is a high-class wah pedal that offers customizable features and is based on the famous Italian-made Clyde McCoy wahs from the 60s. With a bias control, the Xotic XW-1 affects the overall tonal character of the wah sound. It is built with top-quality components, ensuring durability and reliability.
OverDrive & Boost Pedals
- Ibanez TubeScreamers
- The Marshall Bluesbreaker
- Fulltone Fulldrive 2
- Boss BD-2 Blues Driver
- JHS The Bonsai
- Keeley Katana Clean Boost
- Klon Centuar
We covered some of the Ibanez Tube Screamers that John Mayer used recently. He’s used just about every variation, which is no surprise as blues guitarists like Stevie Ray Vaughan are known to use TS pedals in front of clean amps to give that killer blues tone. Tubescreamers are known for their smooth and creamy overdrive, with a mid-range boost that cuts through the mix.
The Marshall Bluesbreaker is known for its smooth and creamy overdrive sound. Mayer has always used the original Bluesbreaker pedal, also known as the Bluesbreaker 1 that was produced in the 1990s and is highly sought after by guitarists for its vintage tone. The current version on the market, the Bluesbreaker 2, is not recommended as it does not capture the same tone as the original.
The Fulltone Fulldrive 2 is a versatile pedal, offering a mid-range bump and a toggle switch for different overdrive modes.
The Boss BD-2 Blues Driver provides a transparent overdrive sound. This is one of the pedals I often ignored in the past but I’ve been using a lot more lately. It’s a gem.
JHS Pedals’ The Bonsai is a unique pedal that offers nine different overdrive voicings, allowing you to dial in your desired tone with precision.
The Keeley Katana Clean Boost doesn’t color your tone. It simply increases the volume without adding any additional distortion. This makes it a great choice if you want to maintain the natural characteristics of your guitar and amp, which is critical for John Mayer’s sound.
- Analog Man Mini Bi Comp
- Strymon OB.1
- Origin Effects Slide Rig
The Analog Man Mini Bi Comp is a versatile guitar compressor pedal that delivers studio-quality compression in a small package. With its dual-compressor design, it offers two different compression circuits, the Ross and Orange Squeezer, which can be individually toggled or used together for enhanced flexibility. This pedal is known for its transparent and natural compression, allowing players to even out their dynamics and add sustain without compromising their tone.
The Strymon OB.1 is a remarkable pedal that combines the best of both worlds – a compressor and clean boost – into one compact and versatile unit. You get studio-quality compression that will enhance sustain and even out the dynamics of your playing. The clean boost function provides up to 20dB of transparent gain, allowing you to effortlessly cut through the mix or push your amp into overdrive.
The Origin Effects Slide Rig compressor pedal is known for its transparent yet heavy compressed sound, making it a favorite among guitarists looking to add sustain and control to their playing. The Slide Rig features a Dry-Wet blend knob, allowing you to dial in the perfect amount of compression without sacrificing the natural dynamics of your playing.
Modulation and Time-based Effects
- Source Audio EQ-2
- Boss OC-3
- Strymon Flint
- Way Huge Aqua-Puss
The Source Audio EQ-2 is a programmable ten-band EQ pedal that offers up to +18dB range in every frequency band. It also provides a clean boost of +12dB and allows up to 8 presets and MIDI control.
The Boss OC-3 is an octave pedal with polyphonic mode and a drive mode for added distortion. The MXR Phase 90 is a famous phaser pedal used by legendary players like Eddie Van Halen and Dave Grohl. And the Boss CE-2 is a classic chorus pedal that provides lush and recognizable chorus sounds.
The Electro Harmonix Q-Tron+ combines preamp and envelope filter to create synth-like sounds.
The Strymon Flint combines tremolo and reverb effects, offering three types of reverbs and tremolos. And the Way Huge Aqua-Puss is a cult analog delay pedal known for its warm and vintage delay tones.
The Way Huge Aqua-Puss is a delay pedal that provides a classic slap back effect and adds thickness to your tone. This cult analog delay pedal is currently in its third version and is known for its warm and vintage delay tones. This pedal has a self-oscillation and tape-like sound, which can add depth and dimension to your playing.
Special Effects Pedals
Roger Linn Design AdrenaLinn
Electro Harmonix Micro Synthesizer
The Roger Linn Design AdrenaLinn is a versatile pedal that provides special effects heard on specific songs. It offers a range of effects including modulation, delay, and filter, allowing you to create a wide variety of sounds.
The Electro Harmonix Micro Synthesizer, on the other hand, gives you an octa-fuzz tone and can add a synth-like effect to your playing.
Collecting John Mayer’s Pedals: A Warning
If you have a goal of using all the different pedals he’s ever used, you may need to take out a loan or rob a bank. He’s used over 100 pedals on tour and in the recording studio. John Mayer also likes to use a lot of premium pedals and of course, some rare and expensive pedals.
It’s amazing when you listen to the same songs from different tours and notice they still sound the same. While pedals and amps certainly impact your tone, so much of a guitarist’s tone lies in their fingers. And while I think we all strive to sound like John Mayer, there is a limit to how much anyone can sound like him.
Still.. its a fun to try and you can learn a lot trying to emulate his songs!