A staple amongst emos and alternative rockers alike, Nashville-based band, Paramore, have cemented themselves as one of the staples of the rock scene since their first album back in 2005, but what equipment do they use when live to make them sound like pop-punk arena giants? We take a look at what Paramore plays in this extensive gear guide.
As you’d expect from a band with six albums under their belt over almost 20 years, Paramore has gone through a wide range of sounds, and with that, their equipment has too. From Hayley Williams' powerhouse vocals to Taylor York's intricate guitar stylings and the rhythmic prowess of Zac Farro, each element of Paramore's sonic identity is intricately connected to the instruments and equipment carefully chosen to bring their music to life.
In this blog, we’ll give you the definitive rig rundown of the band, unravelling the mysteries behind the gear that fuels the rock titans, and giving alternatives to their gear for players on a smaller budget. Let’s dive in…
What Microphone does Hayley Williams Use?
Sennheiser E935 Dynamic Cardioid Vocal Microphone
Covered in various colourful electrical tapes for the first quarter of Paramore’s career, Hayley Williams' go-to microphone for many years was the Sennheiser E935 Dynamic Vocal Microphone. Find out more about the E935 HERE.
Telefunken M80 Dynamic Vocal Microphone
Moving to Telefunken in 2017, the Telefunken M80 Dynamic Vocal Mic offers elevated sound rejection from both the back and sides, resulting in a more precise and clear vocal performance.
A member of the band since 2007, songwriter and guitarist Taylor York is one of the longest-running members, having been the rhythm guitarist during the RIOT! album tour cycle and then a fully-fledged member when the following album Brand New Eyes was released back in 2009.
When then lead guitarist, Josh Farro left the band back in 2010, it was then down to York to create and cement the future sound of Paramore. With this, he was able to expand, experiment and create unique tones that excelled the band to new heights. From the gnarly octave tones of “Fast in My Car” to the jangly single-coil rhythms of “This Is Why”, it’s fair to say that Taylor York’s tone and playing style are incredibly vast, therefore, when on tour, he has a wide selection of guitars to tick every box.
What Guitar’s Does Taylor York Play?
An avid fan of Fender Starcasters and Gibson Midtown guitar models, the BilT Guitars designed a ‘Midtown-inspired’ Volare model for Taylor York during the self-titled era of the band, and since then has become one of the six-strings he uses the most on tour. Though all BilT guitars are custom-designed to suit the player’s exact requirements, the core design of the Volare consists of a hand-carved top & back, double bound, Alder Body, and crafted using the “Takumi-Kazui” technique where the back, sides and centre block are all carved from the same block of wood and capped to close the box.
Though he has many pickup iterations on different models live, York uses a Lollar Imperial Humbucker pickup in the bridge and a Bare Knuckle Mississippi Queen P90 pickup in the neck to easily jump between different tones during songs.
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Squier Classic Vibe Starcaster MN Natural Finish
A cheaper alternative to the popular Fender Starcaster Model, this Squier budget-friendly alternative offers two humbuckers, a semi-hollow body and an effortlessly playable maple neck, making it a perfect alternative for players working with a smaller price point. Find out more about the Squier Starcaster HERE.
A long-time user of Fender guitars in Paramore’s earlier albums, Taylor can be seen using a Fender 72 Thinline Telecaster during the RIOT! Album Tour cycle before moving on to Jazzmasters for the shows during the Brand New Eyes and Self-Titled eras.
Though these days they’ve seemingly been replaced by BilT Relevators that have been custom-made to meet his exact needs, they have still made appearances during the This Is Why tour cycle. Notable features of his Jazzmaster are an electronics modification, a fixed bridge, an added creme binding on the neck, and a Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pro in bridge and humbucker-sized Seymour Duncan Phat Kat P90 in the Neck.
Antiquity AQJZ Electric Guitar, Surf Green
Budget-friendly and essentially a blank canvas to modify to your exact rocker needs, the Antiquity AQJZ Electric Guitar in Surf Green offers effortless playability at an incredible price, find out more HERE.
With their recent album “This Is Why”, being one of their most sonically variable albums to date and Taylor York being a huge collector of music equipment, he now uses a variety of guitars when touring.
Recently he has started to use Fender Stratocasters for playing songs like “You First” and “Running Out of Time”, notably a Custom Shop Strat with two single coil pickups rather than the usual three. In addition, for songs like “This Is Why”, York uses an extremely rare Gretsch 7601 Broadkaster, which can be seen in the music for the title track.
What Acoustic Guitar Does Taylor York Use?
Martin 000-18 Acoustic Guitar
For acoustic numbers, Taylor is currently a fan of Martin acoustic guitars, being seen with a Martin 000-18 on recent tours. A distinct vintage-inspired acoustic that offers rich tones courtesy of the combination of both Spruce and Mahogany.
What Amplifier Does Taylor York Use?
Supro Statesman 50W Head and Top Hat Emplexador Head
Juggling the juggernaut that is Paramore’s live set can be tricky due to the wide range of tones, which is why Taylor uses two amplifiers to achieve his signature sound.
Delivering the sweet dropped power chords and leads is a pair of Supro Statesman amps and a Top Hat Emplexador which he says he uses for "gainy overdrive stuff", all of which channel through a trio of Supro cabinets live onstage. The result is a thick wall of sound that captures the intricate parts that can be found in York’s Playing.
It's worth noting that Taylor used a Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 100 Dual Super Lead 2-Channel Amplifier Head in the RIOT! and Brand New Eyes album eras for those looking for more of their throwback sound.
What Pedals Does Taylor York Use?
When it comes to Paramore’s discography, there’s a large selection of weird and wonderful sounds that can be found on multiple tracks. This is no surprise when Taylor is a fan of collecting and experimenting with various wacky pedals.
Though Taylor still uses a large array of stompboxes, in recent years he now navigates his tones via a Mastermind GT MIDI controller. Reducing the amount of pedal tap dancing during live shows.
Some of the pedals he uses include:
What Drum Kit Does Zac Farro Play?
Responsible for one of the sought-after drum tones in the late 00s, Zac Farro’s thunderous drum performances are an integral part of the band’s signature sound and one of the best modern drummers around. Farro's precise performances elevate the track effortlessly, whether it’s relentless playing on tracks like “Careful” or something more refined like “Caught In The Middle”, Farro’s precise performances elevate the track effortlessly.
A previous endorser of both Truth and Gretsch drum kits, in 2022 Zac became a Ludwig Drums artist after using it during the recording sessions for the 2023 album, “This Is Why”, as their producer had a seventies orange John Bonham-inspired Ludwig Vistalite kit in the studio and was surprised at how versatile the drum kit's sound was especially with coated heads. From there, he then made an appearance with the Ludwig Vistalite kit at festival appearances such as When We Were Young. His current set-up is as follows:
- 26"x 14" Bass Drum
- 14"x 10" Tom Tom
- 16"x 16" Floor Tom
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Natal Arcadia Acrylic 22" Shell Pack in Transparent
What Cymbals Does Zac Farro Use?
Istanbul Agop Cymbals
- Istanbul Agop 20” Traditional Dark Ride
- Istanbul Agop 22” Xist Crash
- Istanbul Agop 20”/22” Traditional Crash Ride
- Istanbul Agop 15” 30th Anniversary Hi-Hat
- Istanbul Agop 15” Traditional Dark Hi-Hat
What Snare Does Zac Farro Use?
Ludwig LM402 Supraphonic LM402 14 x 6.5 Snare Drum
Deemed to be the most recorded snare drum of all time, the Ludwig Supraphonic 14” x 6.5” is the snare choice of drum professionals and amateur hobbyists. Click HERE to find out more.
What Snare Did Zac Farro Use On Misery Business?
Easily one of their breakout songs, the snare sound on 2007’s RIOT! album is one with legendary status courtesy of its sonic punch that adds to the record’s overall relentless energy. Though the band’s sound has evolved over the years, the sound and performance from Zac still influences drummers to this day.
Pearl VP1480 14x8" Vinnie Paul Signature Maple Snare Drum
PARAMORE GEAR GUIDE IN SUMMARY
To wrap things up with this PARAMORE Gear Guide - the Nashville pop-punk turned alternative rock force are a band who have a very firm idea on the equipment they use for their forever-changing sound. For the most part, this is Fender and BilT for guitars, Supro for amps, along with Ludwig for drums.
So hopefully we've answered any questions you might have about what equipment Paramore use. Live and studio setups are constantly evolving and changing so if you have any further or new information then don't hesitate to get in touch.
If you require more information or help on any of the guitars, drums or accessories you've seen in this gear guide then visit PMT Online or call into your nearest PMT Store and speak to one of our friendly experts.