What Guitar Does Chino Moreno Play?

He wrote classic Deftones songs like Change (In The House of Flies) and Digital Bath, but what guitar does Chino Moreno play the most?

Chino Moreno, Deftones co-founder and lead singer, came pretty late to the guitar. Chino didn’t start “writing” music for the Deftones until 2000’s White Pony album,

Chino wrote classic tracks like Digital Bath and Change In The House of Flies, proving that an ear for a good melody and/or riff trumps technical abilities any day of the week and twice on a Sunday.

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Prior to the release of White Pony, Chino was a tinkerer, but not much more – he played guitar, messed around with songs, but he never played live before 2000.

Chino Moreno + Gibson SG Standard + Source

In and around 2000, he started getting more serious with his guitar playing. He started off playing around with some of Steph’s guitars, but eventually settled on what he now uses – a 1996 Gibson SG Standard.

From 2000 onwards, Chino has contributed guitar parts to every Deftones album since White Pony. He has a completely different style to Steph; it’s more ambient and chilled.

Mellower albums like GORE were predominantly driven by Chino’s guitar parts, for instance, whereas heavier tracks and albums (like Around The Fur) are almost exclusively written and developed by Stephen Carpenter (either on his 8 or 9 string guitars).

Why Chino Uses Gibson SG Standard

In an interview, Chino noted that ESP made him a custom Viper guitar during pre-production of White Pony. ESP was and still is Steph’s guitar brand of choice. But Chino wasn’t content, he wanted the real-deal, so he went out and bought a Gibson SG Standard (1996).

Since then, the Gibson SG Standard has been Chino’s go-to guitar for all of his writing and live performances.

The model he uses, a white-on-black combo, complete with Easy-E sticker, features dual humbucker pickups, two volume and two control knobs, stop-bar tailpiece, a tune-o-matic bridge, and a 24.75-inch scale length.

You can get the exact model HERE.

I’ve seen a few interviews where Chino talks about guitars. From what I can gather, he likes the Gibson SG Standard because it’s lightweight and sounds great in all settings – from heavy to mellow.

Gibson has been making the SG since 1961 and while there have been a number of new models introduced under the SG brand over the years, the SG Standard has remained largely unchanged.

And rightly so, too! The Gibson SG Standard is used by the likes of Tony Iommi, Angus Young, Derek Trucks, and Jeff Tweedy. And if it works for them, as well as Chino Moreno, then why mess with a winning formula, right?

How Much Does A Gibson SG Standard Cost?

As you’d expect, the Gibson SG Standard is not cheap. You’re looking at anywhere from £900 on the used market to £1300 brand new.

Chino uses a 1996 SG Standard model, so if you want to get ultra-specific and get that one, you’ll need to look at specialist stores and online sites like Reverb and eBay.

Gibson makes an entire range of SG’s, so you have plenty of models to choose from, although if you do go the Gibson route, you will be paying top dollar for the guitar.

And that means £1000+…

My advice? If you want an SG-style guitar, but you cannot afford to pay four figures for one, go with an Epiphone SG instead.

An Epiphone SG Standard will set you back less than £500 in most cases. You get 22 frets on these models, Alnico Classic Pro humbuckers, 2x volume control, and 2x tone control knobs, making it an ideal choice for beginners or those that don’t need and/or want to spend the best part of a grand on a guitar.

We’re big fans of Epiphone here at ELECTRIKJAM, so if you’re more interested in value for money than brand names, we would always advise new players to start with Epiphone models before dropping SERIOUS money on a similar Gibson model.

Chino Moreno Guitar FAQs

  1. What Guitar Does Chino Moreno Play?

    Chino plays a 1996 Gibson SG Standard model. He favors a black model most of the time, but can be seen playing a white model SG too. He prefers the SG model over Gibson’s Les Paul because they’re lighter and easier to use for longer performances.

  2. What Amp Does Chino Moreno Use?

    According to an interview online, Chino uses a Rivera Tre Reverb with EL34s.

  3. When Did Chino Moreno Start Playing Guitar?

    Chino first started playing guitar during the late-90s. His first published song writing (with a guitar) was on the Deftone’s seminal White Pony LP on which Chino wrote the single track Change (In The House of Flies).

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