The new Deftones record – OHMS – just dropped. And on it you’ll hear the band’s main guitarist Steph Carpenter shredding on a custom 9 string ESP guitar – it’s a monster.
Ever since Meshuggah first started using 8 string guitars way back when, plenty of bands have followed suit, journeying down the rabbit hole of sound that additional strings bring to the party.
The most notable of which is perhaps Deftones’ Steph Carpenter and, of course, Animals as Leaders’ Tosin Abasi (who has his own range of 8-string of guitars called Abasi Guitars).
Both use eight-string guitars, albeit in completely different ways, and both are fairly well known in the rock/metal scene.
Steph from the Deftones has always been vocal about his love of eight-string guitars; he loves the range you get and the deep n’ dirty bass on the lower strings that makes for truly unique chuggin’ effects when combined with an appropriately tuned bass guitar.
What Guitar Does Steph Carpenter Use on Deftones’ Ohms Record?
According to Steph’s actual Instagram, he is now the proud owner of a custom 9-string ESP guitar. The 9-stringer ESP was made in Japan to Steph’s exact specifications, though the main event is obviously the addition of a ninth string for even more low-end rumble.
Here’s what ESP said about Steph’s new 9 string guitar: “This custom guitar, a one-off built to Stef’s specifications, has nine strings. Yes, nine.”
It added: “As most ESP players are well aware, Deftones guitarist and co-founder Stephen Carpenter has been part of the ESP artist family for a very long time, going back almost 25 years since he first started playing our guitars. Stephen is tremendously influential as a guitarist, with thousands of players who’ve been inspired by his textured sounds that often stem from guitars with extended range.”
Carpenter said the 9 string ESP guitar was a “piece of art” on his Instagram, where you can see even more pictures of the guitar.
9 Strings + Custom Fishman Pickups
Steph also confirmed that he used a pair of custom Fishman pickups on the 9 string ESP custom guitar. These pickups were used on the new Ohms LP and will almost certainly be used when the band goes back on the road in 2021 to support the album.
Benefits of 9 String Guitars?
I know, I know – many of you will probably think 9 string guitars are heresy, that they shouldn’t exist, or that they make bass guitars more or less redundant.
I know I have friends that positively HATE eight string guitars, so when you’re talking about adding in an extra string? Forget about it!
So why do some guitarists want 9 string guitars? What are the benefits of 9 string guitars?
- Extended Range – The #1 reason why guitarists like Steph from the Deftones are using 9 string guitars is simple: extended range. A nine-string guitar has WAY more tonal range than a 6 string guitar and even a 7 string guitar. If you know what you’re doing, you can create some pretty unique sounding stuff – check out Animals as Leaders for more examples of this kind of thing.
Beyond extended range, guitars with more than six strings have many additional benefits for certain types of players and sound. Andrew Baena is perhaps one of the most well known 7, 8, and 9 string guitar players out there.
In the video below, Andrew outlines ALL the reasons why he prefers playing 7, 8, or 9 string guitars…