Brad Delson (Linkin Park) guitar rig

Brad Delson, guitarist for Linkin Park, is best known for his simplistic and chunky style riffing, which is a perfect fit for the Linkin Park's music.

Since Linkin Park first hit the big time, Brad Delson has been seen playing Paul Reed Smith (PRS) guitars. Up until the 'Minutes to Midnight' Delson used PRS Custom 24's almost exclusively, with the exception of a Ibanez RG470XL guitar and Ibanez RG7620 7 string guitars. His main stage guitar was a red PRS Custom 24 with a Hybrid Theory soldier graphic on the body. This guitar features a DiMarzio D-Sonic pickup in the bridge position. A majority of his guitars are strung with D'Addario EXL110 XL strings.

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In a September 2007 interview with Guitar Player magazine, Delson discussed his approach to recording on 'Minutes to Midnight' and in particular his shift toward Fender guitars.

“I’ve played Ibanez guitars pretty heavily in the past, but, this time, I used various Strats, Teles, and a Jaguar. The idea was to create a collage of guitar textures that evoke sounds from the ’50s to the ’80s. I also used my PRS Custom SE with DiMarzio D-Sonic pickups, because it’s such a versatile guitar.”

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In an interview with Ultimate-Guitar.com Delson confirmed that his PRS guitars did play a role in recording 'Minutes to Midnight', whilst he abandoned a lot of other gear that had formed the core of his signature tone.

I did use my Paul Reed Smith guitars because they’re so versatile. But I also supplemented them by relying on a lot of vintage gear. Stuff like a 1950s Stratocaster, a vintage Les Paul, a fender Jaguar, a Fender Telecaster and I completely abandoned the amps I was using. There really is no Dual Rectifier or any new Marshall on this record. I mainly used a vintage Soldano, a vintage Hi-Watt, a Sears amp and an AC-30 for my clean tones.

The September 2007 Guitar Player magazine article also provided a further insight into the amplifiers used in the studio for the recording of 'Minutes to Midnight'.

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Working with producer Rick Rubin on the album further sealed the quest for vintage-style guitar sounds, as Delson plugged into ’72 50-watt Hiwatt Custom, Soldano SLO, and Marshall JCM 800 heads—as well as a mysterious and extremely rare “Bo Diddley” amp with an onboard tape delay that was either made for, or made by, the early rock legend.

When it came to duplicating the tones from 'Minutes to Midnight' live, Delson was faced with a few challenges. It also meant incorporating tones from Linkin Park's two previous albums. Rather than transporting countless vintage heads to duplicate the tones, Delson has adopted Randall MTS preamp modules. This has allowed him to run multiple preamp modules into a stereo power amp and through to a single speaker cabinet. Delson uses the following Randall MTS modules:

  • Treadplate - to model a plexi Marshall as well as Delson’s Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifiers
  • Top Boost - foundation for the Hiwatt tones and various other clean sounds
  • XTC - provides the Soldano tones
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    It's important to not that the modules used by Delson have been modified by Dave Friedman.

    His previous rig was featured in the Guitar World column, Vulgar Display of Power. As you can see from the scan below, his effects and switching where all handled via midi.

    Because the scan is a little hard to make out I've summarised the gear below.

    The following gear is rack mounted and switched/controlled from the floor via a Digital Music Corp. Ground Control Pro and a Boss Expression pedal.

  • Furman PL-Plus Power Conditioner
  • Audio Technica UHF Antenna Wireless Distribution System with 4 Audio Technica ATWR73 Receivers
  • Whirlwind Multi-Selector Four Channel Selector
  • TC Electronic G-Major 2 Guitar Multi-Effects Processor
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    Digital Music Corp. GCX Guitar Audio Switcher (the effects and loop numbers are listed below):

  • Loop 1: TC Electronic G-Major
  • Loop 2: Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor
  • Loop 3: Boss CE-5 Chorus Ensemble
  • Loop 4: Boss BF-2 Flanger
  • Loop 5: Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer
  • Loop 6: Ibanez LF-7 Lo Fi Filter
  • All of the GCX loops are routed though the Ebtech HE-8 Eight Channel Hum Eliminator.

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    The amplifiers and speaker cabinets are:

  • 1959SLP All-Tube 100-Watt Reissue head with Gain and Master Volume Mods
  • Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier Two Channel 100-Watt heads
  • Four straight-front Mesa "Recto Traditional" 4x12 cabinets loaded with Celestion Vintage 30 speakers.
  • Delson's current live effects line-up is thought to be very similar to that featured in the Vulgar Display of Power column with the addition of an MXR Micro Amp.

    To finish up, Delson is known to use Dunlop Picks, Tortex Wedge (0.83mm).

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    If you have any comments, corrections or additions to this guitar rig, please feel free to post them in the forum here.

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