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Featured Pedalboard: Tim Mahoney of 311

Ever the alchemist of guitar tone, 311 guitarist Tim Mahoney is often changing up his pedal combinations to create interesting new sounds and textures. To understand the depth of Mahoney’s passion for sonic experimentation, one need look no further than the boards he’s assembled post-311’s recent Never-Ending Summer Tour with The Offspring and Gym Class Heroes. With a hearty “main board” and supplemental “party board” at his command, Mahoney’s signal chain boasts an eclectic combination of delays, reverb, overdrives, and more.

We’re always curious to hear what Mahoney has been experimenting with and how Strymon pedals fit into his unique mix. We checked in with Tim recently to find out what he’s been tinkering with since coming off the road. Read on to learn more about his current configuration of pedalboard bliss as well as the electric guitars he just can’t do without.

You’re using blueSky and El Capistan on your board these days, is that right? What made you decide to incorporate them into the mix for this recent tour?

I’ve been using the El Cap and blueSky on my live boards for a few years now. I can’t remember if my first Strymon effect was an El Cap or Brigadier, but there was a time when I was using one of each on my pedalboard. The Brigadier only came off because of real estate needs on the board. I’ve also had a TimeLine on my board, but in the live environment show flow, I prefer the individual effects like El Cap and Brigadier, with their independent specific stomps, knobs, and toggles. The El Cap is on because it’s my favorite sounding vibey delay pedal, I use it with a Favorite Switch set for slapback.

The blueSky covers all of my “greater than subtle” reverb effect needs. It’s typically set between a big spring or modulated plate, with the favorite set to huge modulated room

Can you talk us through your signal chain?

LA Sound Design buffered pedalboard input >
Boss FV-300L volume pedal (tc electronics Polytune 2 in tuner out) >
CAE wah >
1. Boss OC-2 Octave
2. Digitech Whammy Ricochet (on Party board)
3. Mu-FX Micro-Tron 3

MXR phaser (vintage) >
Xact Tone Solutions “The Pusher” (Pegasus boost) >
Way Huge Blue Hippo Chorus >
Maxon AD-9 analog delay in One Control loop box >

A / B Amp Select Box…
A out >
Input Amp A, Bogner Überschall (high gain) with Lexicon pcm42 delay in FX loop
B out >
Paul Cochran Timmy OD >
Xact Tone Solutions Precision OD >

One Control Loop Box for send/ return to:

Digitech Synth Wah >
Catlinbread Echorec >
Strymon blueSky reverb >
EHX 2880 Looper (in One Control loop box) >
Empress Tremolo >
Strymon El Capistan delay >
Free The Tone Flight Time delay >
Input Amp B, Mesa Triple Crown (clean) with Lexicon pcm42 delay in FX loop

* Strymon Favorite Switch for El Capistan
* MIDI Mouse controls Flight Time presets
* 2x 1/4” stomps control bypass on pcm42s

You’re using TimeLine in your studio setup. Can you tell us more about that? What is your studio signal chain?

My studio rig has some cherished effects, like a Mu-Tron III envelope filter and original Univibe, but other than that the signal chain is similar to my live setup, with a few insert spots for swapping out effects. The TimeLine is the last effect before the amp input, it’s the main delay. I mostly use the dTape and dBucket engines.

What guitars do you tour with these days? Do you have a favorite? Has this changed much over the last few years?

Although I always bring my Clapton Strat on the bus, most of the guitars I tour with are PRS. I tend to play the same guitar for the whole show and my favorite is usually “Ol Blue,” a PRS Standard 24 all mahogany body model from 1999.

With such a vast catalog of 311 songs to choose from, how does the band decide what to put on the setlist? Does it change up at all?

We make the setlist each day after soundcheck, it changes every show. A handful of songs will repeat night-to-night, like singles and our drum solo song “Applied Science,” but we try to rotate in different deep cuts and rare nugg[ets] for each show.

Are there particular songs that you love to play live?

It’s hard for me to pick particular favorites, I enjoy playing just about every one of our songs.

Any words of wisdom for someone just starting to experiment with pedal effects?

Take time to get to know the effect. Listening to and experimenting with how it manipulates your sound will help you find effects that resonate with you, aid expression, and inspire.



Stay up to date on 311’s winter tour plans and more by following the 311 Facebook page.

Check out the band’s “Never-Ending Summer” playlist on Spotify. Playlist includes The Offspring’s cover of 311’s “Down” as well as 311’s cover of the Offspring’s “Self Esteem”:

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