Best Distortion Pedal for a Tool Sound
Empress Effects Heavy
Tool's Adam Jones uses Mesa/Boogie and Diezel amps to generate most of his distortion tones. But if you want to go the pedal route, the Empress Heavy is going to get you a very similar sound, among others.
Most pro guitar players, including Adam Jones, get their distorted tones from very expensive tube amplifiers. For Jones, that's primarily Mesa/Boogie Rectifier and Diezel VH4 amp heads, both in the range of $4k-$5k. So if you (understandably) don't want to spend that kind of money on an amp, getting a solid distortion pedal can also do the job. The best distortion pedal for an Adam Jones' Tool sound is the Empress Heavy. It can create percussive, high-gain modern metal tones, among many others. We've consistently been recommending it as one of the best distortion pedals overall.
Best distortion pedal for an Adam Jones sound? Take the quiz
There are a few different distortion Pedals that can get you an Adam Jones sound
Which one is right for you, based on price?
We didn't list specific price ranges, but pick what sounds most like your budget.
Obviously a big part of Adam's sound is his Signature Gibson Les Paul, but with a good distortion pedal you can get a sound that's appreciably close, even with a different axe. Whatever the guitar, I'd recommend a dual humbucker pickup configuration with slightly thicker strings, preferably Elixirs.
The Heavy is definitely expensive, so if you want to go with something cheaper, the Heavy Menace is another Empress Effects pedal that creates a similar, modern distortion tone. It's cheaper, but it gives us a lot of the same perks as the Heavy, like a Weight knob and a very high gain profile.
Another more affordable alternative, even cheaper than the Menace, is the Boss HM-2w Waza Craft distortion.
If you have questions about these pedals, or something else related to getting a good Tool tone, reach out in the comments section below.
We will jump in and help out as much as possible.
Thanks for trusting our content.
Gear and guitar lesson reviews by real guitar players
We buy, use, test, research, and rate the guitar programs and gear we recommend. Sign up for our mailing list and we'll keep you up to date.
By clicking the "sign up" button, you are consenting to receiving updates about Guitar Chalk and recaps of what we publish. You can unsubscribe at any time.