What guitar does Ben Weinman of The Dillinger Escape Plan use? A damn sexy one made by ESP – here’s everything you need to know
The Dillinger Escape Plan was one of the most innovative and brilliant bands to emerge on the metal scene in the last 20 years. I can still remember the first time I heard Sugar Coated Sour. It blew my mind; I’d never heard anything quite like it. And even today it still sounds as fresh and bonkers as it did in 1999.
The band went through many changes in its 20-year career but the one factor that remained constant was Ben Weinman, the band’s founder, main songwriter, and leader. Weinman formed Dillinger in the late-90s, back when he had a corporate banking job. He worked tirelessly to get Dillinger off the ground and out of basements, moving them into clubs and eventually onto the festival circuits.
As a guitarist, Weinman is something of a phenomenon. I’ve seen him play live with Dillinger numerous times and I still have no idea how he manages to hit every single note while running around like a mad man. He never misses a beat either. Dillinger was scarily tight as a band. Plus, they ALWAYS played their tracks even faster live.
The speed of his playing, combined with his ear for tone, always made Dillinger stand out from its peers at the time – bands like Botch, Converge, and Dead Guy. Dillinger was just something else entirely which is probably why Mike Pattern was so impressed with the band that he agreed to do vocals on their seminal 2002 album, Irony Is A Dead Scene.
Ben Weinman’s Guitars
Since the early days of the Dillinger Escape Plan, Weinman has always been a fan of ESP guitars. Between 1997 and the mid-to-late-2000s, Weinman used a range of ESP LTD guitars, including but not limited to the following models:
- ESP LTD Deluxe H-1001FM
- ESP LTD BW-1 FM/ET
- ESP LTD H 1000 Deluxe Amber Sunburst
- ESP LTD EC-1000 Evertune
- ESP LTD MH-1000 EVERTUNE See Thru Black
- ESP LTD H1001 Deluxe black 2010
- ESP LTD Xtone PS-1
Towards the end of Dillinger’s career, Weinman got himself a signature ESP model, the ESP BW-1 EverTune. This guitar, based on the ESP XTONE PS-1, is a semi-hollow electric guitar that ships with Fishman Fluence pickups, an EverTune bridge, and a fast three-piece thin U-shaped maple neck with a Macassar ebony fingerboard that includes 24 extra-jumbo frets.
Visually, the ESP BW-1 EverTune is just about one of the most beautiful guitars I have ever clapped eyes on. It has a kind of Les Paul thing going on, just with a slight twist. The finish – SEE THRU BLACK – is other-worldly and its EverTune bridge means that it will hold its tune indefinitely, regardless of what you do it (ideal for someone like Ben that smashes his guitars around).
Here’s what ESP said about the ESP BW-1 EverTune at launch:
The BW-1’s most notable feature is its EverTune constant tension bridge. It keeps the BW-1 in near perfect tune and intonation under almost any condition. The BW-1 EverTune is a neck-through-body design at 25.5″ scale, with a chambered mahogany body and flamed maple top, and binding on the body, neck, and headstock. It offers a fast three-piece thin U-shaped maple neck with a macassar ebony fingerboard that includes 24 extra-jumbo frets. The sound of this guitar is powered by a set of Fishman Fluence Modern Humbucker active pickups with nickel covers. These pickups allow for a remarkable degree of sonic flexibility. Two separate voicings are selectable via the push-pull on the tone control (down for “Modern Active” tone, or up for “Modern Passive Attack”)ESP
Weinman helped design this guitar with ESP, adding his own tweaks and adjustments to the standard ESP XTONE PS-1 design. He insisted on it having an EverTune bridge, for obvious reasons, and also made a bunch of additional adjustments to his own personal models that he uses in live situations such as adding in wireless receivers so he could play without wires live.
You can check out the videos below, where Ben talks about his guitar rig for playing live as well as his home setup for demoing and writing music. In the second video, he also covers the types of pedals he used for Dillinger Escape Plan and his amp and cabinet of choice. The video is kind of old now, but it is well worth a watch to get an insight into how Ben Weinman approaches guitar tone as well as writing and recording music.