Rivers Cuomo's equipment

From Weezerpedia
Here's the whole set up, circa 1990.

Rivers Cuomo's Equipment has gone through many changes over the years, this page exists to list in detail the equipment that's been used in the past and present. Much of this article is derived from the old Weezer Equipment History Page on Weezer.com and was originally written by Karl Koch. Reports of Rivers Cuomo's equipment have varied over the years, due to conflicting and specious information, Cuomo not being very gear obsessed himself, and his tendency to play custom Warmoth Stratocasters live, while favoring Gibson guitars in studio.

Equipment history


Rivers had a Charvel Stratocaster-style guitar, a "Model 2" that was plain white, but was repainted by Rivers in purple acrylic paint, including the headstock, which was originally black. According to a fan who is familiar with Charvel guitars, the Model 2 didn't have a pickguard, had a bolt-on neck, only had one humbucker, and had a Jackson made Floyd Rose copy for its bridge. This guitar was left over from Rivers's metal days and was only used reluctantly at this point. This guitar met its end during a Weezer practice sometime later, when it was smashed to pieces. The broken headstock visible inside the first album photograph of the garage is from that guitar. No pieces remain today as far as I know. For an amplifier, Rivers used a Randall 120 watt solid state head powering a matching 4x12 Randall cabinet. The speaker cabinet (pictured on the left side of the Blue Album garage picture) continues to be sold and resold, and has been spotted as recently as late 2000 in LA's "Recycler" Magazine.


the psychedelic look, painted by Jason.
Several months later, after Rivers got fed up with the paint and scraped it all off.

So, almost immediately, the Charvel was replaced with a red Fender Stratocaster, which came from Jason Cropper. Karl claimed in the early 2000s that this was because Jason was assigned to acoustic guitar early on, however, in 2018, Rivers noted, "Our original guitar player Jason [Cropper] was a very hands-on guitar techy sorta guy. He played it and I liked it, so we traded. I had some kind scholarship from the community college where they give you work money to buy things, so I got a Telecaster, which I gave him in return for this Strat copy."

This Stratocaster was purchased new by Jason, and heavily modified, with a new neck, a roller nut, and new pickups, a Seymour Duncan JB humbucker in the bridge, a hot-rails strat pickup in the middle, and a DiMarzio Humbucker from Hell in the neck. The Humbucker from Hell had a coil tap wired to it, which when engaged, would make the pickup sound thinner, on an already weak output humbucker. This made the tone completely clean even through a high-gain, metal amp, without having to step on a distortion pedal or anything like that.

Additionally, Jason had painted the guitar in a psychedelic paint scheme with thick acrylic paint, and replaced the volume knobs with 20-sided D&D dice. The dice knobs eventually fell off, but one was saved by Karl.

There were no effects pedals in use by the band at all at this time, save for a Jim Dunlop "Crybaby" Wah Wah. This later fell out of favor, only to be re-integrated into Rivers's set-up during the recording of Pinkerton.

For an amplifier, Rivers was using his other "hold-over" from his metal years, a Randall 120 watt non-tube head powering a Randall 4x12 cabinet that looked exactly like a Marshall when the "Randall" tag was removed. This setup was to remain for several months.

The ol Mesa Boogie, have you seen this amp? ...possibly the only existing photo of its backside.

While on Weezer's Northern California "tour" in August '92, Jason Cropper discovered a Mesa Mk. 1 Amp. They had the red strat at the time, and so he plugged it in, pulled out both the knobs, and told Rivers to play. He played, and Rivers was sold. It was an early issue Mesa Boogie, from approximately 1977 or 1978, and its face plate said "Mesa Engineering", which predates the addition of "Boogie" to Mesa-Boogie's name. It was a 60-watt head which apparently didn't even have a model number (I remember looking for one several times). It sounded incredible, and its real bonus was still sounding rich and thick even at low volume, making it ideal for recording demos late at night in the Garage. Sadly, while on tour in '96 (by this time as a back up amp), the Boogie suffered a near fatal blow from an unknown source during shipping. At some point during the tour, the amp was fired up to check it, and it sounded terrible. It was supposed to have been taken in for repairs, but apparently was lost somewhere, either at Weezer's storage facility in LA or later, when Rivers was living in Boston. The reason that the amp had no name on it is that it was not named until Mesa-Boogie issued their next amp, the Mark 2.

Reportedly, Rivers's Mk. 1 head had pull out knobs for various effects, notably a "bright" switch. These were thought by Karl to be modded, but it is worth nothing that, early on, Mesa was a small boutique, and the Mk. 1 could be optioned out in several specific ways. It is possible that these sought after pull-out knobs, which are not present on Mesa's Mk. 1 reissues, were a build to order option. It is also possible that these were added late in the run of the Mesa Mk. 1, as it was sold from 1971 to late 1978, making it possible that these knobs and effects were added late in the Mk. 1's life, especially as Carlos Santana and guitarists from The Rolling Stones began to favor the early Mesas. In addition, when Jake Sinclair sourced a Mesa Mk. 1 for The White Album, it also had these pull-out knobs.

Unfortunately, the first variation of the Mesa Mk. 2 (and all subsequent Mesa amps) came with a change: the pre-amp gain came after the amplifier's tone control, resulting in a more "focused" sound. This replaced some of the rolled off, frothy sound that the Mk. 1 on The Blue Album has, with a brighter, more typical high-gain amp sound. It stings more to consider that the Mk. 1 was discontinued upon the Mk. 2's release; they were not sold concurrently.

1993 - Signed

The next significant change in Rivers's setup came when the band was signed to Geffen in the summer of 1993. Under the guidance of Jason, a new non-Fender Stratocaster copy was ordered as parts from the Warmoth catalog, in an effort to reconstruct a guitar similar to Jason's red one (by this time Jason had returned to playing electric guitar in the band, and the red one was on its last legs). The parts and pickups were all custom selected, and the wiring was similar to the red guitar's. This guitar was delayed in its arrival, so the band went to New York to record The Blue Album without it, and wouldn't see it till they were back in LA in October rehearsing. The red guitar made the trip to Electric Lady studios.

The one thing Rivers did manage to select before they left for New York was a new speaker cabinet, a very unusual 1968 Marshall. This cabinet was from a now-rare series that mounted the usual four 12" speakers into a special cabinet that was designed to fit eight 10" speakers. These are known as "mock 8x10's". They were originally sold in sets with Plexi 50W Tremolo amps, manufactured from 1967 until the early 70's. The later years distinguished by cheaper materials, particularly particle board backing panels.

Apparently, Pete Townsend of the Who liked the new 8x10" "big tall super rock n' roll" style, but insisted on retaining the 4x12" speaker setup he loved inside. Based on his request, Marshall ended up doing this variation for the general public, too, but it only lasted from 1967-69. Most of these cabinets you see today (if you get a chance to see one) are the more common 8x10" inside.

A note on strings and plectrums:

Rivers has always used GHS strings, size .10's, He has experimented with both TNT's and .11's at various times.

He has always used plain gray picks, the .73's from 1992-1999, and most recently uses the light-grey .60's.

1993 - Blue

Ric Ocasek's guitar collection with Jason's Telecaster between them.

In New York, Ric Ocasek introduced Rivers to his guitar collection, from which three guitars got heavy use on the record: A red 60's Fender Jaguar, a Gibson Les Paul Junior Special, double cutaway, and another Les Paul Junior Special, in yellow (not pictured).

While in the original version of the equipment history, Koch noted "The Gibson (above) is definitely one of the finest guitars ive ever seen, and its sound is unbelievable, responsible for a lot of the sweet crunch found on the blue album", however, years later, Patrick Wilson claimed otherwise, saying "A superstrat is the way to go". When someone replied, asking about the information from the equipment history, Wilson simply replied "No". This, while unclear, seems to stack out with photos of Cuomo playing the infamous red Stratocaster during the recording of the album. Jason Cropper did note that every day he was present for the sessions, Rivers was using the red Stratocaster. It is possible that Cuomo recorded his parts with the red stratocaster, but used Ric Ocasek's Les Paul specials when he famously re-recorded Jason Cropper's guitar parts, after Cropper's exit from the sessions.

In any case, responsible for Cuomo's guitar tone during this period was the Mesa Mk. 1, still in top condition at this time. The Mesa was run through the tall Marshall, often at unusually low volume, to get some of the sounds on the album. Guitar recording was usually done with a mixture of dynamic, condeser, and ribbon microphones. It is not known if Cuomo used any effects pedals, save for one...

In 2014, recording engineer Chris Shaw claimed the following:

"The album was tracked on Electric Lady's Focurite Forte console in Studio A with the remote pres (the pres were in the live room and ran at line level to the console)(I posted some pics around here of it.). Some overdubs were done on the SSL G in studio C (I distinctly remember cutting the gtrs for in the Garage up there. I believe we used a Tele through a Big Muff using Electric Lady's Fender Twin for that tone. We also cut the clean rhythm for Say it Ain't So up there on Ric's Jaguar."

It appears that some recording was also done in Ric's home, as he noted at the same time:

"Vocals were done with a U67 at Electric Lady and a U87 at Rics house (surf wax, and some bgvs)". This does stack with Jake Sinclair's claim that Rivers had been using a Neumann U87 "since the early days".

Rivers 1974 Gibson acoustic heard on the intro to "Jonas" and "In The Garage."

Rivers also picked up an acoustic guitar at this point, and brought it to Electric Lady, where it is heard on the intro to "Jonas" and "In The Garage". This was a 1974 Gibson. Either a J-45 or a 70's descendant of a J-45. This guitar was to meet a tragic end later, when Rivers had his leg brace. The brace wore a huge hole right through the bottom of the guitar, which Rivers duct taped together for a while. The thing still sounded pretty good in this state, but it didn't last.

Keyboards on Buddy Holly: In 1993, a friend was storing his late 80's digital synth at 'the garage' where Weezer practiced and cut demos. This was a Korg M1 type synth, definitely not vintage or cool in any way, especially then. But it had a huge library of sounds, and in between the koto drums, etc, Rivers stumbled across a slippery little sound that he decided was just right for his new song "Buddy Holly". Later, in NYC recording the Blue Album, Rivers tried in vain to get that same sound from different equally digital synth that was brought in. For whatever reason no one could find the same model as the one back in L.A. The sound used was basically as close as Rivers could get it to what was on the demo.

1993 - After Blue

Oct '93: in the background, the SL-X amp can be seen on top of the tall '68 Marshall 4X12... Rivers playing the Gibson Les Paul Jr. This image was also used as the cover for the first album of Rivers Cuomo's Alone Series.

Once back in LA, Rivers finally got to "meet" his new blue guitar, which had finally arrived in the mail. He soon tired of the confusing electronics set-up and had it simplified so that there was only a volume knob and a switch to choose between the two pick-ups. One pick-up was a black Seymour Duncan TB59B1, AKA the "Trembucker 59" (same as the red guitar), and the other was a cream colored DiMarzio that was almost certainly a SuperDistortion2 (I have learned that the"Humbucker from Hell" only came in the yellow and red model that was in the red Strat). Additionally, there was a special capacitor added to the wiring that kept the tone thick and crunchy, even when the volume was turned down low (hence the nice "quiet-yet-crunchy" live concert tone on the quiet parts of "say it aint so", etc...)This may have been a "Black Ice" module, which replaces the capacitor on the tone knob and is a passive overdrive/distortion circuit, controllable by the tone knob once you put it in place of the tone capacitor.

Rivers' blue strat before the stickers and damage, September 9, 1994.

However, as only the volume knob was left functioning, I believe it was instead hooked into the volume knob, thus increasing its activity as the volume was turned up (or down?)

Additionally, Rivers now picked out a new 1993 Marshall 100 watt JCM-900 "SL-X" Model amplifier. This was chosen because it just went "over the top" compared to all the other amps we checked out... and we checked out a TON of Marshalls that summer! Today it is still in use as Rivers's "Back Up" head on tour, and still sounds mighty fine. The other new guitar picked up by Rivers in the fall of 93 was a Gibson Les Paul Junior, inspired by the sound of Ric's "1955" '59 double cutaway. At the time of purchase, we were assured that the guitar was a 1958 that had been unfortunately re-finished, thus reducing its collectibility but increasing its affordability. Somewhat suspicious was the lack of a serial number on the headstock, which had been sanded down in refinishing. However, the guitar had (and still has) a wonderful chunky sound, so that combined with its unusual vintage affordability (in the $800 range I beleive), led to its purchase. We learned much later that its much more likely to be a early 70's issue, and that the neck, nice as it is, is likely from the 80's. Well, fortunately, the guitar has proven its mettle numerous times, and is still in use today (2001) with Brian.

1994 - Van Incl. Lush Tour

Rivers' blue strat he used on tour 1994-1997 (pictured in 1995 and 1997) and the fate of the body as of 2001. The neck, electronics and accessories live on today in the sticker-plastered Blonde Strat.

When heavy touring was imminent in the summer of 1994, the "1958" Les Paul Junior was put away, as it was considered too delicate for touring. So another guitar was bought, a brand new 1994 maroon Gibson SG. This was to remain Rivers's seldom used back-up guitar for the rest of the blue album and Pinkerton touring cycles, as the sonic blue Strat copy did all the work. It is still in use today as one of Brian's guitars.

One reason Rivers never seemed to need it was that he broke about 6 strings TOTAL from 1994-1997, and thats no lie! Even better, the Strat stayed in tune like no other guitar i've ever seen. Unless temperature conditions were extreme or Rivers bumped into something with the headstock, it wouldn't go out of tune even once in a show. Later, in 1997, this guitar suffered a major blow during a show, which cracked its body clean through, and down about 10". This didnt affect play at all (for a while), and the guitar remained in use till 2000.

1994 - Live tour

No change.

1995 - Europe Jan/Feb

No significant change. In Europe the band had to rent some gear, so it is possible that at least speaker cabinets were rented. These would be some form of Marshall 4x12.

1995 - Spr/Sum Touring

Rivers next new amplifier was inspired by their 1995 appearence on the Dave Letterman Show. The SL-X picked up a horrible sounding hum once it was set up there, (probably due to the electrical configuration of the building), and it seemed hopeless, as the song was "Say It Ain't So", which has quiet parts. In the corner was an unused still in the box 1992 Marshall 30th Anniversary 6100LM amp, which apparently had been shipped in by the Cranberries for their upcoming performance later in the week. We borrowed the amp (sorry Dolores), and lo and behold it sounded much better. So we immediately set out to get one, and it became Rivers's main amp since then. Its this amp that I modified the "Marshall" letters to spell out "Weezer" in late 2000. Rivers settled on the "yellow" sound, which is the center of the 3 channels you can pick from (red is ultra metal, and green is mellow).

1995-1996 - Pinkerton

Rivers with his Les Paul during the Pinkerton sessions in June 1996.
Rivers' Casio MT 205 keyboard he bought in 1994. It's creamy "pipe organ" tone appeared on several demos, and finally on the B-side "Waiting On You". Rivers still has this keyboard.

In "Weezer Goes To Van Nuys: The Making of Pinkerton" on Video Capture Device, we can see Rivers playing a Gibson Les Paul throughout the sessions of the album. Also shown in the Video Capture Device is a Marshall 4x12. It is unknown if this was Rivers or Brians. It is also likely that Cuomo used his Marshall 30th Anniversary he'd been using on tour, however, a Soldano amp can briefly be seen in the Video Capture Device.

Keyboards on Waiting On You

During an early tour in the summer of 1994, we hit a pawn shop in (i think) Cleveland or St Louis, and everyone picked up cheap used Casio keyboards. At the time they were used as vocal warm up aids in the van, before shows. Rivers chose a Casio MT-205, which is actually one of Casio's better "beginner" keyboards, lots of sounds and a fairly versatile drum pattern bank. It's creamy "pipe organ" tone appeared on several demos, and finally on the B-side "Waiting On You". Rivers still has this keyboard.

Keyboards on Getchoo, Tired of Sex, IJTOTLOMD

In late 1994, Rivers purchased a vintage Electrocomp 101 monophonic synthesizer from a pawn shop in rural Connecticut. He paid a fraction of what these things are currently valued at by collectors. It saw use on several "Black Hole" demos, and finally appeared on Pinkerton's "Tired Of Sex" , "Getchoo", and B-side "I Just Threw Out The Love of My Dreams". He still has it today.

Acoustic Guitar on "Butterfly"

Karl Koch tuning Rivers' guitar during the Pinkerton sessions

Rivers used a Gibson J-45 Acoustic guitar on Butterfly. It is likely not the same guitar used on the Blue album, because a huge hole was put in the guitar while Rivers had his leg surgery. It is also not the same sunburst Gibson J-45 Cuomo used for acoustic performances during the Pinkerton Tour in 1996-1997.

1996 - Summer Europe/Japan

Again, overseas touring required scaling back how much band gear could be brought over. Usually speaker cabinets were hired, the amps shipped over.

1996 - Fall USA

The Black Warmoth Strat Rivers used in late summer 1997 and during the Green Album Tour was introduced around this point. The earliest known footage there is of the guitar is from December 18, 1996, when the band played at Deep Ellum in Dallas, Texas. The black strat was used on “No One Else” up until “Why Bother?”

1997 - No Doubt Tour

The first known photo of Rivers throwing his guitar during shows

No changes in gear for Rivers during this tour, however, he started to throw around his sonic blue Stratocaster during shows, causing potential damage. On August 15, 1997, during Surf Wax America, Rivers launched his guitar causing a huge 10 inch crack, which according to Karl, didn't affect play until 2000.

1997 - Japan/Thailand

In '97, we finally ordered several back-up Stratocaster copies, to complement the sonic blue one. Only one, a black one, showed up before all Weezer touring stopped in August 1997. This black one went on to become Rivers main guitar for performing "older" songs (the Blue album and Pinkerton are in "E flat" tuning, whereas the newer stuff is not, so they need 2 sets of guitars and basses onstage), and appears on the cover of the Green album (ironically a CD full of songs that cannot be properly played on that black guitar). This guitar has had numerous modifications made, as it had serious electrical errors when it arrived. The idea was to duplicate the innards of the blue guitar, but since no one really knew what was going on in the blue guitar at the time, it didnt turn out right. After several years of tinkering by various experts, its all good now. The main difference beetween the black one and the original blue one is that the body was made of solid maple, which is very heavy and difficult to get a good tone with.

1997-1998 - Homie/Rivers Cuomo Band

Certain photos have surfaced online with Rivers playing a Silvertone 1449. Also in some of the The Black Room demos released in 2020, there are files named Silvertone riff, and Silvertone Blues. Other photos have also surfaced of Rivers using a gold Fender Stratocaster. In certain fan accounts of these shows, he was also seen playing an acoustic guitar. Rivers also used a Fender Vibro-King amp, which he also used during 1998 rehearsals.

1998 - Rehearsals + GP shows

Rivers with his Les Paul Junior during the summer of 1998, an unknown Fender guitar can be seen on the left.

Photos have surfaced of Rivers using his Gibson Les Paul Junior he acquired after the Blue Album sessions in fall 1993 during the failed 3rd album rehearsals. According to Pat Finn at the time "rivers got his marshall back out, but he is still using the fender vibro-king in a stereo chorus set up. rivers said it sounds huge and seemed real happy about it." [1]

1999 - The Black Room

While next to nothing is known about this time, it appears an unknown drum machine was used on a majority of the C.O.R demos, as well as real drums. It is possible he used his (now cracked) sonic blue strat he used on the Blue/Pinkerton tours, as well as his Les Paul Junior, and gold Stratocaster.

2000 - USA/Japan

2 other guitars were ordered, but didnt show up till the band was "off duty", and they didnt get used till the summer of 2000. These were also strat copies, and not maple but alder, like the original blue one. They were a vivid light green and a light blue, almost exactly like the original one. These also had some electronics issues, but were fixed up relatively easily.

Touring setup: 30th Anniversary Marshall driving 1 tall Marshall cabs, back up amp: the SL-X. 4 Strat copies: Black, Blonde, Light Blue#2, and Green.

2000-2001 - Green Album

Recording the Green Album:


The basic setup for recording Rivers' rhythm guitar tracks:

Ric Ocaseks 1960 LP Jr, run through...

Rhythm track 1: Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier amp; Marshall slant 4x12 cabinet w/ 25 watt green back Celestion speakers

Rhythm track 2: Marshall 100 watt (modified), formerly owned by Warren Dimartini of Ratt; Marshall slant 4x12 cabinet w/ 25 watt green back Celestion speakers [note that it is unclear who played what rhythm track. its possible the Rivers played both on some songs, or that Brian and Rivers shared these duties depending on the song and the circumstances of the day.]


song by song exceptions to the above formula, for guitar solos, etc. If the amp or other specifics arent mentioned, then they are identical to the "General" note above.

Dont Let Go

SOLO: Bobby Schneck's Les Paul Classic, using the bridge pickup (Seymour Duncan JB)


SOLO: Rivers' natural wood "stickered" Stratocaster copy; through a Z-Vex "Fuzz Factory" pedal [pedal knobs set at 2:00; 2:00; 7:00, 2:00; 1:30] WEIRD RADIO NOISES: from manipulating the"Stab" knob on the Fuzz Factory (this is a trademark feature of the Fuzz factory) while set up for the Solo.

Island In The Sun

RHYTHM CLEAN TRACK: Bobby Schneck's 1979 Gibson ES-335TD [using the bridge pickup]; through a Z-Vex "Super Hard-On" pedal, into a Vox AC 30 amp


SOLO: Bobby Schneck's Les Paul Classic, thru 'rhythm track 2' amp: Marshall 100 watt (modified), formerly owned by Warren Dimartini of Ratt; Marshall slant 4x12 cabinet w/ 25 watt green back Celestion speakers

Hash Pipe

SOLO: Bobby Schneck's Les Paul Classic, thru Bobby Schneck's Ibanez TS-808 Tube Screamer Overdrive (vintage original), thru 'rhythm track 2' amp: Marshall 100 watt (modified), formerly owned by Warren Dimartini of Ratt; Marshall slant 4x12 cabinet w/ 25 watt green back Celestion speakers

Knock Down Drag Out

SOLO: Bobby Schneck's Les Paul Classic, thru Bobby Schneck's Ibanez TS-808 Tube Screamer Overdrive (vintage original), into a Vox AC 30 amp.


SOLO(?): Ric Ocaseks 1960 LP Jr., thru Marshall 100 watt (modified), formerly owned by Warren Dimartini of Ratt; Marshall slant 4x12 cabinet w/ 25 watt green back Celestion speakers

Simple Pages

SOLO: Bobby Schneck's Les Paul Classic, into Bobby's Ibanez PQ401 pedal (set for midrange boost at 500 Hz), thru Marshall 100 watt (modified), formerly owned by Warren Dimartini of Ratt; Marshall slant 4x12 cabinet w/ 25 watt green back Celestion speakers

Glorious Day

SOLO(?) - Ric Ocaseks 1960 LP Jr., thru Marshall 100 watt (modified), formerly owned by Warren Dimartini of Ratt; Marshall slant 4x12 cabinet w/ 25 watt green back Celestion speakers

O Girlfriend

SOLO(?) - Ric Ocaseks 1960 LP Jr., thru Marshall 100 watt (modified), formerly owned by Warren Dimartini of Ratt; Marshall slant 4x12 cabinet w/ 25 watt green back Celestion speakers

Special note

The "=w=" headstocked black flying V guitar seen in some Green Album publicity photos is a cheap copy that a woodworker modified for the photo shoot. It actually didnt even play at first, but Rivers asked Bobby Schneck to make it go, and it was fixed up to be a fair sounding guitar, but not a great one. Apparently its just too cheaply made to really rock, but is a very cool looking guitar, anyway.

2001 - Outloud Tour, USA

For a while in 2001 both bodies were replaced with unpainted "blonde" maple strat copies, as well as that of the original blue guitar. The original blue body has been "retired" due to its large crack getting worse over time (photo forthcoming). Rivers later decided to go back to the better toned ash(Alder?) green and new blue bodies.

The guitar up top, pictured above, has all the original "guts", pick guard, and neck from the first sonic blue Strat from '93. The ones below that on the left and right are currently body only, their guts and necks going back to the green and new blue bodies.

Touring setup:

30th Anniversary Marshall driving 2 tall Marshall cabs, one a "slave" via a split signal thru a slight delay unit, powered by the back up SL-X but sound from the 30th head. Four Strat copy setup: Black, Blonde, Light Blue #2, and Green.

2001 Japan Tour


2001 - Hooptie Tour, USA

The Pod Racks from the 2001 Hooptie Tour.

The band made some significant changes to their touring gear at the start of the "Hooptie Tour", in order to adapt to extreme constraints of storage space and tour budget, as this tour was entirely a money-losing promotional effort.

Some very compact gear was invested in, which would save money by eliminating the need for a huge truck. After much experimentation, the guitar techs recommended trying the Line 6 POD system, which was a then-very modern amp sim. Despite the extreme reservations of the band, they were tried out in rehearsals, and were an instant hit! So Rivers and Brian each got a guitar pod, and Mikey got a bass pod. The strange thing about the POD system is the POD's are kept offstage where the guitar techs can service them if needed, so there is literally nothing on stage except the drum kit. The sound was sent directly from the PODs to the PA system, eliminating the need for speaker cabinets with microphones trained on them.

At this time, Rivers was using four guitars. Two intonated and tuned to E, and two intonated and tuned to E flat (1/2 step down). These were for the pre-green album songs; one main and one backup per tuning. All four are generic Fender Stratocaster style copies, with heavy maple bodies of unknown origin. The main standard tuning guitar at this time was a "blonde" unpainted model, plastered with stickers (as were all four), with a DiMarzio Super Distortion humbucker and a Seymour Duncan humbucker. The main "old song" guitar at this time was black, and saw heavy exposure in a large number of magazine photos. This is the guitar pictured on the cover to the green album. It had a pair of Seymour Duncan pickups.

All four guitars were strung with GHS Boomers, in size ".10" to ".46" gauge. The guitar signal was sent via a wireless system (the Shure U4D) to a Line 6 POD Pro. The POD has a heavy and clean sound dialed in, switched by a footswitch on Rivers's pedalboard. The distortion sound is set on "British hi-gain amp" sent through simulated 4 x 12 vintage 30 cabinet, with the gain set at about 50 percent. The clean sound is set on a "Blackface" through the "2 x 12 cabinet" setting. From the POD, the signal was run out to the pedal board, where it went through the pod clean/dirty switchbox, a Dunlop Crybaby Wah-Wah Pedal (standard model GCB-95), and a Boss Turbo Distortion overdrive pedal.

At this point, everyone switched over to an in-ear monitor system, where tiny wireless headphones are worn by each band member, through which a custom mix is pumped, depending on what the band member requires. This eliminated the need for monitor wedges all over the stage, which made things a lot easier during the tour the band was on at the time. The band has fallen in love with the system (also after major uncertainty and doubts), as they get a much more consistent sound night after night. Monitor wedges can sound very different night to night depending on the stage and electronics in use, and can feed back at inopportune times.

2001 - Europe Tour

The Europe Tour in summer 2001 had virtually an identical setup to the Hooptie Tour, as the band continued to experiment with the "ampless stage" look.

2001 - Midget Tour

This was the beginning of a new phase, in which Rivers did extensive experimentation, trying to determine whether he was going to continue with Statocasters or delve into Gibsons.

He went through a huge amount of temporary try-out guitars. Rivers switches two of the Stratocaster bodies back to the green and blue ash (alder?) bodies. The remaining complete Strats are the black one and the blonde one (which had been largely covered in stickers).

Rivers also got a new Marshall head, a JCM 2000. There was much debate as to whether to stick with the POD system or try amps again, and everyone was impressed with this amp so it was kept for future use and recording, despite the tour going on with PODs.

2001 - Extended Midget Tour

Overall very similar to the "Midget" tour.

Rivers got these brand new Gibsons during the tour and immediately loved them both. For a little while he was borrowing Brian's white Gibson Les Paul, then he took the Gibson plunge.

2001-2002 - Demos+Maladroit

Rivers's JCM2000.

According to a July 2002 interview with Rivers, the basic rhythm tracks for Maladroit were recorded with a stock Gibson Explorer running into his Marshall JCM2000 (used on the Midget tour), with amp settings at 10 for Rivers's track.

2002 - Hyper Ext. Midget Tour

Overall very similar to the "Midget" and "Extended Midget" tours.

2002 - Spring Europe

Overall similar to the "Midget" and "Extended Midget" tours, with some modifications made to cut down the overall size of the equipment load.

2002 - Dusty West Tour

Rivers playing his rented Stratocaster.

Overall very similar to the "Midget" and "Extended Midget" tours. Around this time, Rivers can be seen using his Explorer live. The band's gear having been sent to Japan for the Japan World Cup Tour, for the Whisky a Go Go Goat Punishment show, Rivers used a rented Sunburst Fender Standard HSS Stratocaster.

2002 - Japan

Overall similar to the "Midget" and "Extended Midget" tours, with some modifications made to cut down the overall size of the equipment load.

2002 - Demos/Early Album 5 Work

Overall similar to the "Midget" and "Extended Midget" tours, with some modifications made to cut down the overall size of the equipment load.

2003 - SIR and Swinghouse Rehearsal Studios (Pre-Make Believe)

A close-up of Rivers' pedal board.
Rivers' SG and pedal board at Swinghouse Studios, November 2003.

In April the band went into SIR Rehearsals in Hollywood. By November of the same year they found themselves at Swinghouse Studios to perform pre-production for the first Make Believe sessions, which would follow in December at Cello Studios. Much of the same equipment was used in both studios.

Although it is not made clear in the photograph pictured at left (Rivers had two red SG guitars with one being tuned to E flat while the other was tuned to E) it's possible that this is the E flat guitar before placement of the sticker with the Thai word Farang, meaning "a white foreigner."

2005 - Make Believe Tour

Rivers was seen on stage with a Diezel VH4 boutique amplifier, run through a Marshall cabinet. Very expensive but highly sought after, it's a high end amp often associated with metal or otherwise very heavy sounds (James Hetfield of Metallica used one), which scans considering the Mesa amplifiers that Rivers used. The VH4 was modified to say "Weezer" instead of "Diezel", as some of the band's Marshall amps had been in the past.

2009-2011 - Raditude - Hurley, Memories Shows, Weezer Cruise

Rivers had one of the red SG's painted white, it can be identified by a having a complete white headstock without any logos. Later on it was replaced by two factory white SG's. His main one is called "Courtney."

For the Memories shows, Rivers used the Gibson SG seen in the past, presumably because both The Blue Album and Pinkerton were recorded largely with Gibson guitars. By this time, the Warmoth Strats was kept backstage as backup/practice guitars. But they were never used live until 2012. The large "mock 8x10" cabs and old "Weezer" labelled Marshall Amps also returned on stage, but were just used as props at a few Memories Shows.

2012-2014 - Pre-EWBAITE, EWBAITE Touring

When Weezer returned to its classic formation after the Raditude and Hurley eras, Rivers also returned to using his Strats. This time the Seafoam Green (named Satsuki) being his main with the Sonic Blue (named Mei) as a backup. RIvers has confirmed several times that he prefers how the green one sounds, and is often seen playing it in the studio as well.

The old Black Warmoth pictured on the Green Album was also used at a Scott & Rivers concert in Japan.

The three Strat's bridge pickups have different appearances than what was seen back around the Green Album days. Mei and the Black one having a Zebra color layout. Rivers has confirmed the neck and bridge pickups are DiMarzio and Seymour Duncan, respectively. But is it unknown they are his classic Super 2 neck and TB59 bridge combo.

The Marshall "mock 8x10" finally returned in the shows leading up the EWBAITE tour.

Mojotone was commissioned replicas of the cabinets, but these were the larger width versions and have only been used very rarely. The two different types can be seen in the Africa video.

2015-2016 - The White Album, Weezer + Panic At The Disco Tour, Pacific Daydream, The Black Album

Curiously, part way through the White Album promotion cycle, Rivers's amplifier and cabinet disappeared from the stage. As he noted in an interview with MusicRadar:

“I just profiled the setup I was using before. It was the Diezel VH4 - I did all my main crunchy rhythm sounds, plus my crazy sustain lead. There’s also an ultra clean for Say It Ain’t So or Island In The Sun, plus a slightly crunchy tone for Troublemaker. I got everything I need and then over time I started adding things into my lead channel, like an octave lower or a crazy chorus or a little flange. I built all these different sounds, it was really a lot of fun. And all I use beyond that is my Boss tuner!”

For The White Album, producer Jake Sinclair noted on All Things Weezer that he was able to get ahold of a 1977 Mesa Mk. 1, "identical to the one used on The Blue Album in every way (including the handmade labels on the back). 99% of the guitars were tracked through it."

Also on All Things Weezer, Sinclair said that Rivers's parts were recorded with Brian Bell's Gibson Les Paul Jr, and no pedals were used, except a Boss Turbo Distortion pedals were used. Use of Cuomo's superstrat "or one of my guitars" was occasionally employed for solos, as well, though it is not known for which songs or for which parts.

2017-2020 - Pacific Daydream, The Black Album, Tours with Pixies

Starting with the Pacific Daydream Tour "Courtney" the SG now seemed to be the main guitar.

The Warmoth Stratocasters were also used during this time. There was also the return of a cherry Gibson Flying V

During touring for The Black Album, Rivers continued his Kemper off-stage profiling setup, often playing his Gibson SG, which he had painted black. It has since been repainted white, along with the pickguard. Note, it could have been vinyl wrapped or removable Plasti-Dip paint as the pin-up of Courtney has always remained on the back despite which color the front is.

2021 - Hella Mega Tour

Rivers is seen using a Jackson Pro Series Rhoads RR24 in Lightning Crackle design, most likely chosen to mimic the Van Weezer album cover.

In December of 2021, Rivers had switched back to Satsuki for his main guitar, whilst using Mei as a backup. It is assumed the Jackson is still in commission, just wasn't used for those shows.

See also

External links