If you have a band that is
different from all the others, it is most likely that you achieve a different
sound from the rest by drawing on something that is not too common. That's
exactly what Thurston Moore did at
the beginning of the 80s with his band Sonic
Youth; we do not know if he did it on purpose or because he could not get
hold of anything else. But that is how he ended up adopting as the flagship of
his sound what was then the lost jewel in the Fender crown: the Jazzmaster.
It is not the only guitar that he has played, much less, but his fixation on guitars with a specific elongated shape and more rounded than the most popular models of Fender is curious. Over the years we have seen him with an arsenal of guitars including his: Jazzmaster, Jaguar, Fender, Teisco Mustang, Gibson Firebird and even the Dearmond Jet Star. While it is true that he has also used the occasional Les Paul or Telecaster it seems obvious that his aesthetic taste has always been more towards the Jazzmaster - his favourite guitar of all the different models he has used, including his own, the Fender Jazzmaster Thurston Moore signature.
But we cannot say that this is a guitarist who chooses his guitars just for the aesthetics, as we are aware of the number of especially characteristic sounds that he has achieved throughout his career. Hence, now we shall turn to look at the rest of his equipment.
We'll start by talking about the Peavey Roadmaster. This valve amplifier, of nothing more nor less than 160 watts, has accompanied Moore virtually throughout his career, and has almost always been linked to a 4x12 Marshall speaker.
However this is not the only amplifier that we have seen him use live, because, while we have praised his use of unusual equipment, he has also at times ‘fallen into the clutches’ of the ubiquitous Fender Twin Reverb and sometimes also a Fender Deluxe Reverb.
As for his pedals we can also continue on the same track of a kind of fixation with his pedalboard, becase while it has been very modified over the years, it continues to incorporate almost always the same effects. So we can talk about some of the ‘star pedals’ from which he has taken his live sound, namely the Proco turbo RAT, the MXR Blue Box, the Big Muff or something more current like the Dunlop Hendrix Octave Fuzz or the legendary MXR Phaser.
This is the gear of an artist who will rarely appear as a favourite in conversations among professional guitarists - or those more focused towards technique or the most studious of the musical world - but due to the "alternativitation", if I may use the word, of music in recent decades - of which he is one of the main people responsible - he has earned a place of honour on many of the most recent lists of 'best guitarists in history' of countless specialized musical media. We may enter this debate on another occasion; today we only came to talk about his equipment.