Celebrate the 30th birthday of Stone Temple Pilots' Core album with this Dead & Bloated guitar lesson

Stone Temple Pilots
(Image credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)

Today we’re paying homage to Dean DeLeo’s magnificent talents, with a look at the opening track to Stone Temple Pilots' debut album Core, which recently celebrated it’s 30th birthday! 

Get the tone 


(Image credit: Walrus Audio)

You'll need a bridge humbucker for the thick riff tones here. I’m playing my Suhr s-type for this one but it has a HSS pickup config, and it’s likely Dean would have used a Gibson LP for this. 

In terms of tone you'll want a decent distortion pedal and a chorus pedal. The use of chorus is very subtle though and used to give the guitar a thicker sound, so I’ve gone for the Walrus Audio Julia as that has a blend knob, which is really useful on dialling back the amount of wet signal. 

Fun fact: Scott Weiland's vocals on the intro of the song were recorded as he sung into the pickup of Dean's guitar. “We knew how microphonic pickups were, and I think I just got done finishing a part on the song, because the guitar was plugged in," Dean told MusicRadar. We were probably just finishing a guitar part and it was very loud. Scott wanted to sing the intro it into the bullhorn [megaphone], and we said, ‘Sing it into the guitar pickup and see what happens.’" 

Technique tips

The intro/verse riff is a six-bar phrase, with some interesting rhythmic accents and I initially thought this was in a Drop D tuning as it sounds so heavy, but it’s just Dean’s clever use of chord inversions at work here. 

You start with a D power chord but with the 5th added to the root on the 5th fret on the E string. From there it’s a series of double stops with pull-offs and slides. 

For the next riff you’re into more familiar territory but again a Bmsus4/F# to a G and some percussive string mutes keeps things interesting before hitting the E major. Beyond that it’s straightforward enough with those three riffs repeating around and some tasty chords in the bridge. Have fun! 

Dean DeLeo talks Stone Temple Pilots' Core album track-by-track: "Scott was so on his game, he was so healthy. He was electric and vibrant

Matt Webster

Matt spends his spare time teaching guitar lessons and creating gear demos on his YouTube channel Let's Play All, which covers all manner of styles, but he does have a special place in his heart for '90s grunge and alt rock.