“My live rig doesn’t work; Van Halen is a different animal”: Is Joe Satriani ditching Ibanez for the upcoming Best of All Worlds tour?

Joe Satriani (left) and Eddie Van Halen perform onstage
(Image credit: Daniel Knighton, Ross Marino/Getty Images,)

With the Best of All Worlds tour fast approaching, fans have been given the biggest insight yet into Joe Satriani’s Van Halen-honoring live rig, and it appears he may be leaving his Ibanez signature guitar behind for the shows.  

The tour sees Satriani and Jason Bonham uniting with Van Halen alumni Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony for shows celebrating the band’s David Lee Roth- and Hagar-fronted eras. Satriani has been taking his role extremely seriously, as he tries to craft the most authentic Eddie Van Halen guitar tone possible. 

The guitarist has previously spoken about chasing the “mythical Van Halen sound,” and it seems his relentless tone-chasing mission involved a drastic overhaul of his gear. 

Hagar posted a clip of their recent rehearsal on his Instagram account, with Satriani donning what looks to be an EVH Striped Series ‘78 Eruption guitar, while a host of EVH pedals were spotted on his pedalboard

Satriani is rarely spotted without his signature Ibanez, which makes the sight of him shredding on a white and black striped EVH super Strat even more surreal, but the tones he ushers out of it show that his meticulous tone-chasing is paying off. 

Two EVH-branded MXR pedals, a Phase 90 and a Flanger, can be seen in his effects chain, alongside a Boss CE-2w chorus pedal and a Boss DM-2w delay pedal

The Hagar-filmed clip doesn’t hang on the guitarist for long, leading to speculative guesses as to what else completes his pedalboard, with Guitar Player's best guesses being a TC Electronic Sub 'N' Up Octaver and a Vox wah.

The latter is particularly interesting. While Satriani has a signature Vox wah, Van Halen has long been synonymous with the Jum Dunlop Crybaby Wah.   

Satriani is working with 3rd Power Amps ahead of the tour to create a custom amp designed to nail the sound of Van Halen’s 1986 live album, Live Without A Net. It was a transitional period for the band, getting used to life without the enigmatic David Lee Roth, while Eddie began to move away from Marshall amps. More importantly, it’s a tone that both Satriani and Hagar adore. 

Satriani’s gear overhaul may be pretty extensive, but as per a recent Guitar World interview, it was always necessary. 

“My live rig is designed so that I can play above the 12th fret on the first strings and still have everything sound fat,” he said. “I realized there's no way to play the Van Halen stuff on my rig; it's a different animal. It doesn’t work.” 

The 28-date Best of All Worlds tour begins in West Palm Beach, Florida on July 13, and runs through to August 31, with the final show happening in St. Louis, Missouri. A full list of dates can be found on Sammy Hagar's website.

Phil Weller

A freelance writer with a penchant for music that gets weird, Phil is a regular contributor to ProgGuitar World, and Total Guitar magazines and is especially keen on shining a light on unknown artists. Outside of the journalism realm, you can find him writing angular riffs in progressive metal band, Prognosis, in which he slings an 8-string Strandberg Boden Original, churning that low string through a variety of tunings. He's also a published author and is currently penning his debut novel which chucks fantasy, mythology and humanity into a great big melting pot.