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Kevin Parker Rig Rundown: Guitars, Amps & Pedals

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Have ever wondered what magic Kevin Parker from Tame Impala uses to get those psychedelic sounds? Well, you’re in the right place!

Today I’m breaking down the gear that powers the psychedelic soundscapes of one of the most innovative musicians out there. Kevin used a lot of gear throghout the years, but it seems clear that he’s a fan of such brands as Rickenbacker, Hagstrom, Fender of VOX.

Whether you’re a bedroom guitarist or dreaming of headlining festivals, here’s your guide to Kevin’s arsenal.

Guitars Used By Kevin Parker

guitars used by kevin parker

Electric Guitars

  • 1967 Rickenbacker 335 Jetglo: This vintage gem is a key player in Kevin’s lineup, known for its rich, resonant tones that have become synonymous with Tame Impala’s post-“Innerspeaker” era. Customized with white tape and sea foam blue paint, it stands out both visually and sonically.
  • Squier J Mascis Jazzmaster (I LOVE This Guitar): Favored for its versatility, this guitar allows Kevin to effortlessly switch between dreamy soundscapes and gritty riffs. It’s a testament to the Jazzmaster’s enduring appeal in the indie and alternative scenes.
  • Hagström Impala: A rare find, this guitar made its mark at the 2011 Glastonbury festival. Its unique body and distinctive sound contribute to the diverse tonal palette Kevin employs.
  • Fender Deluxe Roadhouse Stratocaster: Modified with an American Strat neck, this guitar is a staple on stage, delivering the quintessential Stratocaster sparkle and bite that’s perfect for cutting through the mix.
  • Rickenbacker 330 Jetglo: Another vintage Rickenbacker in Kevin’s arsenal, this model offers a slightly different flavor from the 335, with its jangly, bright sound playing a key role in the Tame Impala soundscape.
  • Fender Stratocaster American Professional II: A modern Strat with a classic vibe, this guitar is seen in recent performances, providing Kevin with the legendary Fender tone, updated for the modern musician.
  • Gibson ES-335: This Gibson semi-hollowbody adds a warm, rich layer to Kevin’s sound, perfect for bluesy leads and thick rhythms.
  • Epiphone Les Paul Standard: Used in Kevin’s early days, this guitar brings the Les Paul’s signature sustain and heft to Tame Impala’s garage rock roots.
  • Martin X Series LX1E Little Martin Acoustic-Electric Guitar: This compact acoustic-electric guitar offers a clear, articulate sound, perfect for the band’s more introspective moments.
  • Casio DG-20: A digital guitar that adds a quirky, synthetic texture to Tame Impala’s palette, showcasing Kevin’s willingness to experiment.
  • Teisco K4L: Seen in promotional material for “The Slow Rush,” this vintage Japanese guitar adds a unique, metallic twang to the mix.
  • Hagstrom Retroscape Impala: A modern take on Kevin’s vintage Impala, this guitar retains the distinctive look and sound of the original while offering the reliability of a new instrument.

Bass Guitars

  • Fender Classic Series ’60s Jazz Bass: A cornerstone of the “Innerspeaker” recordings, this bass delivers the smooth, versatile tones that underpin Tame Impala’s groovy bass lines.
  • Höfner 500/1 Violin Bass: Channeling McCartney-esque vibes, this bass adds a vintage warmth to the band’s sound, perfect for melodic bass parts.
  • Fender Precision Bass: Known for its punchy, clear tone, this bass is a recent addition to Kevin’s collection, adding a solid foundation to Tame Impala’s live performances.
  • Hofner Ignition Series Vintage Violin Bass: Similar to the 500/1, this bass offers the classic Hofner sound at a more accessible price point, contributing to the band’s retro aesthetic.

Kevin Parker’s guitar collection is as varied as it is fascinating, offering a window into the sonic explorations that define Tame Impala’s music.

Each guitar not only contributes its unique voice to the band’s albums and live performances but also underscores Kevin’s creative approach to sound and texture.

Whether through the jangly chime of a Rickenbacker, the warmth of a Gibson ES-335, or the synthetic sounds of a Casio DG-20, Kevin Parker’s choice of guitars paints a rich, auditory landscape that has captivated listeners around the world.

Check out rigs of other famous musicians: Alex Turner, Prince & James Hetfield!

Kevin Parker’s Amps

amps used by kevin parker

Kevin Parker’s selection of amplifiers is as integral to Tame Impala’s sound as his eclectic mix of guitars. Each amp brings its own character and nuance to the band’s music, from warm, vintage tones to pristine cleans and beyond. Here’s a deep dive into the amplifiers that help shape the immersive soundscapes of Tame Impala.

  • Vox AC30: A cornerstone of Kevin’s rig, the Vox AC30 provides the quintessential chime and jangle associated with British Invasion bands. Kevin has been seen using both standard and hand-wired versions of this iconic amp. Its ability to deliver sparkling cleans, as well as rich, overdriven tones, makes it a versatile tool in crafting Tame Impala’s diverse sound palette.
  • Vox AC30H2: Specifically cited on the official Vox Amps Facebook page as part of Kevin’s setup, the AC30H2 variant brings a unique flavor to the mix. This model is known for its hand-wired circuitry, offering an extra layer of sonic warmth and complexity. It’s a crucial component in achieving the lush, textured sounds that define many of Tame Impala’s recordings and live performances.
  • Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus: Renowned for its crystal-clear sound and onboard stereo chorus, the Roland JC-120 has been a staple in Kevin’s arsenal for achieving pristine clean tones. This solid-state marvel is a departure from the warmer, tube-driven sounds of the Vox amps, providing a modern contrast that’s perfect for the band’s more ambient and synth-heavy sections.
  • Roland KC-150: While primarily a keyboard amplifier, Kevin’s use of the Roland KC-150 underscores his innovative approach to guitar tone. This versatile amp is capable of handling a wide range of frequencies, making it an unconventional choice for guitar that pays off in Tame Impala’s textured soundscapes.
  • Fender Deluxe Reverb: A classic choice for clean and slightly overdriven tones, the Fender Deluxe Reverb adds an American flavor to Kevin’s predominantly British-voiced amp lineup. Its lush reverb and smooth tremolo effect have been employed to add depth and space to Tame Impala’s psych-pop explorations.
  • Fender ’65 Deluxe Reverb: Specifically, this reissue model captures the magic of the mid-60s Deluxe Reverb, offering Kevin a reliable and consistent source of the amp’s legendary sound. This amp’s combination of warmth, clarity, and dynamic response makes it ideal for studio work and live performances alike.
  • Seymour Duncan KTG-1 (King Tone Generator) Preamp: Though not a traditional amplifier, this rare and sought-after preamp by Seymour Duncan has been a secret weapon in Kevin’s studio. The KTG-1 shapes the guitar’s tone before it even reaches the amp, providing a unique texture and enhancing the overall warmth and richness of the sound.
  • Selmer Treble and Bass Amp Head: Known for their use by British bands in the ’60s, Selmer amps add a vintage character to Kevin’s sound. The Treble and Bass model, in particular, offers a distinctively smooth and musical overdrive that complements the cleaner tones from his other amps.
  • Fender Mini Tone-Master Amp: This miniature amplifier might seem like an odd choice for a professional musician, but its inclusion in Kevin’s setup highlights his penchant for experimentation. While it’s unclear how much this tiny amp contributes to Tame Impala’s recorded output, its presence underscores the creative exploration at the heart of the band’s sound.
  • Fender Red Knob ‘The Twin’ Amplifier: This ’80s-era amplifier, identifiable by its distinctive red control knobs, represents a period when Fender sought to modernize their classic designs. Known for its powerful clean tones and flexible onboard effects, ‘The Twin’ offers another layer of versatility to Kevin’s tonal palette.
  • Fender FSR Blues Junior III Butterscotch: A limited edition of the popular Blues Junior amp, this model combines the classic Fender clean sound with a unique aesthetic. Its compact size and straightforward controls make it an excellent choice for studio work, where space and simplicity are often prized.

Kevin Parker’s amp selection reflects his broad sonic vision for Tame Impala, blending vintage warmth with modern clarity to create a sound that’s both nostalgic and forward-looking.

From the foundational chime of the Vox AC30 to the pristine cleans of the Roland JC-120, each amplifier plays a crucial role in the band’s distinctive sound.

Through careful selection and innovative use of these amps, Kevin crafts the immersive, psychedelic landscapes that have captivated listeners worldwide.

Kevin Parker’s Pedalboard

pedalboard used by kevin parker

Here’s a deep dive into the pedals that help shape the band’s signature psychedelic soundscapes.

  • Dunlop JDF2 Fuzz Face: This iconic pedal is essential for achieving the thick, saturated fuzz tones that Kevin occasionally unleashes. Its vintage sound provides a raw power that’s perfect for solos and heavy riffing, adding a gritty edge to Tame Impala’s otherwise lush sound.
  • Boss DD-20 Giga Delay: Delay effects are a staple in Kevin’s sonic arsenal, and the Boss DD-20 stands at the forefront. Its versatility allows for everything from crisp, short echoes to expansive, atmospheric delays, making it a key tool in crafting Tame Impala’s dreamy, time-bending moments.
  • MXR M102 Dyna Comp: Compression helps even out the dynamics of Kevin’s guitar playing, ensuring that every note and chord strikes with optimal impact. The MXR Dyna Comp is known for its smooth, musical compression, which enhances the clarity and presence of the guitar in the mix.
  • Diamond Vibrato: The Diamond Vibrato adds a lush, modulating texture to Kevin’s sound, providing a vintage vibrato effect that can range from subtle to seasick. This pedal is crucial for creating the wobbly, warbling tones that are characteristic of Tame Impala’s more psychedelic passages.
  • Boss BD-2 Blues Driver: For overdrive, Kevin turns to the Boss BD-2. It offers a warm, tube-like distortion that’s perfect for bluesy leads or adding a bit of crunch to rhythm parts. Its transparent quality ensures that the character of the guitar and amp shines through.
  • Electro-Harmonix Small Stone Phase Shifter: This classic phaser is a key component in achieving Tame Impala’s swirling, psychedelic textures. The Small Stone excels at adding movement and depth to the guitar sound, evoking the spacey vibes of 70s rock.
  • Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail Nano: Reverb is essential for creating the expansive, ambient spaces in Tame Impala’s music, and the Holy Grail Nano provides Kevin with a range of high-quality reverb sounds, from spring to hall, adding a sense of dimension and space to his guitar work.
  • ZVEX Woolly Mammoth: Although primarily a bass fuzz pedal, Kevin’s use of the Woolly Mammoth highlights his experimental approach. It delivers a massive, subterranean fuzz tone that adds an aggressive edge to the low end, contributing to the band’s dense, layered sound.
  • Boss RE-20 Space Echo: Modeled after the legendary Roland RE-201 Space Echo, this pedal offers rich, analog-sounding delay and reverb effects. Kevin utilizes the RE-20 for its distinctive echo sounds and the added warmth it brings to his guitar tones.
  • Electro-Harmonix XO Stereo Pulsar Tremolo: The Stereo Pulsar provides Kevin with variable shape tremolo effects, from smooth sine waves to choppy square waves. This pedal is perfect for creating rhythmic pulsations that breathe life into chords and melodies.
  • Roland GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer: Expanding beyond traditional guitar sounds, the GR-55 allows Kevin to access a vast array of synthesized tones and textures. This pedal blurs the line between guitar and synth, opening up new sonic possibilities for Tame Impala’s music.
  • EarthQuaker Devices Terminal Fuzz: For a more avant-garde fuzz tone, Kevin employs the Terminal Fuzz. Its wide range of sounds, from velcro-like sputters to thick, sludgy fuzz, allows for creative exploration and sonic experimentation.
  • Boss AB-2 2-Way Selector: Simplicity at its finest, the AB-2 allows Kevin to switch between different signal paths or instruments quickly and easily. This utility pedal is essential for managing the complex routing requirements of his pedalboard.
  • Moog Moogerfooger MF-105M MIDI MuRF: Although not traditionally seen on guitar pedalboards, the MF-105M brings Moog’s legendary filter technology to Kevin’s setup, offering dynamic filtering effects that add rhythm and texture to Tame Impala’s sound.
  • TC Helicon VoiceTone C1: While primarily a vocal effects processor, Kevin’s inclusion of the C1 hints at his innovative use of technology, manipulating his guitar signal to create unique pitches and harmonies.

Kevin Parker’s pedalboard is a finely tuned ecosystem, each pedal serving a specific purpose in crafting Tame Impala’s immersive sound.

From foundational effects like fuzz, delay, and reverb to more niche and experimental units, Kevin’s choices reflect a deep understanding of how to sculpt his sonic signature.

This exploration of texture, dynamics, and space through pedals is a key ingredient in the band’s psychedelic recipe, making their music resonate with audiences around the globe.

How To Sound Like Tame Impala?

how to sound like tame impala

Dreaming of capturing that lush, psychedelic vibe of Tame Impala? Kevin Parker’s sound is a unique blend of vintage warmth, modern clarity, and creative experimentation. Here’s how you can get close to the Tame Impala sound in your own music-making adventures:

  • Start with the Right Guitar: Kevin’s sound is heavily reliant on his choice of guitars. Grab a Rickenbacker 335 or a Fender Jazzmaster for those jangly, rich tones. The unique characteristics of these guitars are a big part of the Tame Impala sound.
  • Amps Matter: The Vox AC30 is central to achieving that bright, chimey Tame Impala clean tone. For variety, consider adding a Roland JC-120 for its crystal-clear sound and iconic built-in chorus.
  • Pedal Power: Pedals are where you can really start to sculpt the Tame Impala sound. Key pedals include:
    • Dunlop Fuzz Face for that gritty, saturated fuzz.
    • Boss DD-20 Giga Delay or any versatile delay pedal for lush, atmospheric layers.
    • Electro-Harmonix Small Stone Phaser for psychedelic swirls.
    • Diamond Vibrato for that dreamy, modulated tone.
  • Experiment with Effects: Beyond the basics, explore with a Roland GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer for unexpected textures or a Moog Moogerfooger for unique filter effects. Don’t be afraid to experiment with synth pedals and other unconventional effects.
  • Layering is Key: Tame Impala’s sound is characterized by dense, layered tracks. Don’t shy away from overdubbing guitars, adding multiple effects, and playing with different textures to create a rich, immersive sound.
  • Production Techniques: Much of Tame Impala’s magic happens in the mixing and production stages. Use panning, reverb, and EQ to create space in your mixes. Pay attention to the balance of instruments and how effects interact with each other.

Remember, the essence of sounding like Tame Impala lies in experimentation and layering. Kevin Parker’s approach is highly individual, blending meticulous production with spontaneous creativity. So, grab your gear, and start experimenting to find your own psychedelic sound!


  1. What tuning does Kevin Parker use? Kevin often sticks to standard tuning (EADGBE) but don’t be surprised to find some songs where he experiments with alternate tunings to achieve unique sounds.
  2. How does Kevin Parker record guitars? Kevin is known for his DIY approach, often recording guitars directly into his DAW through an audio interface, utilizing amp simulators and effects within the recording software for flexibility and control.
  3. Can I achieve the Tame Impala sound with digital amp models? Absolutely. While analog gear is a big part of the Tame Impala sound, digital amp models and plugins have come a long way and can get you very close, especially with the right effects.
  4. What strings does Kevin use for his guitars? Kevin has been known to use various string sets, but he generally prefers lighter gauge strings for their ease of playability and the ability to achieve smooth bends.
  5. How important is the bass in Tame Impala’s music? Extremely important. The bass lines in Tame Impala’s tracks are not only foundational in the mix but are often melodic and a key feature of their sound, requiring careful attention to tone and effects.
  6. Does Kevin Parker use synth pedals for guitar? Yes, Kevin has used synth pedals like the Roland GR-55 to expand the sonic palette of his guitar, blending synthesized textures with traditional guitar tones.
  7. What’s the secret to Tame Impala’s drum sound? While not directly related to guitar, Kevin’s drum sound is characterized by a combination of acoustic drum recordings and electronic drum samples. Compression, reverb, and sometimes phasing effects are used to achieve that distinctive punchy yet dreamy drum tone.
  8. How does Kevin achieve his vocal effects? Kevin’s vocal effects chain typically includes reverb, delay, and sometimes a phaser or flanger. He often double-tracks his vocals for a fuller sound and uses pitch correction tools subtly for a polished finish.
  9. Are there any budget-friendly alternatives to Kevin’s gear? Yes, many budget-friendly pedals and guitars can mimic the Tame Impala sound. Look for affordable fuzz, delay, reverb, and phaser pedals, and consider guitars from Squier or Epiphone as cost-effective alternatives.
  10. How does Kevin Parker use MIDI in his setup? Kevin integrates MIDI to control various elements in his live and studio setups, including synthesizers, drum machines, and sometimes even effects pedals, allowing for precise synchronization and control over his sounds.
  11. What role does software play in Tame Impala’s music production? Software plays a significant role, especially in the production and mixing stages. Kevin uses DAWs like Ableton Live not just for recording but also for arranging, editing, and applying software effects to his tracks.
  12. Can I recreate the Tame Impala sound in a home studio setting? Yes, with a modest setup including a good DAW, a few key hardware or software effects (fuzz, delay, reverb, phaser), and some creativity, you can definitely get close to the Tame Impala sound in a home studio.

Remember, while gear and effects are crucial, much of Tame Impala’s distinctive sound comes from Kevin Parker’s unique approach to songwriting, recording, and production. Experimentation and creativity are your best tools.

Final Thoughts

Crafting the Tame Impala sound isn’t just about the right gear—it’s about embracing experimentation and pushing boundaries.

Kevin Parker’s approach is a masterclass in creativity, showing that with innovation, attention to detail, and a willingness to explore, you can achieve extraordinary sounds.

Whether you’re dialing in dreamy guitar tones, layering lush soundscapes, or mixing for that immersive psychedelic vibe, remember: your imagination is your limit.

So, grab your guitar, tweak those pedals, and let your creativity flow. Who knows? You might just stumble upon your own signature sound along the way. What will you create today?