Find out how to sound like heavy metal titans Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher with our complete guide to the guitars used by Mastodon
As one of the world’s biggest metal bands, Mastodon are renowned for their epic riffs and searing guitar solos.
Replicating the tones used by the Mastodon guitarists might seem like an impossible task, but we’re here to help. Whether you want to learn more about the guitar types they have, the tunings they use, or just want to discover more about the Mastodon signature models - we have the answers.
Keep reading as we take a closer look at the Mastodon guitars and the tunings you need to get the Bill Kelliher and Brent Hinds guitar sound!
What Guitars do Mastodon Use?
Here we’ll look at the guitars that are most commonly associated with Mastodon, including signature models and the band's impressive range of Gibson guitars..
Gibson Flying V
Mastodon have relied on V-shaped guitars for some time, and in particular original Gibson models.
Brent Hinds has been known to play a Custom Silverburst model, in addition to some other modified V’s over the years. This led to him designing a signature Epiphone Flying V in 2016, also finished in the beautiful Silverburst colour.
Check out the full range of Gibson Flying V guitars here:
Gibson SG models
Despite his affinity with Flying V guitars, Hinds claims his favourite ever axe is a 1983 Gibson SG.
Hinds has previously spoken about his love for the sound, look, and feel of the guitar - but more than anything, how the contoured body shape of the SG is particularly comfortable to play compared to a Flying V.
If you want to get Mastodon tones and stay comfortable on stage, check out our selection of Gibson SG’s here:
Gibson Les Paul
Each of the Mastodon guitarists has a number of Les Paul models, and they’ve used them extensively on recordings and in the live arena.
Bill Kelliher once released a Limited Edition ‘Halcyon’ Gibson Les Paul such is his love for the instrument, and his collection also includes both Custom and Standard models by Gibson.
The Les Paul silhouette is one of the most recognisable in history - whether you opt for a Gibson or another single-cutaway shred machine, find the full range here:
ESP LTD Sparrowhawk
It comes with Seymour Duncan Distortion Humbucking Pickups that can be coil-split for tackling the array of tones that Mastodon are known for.
This axe also boasts a three-piece Mahogany neck and a set-thru construction, with a satin finish for an extremely smooth and lightning-quick feel.
ESP Bill Kelliher Eclipse
ESP are one of the most revered guitar builders in the industry, and they cut no corners when building signature models for the biggest and best guitar players in the world.
The ESP Bill Kelliher Eclipse is designed to provide everything necessary for Mastodon’s music, whilst also providing enough reliability for touring their brutal riffs across the continents.
Get to grips with all of ESP’s legendary signature guitars (and basses!) here:
What Guitar Does Brent Hinds Use?
Brent Hinds is best known for using the following guitars:
What Guitar Does Bill Kelliher Use?
Bill Kelliher uses the following guitars most commonly:
One key component of the experimental guitar sound favoured by Mastodon is the use of alternate tunings.
Across their first two studio albums, ‘Remission’ and ‘Leviathan’, the band tended to use D Standard and Drop A.
You can read our guide to D Standard here for a full breakdown of how you can use this tuning in your own music or for playing along with Mastodon songs. Some songs you can tackle are:
- Crusher Destroyer
- Burning Man
- Trampled Under Hoof
To play in Drop A you must tune your strings from low-to-high as follows:
This is easier to do on Extended Range instruments - check some of them out here:
In the years since then they have also used Drop C extensively, which involves tuning your strings as follows:
In addition to these alternate tunings, there are also ways to alter the timbre of your guitar by playing around with the tuning.
On the song ‘Ghosts of Karelia’, Brent Hinds plays a 12-string guitar tuned to Drop C. Bill Kelliher, on the other hand, plays a 9-string Extended Range guitar in which he tunes the 3 highest-pitched strings to the same note for a natural chorus effect.
Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher have constantly pushed the boundaries of guitar playing with their music, and the tones they use can seem difficult to replicate. However, by getting to grips with the gear that they like and some of the tunings they favour - in combination with a whole lot of practice - you can begin to learn some of your favourite riffs and get closer to the Mastodon sound.
Want to learn more about the gear your favourite artists use? Need to find out about the latest guitars, amps, and effects at PMT? Call us on 0151 448 2089 or check out your local store to speak to one of our Experts about your needs.