Gear Rundown: Warpaint

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Gear Rundown: Warpaint






Guitarist/vocalist Emily Kokal favours a vintage Fender Jaguar for the majority of Warpaint’s set, which she received as a gift from Red Hot Chili Peppers axe man John Frusciante ten years ago. Apart from the addition of a Mastery bridge, Kokal has retained the original hardware and pickups of the guitar, with the quirky sound of the instrument playing a key role in Warpaint’s sound. Kokal told Guitarist, “There is something cool about the original sound, but you really have to work with it. There would be places on the neck where it was like a rodeo; I was always trying to wrangle this guitar and it would just change all over the place. I got all these extra overtones and it had this kind of ping-y quality to it.”





In addition to her Jaguar, Kokal also received a vintage sunburst Fender Stratocaster from John Frusicante – as if the man isn’t legendary enough already. While the Jaguar sees the most use live with Warpaint, Kokal used her Strat extensively in the studio for the band’s first two studio offerings, Exquisite Corpse and The Fool, and returned to the instrument to record parts on 2016’s Heads Up.





As the second half of Warpaint’s double vocal and guitar attack, Theresa Wayman uses a battered Dakota Red ’66 Fender Mustang, which appears to be completely original. Wayman’s Mustang also features matching red pickup covers to match the finish of the instrument, which may have been a result of Fender’s changing manufacturing process after the CBS takeover in 1965.





To coincide with the release of their new Offset series, Fender hooked up Warpaint with an assortment of guitars from the series, including a Torino Red Mustang fitted with P90 pickups and an olive green Duo-Sonic, which are both visible in the above clip. Bassist Jenny Lee-Lindberg plays the band’s shared Mustang P90 on live versions of ‘So Good’, a cut from their 2016 LP Heads Up.






Jenny Lee Lindberg’s basslines are probably the most important aspect of Warpaint’s entire sound, her hypnotic, melodic bass playing putting her amongst some of the best bassists of the modern era. For the most part of her career, Lindberg can be seen playing a white-on-black Rickenbacker 4001, telling She Shreds Magazine that it’s one of her favourite pieces of gear . “The Rick does the job for everything,” she said. “I love that thing to death.”





Speaking to Premier Guitar for their Rig Rundown series, Wayman details her custom made Fender P-Bass, which was actually made by drummer Stella Mogazawa’s father. Crafted out of a bunch of vintage and new parts, Wayman plays this Franken-Bass when Lindberg plays guitar on ‘So Good.’



For the majority of her career as a session guitarist and with Warpaint, Wayman has used a Vox AC30, the amp providing a jangly warmth that complements Kokal’s often brighter tones.



While Kokal also used to play an AC30 with Warpaint, she now plugs into a Roland Jazz Chorus JC120, with the distinctive clean tone of the amp being heard prominently across Heads Up. Kokal also mentions the band using an assortment of smaller amps, such as a Fender Princeton and a Frontman practice amp, in the studio in her interview with Premier Guitar.



For bass, Lindberg plugs into an Ampeg SVT-CL amp head paired with a huge 8×10 Ampeg fridge cabinet, injecting a thumping low end sound into the band’s music.



With their sound evolving consistently with each studio release, Warpaint’s pedalboards are susceptible to being changed frequently between tours. However, delay, modulation, overdrive and reverb tend to be mainstays across Kokal, Wayman and Lindberg’s live boards.



Around 2014, Kokal’s effects set up was comprised of a rare BOSS VB-2 Vibrato, as well as an EHX Small Clone Chorus, Boss RV-5 Digital Reverb, Hardwire DL-8 Looper, Ibanez TS9DX Tubescreamer, BOSS DD-7 Digital Delay, MXR Dyna Comp and a BOSS TU-3 Tuner.



However, speaking to Premier Guitar this year, Kokal revealed that she had to recreate the majority of her signal chain after an airline lost her pedalboard in Iceland, with her 2017 replacement board consisting of a BOSS DD-7, Strymon El Capistan Tape Echo Delay, TC Electronic Corona, Ibanez TS808DX Tubescreamer Deluxe, EHX Holy Grail Nano, EHX Neo Clone Nano, and a BOSS TU-2 Tuner.



In contrast, Wayman tends to keep her pedalboard a little bit more consistent, with her 2014 board featuring a BOSS TU-2 Tuner, BOSS RC-3 Looper, Line 6 DL-4 Delay, Digitech Whammy, EarthQuaker Devices Talons Overdrive, EHX Memory Boy Delay, EHX Cathedral Reverb, and a BOSS DD-6. 



In 2017, Wayman moved her DL-4, Whammy and RC-3 to another board, as well as adding a TC Electronics Hall of Fame Reverb, JHS Sweet Tea Overdrive, JHS Prestige Boost, EHX Pitchfork, EHX Small Stone Nano Phaser, Earthquaker Devices Dispatch Master, Catalinbread Adineko Delay, BOSS DD-5 and a TU-2 tuner. That’s a lot of delay..



On bass, Lindberg tends to keep things pretty straightforward, plugging into a BOSS DD-6 Digital Delay, EHX Holy Grail Nano Reverb, BOSS CH-1 Super Chorus, BOSS OC-3 Super Octave, Way Huge Pork Loin Overdrive, and a BOSS TU-2 Tuner.






To recreate the pitched vocal chops heard at the start of ‘New Song,’ Kokal uses a Roland SP404SX Sampling Pad, which can be seen in the band’s performance of the song for Jools Holland.





Wayman plays a Dave Smith Instruments Prophet 12 to reproduce the synth tones for various songs live, including ‘Hi’ and a number of cuts from Heads Up.


(Feature image by Debi Del Grande)