Wes Borland’s Weird Gear | Guitare.com
Known as a master of disguise thanks to his extravagant stage outfits, Wes Borland’s gear is just as unorthodox – and misunderstood – as his wardrobe.
Limp Bizkit guitarist has been providing the band with crushing riffs since the mid-1990s. While frontman Fred Durst has long been a lightning rod for fan hatred, there’s no denying the quality of the band’s guitar work.
Here, we talk to longtime Borland guitarist Kadaver Dellamorte, as well as luthier George Gorodnitsky, to learn more about the Bizkit player’s wonderfully weird gear.
six and seven
Between 1997 and 1999, Borland used Ibanez guitars exclusively. On Limp Bizkit’s debut in 1997 three dollar bill, Y’all, Borland used a Universe, the world’s first mass-produced seven-string. But it wasn’t the only seven-string in Borland’s arsenal. He also had a rare Ibanez RG7 CST, of which only 18 were made and only two shipped to the United States for sale.
While the use of seven-string guitars was typical of the era, with bands such as Korn doing much to popularize the approach, Borland used theirs a bit differently. Rather than the usual BEADGBE tuning, Borland treated his sevens as six strings with an added high E.
Despite these early experiments with Limp Bizkit, Borland eventually gave up all of its seven strings and no longer has any.
All four one
Following their foray into the world of extra-string guitars, Borland decided that less really was more and went from seven strings to four (you read that right).
Borland began using an Ibanez Musician MC150PW modified to fit just four heavy strings. But the MC150PW had a scale length of 24.75 inches, a far cry from the 27 inch scale typically found on a baritone guitar.
After that, Ibanez made Borland a custom four-string. Later he also played PRS guitars, one of which is also a custom four-string. Although he still owns this PRS, its four strings eventually took precedence over the custom semi-hollow four strings built by Latvian luthier and friend of fellow DJ Lethal’s father, George Gorodnitsky.
“He wanted a very dark, heavy but transparent sound at the same time,” Gorodnitsky tells us. “It’s like playing bass with treble turned up. This is why a longer scale was chosen. It added brightness.
Borland ordered two custom four-string versions and a six-string version of Gorodnitsky’s Cremona model.
The Cremona typically features a flame maple neck-thru design, with Honduran mahogany wings and a hand-carved top. The bridge and tailpiece are hand carved from billet aluminum. The pickups are hand-wound humbuckers with alnico V magnets.
At 26.5 inches, Borland’s custom Cremonas have a scale about an inch longer than typical Stratocasters (25.5) and Les Pauls (24.75). Borland’s custom four-string also came with an unusual set of strings drawn from both guitar and bass: .030 E string, .042 B string, .052 F string, and a .080 F string one octave higher. low.
“Some people call this guitar a baritone,” adds Gorodnitsky. “Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s an absolutely unique instrument. Wes gave it to PRS once and they couldn’t replicate that tone. So he took it back and he uses these guitars till today.
After a brief hiatus from the band in the early to mid-2000s, Borland returned to Limp Bizkit in 2004. The following year he was approached by Yamaha to create a new signature guitar. Borland embraced the idea and took on much of the design process. The resulting collaboration was a model unlike anything Yamaha had produced before: the CV820WB.
The Yamaha CV820WB features a semi-hollow body with high-output, split-field humbuckers made exclusively for Borland. It also features Yamaha’s FingerClamp locking tremolo system, which is unique in that you don’t have to cut your string ends.
Borland loved the guitar. He used it for his Black Light Burns project and on tour leading up to the recording of Limp Bizkit’s comeback album in 2011. golden cobra. However, the guitar’s unusual design meant it was not a best-seller. He was arrested in 2011.
fit for a king
At this point, Borland switched to Jackson guitars. Today, the guitarist usually plays Rhodes models on tour and also uses King Vs and Warriors. Jackson also produced several custom models for Borland. Perhaps unsurprisingly though, one of his favorite Jacksons happens to be somewhat unorthodox.
One of Borland’s most beloved Jacksons is a King V that was originally returned to the company due to a factory defect. Originally left-handed, the guitar has since been modified by Borland, switched to a right-handed configuration and the stock control knob holes and pickup selector rout filled with epoxy. Borland also removed the neck pickup and covered the rout with a plate.
The tremolo system also had to be replaced with a right-handed version, which required some body routing. The single volume potentiometer has been relocated and a new output jack has been placed in the upper pavilion (in its orientation to the right). Also, fret markers had to be added to the top side of the neck, which Wes did with a soldering iron.
Borland is proud to tackle these mods himself. As he once said in response to YouTube comments that his guitars are “ugly” – yes, Borland sometimes reads the comments – “I don’t want Jackson to build whatever I want. Part of the fun of what I do is experimenting. A lot of guitarists don’t understand me because I’m a visual artist first and I don’t approach the guitar the way traditional guitarists do.
In past interviews, Borland has also said that the more he worked on his own instruments, the more he grew attached to them. This explains his connection to this heavily modified, factory-defective King V, although he had plenty of right-handed Jacksons and custom-built instruments at his disposal.
But it’s not just guitars that Borland is adept at tinkering with. It also builds and modifies basses. As the story goes, he recorded the track Limp Bizkit 2010 Go using a 1960s Fender Bass I. But he didn’t want to take that instrument on the road. The solution? He would build his own
Borland started with a Mustang bass before adding a custom nut and Tele-style bridge. He routed the pickup cavities to fit a guitar pickup and added two additional machine heads to accompany the two treble strings. You can see the custom bass headstock on his Instagram.
To be Wes-proof
Borland is a busy musician and often relies on his technician, Kadaver Dellamorte, to prepare new guitars for the beatings they will eventually receive from Borland on stage.
“There are a few things we need to do to ‘Wes-proof’ the guitars,” Kadaver tells us. “The first thing to do is replace the bridge pickup with a Seymour Duncan Invader. Then we remove all non-essential electronics. I’m going to take all the guts out and put it back so it’s just the mic on a volume pot on the output. And I will move the volume button (if needed) to the lowest and rearmost hole position. Very important – I need to swap the tremolo arm coupler on the Floyd Rose bridge from screw-in type to push-in type.
“I will also be swapping the string blocks and bridge locking screws for titanium parts. Then I’ll put in new strings and tune the guitar for its gauges. Typical configuration, action, neck adjustment, intonation. All Jacksons take Ernie Ball Slinky strings: .52, .42, .32, .22 wound, .14, .11 and tune to standard C♯ or drop-B. The four strings are .80, .42, .32, .22 bass strings wound and are tuned to F♯, F♯ an octave apart, B and E. Finally, we need to swap the strap connectors with heavy duty eyebolts. All straps have metal carabiner latches on the ends that connect to the guitars eyebolts.
Regardless of your feelings towards Limp Bizkit’s music, there’s no denying the lasting artistic influence Wes Borland had on the metal guitarists that followed. Beneath the odd costumes and on-stage persona, Borland has a unique approach to the art that is evident in his gear.
Limp Bizkit released the album always sucks in 2021. Wes Borland continues to release solo music and work on various side projects.