Richie Faulkner Explains Why He Doesn’t Like Using Pedalboards, Names Distortion He Didn’t Like but Now Uses

Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner explained that he isn’t a big fan of conventional pedalboards and that he prefers to have pedals laid out in a “chaotic” way. Of course, this is something he does with his side project Elegant Weapons. The band also features vocalist Ronnie Romero, bassist Dave Rimmer, and drummer Christopher Williams while the debut record featured Judas Priest drummer Scott Travis and Pantera bassist Rex Brown.

For the band’s live shows, Faulkner revealed to Sweetwater in a recent interview that a pedalboard is something he doesn’t use. In fact, he prefers it that way, and using any sort of an organized surface with all the usual features isn’t his thing.

Richie Faulkner's Metal Menagerie | What's on Your Pedalboard?

“The only time I’ve ever had a pedalboard is when my tech in Priest made me have one,” Faulkner said (transcribed by Killer Guitar Rigs). So why is this the case? He explained:

“The reason was, really, because I always used to run batteries. I didn’t have a power supply. I used to run batteries. You need to pull them off and unscrew them and you couldn’t get them off the pedalboard that easy.”

“So I just left them off the pedalboard. And It’s always been like this. Ever since I’ve been playing in pubs and stuff.”

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Faulkner couldn’t really point out how exactly this works better. But it seems that it just fits his feel and performance more. After all, good rock ‘n’ roll always requires some chaos, right?

“It just stays with you,” he continued. “And sometimes you put them on a pedalboard. For me, it looks a bit… I don’t know — I like it like this. I like it a bit chaotic.”

And for some smaller pub shows, keeping things a little “chaotic” is a good way to make the performance feel organic and natural. As he further adds, if you try to order them all neatly in a straight line, it just ends up taking up a different shape again:

“You put them out [in a straight line] and then it’s taking on its own shape depending on where it’s natural for them to be.”

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“So you see, this is the way to do it, not that pedalboard rubbish,” Faulkner jokingly added.

Going through his pedals for this particular setup, Faulkner shared a few details on why he uses what he does. But apart from the Dunlop’s Jerry Cantrell signature wah, MXR M86 Uni-Vibe, and a few other goodies, there’s also MXR’s M104. Also known as the “Distortion +,” it’s a fairly simple one, bearing only volume and drive controls. And as Richie reveals, he wasn’t all that into it before.

“I didn’t used to like this,” the guitarist admitted. “I wasn’t a fan of the Distortion + until I started using the Plexis. And it does something — that magic. You put it through other amps — I just never liked it.”

And yes, he did try a bunch of different stuff. But somehow, MXR Distortion + just ended up being the best option for what he was looking for his Marshall amps. Faulkner added:

“I was looking for an overdrive to put through the Plexis and I tried a Klon, I tried [Wampler] Tumnus. And I thought ‘I don’t like this but I’ll try it.’ And you know that always happens. Sometimes, that kind of just makes that little bit of magic you need. And it just works really well with the Plexi.”

This year, Richie Faulkner released a signature Flying V in collaboration with Gibson Custom Shop. Some years ago, he also did an Epiphone V model as a limited edition run. And he even uses those Epiphones live. In fact, in an interview with Ultimate Guitar from earlier this year, Faulkner said that he uses these Epiphones without any modifications:

“I play Epiphones on stage, and people would ask me, what differences, what modifications I make to my Epiphones compared to the ones that you can buy off the shelf. And I tell them there’s no point in having a signature guitar if it’s different to the one you can buy off the shelf. That’s the whole point of having a signature guitar.”

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“So, point being, they’re exactly the same as the ones you can buy from the store. And I use them live, and they’re fantastic guitars. Epiphone really upped their game, over the last however many years, and it just enabled me to put those guitars into more hands, more people would buy them and it would be able to reach more people that would like them.”

And Epiphone really did step up their game. Not that long ago, they even released a “Greeny” Les Paul in collaboration with Metallica’s Kirk Hammett. This replica of the legendary old guitar also features a Gibson-style headstock, making this a major move for Epiphone.

Photo: S. Bollmann (Judas Priest With Full Force 2018 31)


  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.