Chevelle Amp Settings – Get their Distinctive Guitar Tone!

Author: Liam Whelan | Updated: | This post may contain affiliate links.

From humble beginnings in the Loeffler brothers’ garage, Chevelle launched into the stratosphere to become one of the post-grunge movement’s defining rock acts.

Combining the soft-loud dynamic expression of Tool or Nirvana with radio-ready choruses and enough crushing riffs to make Metallica blush, Chevelle’s distinctive guitar sound has been turning heads since the group’s 2002 smash hit Wonder What’s Next.

Key to Chevelle’s continuing success is founding member, singer, and lead guitarist Pete Loeffler’s powerful guitar tone.

For those of you looking to capture Chevelle’s powerful tone for yourselves, I’ll go over Pete Loeffler’s guitars, amps, pedals, and settings. Read on to capture all the angst and anger of “The Red” in your own home.

Guitars

Like many of his turn-of-the-century hard rock contemporaries, Pete Loeffler’s guitars of choice have predominantly been humbucker-equipped PRS models.

In the music video for “Send The Pain Below” Loeffler wields a red PRS Custom 22 (a 22-fret model). You can find an SE-variant of the Custom 22 easily.

Another 22-fret PRS can be seen in Chevelle’s 2002 performance of “The Red” on The Late Late Show.

Since around 2014, Loeffler has leaned towards baritone guitars. Baritone guitars are a key piece of Loeffler’s tone puzzle. Baritone guitars typically have a longer scale length and lower tuning than conventional guitars.

Generally speaking, his tuning will vary from one guitar to the next as the song demands.

Loeffler owns several custom-made PRS baritone guitars, but his main baritone of late is the Fender Sub-Sonic.

One other Fender guitar he’s sometimes seen playing is the Fender Jim Root Stratocaster. Unlike the Sub-Sonic, you can easily find it available these days.

In virtually all of his guitars, Loeffler chooses to use Seymour Duncan pickups. Loeffler has expressed affection for the Seymour Duncan Jeff Beck model for use in his baritone guitars.

While custom-built PRS guitars are probably out of most guitarists’ price range, the PRS SE series is a more affordable instrument aimed at working musicians. The PRS SE series also offers baritone guitars (such as this PRS SE 277) perfect for capturing later-era Chevelle tones.

While these do not come with Pete Loeffler’s preferred Seymour Duncan pickups, you can buy pickups separately and replace the stock PRS pickups.

Tuning

Loeffler’s baritone guitars often also enabled his use of drop tuning. Depending on the song, he might play in drop D, drop C, or even lower, in drop A.

Generally speaking, Chevelle uses lower tunings live than in the studio. This is to make Pete Loeffler’s soaring high notes easier on his voice night after night.

The most common tuning for Chevelle in recent years is C on the baritone guitars.

Amps

Pete Loeffler is a lifelong Mesa/Boogie aficionado. He’s run virtually the same amplifier for his entire career.

Loeffler’s amplifier of choice is the Mesa/Boogie Mark IV, running into two 4×12 Mesa/Boogie speaker cabs.

When Chevelle goes on tour, they keep extra Mark IV amps on the road as a backup in case the main amp fails.

While the Mesa/Boogie Mark IV is out of production, Chevelle fans can capture a similar tone with another amplifier. The main factor in the Mesa/Boogie Mark IV tone is the high wattage (85 Watts), and 4 x 6L6, with 5 x 12AX7 tubes.

Any amplifier with these tubes (or valves, depending on where you’re from) will get you on the right track to capturing that high-gain Chevelle tone. For example, the Mesa/Boogie Mark V has EL84, rather than 6L6 tubes, but will get you close to the Chevelle tone.

If you’re on a budget, the Blackstar HT-20R MkII can be a fantastic, versatile, combo amp option if you’d like to stick to an all-tube amp.

For an even tighter budget (or when you just want it for practice), you can get pretty close to the signature Chevelle tone using a modeling amp like the Boss Katana.

Chevelle Amp Settings

Chevelle’s guitar tone is relatively reliant on Pete Loeffler’s amp settings.

The primary guitar sound is a crunchy, high-gain tone with enough clarity to hear every note in the riff.

To achieve this sound, Pete Loeffler uses the below amp settings.

Gain: 9

Pete Loeffler’s Mesa/Boogie is a multi-channel amp, and each channel has subtle different settings.

Gain on the channel “rhythm one” is set to 9, while “rhythm two” is at 6, and lead gain is set to 7.5. Any of these high-gain settings will help get you towards Chevelle’s fuzzy, saturated tone.

Bass: 8

For his main rhythm tone, Pete Loeffler operates at the relatively high gain of 8. His lead tone has a lower bass of 6 for more clarity in his guitar solos.

Mids: 5

Pete Loeffler’s lead tone has the “scooped” midrange sound typical of Chevelle’s riffy hard rock. His rhythm tone operates at a higher midrange of 8, but for the pronounced “oomph” and fizz of classic Chevelle, you’ll want to run your mids noticeably lower than your bass or treble.

Treble: 8

Like his bass EQ, Pete Loeffler likes his treble high. This is to highlight his pick attack and lend some sparkle and shine to the lower-pitched riffs on his baritone guitar.

Chevelle Pedals

The final piece of the Chevelle tone puzzle is Pete Loeffler’s choice of guitar pedals.

Most of Chevelle’s tight-but-chunky tone comes from his choice of guitar and amp, but an array of effects will help you capture the finer nuances of the Chevelle sound.

Live, Pete Loeffler uses the EHX Holy Grail Nano Reverb for echo. For some extra “spice” on certain songs, he will switch on either the Boss TR-2 Tremolo or the MXR Phase 90.

For a gain boost, mostly for solos, Loeffler will kick on his Tech 21 Sansamp GT2.

Where songs demand it, the Boss GE-7 Equalizer offers a midrange boost, typically to balance out the “scooped” mids of his amplifier.

Finally, his choice of wah pedal is the Dunlop GCB95 Cry Baby, with a G Lab True Bypass Wah-Pad.

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About Liam Whelan

Liam Whelan was raised in Sydney, Australia, where he went to university for long enough to realize he strongly prefers playing guitar in a rock band to writing essays. Liam spends most of his life sipping strong coffee, playing guitar, and driving from one gig to the next. He still nurses a deep conviction that Eddie Van Halen is the greatest of all time, and that Liverpool FC will reclaim the English Premier League title.

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