Find out how to sound like Deftones in our complete Deftones Guitar Gear Guide, including the amplifiers, guitar pedals, and tunings that Deftones use
The Deftones guitar sound can be hard to pin down. Covering a range of tones and styles, Stephen Carpenter and Chino Moreno rely on versatile gear that allows them to indulge in a wide array of influences.
Are Deftones metal? Are Deftones shoegaze? Are Deftones emo? Maybe not, but they certainly take inspiration from a number of different genres, allowing them to create a sound that is wholly unique to them.
In this guide we’ll dig a little deeper into the Deftones guitar rig and explore how the band conjures up their signature sound - from the guitars they use and how they tune them, to the amplifiers they play the guitars through, and also the effects pedals they rely on.
Keep reading to get to grips with Deftones guitar equipment and find out how to sound like Deftones!
The Deftones electric guitars are perhaps the most important component of the band’s sound.
Stephen Carpenter and Chino Moreno have changed up their rigs over the years as their tones have evolved, so we’ll be looking at the mainstays and most iconic instruments from Deftones live and studio rigs.
Whether it’s standard 6-strings or extended range monsters, here are some of the axes that the Deftones guitarists have used over the years..
Stephen Carpenter Guitars
Stephen Carpenter is best known for his ESP guitars, including a range of signature models.
Here, we can see his awesome ESP LTD SC20 3TB..
Check out the full range of Extended Range guitars at PMT here:
Chino Moreno Guitars
When it comes to Fender, you can’t go wrong with a Strat if you’re looking to replicate some Deftones lead sounds - the versatility of S-style guitars means they’re perfectly-suited to covering the entire scope of tones that the band uses:
Although Deftones have used an array of amplifiers since their formation in 1988, there are certain brands that will get you closer to the sound than others.
Orange amplifiers are a noteworthy favourite of both Stephen and Chino, and the British manufacturers are now an integral part of the Deftones sound.
The band has also used a selection of Marshall gear. Both Orange and Marshall are suited due to their ability to handle hi-gain tones with crystal-clear clarity - perfect for dialling in the Deftones amp settings.
Shop Marshall here:
Deftones Guitar Pedals
When trying to sound like Deftones, the use of guitar effects is paramount. The band has certainly experimented with different stompboxes, sometimes opting for heavily effects-laden, shoegazey sounds.
Here are some of the different Deftones FX types you can add to your pedalboard..
Deftones Fuzz Pedals
On albums such as 1997s ‘Around the Fur’, Deftones used a great deal of fuzz. Listening to songs such as ‘Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)’, it’s easy to hear the influence of fuzzy bands such as My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth.
Shop some of the best Fuzz pedals for these tones here:
Deftones Distortion and Boost Pedals
For the higher-gain moments in Deftones discography, you’ll probably need to opt for a Distortion pedal.
Our range of Distortion, Overdrive, and Boost pedals are perfect for nailing Deftones guitar solos and lead lines - shop the range here:
Deftones Delay and Reverb Pedals
Most pictures of Deftones live rig contain some sort of Delay and/or Reverb pedal, although they have constantly changed between different tours.
Whether you opt for a digital or analog stompbox, check out the full selection at PMT here:
Deftones Modulation Pedals
One thing that you can rely on from Deftones is inventive use of Modulation.
Deftones Guitar Tunings
Even with all of the gear listed above, you’ll struggle to properly replicate certain Deftones guitar tones unless you know about the tunings that the band likes to use.
So - what tuning does Deftones use?
They’ve used a vast formation of different guitar set-ups between each album, but some of the guitar tunings that they’ve relied on for each record include:
Adrenaline - Standard - (E-A-D-G-B-E)
Around The Fur - Drop C#/Db - (C#-G#-C#-F#-A#-D# or Db-Ab-Db-Gb-Db-Eb)
White Pony - Drop C - (C-G-C-F-A-D)
S/T - 7-string guitars - 2-steps down - (G#-C#-F#-B-E-G#-C#)
Saturday Night Wrist - 7-string guitars - (F#-C#-F#-B-E-G#-C#)
Diamond Eyes - 8-string guitars - (F#-B-E-A-D-F#-B-E)
Koi No Yokan - 8-string guitars - (E-B-E-A-D-G-B-E)
By experimenting with these Deftones tunings, you’ll be able to play along to some of your favourite songs and write your own Deftones-inspired music.
By now you should have a better knowledge of Deftones guitar equipment and some ways that you can try to get close to their tone.
The sound of the band is experimental and ever-changing, so keep that in mind when searching for your own signature sound!