I first heard Stephen Carpenter playing on a track called Needles and pins on the record titled Deftones. I remember being drawn in by the sound of the drums initially, the deep chiming sound being generated and wondering if it was guitar…. it was.
Upon further investigation I discovered this incredible unique player, his use of dissonant chords and his rhythm chops set him apart from everyone else in the genre. Before 7-string guitars were available Stef made use of alternate tunings to achieve the super low chunky rhythms on a 6 string ESP then when 7-strings came into light he adapted the guitars tunings to achieve even lower tuned rhythms and create these incredible tones and music. A faithful ESP Guitar user Stef now has a signature line with ESP that includes 6 -7 and 8 string guitars. Stef made it clear he had no interest in any other guitars vintage or not, he says that his ESP’s offer everything he needs and finds it funny how other players drool over these older sought after guitars.
The Bands latest release Koi no Yokan was recorded with the new 8-string models for the most part. Over the years Stef has used a variety of different gear, at some points a Marshall JMP -1 with various effects and Marshall Cabinets then for a while he worked with a computer rig using Guitar Rig, a software simulator made by Native Instruments. He is now working A Fractal Axe FX II into his rig, he runs the stage Marshall 4×12 bottom cabinet with 2 Electro Harmonix mini pedal amps and runs the Axe FX through 2 palmer tube DI’s to the house for the venue. When asked if he was happy with the set up he said yes but he planned on taking the time to really dial in all the tones for every song, he also mentioned the unit being very reliable. What was supposed to be a 15 minute interview turned into a 45 minute conversation that was very interesting, I hope you take the time to watch the whole interview, Stef is a very interesting guy with really great outlook.
For more info on Stephen Carpenter and Deftones go here: http://www.deftones.com