ADHD's Gear Guides at any Budget. I'm a firm believer that the tone comes from the hands. If your trying to achieve a certain guitar hero's tone you have to not just have the chops but you've got to get down their style of attack with your picking hand as well. That said every step you take toward finding the right gear is often very inspiring and WILL get you closer to “that” sound. I'm going to break these down into Guitars, Pickups, Pedals and Amps.
Jim Root Gear Guide.
Jim Root is the epitome of rock n roll cool. Serving as the principle riff-mister in both Stone Sour and Slipknot his brutal down tuned riffs are powerful and memorable. His weapons of choice have changed over the years but we are going to focus on the last few years. Despite his use of complicated switching systems you can easily get his sound using a pretty straight forward setup. Jim has been using various Fender signature models, EMG pickups, and Orange amps for his straight up tone, and uses effects pedals to add flavors.
Guitars – Jim Root has been using Fender guitars for the last several years. He is the only artist with a signiture Telecaster, Stratocaster and a Jazzmaster. All three are setup mostly the same with Mahogany bodies, and maple necks. He prefers harder ebony and maple fretboards over rosewood. A single volume knob and a three way switch for the EMG 81/60 humbucker set.
Fender Jim Root Signature Telecaster- This was Jim's first production signature guitar. It comes in either a black or white flat nitrocellulose finish that beats up easily. The fretboard has a 12” radius not quite as flat as most modern shred guitars but still easy to get low action. The neck has a modern Fender C shape, again not as thin as a lot of modern shreders but not what I would call thick.
Fender Jim Root Stratocaster- A few years later, Fender put out a Stratocaster version of Jim's Telecaster. Other than the body shape, the only difference is a compound radius fretboard.
Fender Jim Root Jazzmaster – The most recent addition to the Jim Root line up is a signature Jazzmaster. Again featuring the compound radius it also uses a more durable polyurethane finish.
Squire Jim Root Telecaster- For a budget model the Squire Jim Root Telecaster is a well built guitar. It saves money by having a rosewood fretboard and covered passive pickups, but still includes the 12” radius fretboard. And you can always add the EMG's later.
Fender Blacktop Stratocaster – Another cool budget alternative, the Fender Blacktop series packs a lot of bang for the buck. Add in some extra springs on the wammy for more stable tuning and your in business.
A Tip on Strings- If you want to try out down tuned riffs slap a higher string gauge on your guitar. Rule of thumb is for every full step down, go up a gauge. If your used to 9's or 10's try 11's or 12's for Slipknots songs.
Pickups- Jim's choice of pickups hasn't changed much over the years. He likes the EMG 81/60 set that a lot of modern metal guys favor.
EMGJH James Hetfield Humbucker Set- The EMG JH set is an 81/60 combo that is aggressive. The 60 cleans up well while the 81 has a sound favored by Zakk Wylde, Kerry King and of course Jim Root.
SeymourDuncan JB/Jazz Set- EMG's have a particular sound and while Duncan's Blackouts also have that covered if you want a passive set that can be used for similar tones the Duncan Hotrod set does an excellent job of covering a lot of territory. This is the number one replacement pickup set in the world for a reason.
Pedals- Jim has a lot of gear, pedals and racks galore but his sound is pretty straight forward. He likes pedals to add flavor and likes to get most of his sound from his guitars and amps.
Dunlop Rotovibe – While neither a UniVibe or a Phaser, Jim has stated that he loves the Rotovibe in the studio but that it's not always practical for use in a Slipknot show.
EHX Small Stone Nano Phaser- Jim swaps this and an MXR Phase 90 on a regular basis. Either one works great, run it in front of your drive pedals for more of a vibe feel.
Digitech Envelope Filter Synth Wah- Jim loves Envelope Filters, often having three different ones for crazy sound effects. While most of the analog filters only cover certain sound the Digitech and do those and so much more.
MXR Carbon Copy- Most delays will work for the way Jim uses them but the versatile Carbon Copy has become a favorite of players everywhere. Unless you need a lot of different delay presets this pedal works great.
Maxon Overdrive OD-9 – The original TS9 pedal by the guys who made them originally. Great for punching up solos, cutting through the mix, or giving your passive pickups a hotter sound.
Wampler Triple Wreck – While Jim has used a Rectifier in the past he is more recently associated with Orange amps. I find I can get extremely close to his sound using this pedal running into a clean amp. Plus it's just so versatile.
Amps- Jim Root's live set up uses the Orange Rockerverb, but in the studio he has used everything including Mesa Rectifiers, Bogner's and Budda's. He also has a signature Orange Terror head that is voiced to sound like his Rockerverb.
OrangeRockerverb 100 – Available as a two channel head or combo this amp has an aggressive upper midrange that Orange amps are famous for. It's also available in a 100w or 50w.
Orange #4 Jim Root Signature Terror Head- voiced after Jim's trademark Rockerverb heads this signature head takes the Tiny Terror head platform to a whole new level. For a single channel head they are remarkably flexible, and sound killer. And while made for bedrooms and small clubs put it on top of a miked 4x12 cab and it can handle the job.
Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier- Used early in Jim's career these amps are very versatile, and can be found on stages around the world.
If you want to experiment with the Orange sound but your not sure if that's what you want check out IK Multimedia's Amplitube. They have a great model of the Rockerverb making dialing in those brutal sounds is easy.
Obviously there are a lot of alternatives out there but these are a great place to start your tone search.