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“We’ve got two keyboards. We’ve got a few guitars we’re primarily using. We’ve got a couple of amps. You can actually do a lot with those things if you know how to use those instruments well. Our engineer, Ethan, has the list [see below], but from memory I can tell you there’s a Fender Custom Shop reissue Strat that’s my go-to every time. Because of the way it plays, I feel like I’m a better guitar player – I can play more elegantly on it. That’s high praise for an instrument. There’s also an SG. Those are the ones that stand out.
“An Orange amp is our primary amp. It’s funny: We’re always trying to improve the tone. Sometimes Mike will hear something, and he’ll say, ‘What was that?’ And the subtext is always ‘How many heads and cabinets and guitars were used?’ And the answer, kind of later in the process, is the Strat through the Orange. That’s it.
“The other thing that helps to make the sounds on the album is this unique collection of pedals. A lot of them are Ethan’s. They’re almost one of a kind, not in that only one exists, but kind of. There are things that he’s curated and collected from some random and remote places. We have about 20 or 30 of them. A lot of times I’ll want to get an unconventional sound, and Ethan will know just what to do, and those are the instances where Mike might say, ‘Is that guitar?’ He’s very discerning, so if you fool him then you’ve done something interesting.”
I know what you mean about having too many choices. When I was a kid, I didn’t know what to do with my box of 64 crayons.
“Exactly. The 64 crayons are so exciting because there’s so many of them, but really, what kid uses all 64 of them? You’re like, ‘Fuck, burnt sienna? What am I gonna do with that?' [Laughs]
According to engineer Ethan Mates, who has worked with Linkin Park since 2006, the main guitars being played by Delson and Shinoda in the studio include two of his own pieces, a 1962 Fender Stratocaster Masterbuilt Reissue and a 1978 Gibson SG. Additional guitars for tracking are a PRS SE245, a PRS Custom 25 (owned by Delson), an MJT Telecaster-style guitar and Shinoda’s ‘90s American Standard Telecaster with a maple fretboard.
Main amps for Delson and Shinoda are an Orange TH100, a Bogner Twin Jet, a Chandler GAV19T and an Engl Fireball 100.
Effects-wise, the core pedals include two by Electro-Harmonix, a Holy Grail Reverb and a HOG (Harmonic Octave Generator/Synthesizer); a Z.Vex Super Hard On preamp; a Dr.Scientist Reverberator; a Caroline KiloByte delay; and two pieces by Earthquaker Devices, a Disaster Transport Sr. (Advanced Modulated Delay & Reverb Guitar Effects Pedal) and a Hummingbird tremolo.