Maneskin Amp Settings & Gear – Italian Rock Guitar Tone!

Author: Santiago Motto | Updated: | This post may contain affiliate links.

When the Maneskin version of “Beggin’” took over the airwaves, it reproduced at the speed of light. Soon, it was a hit pumping the rock-loving speakers in most bars, radios, and headphones. That’s how I got to know this Italian band that, frankly, represents hope for those of us who love rock and roll.

Thomas Raggi, the guitarist for Maneskin owns a very personal, bombastic approach that mixes the best of John Frusciante with some Jimmy Page and a whole lot of mojo to add his unique ingredient to the Maneskin mix.

I’ve been studying the guy and his tone and what you’re about to read is the recipe to sound like Maneskin at home.

Thomas Raggi Guitars

Tomas Raggi is a Fender guy. Moreover, he’s a Stratocaster guy. Yes, maybe Frusciante’s influence on his playing is bigger than Jimmy’s.

In any case, the tone that Thomas looks for in his instruments is related to the edge and the midrange rather than the low end or the massive chugging a mahogany guitar can give you.

Although you might have seen him playing a truly beautiful, heavy relic 1963 Stratocaster in red sparkle, made by the Custom Shop, that’s not his favorite guitar. On the contrary, according to a recent interview, his favorite guitar isn’t even a Fender, but a Squier Stratocaster. Moreover, it’s a guitar that he’s had forever.

It’s a Japanese version of the Strat, so it has to be early ‘90s. You can see him in this video playing a really cool, 5-minute solo over looped layers of guitar on the Squier at a sold-out show in San Francisco’s mythical Masonic Center.

The guitars I mentioned above are quite different since the Squier features a maple fingerboard while the Custom Shop ’63 Stratocaster has a rosewood one. That is already a huge difference because the percussiveness and the edge of the maple fingerboard are uncanny.

Adding to the edge of the maple fingerboard, nothing exemplifies it better than the guitar that started it all: the Telecaster. Yes, Thomas also plays a black-guard Telecaster, AKA, a butterscotch blonde model just like the one Bruce Springsteen and Keith Richards play.

Besides these three instruments, and especially during the early days, you could also see Thomas playing a Les Paul Gold Top. Yet, the tone from the records as well as the new material live is pure single-coil material. Indeed, the way the guitar cuts through the mix is something that maybe an old PAF-style humbucker could do. In my opinion, though, it’s 100% single-coil tone.

So, if you’re looking to replicate Thomas’ rocking approach, you need a single-coil guitar. If you have the budget, a heavy relic Fender Custom Shop Stratocaster is, of course, the closest you’ll be. Nevertheless, if that’s out of your reach the American Vintage and Vintera series can do the job too.

Moreover, if you want to join Thomas in his Squier adventures, a Classic Vibe Stratocaster can also get the job done.

My suggestion is that you stay in the vintage side of the Fender and Squier catalog because that’s the kind of sound you’re looking for. You need those single-coil pickups to add a little dirt, mojo, and hum to the mix so you can recreate that glorious rocking tone from the late sixties and early seventies.

Thomas Raggi Effects Pedals

Pedal-wise, Thomas Raggi is quite a simple guitarist. He’s got a pure-tone approach that has been granting him countless fans around the globe. But let’s see what’s at Thomas’ feet while he’s rocking crowds with his silver pants and Kiss-approved matching boots.

  • Overdrive – A guitarist’s taste in overdrive pedals is as unique as his or her way of playing the instrument. Some of us are Tube Screamer fundamentalists while others are Blues Driver players. Well, Thomas relies on his amps and a Fulltone OCD to get his rhythm tone.

  • Fuzz – Whenever things get seriously spicy or he needs to go over the top for a soaring solo, Thomas steps on a fuzz pedal. He chooses the Mad Professor Fire Red Fuzz.
  • Wah – No rock and roll guitarist can pull off a true rock show without some Wah-infused leads, right? Especially no Frusciante fan! He rocks a classic GCB-95 Cry Baby
  • Analog Delay – Although there are many new and old gems he could choose from, Thomas relies on the tried-and-true, humongous Deluxe Memory Man. You can also do it with a Memory Toy or a Carbon Copy.
  • Octave – Some solos just need that extra layer of mojo an octave pedal can provide. Thomas plays through a Micro POG.

  • Looping – Live, Thomas plays some looped guitar layers and a solo over them while the band goes away for a little break. You could use a Ditto Looper or any other you like.

Thomas Raggi Amplifiers

Just like one of his idols, John Frusciante, Thomas rocks that Hendrix-approved combination that a Stratocaster and a pushed Marshall form. Yes, in case you have never plugged into a cranked big tube amp like a Marshall SLP or 1987x, let me tell you that the Fender Stratocaster percussiveness gets multiplied by 10.

Moreover, the raspy, dry, hard-hitting tones no-master-volume Marshall heads can produce are the perfect territory for Thomas’ sonic adventures. He plays the 100-watt or 50-watt EL34-loaded Marshall Plexi through a single 4×12 Marshall vintage cab.

You can do it for less if you get the Studio version of these vintage heads or the Marshall Origins.

How to Dial in Thomas Raggi Tones? Maneskin Amp Settings

Thomas Raggi’s tone oozes body and power but retains the edge, percussiveness, and sweet melodic elements of the Stratocaster. So, for that tone, you need to push the amp’s master volume and give it generous bass and middle frequencies. The treble and presence are good for taming the Strat’s harsh brightness (especially with a maple fingerboard).

Clean Tone

  • Volume – 5
  • Bass – 7
  • Middle – 7
  • Treble – 6
  • Presence – 7

Rhythm Tone

  • Volume – 7
  • Bass – 8
  • Middle – 7
  • Treble – 6
  • Presence – 7
  • OCD (or your favorite overdrive pedal) – ON

Lead Tone

  • Volume – 9
  • Bass – 7
  • Middle – 7
  • Treble – 7
  • Presence – 8
  • Fuzz – ON
  • Delay – ON

The Bottom End

Maneskin might be a TV sensation, a social media phenomenon, a hyped-out band, or whatever other thing you want to say about them. Yet, they’re responsible for bringing righteous rock and roll to the biggest stages, screens, award ceremonies, and radio stations around the world.

To me, that’s more than enough to think they’re a much-needed band in showbiz these days.

Happy (rock and roll) playing!

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About Santiago Motto

Santiago is a guitar player with over 25 years of experience. A self-confessed guitar nerd, he currently tours with his band 'San Juan'. Called 'Sandel' by his friends, he has a pop palate for melodies, ballads, and world music. San especially has an immense love for telecasters and all-mahogany Martins.

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