Dillinger Escape Plan Guitarist Ben Weinman talks in depth about his upcoming signature model and love for Mesa/Boogie amps.
Weinman was playing a prototype of his upcoming signature LTD Xtone guitar. The guitar is packed with custom elements to help Weinman survive the physicality of a Dillinger Escape Plan show, starting with an Evertune bridge. “If anything can happen wrong during a show, it definitely will,” he says, citing fans grabbing the headstock or him falling into the drum kit. “[The Evertune] enables us to kind of have that free expression without worrying so much about gear.” To that end, Weinman also has a patent-pending body cavity for his wireless unit. The cavity cover is magnetic, so he doesn’t have to worry about screws for troubleshooting on the fly, and there is a second input inside the cavity to plug the wireless into. After years of stepping on cables and breaking wireless units, Weinman says this innovation, “changed my live performance completely.” The built-in wireless is still being discussed for inclusion on the final production model—it would add considerable expense—but the guitar’s EMG 81 and 85 pickups (chosen for their consistency), neck-thru construction, and longer scale length will make the cut. Weinman tunes to standard and uses Ernie Ball .010–.052 strings.
Weinman currently is touring with the Mesa/Boogie Mark V because he depends on the amp's versatility with its three-channel setup. "The amp isn't as intimidating as it looks... and is very useful," he explains. He uses all three channels, with and without graphic EQ and reverb via the amp's footswitch. Tonally, Weinman prefers the Mark V's because of their gnarly, obnoxious, thick, sound that matches Dillinger Escape Plan's midrange-driven, bright, attack-heavy music. He believes that metal guitar still needs midrange and cranks his mid control up to 10.
For cabs, Weinman has a Laney 4x12 loaded with Celestion Vintage 30s for onstage monitoring, but uses a Randall Isolation 12 cab (also with a Vintage 30) for the house sound because it eliminates mic bleed and has a tighter, beefier low-end versus cabs mic'd onstage.
Weinman uses his minimal effects sparingly. He has a Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor that is always on, a Way Huge Swollen Pickle for his "over-the-top distortion tone" (stacked on top of his amp's clean channel because he feels it is "more focused and meaner when it's added to the clean"), a Dunlop Dimebag Cowboy From Hell wah, and a Planet Waves Tru-Strobe pedal.
In his rack he has problem-solvers like a Radial JDX Guitar Amp DI Box in case microphones and PAs malfunction, and a T-Rex Effects Polyswitch AB box for switching guitars, which he only does when his main X-tone breaks a string.