By Mark Grove
Tool is a band that defies the norm as far as innovation and experimentation with time signatures and their approach to music as a whole. They look at other forms of music as well when considering how to bring new shapes and variations on chord structures. It's not just their music it's self that draws the attention of other musicians. Tool is a band that has always had their collective musical minds on using equipment that will take their music that much farther, and tweaks it to their's and their fans advantage.
Since how you build your bands sound is highly dependent on how you use amp settings along with the right cabs, guitar and minimal effects to define your bands textural and tonal nuances. Tool Bass man Justin Chancellor is a purveyor of sounds that give justice to new phrasing and rhythm based lines. Justin's take on it all is to approach it differently, but not so much that it changes his overall approach to the low-end of the spectrum. Mr.Chancellor changed his amp heads for 10,000 but kept the same cabs as before, which he did for Lateralus the bands last album.
Justin's amp and cab set-up:
He changed from Mesa-Boogie heads to Gallien-Krueger heads based on the fact that the Mesa's were muddy and distorted in a way that was not conducive to the sound that he was looking for at that time. The G-K's had more of a tone that wasn't so based on playing heavier metal, but had a clarity and thud that he was having a problem getting before with the Mesa heads. I don't know if players like Justin use too much in the way of effects, and in essence it muddied up the sound. That's just pure speculation on this writer's part.
Justin's cabs were kept the same as before. He was using Mesa-Boogie cabs which are the 8x10 versions. Justin also said in an interview, that he likes the older version Mesa's based on certain workings within the cabinet it's self. I feel that Tool is a band that is always looking, not just to change their sound because they want to be different, but because of the fact that they listen to different types of music.
That becomes ingrained in their becoming not just great musicians -- but students of music who want to teach each other and others that you can't be single minded in creating sounds with just one type of music or the equipment you use. Keep that in mind on your next album, blues jam or band practice.