Jim Root

James Donald Root[1] (born October 2, 1971),[2][3] also known as #4, is an American guitarist and songwriter. He is one of two guitarists for heavy metal band Slipknot and the former lead guitarist for rock band Stone Sour.

Jim Root
Root performing with Stone Sour in 2013
Root performing with Stone Sour in 2013
Background information
Birth nameJames Donald Root[1]
Also known as#4
Born (1971-10-02) October 2, 1971 (age 50)
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.[2][3]
  • Musician
  • songwriter
Years active1991–present
Associated acts

Life and careerEdit

Root began performing with the thrash metal band Atomic Opera [6][7][8] from Iowa in the early 1990s, not to be confused with the hard rock band Atomic Opera from Houston, Texas. Soon after they split up he went on to perform in bands such as DeadFront and Stone Sour; the latter which he joined in 1995, and returned to along with vocalist Corey Taylor, during its revival in 2002. Prior to joining Slipknot, he worked as a screenprinter, waiter, and busboy.[9]

He joined Slipknot in January 1999, replacing their original guitarist, Josh Brainard, who left the band during the recording of their self-titled album, reportedly after having fulfilled his recording duties. In fact, the only two songs Root recorded during the album's sessions were "Purity" and "Me Inside", the former being featured on the short-lived first pressing of Slipknot as well as the 10th Anniversary Edition, and the latter being its replacement. Despite this, the song has become a staple for most of the band's live performances. Slipknot vocalist Corey Taylor invited Root to join the band based on Taylor's past experiences working with him in Stone Sour.

Although filling in the spot of rhythm guitar in 1999, Root is considered to be one of the band's main songwriters and has written lead guitar parts for Slipknot's later albums particularly on All Hope is Gone and .5: The Gray Chapter. Of Slipknot's nine member lineup which lasted between 1999 to 2010, Root was the last to join the band. Root typically performed lead guitar in Stone Sour, although he sometimes played rhythm. He has spoken of both bands' guitar style as being twin guitar: "In both bands, I fulfill both roles. In Slipknot, Mick [Thomson] has some solos, and in Stone Sour, Josh [Rand] has some solos."[10] During the recording of Stone Sour's Audio Secrecy, he and Rand recorded their parts simultaneously.[11]

Outside Slipknot and Stone Sour, Root has appeared on Slipknot turntablist Sid Wilson's DJ Starscream album The New Leader and John 5's The Devil Knows My Name, for the song "Black Widow of La Porte", and also appeared on the Roadrunner United project, performing the solo and harmony guitars on "Tired 'N Lonely" from the project's album The All-Star Sessions. He also appeared on Jonathan Davis and the SFA's cover of Lil Wayne's "Got Money".

On May 17, 2014, Stone Sour released an official statement saying that Root was no longer a member of the band.[12] Moments before their statement, Root told a fan on Instagram of his departure, explaining "Not my decision. Not happy about it."[13] In interviews, Root accused the band of being financially motivated and pursuing a more commercial musical direction, but also observed that he "wasn't really happy in that band anymore". Corey Taylor noted that the split initially put a strain on his and Root's relationship, which nonetheless was mended through channelling their frustrations into new Slipknot material.[14]


Root endorsing Orange, 2013

In July 2007, Fender released the Jim Root Telecaster. Prior to his endorsement deal with Fender, Root had been seen using PRS, Jackson, Charvel, and Maverick electric guitars, and Guild and Martin acoustic guitars as well as a wide range of effect pedals and amplifiers. In a 2009 performance for Eurockeennes, and from 2010 to 2012, Jim used a Gibson Flying V.[15][16]

In January 2010, a Jim Root Signature Fender Stratocaster was unveiled on the Fender website, similar to the one he has been seen using on stage, as of March 2009.[17] In 2012, Orange announced a new signature Tiny Terror amp based on their Rockerverb 100, Root's main amp, called the "#4". Then, the Squier Telecaster signature model was released, similar to the first Fender Telecaster Jim Root signature. The white model comes with a black pickguard and the black model comes with a white pickguard. Both Squiers have a maple neck and rosewood fretboard (22 frets). Jim's signature Squiers do not contain EMG 81 and EMG 60, instead containing Covered Passive Humbucking Pickups (Neck and Bridge).

The Fender Jim Root Jazzmaster was unveiled at the 2014 NAMM show. It has the same specs as the Jim Root Stratocaster. It only comes in flat black with an ebony fretboard.

In 2016, Fender released a sandblasted version of Root's Jazzmaster with red and black grain. This model is not available for purchase but can be seen used in several of Root's instructional videos on YouTube (as part of "The Sound and the Story") and has occasionally been seen live.[18]

While Root primarily uses Orange Rockerverb heads live, he has been known to use a variety of amplifiers in the studio, including a modified Bogner Uberschall and Mesa Boogie Mark IIC, the later of which has appeared on 2004's Vol 3: The Subliminal Verses and 2019's We Are Not Your Kind.[18]

In the music video for Unsainted[19] and a performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live![20] Root was seen using EMG Retroactive pickups, with EMG's Instagram account suggesting that they are working on a signature set for him.[21] This was later confirmed on the EMG Facebook page announcing that the set would debut at NAMM 2020.[22] EMG released the JR "Daemonum" signature set in early 2020.


Root with Slipknot at the Mayhem Festival, 2008
Root with Slipknot, 2009
Atomic Opera
  • 1990: The Judgement
  • 1998: Nemesis
Stone Sour
Roadrunner United
Other appearances



  1. ^ a b "James Donald "Jim" Root". Metalstorm.net. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  2. ^ a b "James Root Bebo Profile". Upload.bebo.com. Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  3. ^ a b "James Root Slipknot Metal Profile". Slipknot-metal.com. October 2, 1971. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  4. ^ "The first time Jim Root was invited to join Slipknot, the guitarist said no. He was already in a group, the Des Moines metal band Deadfront". Desmoinesregister.com. Retrieved October 7, 2015.
  5. ^ "...Root began his musical career in thrash metal band Atomic Opera". Equipboard.com. Retrieved October 7, 2015.
  6. ^ "Atomic Opera WITH JIM ROOT of Slipknot VERY RARE 1993 IA". YouTube. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
  7. ^ "Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives - Atomic Opera". Archived from the original on June 9, 2011. Retrieved August 5, 2020.
  8. ^ "YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
  9. ^ "Jim Root - Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives". Wayback.archive-it.org. Retrieved August 5, 2020.
  10. ^ "The Lowdown: Jim Root of Stone Sour/Slipknot | Altsounds.com Features". Hangout.altsounds.com. November 13, 2010. Archived from the original on August 30, 2011. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  11. ^ "Stone Sour". Stonesour.com. Archived from the original on April 29, 2011. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  12. ^ "stonesour.com". Archived from the original on July 10, 2014. Retrieved May 17, 2014.
  13. ^ "Guitarist Jim Root Is Out of Stone Sour". Loudwire.com. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  14. ^ "JIM ROOT: 'At Least One Guy' In STONE SOUR Is 'Only Concerned About Money'". Blabbermouth.net. October 15, 2014. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  15. ^ "Slipknot Equipment - Jim Root". Slipknot-metal.com. Retrieved May 10, 2011.
  16. ^ "Jim Root Guitar Rig Gear - Slipknot and Stone Sour". Uberproaudio.com. February 10, 2008. Archived from the original on May 29, 2013. Retrieved May 10, 2011.
  17. ^ "Fender Products". Fender.com. Archived from the original on December 15, 2010. Retrieved May 10, 2011.
  18. ^ a b "The complete history of Jim Roots guitar rig". GuitarFXDepot.com. Retrieved July 16, 2020.
  19. ^ "Slipknot - Unsainted [OFFICIAL VIDEO". YouTube. May 16, 2019. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
  20. ^ "Slipknot - Unsainted". YouTube. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
  21. ^ "EMG Pickups on Instagram: "@jamesroot has some bad ass EMG's coming down the pipeline 😏🖤 ..."". Instagram.com. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
  22. ^ "Cover Photos". M.facebook.com. July 24, 2019. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
  23. ^ "James Root on Instagram: "Hey everyone... The time is here. This is available for pre sale. Just wanna say thanks to everyone involved with putting this together...."". Instagram.com. November 12, 2013. Retrieved March 11, 2020.

External linksEdit