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Crosses' Shaun Lopez Rig Rundown

Crosses' Shaun Lopez Rig Rundown
Rig Rundown: Crosses' (†††) Shaun Lopez

The multi-instrumentalist’s seductive and sinister sounds, supporting Chino Moreno, are assembled and arranged with a Les Paul, a Schecter hollowbody, a Fender lap steel, synths, and a highly customized Fractal FM9.

What if Deftones’ lead singer Chino Moreno fully leaned into his love for the Cure and Depeche Mode (think “Digital Bath,” “Teenager,” “Anniversary of an Uninteresting Event,” and “Cherry Waves”)? The short answer is Crosses (often stylized as †††). And the sole sonic sniper pillowing and piercing through Moreno’s moodily melodic vocals is multi-instrumentalist Shaun Lopez.

Prior to working with Moreno in Crosses, Lopez cofounded Far—an influential post-hardcore 1990s contemporary of the Deftones in Sacramento—and has tallied a variety of producer credits, collaborating with Chon, Rob Zombie, Lupe Fiasco, Dead Sara, Whitechapel, and others. That versatile background is evident when experiencing Crosses with a pair of headphones or seeing them live onstage.

Lopez and bassist Chuck Doom had been jamming together in the late 2000s, and later recruited Moreno to front the dark dance party. As Crosses, the trio released three EPs and a self-titled debut full-length between 2011 and 2014, before going on hiatus in 2015.

Crosses was revitalized in 2022 with fresh material. Then, following the departure of bassist Chuck Doom, the remaining duo doubled down on their digital-based dynamism to feature even more synths, keys, and electronic experimentation. Now, for almost 15 years, the band has been weaving together sounds of new wave, electronica, goth rock, industrial, and ambient pop, as if they’re producing a soundtrack to a neo-noir readaptation of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Part of Lopez’s post-hiatus experimentation included sampling his guitar through his keys. “When we started Crosses, I was just learning to play piano,” he shares. “I think, back then, I wanted to make synthy-sounding songs, but I didn’t know how to play synths. I was like, ‘How can I get my guitar to sound like a synth?’ So I just incorporated pedals, lap steel, and anything else to make my guitar unrecognizable.

“Since those first songs, I’ve really learned how to play keyboards, and by better understanding that new instrument, at times, I’ve become more inspired by synths over guitar,” recalls Lopez.

But no matter how many synths or keyboards get put to tape, you’ll still see Lopez onstage with a guitar draped over his shoulder.

“I do prefer to play guitar live because it’s more fun and I can run around,” he shares. “I am always chasing sounds no matter the instrument it takes to get there. My sound is growing because I’m always learning. I think if you stop learning, you stop progressing … but guitar will always be home.”

Before Crosses’ sold-out show at Nashville’s Marathon Music Works, Lopez welcomed PG’s Perry Bean onstage to dissect his setup. The lone instrumentalist showed off six stellar guitars, broke down the heavy lifting his FM9 endures for Crosses’ sets, introduced a peculiar pedal he can’t live without, and demoed a Gretsch that sounds like an angry orca.

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C Beast

“It’s the best-looking guitar I’ve ever seen in my life,” contends Lopez. The Gibson Les Paul Custom 20th Anniversary 1974 model is set for drop-C duties, and takes a custom set of Dunlops (.011–.070). He upgraded its original pickups with a set of Bare Knuckle Warpig alnico-5 humbuckers.

Special for Standard

Chino left this over at Shaun’s place long enough that Lopez fell for the devilish doublecut. Before he bonded with Chino’s SG Special, Lopez stayed away from SGs because of the uncomfortable neck dive, but he says this rocker balances really well (especially with a wireless pack), and the P-90s make a perfect contrast to his other guitar tones. This one rides in standard or drop D, and like the rest of Lopez’s electrics we’ll see, it takes a more standard fare of Dunlop strings (.010–.046).

Little Red Corvette

While he was picking up a 1978 P bass at Guitar Center in L.A., Shaun spotted this 1960s Gretsch Corvette. It had been at the GC for months collecting dust, so they made Lopez a sweet deal and he left the store with both instruments. While the Les Paul might be his favorite guitar, he did admit that this cherry Corvette is his favorite to play, and that’s clear with all the finish that’s been thrashed during this Crosses tour.

Shaun tunes it to standard or drop D, but when the crowd hears it, they won’t believe their ears—as he uses the pitch-block parameters within the Fractal Audio FM9 to drop down the Corvette 17 levels. It sounds like an angry orca!

Midnight Cruiser

The above Gretsch G2420T Streamliner Hollow Body Single-Cut with Bigsby was resting in backup duties compared to its Schecter counterpart, but its hotter BT-3S humbuckers have proved it mightier for the stage.

Easy Rider

The previous Gretsch took over first-chair hollowbody touring duties for this Schecter Coupe’s sibling that’s safe at home, but Lopez notes that the Coupes were the most-used guitars while recording Crosses’ 2023 release, Goodnight, God Bless, I Love U, Delete.

T Time

Lopez caters many of Crosses’ sounds around the Tesla TV-ML1 humbuckers found in his Schecter Coupe. He tried to acquire another hollowbody, but Schecter no longer makes that model—however, they pointed him towards their PT Fastback that uses the company’s UltraTron humbuckers, which are very similar to FilterTron-style pickups.

To Infinity and Beyond!

Shaun slides around on this Fender FS-52 Deluxe Lap Steel. All the strings are tuned to D, creating a powerful droning effect.

Also, notice below that the FS-52 sits a Sequential Prophet-6—a 6-voice analog synthesizer that gets used throughout Crosses’ albums and live sets. And the Novation Launchkey 49 MK3 controller triggers samples, loops, and works with Ableton Live for show production.

Shaun Lopez's Pedalboard

Creating Crosses’ serpentine soundscapes involves an abundance of gear. Lopez doesn’t really document his methods on their recordings, so when playing live, he’s left to recreate his tones from scratch. To help accomplish that feat in a compact and efficient fashion, he centers his live rig around a pair of Fractal Audio FM9 units powered by a Fryette LX II Stereo power amp. One transforms guitars into everything but, and the other partners with his FS-52, unleashing a tidal wave of Daniel Lanois-inspired washes and sustain. Two effects that the FM9 couldn’t replicate were the Chase Bliss Mood and a modded vintage Electro-Harmonix Micro Synthesizer. Utility boxes include two tuners—Peterson StroboStomp HD and TC Electronic PolyTune 3—MIDI Solutions Thru 2-output box, a pair of BeardBuilds AB boxes, a Dunlop Volume (X) Mini, a Mission Engineering SP-1 pedal, and offstage, a Radial ProD8 8-Channel Rackmount Direct Box. A Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus and Truetone 1 Spot juices everything up.