Watch Tool’s Adam Jones demo his talk box technique in clinic playthrough of Jambi

Adam Jones has shared some behind the scenes footage from one of Tool’s clinic sessions, in which he demonstrates his Talk Box technique used on Jambi, one of the stand-out tracks from 2006’s 10,000 Days.

It offers a rare look in detail at what the Tool guitarist is playing on his 1979 Silverburst Gibson Les Paul Custom, when typically dry ice, stage lights and lasers all work in concert to obscure the magic. Those who are in the Tool Army might already be familiar with this sort of thing; the band hosted a series of clinics to playthrough their back catalog and give their most ardent fans a chance to ask some questions on how the songs are played and how they were put together. 

Even though the chances are hardcore Tool fans already know the answer, that doesn’t make hearing them from the horse’s mouth any less exciting. This footage, from a 2018 clinic hosted in advance of the long-awaited release of Tool’s 2019 studio album, Fear Inoculum, their first in 13 years, came from a remarkable source – we can thank the All Elite Wrestling ring announcer Justin Roberts for the footage, which he shot from the side of the stage.

Epiphone Adam Jones Signature Les Paul Custom Art Collection

The first of Epiphone Adam Jones Signature Les Paul Custom Art Collection models sold out in no time. (Image credit: Epiphone)

Sadly, there were no explicit instructions as to how to play the song – you’ll have to work that out from the video. But Jones is tuned in drop D (low-to-high D A D G B E), and reportedly used a Heil HT1 Talk Box on the album. The HT1 is out of production now but an MXR unit should get you in the ballpark – and will also cover you for all your Frampton/Sambora/Walsh/Perry needs.

Use a solid-bodied electric guitar with humbucking pickups – why not one of Jones’ signature guitars from Gibson, or hold out for the next installment of the Adam Jones Art Collection Series from Epiphone, a limited edition release which comprises seven editions of his Silverburst Les Paul Custom, each finished in artwork curated by the Tool guitarist himself. 

The first, The Veil Of Bees, illustrated by Mark Ryden, sold out in no time, with future models to feature art from Frank Frazetta, Julie Heffernan, Korin Faught and Ernst Fuchs. See Epiphone for more details.

As for a guitar amp, Jones is plugging into a pair of Diezel VH4 heads, one with the distinctive blue-face control panel, and just out of shot it looks like his Marshall too. This is similar to the setup on 10,000 Years. 

While he and producer Joe Barresi went to town searching for tones, bringing the Bogner Uberschall and Rivera KR7 Knucklehead Reverb into play, too, mixing Diezel tones with his trusty 1976 Marshall Model 1992 JMP Super Bass – the 100-watt head most famously used by Lemmy – was key. Which, if that isn’t a don’t try this at home rig, what is? A more neighbour and budget-friendly alternative would be to practise using the Diezel VH micro amp.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.