Darkest Hour's cofounding guitarist details his brand-new signature ESP V and offers up sound secrets gleaned from producer/singer Brian McTernan.

Mike Schleibaum has a long history with renowned hardcore producer Brian McTernan. He’s recorded several Darkest Hour albums and is behind the mic singing for Be Well. Furthermore, while McTernan recorded DH’s 2000 debut The Mark of Judas, he persuaded Schleibaum to put down his SG and riff on this (once) Olympic white Les Paul Standard. Later, McTernan gifted him the tone-soaked singlecut. It’s been a favorite of Schleibaum’s because of the Seymour Duncan SH-4 JB in the bridge (his preferred “rock” pickup). Also, the guitar survived a flood causing the top to split and consequentially, it also gained some weight that darkened its tone. Whatever mojo the flood waters poured into the instrument, Schleibaum is a fan. (Fun fact: this workhorse is his only Les Paul that hasn’t snapped its headstock.)

All of his Be Well guitars take Ernie Ball Slinkys .010–.046. and are tuned to standard. (Live, the band tunes down a half-step.)

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