Home>Instruments>Bass>What Bass Does Justin Chancellor Use

What Bass Does Justin Chancellor Use What Bass Does Justin Chancellor Use


What Bass Does Justin Chancellor Use

Written by: Virgie Reinhart

Discover the bass that Justin Chancellor uses and learn why it's an essential part of his unique sound. Explore the features and specifications of his preferred bass.

(Many of the links in this article redirect to a specific reviewed product. Your purchase of these products through affiliate links helps to generate commission for AudioLover.com, at no extra cost. Learn more)

Table of Contents


When it comes to the world of bass guitar, few names are as revered as Justin Chancellor. As the bassist for the iconic rock band Tool, Chancellor has established himself as one of the most influential and talented bass players of his generation. His unique playing style, impeccable technique, and powerful stage presence have earned him a dedicated fan base and accolades from both critics and fellow musicians.

But what makes Chancellor’s bass playing so captivating? And what equipment does he use to achieve his signature sound? In this article, we will delve into the world of Justin Chancellor and explore the bass guitars, effects, and techniques that have shaped his distinctive sound. Whether you’re a bass enthusiast or simply curious about the role of bass in music, this article will give you a deeper understanding of the artistry that Chancellor brings to the table.

From his early days experimenting with different bass models to his current setup and signature bass models, we will examine the evolution of Chancellor’s gear and how it has contributed to his unique tone. Additionally, we’ll take a closer look at the effects and pedals that Chancellor incorporates into his sound, revealing the secrets behind his mesmerizing and atmospheric bass lines.

Whether you’re a fan of Tool or simply interested in the world of bass guitar, this article will provide you with valuable insights into the innovative techniques and equipment that Justin Chancellor utilizes to captivate audiences and create musical magic. So sit back, grab your bass guitar, and get ready to dive into the sonic world of Justin Chancellor.


Background of Justin Chancellor

Justin Chancellor was born on November 19, 1971, in England. He discovered his passion for music at a young age and began playing guitar in his teenage years. However, it was during his time at the University of Western England that he found his true calling as a bass player.

Chancellor’s musical journey took a significant turn when he attended a live performance by the American rock band Tool in the early 1990s. Mesmerized by the band’s complex and powerful sound, Chancellor felt an instant connection to the bass and knew that this was the instrument he wanted to pursue.

In 1995, Chancellor joined Tool as their bassist, replacing their former bass player Paul D’Amour. His arrival would mark a turning point for the band, as Chancellor’s dynamic playing style and intricate bass lines added a new layer of depth to their music.

With Tool, Chancellor became known for his ability to seamlessly blend melodic lines with heavy and intricate rhythms. His bass playing became an integral part of the band’s sound, creating a foundation that allowed the other musicians to explore complex time signatures and atmospheric textures.

Outside of Tool, Chancellor has also been involved in various side projects and collaborations. He has worked with artists such as The Melvins and Puscifer, showcasing his versatility as a bass player and his ability to adapt to different musical styles.

Over the years, Chancellor has received praise and recognition for his exceptional talent. He has been nominated for multiple awards and has been consistently listed among the greatest bass players in the rock genre.

Today, Justin Chancellor continues to push the boundaries of bass playing with his innovative approach and unwavering dedication to his craft. His contributions to the world of music have solidified his status as one of the most influential and respected bassists of our time.


The Importance of Bass in Music

While often overlooked or overshadowed by other instruments, the bass guitar plays a crucial role in the overall sound and feel of music. It serves as the foundation of any band or ensemble, providing a solid rhythmic and harmonic backbone that ties everything together.

The bass guitar is responsible for filling out the lower frequencies in a song, adding depth, richness, and resonance. It creates a sense of groove and provides the connection between the rhythm section and the melodies. Without the bass, music can lack the necessary weight and impact that brings it to life.

Justin Chancellor understands the importance of the bass guitar and has mastered the art of creating intricate bass lines that are both melodic and powerful. His ability to seamlessly transition between complex rhythmic patterns and melodic flourishes has made him a highly respected figure in the world of bass playing.

Moreover, the bass guitar has the unique ability to enhance the emotional impact of a song. A well-crafted bass line can evoke feelings of joy, sadness, aggression, or tranquility, adding an extra layer of depth and emotion to the music. Justin Chancellor excels in using his bass guitar to create a visceral and immersive sonic experience, allowing listeners to truly connect with the music on a deeper level.

Furthermore, the bass guitar acts as a bridge between the rhythm and melody sections of a band. It establishes the harmony and provides a framework for other instruments to build upon. In Justin Chancellor’s playing, you can hear the intricate interplay between his bass lines and the guitar or vocal melodies, creating a cohesive and dynamic musical tapestry.

Whether it’s driving the rhythm, adding melodic complexity, or creating a sense of depth and emotion, the bass guitar is an integral component of any musical composition. Justin Chancellor’s masterful command of the instrument showcases the true potential and versatility of the bass, proving that it is far more than just a supporting role in the world of music.


Justin Chancellor’s Early Basses

As Justin Chancellor embarked on his journey as a bass player, he experimented with different bass guitars to find the instrument that suited his style and sound. During his early years, Chancellor relied on a variety of basses that helped shape his playing technique and develop his distinctive tone.

One of the basses that played a significant role in Chancellor’s early career was the Rickenbacker 4003. This iconic bass, known for its distinctive shape and punchy sound, provided Chancellor with a powerful and defined tone that cut through the mix. The Rickenbacker 4003’s deep lows and clear highs allowed Chancellor to showcase his dynamic playing and emphasize the rhythmic foundation of Tool’s music.

In addition to the Rickenbacker, Chancellor also explored the world of Fender basses. The Fender Jazz Bass, with its versatile and smooth tone, became another staple in his arsenal. Its balanced sound, comfortable playing feel, and bright tonal characteristics complemented Chancellor’s melodic playing style and allowed him to navigate Tool’s complex and atmospheric compositions.

Chancellor’s early basses not only influenced his sound but also shaped his playing technique. His use of fingerstyle playing, where he plucks the strings with his fingers rather than using a pick, became a defining characteristic of his style. This technique enabled him to achieve a more nuanced and expressive sound, allowing for intricate melodic lines and percussive elements within his playing.

While Chancellor’s bass choices evolved over time, his early experiences with instruments such as the Rickenbacker 4003 and Fender Jazz Bass laid the foundation for his musical journey. These basses served as the catalysts for his exploration of tone and technique, eventually leading him to develop his own unique style and sound.

Today, Justin Chancellor continues to experiment and refine his bass guitar collection, always seeking new ways to push the boundaries of his musical expression. His early experiences with different basses have undoubtedly played a significant role in shaping his career and elevating him to his status as one of the most influential bass players of our time.


Justin Chancellor’s Current Bass Setup

Justin Chancellor’s current bass setup is a finely tuned combination of instruments and equipment that allows him to achieve his signature sound. Over the years, Chancellor has refined his gear choices to create a setup that perfectly complements his playing style and musical vision.

One of the key components of Chancellor’s current bass setup is his custom-made Wal bass guitars. Created by luthier Ian Waller, these instruments are tailored specifically to Chancellor’s preferences and specifications. The Wal basses are known for their exceptional craftsmanship and high-quality materials, delivering a rich and powerful tone that perfectly suits Chancellor’s playing style.

In terms of electronics, Chancellor’s Wal basses are equipped with a combination of active and passive pickups, allowing him to achieve a wide range of tones. The active pickups provide enhanced clarity and definition, while the passive pickups offer warmth and depth. This versatile pickup configuration gives Chancellor the flexibility to dial in the perfect sound for any musical situation.

To further shape his sound, Chancellor utilizes a variety of effects pedals in his setup. One notable pedal in his arsenal is the Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI. This pedal allows him to emulate the sound of vintage tube amps, providing warmth and grit to his tone. Chancellor also incorporates modulation effects, such as chorus and flanger, to add texture and depth to his bass lines.

In addition to his bass guitar and effects pedals, Chancellor relies on high-quality amplification to ensure his sound cuts through the mix. He favors amplifiers from companies like Ampeg and Mesa/Boogie, known for their powerful and punchy bass tones. These amplifiers provide the necessary headroom and clarity for Chancellor’s dynamic playing style.

When it comes to strings, Chancellor prefers a medium gauge set that strikes a balance between comfort and tension. The specific gauge may vary depending on his playing needs, but he typically opts for strings that deliver a solid low end and articulate highs.

Overall, Justin Chancellor’s current bass setup is a combination of carefully chosen instruments, effects pedals, amplifiers, and strings. This thoughtful selection allows him to craft his distinctive bass sound, characterized by its depth, clarity, and versatility. Chancellor’s attention to detail and commitment to achieving the perfect tone are evident in his gear choices, and they have played a significant role in shaping his unparalleled musical career.


Signature Bass Models by Justin Chancellor

Justin Chancellor’s influence and expertise as a bass player have led to collaborations with renowned instrument manufacturers, resulting in the creation of signature bass models that bear his name. These bass guitars are carefully crafted to Chancellor’s specifications, reflecting his unique playing style and sonic preferences.

One notable signature bass model is the Justin Chancellor Signature Wal bass. Created in partnership with the esteemed luthier Ian Waller, this instrument embodies Chancellor’s vision and sonic requirements. The Justin Chancellor Signature Wal bass features a distinct body design, combining elements of classic and modern bass aesthetics. It is crafted with premium tonewoods and incorporates Chancellor’s preferred active/passive pickup configuration, allowing for a versatile range of tones.

Another standout signature model is the Fender Justin Chancellor Signature Bass. Fender partnered with Chancellor to create a bass guitar that captures the essence of his playing style. The Justin Chancellor Signature Bass boasts several unique features, including a sleek and minimalist design, a specially modified pickup configuration, and a resilient yet comfortable maple neck with a compound radius fingerboard. These features enable players to achieve the dynamic and expressive tones for which Chancellor is renowned.

Both the Justin Chancellor Signature Wal bass and the Fender Justin Chancellor Signature Bass have garnered praise from bass players worldwide. These instruments offer musicians the opportunity to experience the iconic sound and feel that have defined Chancellor’s playing throughout his career.

By partnering with reputable manufacturers to create signature bass models, Justin Chancellor has not only solidified his legacy as a bass icon but has also given aspiring musicians the chance to explore the sonic possibilities that his instruments offer.

Whether it’s the unique design and tonal versatility of the Justin Chancellor Signature Wal bass or the innovative modifications found on the Fender Justin Chancellor Signature Bass, these signature models reflect Chancellor’s commitment to his craft and his desire to inspire the next generation of bass players.


Justin Chancellor’s Effects and Pedals

Justin Chancellor’s bass sound is not only shaped by his choice of instruments but also by the effects pedals he incorporates into his setup. These carefully selected pedals add depth, texture, and sonic versatility to his bass lines, allowing him to create captivating and atmospheric tones.

One of the key pedals in Chancellor’s arsenal is the Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI. This pedal is known for its ability to emulate the warmth and character of vintage tube amplifiers. Chancellor uses the SansAmp to add grit and saturation to his tone, giving his bass lines a rich and dynamic quality. This pedal also serves as a DI (direct input) box, allowing Chancellor to connect directly to mixing consoles or audio interfaces when recording or performing live.

In addition to the SansAmp, Chancellor incorporates modulation effects into his setup to add movement and depth to his bass sound. He often uses chorus and flanger pedals to create swirling, ethereal textures that enhance the atmospheric nature of Tool’s music. These effects can be heard on tracks like “Schism” and “The Pot,” where Chancellor’s bass lines take on a mesmerizing and otherworldly quality.

Another important pedal in Chancellor’s effects chain is the MXR Phase 90. This iconic phaser pedal produces a swirling, phase-shifting effect that adds a unique dimension to his bass sound. Chancellor utilizes the Phase 90 to create pulsating and pulsing textures, giving his bass lines a hypnotic and immersive quality.

Furthermore, Chancellor incorporates delay and reverb effects into his setup to create a sense of space and ambiance. He often uses pedals such as the Eventide TimeFactor Delay and the Strymon BigSky Reverb to add depth, echo, and lush reverberation to his bass lines. These effects contribute to the atmospheric and immersive nature of Chancellor’s playing, adding a sense of grandeur and majestic sonic landscapes to Tool’s music.

Overall, Justin Chancellor’s choice of effects pedals showcases his attention to detail and his commitment to crafting a unique and captivating bass sound. Whether he’s adding distortion and saturation with the SansAmp Bass Driver DI, creating sweeping modulation effects with chorus and flanger pedals, or enhancing the sonic landscape with delay and reverb, Chancellor’s effects and pedals play a vital role in defining his signature sound.

By skillfully incorporating these effects into his playing, Chancellor continuously pushes the boundaries of what a bass guitar can achieve, creating an immersive and transformative listening experience for Tool’s fans and bass players alike.



Justin Chancellor’s profound impact on the world of bass playing cannot be overstated. His innovative approach, technical mastery, and unwavering dedication to his craft have solidified his position as one of the most influential and respected bassists of our time.

Throughout his career, Chancellor’s gear choices and playing style have evolved, allowing him to cultivate a distinctive sound that captivates audiences worldwide. From his early experimentation with bass models like the Rickenbacker 4003 and Fender Jazz Bass to his current setup featuring custom-made Wal basses and a carefully selected array of effects pedals, Chancellor’s gear has played a crucial role in shaping his sonic identity.

Furthermore, Chancellor’s playing technique, characterized by his precise fingerstyle approach and ability to seamlessly transition between intricate rhythms and melodic lines, has become a hallmark of his sound. His contribution to Tool’s music has elevated the role of the bass guitar, proving that it can serve as a potent force in creating atmosphere, emotion, and dynamics within a composition.

In addition to his work with Tool, Chancellor’s collaborations with other artists and his participation in side projects highlight his versatility as a bass player. His ability to adapt to different musical styles while maintaining his own unique voice further solidifies his status as a true master of his instrument.

Justin Chancellor’s influence extends beyond the realm of bass playing. His dedication to pushing the boundaries of his craft serves as an inspiration to aspiring musicians and bassists around the world. He has redefined what it means to be a bass player, elevating the instrument to new heights and demonstrating the transformative power of the bass guitar within the context of a band.

In conclusion, Justin Chancellor’s journey as a bass player is a testament to the boundless possibilities of music. His technical prowess, musical creativity, and the careful curation of his gear have allowed him to create a unique sound that resonates with fans and fellow musicians alike. Justin Chancellor’s legacy as a bassist will continue to inspire and shape the future of bass playing, leaving an indelible mark on the world of music.

Related Post