Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth's gear has been heavily and painstakingly documented in full detail by Chris Lawrence at his official Sonic Youth Gear Guide here.

Below is a rundown of the band's live gear circa 1995 as a four-piece, circa 2002 with Jim O'Rourke, and in their most recent live incarnation circa 2009 with Mark Ibold.

circa 1995

Thurston Moore

  • Guitars: ~5 Fender Jazzmasters, Fender Jaguar, Fender Mustang, Fender Telecaster Deluxe, Musima Eterna, Conn Drifter
  • Tunings: GGDDD#D#, F#F#F#F#EB, F#F#GGAA, EGDGED, GABDEG, ACCGG#C, EG#EG#EG#, DADABB, BBxxF#F#
  • Effects: EHX Sovtek Big Muff, Pro Co TurboRAT, Mutron Wah-Vol, Mu-Tron Phasor II, Ludwig Phase II Synthesizer
  • Amps: Peavey Roadmaster 160W head w/ 60s Marshall 4x12 cab
  • Other: Walkman, drumsticks, slides

Kim Gordon

  • Basses: Fender P-Bass
  • Guitars: Gibson Les Paul Special
  • Tunings: EADG, BEGDBB
  • Effects: Pro Co TurboRAT, Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Octave Fuzz
  • Amps: MESA/Boogie Bass 400+ head w/ 4x12 guitar cab & 1x18 bass cab

Lee Ranaldo

  • Guitars: ~4 Fender Telecaster Deluxes, ~3 Fender Jaguars, 2 Travis Bean Artists, Gibson Les Paul Deluxe, Gibson RD Artist, Fender Jazzmaster, Fender Mustang, Fernandes Stratocaster, Hopf Telstar
  • Tunings: GGCGCD, GGDDD#D#, GGDDGG, GGDDFF, AF#EF#EB, AAEEAA, F#F#F#F#EB, F#F#GGAA, EBEEAB, EEBBEF#, EADECD, EG#EG#EG#, DAADDA, DDDDAA
  • Effects: Tube Works Real Tube Overdrive, DigiTech PDS 1002, Maestro Ring Modulator, TC Electronic Phaser XII, Ibanez AD80, Fender Reverb Unit RI, Ludwig Phase II Synthesizer
  • Amps: Fender Tonemaster 100W head w/ Fender Custom Shop 4x12 & 2x12 cabs
  • Other: Drumsticks, slides, capos, screwdriver

Steve Shelley

  • Drums: Brady kit (22" kick; 5.5x14 snare; 12x12, 14x14 and 16x16 toms)
  • Cymbals: Zildjian
  • Other: Pro-Mark 5A sticks

circa 2002

Thurston Moore

  • Guitars: ~7 Fender Jazzmasters, Gibson Les Paul Special, Gibson Sonex
  • Tunings: CGDGCD, GGDDD#D#, F#F#GGAA, F#F#F#F#EB, ACCGG#C, DFCDFF, FGCFAF#, CGDGBB, BBxxF#F#
  • Effects: EHX Sovtek Big Muff, Pro Co TurboRAT, Mutron Wah-Vol, Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Octave Fuzz, MXR Phase 90, MXR Blue Box
  • Amps: two Peavey Roadmaster heads w/ Marshall JCM 900 4x12 cab
  • Other: Drumsticks, slides

Kim Gordon

  • Basses: Gibson EB-0, Fender P-Bass
  • Guitars: Gibson Les Paul Junior, Musima Eterna, Ibanez Talman
  • Tunings: EADG, DADABB, EEBBF#F#, EBEGGB
  • Effects: Boss TU-2, Boss DD-3, EHX Hot Tubes, EHX Micro Synthesizer, Moog MF-103, Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Octave Fuzz, Pro Co RAT, Ernie Ball Volume, DI box
  • Amps: Ampeg SVT-4 Pro Head w/ 8x10 Ampeg cab (bass); Peavey Rockmaster w/ two Fender 2x12 cabs (guitar)
  • Other: D'addario medium bass strings, tambourine, slides

Lee Ranaldo

  • Guitars: ~3 Fender Jazzblasters, 2 Fender Telecaster Deluxes, 2 Travis Beans, Koll Custom F-Hole Jazzblaster, Fender Subsonic, Fender Jaguar, Epiphone Casino, Fernades Stratocaster, Univox Hi-Flyer, Kent hollowbody
  • Tunings: F#F#GGAA, F#F#F#F#EB, F#F#AAEE, EBEEAB, EEBEBB, GGDGGA, GGCGCD, GGDDD#D#, GGDDFF, DDDDAA, DFCDFF, AAEEAA, AF#EF#EB, CGDCGD
  • Effects: Moog MF-102, Line 6 DL4, MXR Blue Box, Ibanez AD80, Hughes & Kettner Tube Factor, DigiTech PDS 1002, EHX Big Muff, Voodoo Labs Sparkle Drive
  • Amps: Fender Bassman head and Hiwatt Custom 50 head w/ Mesa/Boogie 4x12 cab
  • Other: Drumsticks, slides, screwdriver, bells, violin bow
  • Electronics: Korg CX-3 organ into Boss GE-7; Discman

Steve Shelley

  • Drums: Ludwig
  • Cymbals: Zildjian

Jim O'Rourke

  • Basses: Gibson EB-0, Gibson EB-2, Fender P-Bass
  • Guitars: Gibson Firebird, Gibson Les Paul Junior, Fender Telecaster Deluxe, Fender Mustang, Fender Jazzmaster, Music Man StingRay
  • Tunings: GGDDD#D#, GGDEGB, F#F#C#C#DD, EEBBF#F#, EG#EG#EG#, EADGBE, DFCDFF, EADG
  • Effects: Moog MF-104M, Mu-Tron Wah-Vol, Boss OC-2, Boss GE-7, EHX Big Muff, EHX Small Stone, Pro Co RAT, Maxon OD-9
  • Amps: '70s Mesa/Boogie Mark IIB combo w/ 1x12 cab (guitar); Acoustic 470 head w/ 406 cab stack (bass)
  • Electronics: EMS Synthi, Apple PowerBook, handheld microphonic device

circa 2009

Thurston Moore

  • Guitars: ~11 Fender Jazzmasters, Gibson Sonex, Fender P-Bass, Martin 000-18
  • Tunings: CGDGCD, DDAF#AD, GGDDD#D#, EG#EG#EG#, F#F#F#F#EB, F#F#GGAA, ACCGG#C, DD#A#D#GG, CCEBGD, EGDGED, BBxxF#F#
  • Effects: Sitori Sonics Harem Fuzz, MXR Phase 90, Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Octave Fuzz, Crowther Hot Cake, EHX Sovtek Big Muff, Mutron Wah-Vol
  • Amps: Peavey Roadmaster head w/ Marshall 1960 Lead 4x12 cab (for guitar); Fender Deluxe Reverb (for radio + contact mic thru Walco Signal Booster)
  • Other: Toneworks DTR-1 Digital Tuner, Dunlop III picks, drumsticks, slides, files

Kim Gordon

  • Basses: 1969 Gibson EB-0, Mike Watt's 1960s Gibson EB-3, 1976 Gibson Thunderbird
  • Guitars: Fender Jazzmaster, Fender Jaguar, Ibanez Talman
  • Tunings: CGDACD, DDAF#AD, DADABD, CGDACD, CDGADG
  • Effects: Boss TU-2, Boss PH-2, Radial DI, Ibanez AD9, EHX Hot Tubes, EHX Deluxe Memory Man, Sitori Sonics Brownies and Cream, Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Octave Fuzz, Mutron Wah-Vol, Loop-Master A/B
  • Amps: Ampeg SVT-3 Pro head w/ Ampeg Classic SVT810E 8x10 cab (bass); Fender Bassman head w/ Fender 4x12 (guitar)
  • Other: D'addario medium bass strings, slides, files

Lee Ranaldo

  • Guitars: ~8 Fender Jazzblasters, 4 Fender Telecaster Deluxes, 2 Koll Custom F-Hole Jazzblasters, Fender Mustang, Fender XII, Fernandes Stratocaster, Gibson Les Paul, Travis Bean Artist, Epiphone Dot
  • Tunings: DDDDAA, CGDCGD, F#F#AAEE, GGDDGG, GGDDFF, EEEEF#F#, EBEEAB, EADECD, EG#EG#EG#, F#F#GGAA, GGCGCD, GGDDD#D#, AAEEAA, D#D#A#D#GG, D#A#D#BC#F#, EEBBEF#
  • Effects: Moogerfooger MF-102, EHX Micro Synthesizer, MXR Blue Box, BJF Honey Bee, Ibanez AD-80, Hughes & Kettner Tube Factor, Klon Centaur, Digitech PDS 1002, Matt Zivich Antenna Box custom delay
  • Amps: Fender Vibro-King into Fender 4x10 cab; Fender Super Reverb head
  • Other: Toneworks DTR-1 Digital Tuner, Furman Power Conditioner, drumsticks, screwdriver, slides, various bells
  • Electronics: Korg CX-3 organ into Boss GE-7; Walkman

Steve Shelley

  • Drums: '68 Ludwig kit (22" kick, 14" snare, 12" and 13" rack toms, 16" floor tom)
  • Cymbals: Zildjian K Classic Dark Custom cymbals: 13" hi-hat, 17" crash, 20" ride
  • Percussion: two Zildjian Earth Plates (one low, one high), Zildjian 12" Jing Gong, misc. maracas/shakers, additional small gong
  • Heads: Remo Coated Ambassadors
  • Other: Pro-Mark sticks, various mallets, custom 'Thumper' device into ZT Lunchbox amp

Mark Ibold

  • Basses: 1971 Fender P-Bass
  • Guitars: '70s Fender Tele Delxue
  • Tunings: EADG, D#A#D#BC#F#
  • Effects: Boss TU-2, Radial Engineering JDI, SansAmp GT2, Crowther Prunes & Custard
  • Amps: Ampeg SVT Classic head w/ two Ampeg Classic 4x12 cabs
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