Ascension: Lee McKinney of Born of Osiris
Hello, all! This is my first column for Guitar World, so I feel I must first start with an introduction. My name is Lee McKinney, I am 22 and I’ve been playing the guitar since I was 10, so now over half of my life! I play guitar in Born of Osiris, and have since the band started.
We like to think we are a technical, yet progressive and melodic metal band. We all live together, and everything in our lives revolves around this band. I also record and produce bands out of our house and studio (Osiris Studios) with Cameron Losch (Born of Osiris drummer) and Joe Buras (Born of Osiris keyboard/vocals).
When I was told I had free reign to write about anything, I was almost a bit overwhelmed! I decided to ask the fans and posted on some social networks asking what they thought my first column should be about. While recommendations like boobs, pot and "birthday sex" seemed so tempting, I figured I would start this series of columns with a basic, yet popular topic…the gear I use and why.
Let's start with guitars. I am endorsed by/in love with the Ernie Ball MusicMan BFR line. I play two JP7 BFRs. The first one is the regular EBMM JP7 BFR. When I joined with the company, they agreed to give me a white finish with all gold hardware. It's one of the most beautiful guitars I've ever seen, and until I got my JPXI, it was the best all around, ever.
After the JP7 BFR came the JPX. It featured a larger cutaway, more streamlined body, ebony fretboard, five-way toggle switch and different chambering inside the body. I received one of these a few months after my white BFR. It was great, it sounded like a deeper, more pissed-off version of my white one.
On tour I needed to send it in for a tune up, which is when they told me about the JPXI, the third installment of these wonderful guitars. It was more of a combination of the two before it. It featured the three-way push-pull switch system again from the original BFR, but added the ebony fretboard and new body style of the JPX. This one takes the cake!
First chance I got, I played the guitar for a couple hours straight and instantly wrote EBMM an email telling them how much I loved the JPXI. Being the incredible company they are, they let me keep the JPXI and they just kept the JPX. It is definitely the best-sounding, most comfortable, easiestplaying guitar I've ever come across.
Amps! I've been with ENGL for a few years now. I love their products and haven't found an amp or tone I've liked better until ...the AxeFX Ultra. The AxeFX Ultra needs no introduction. It's been sweeping guitar players/tone connoisseurs off their feet since it hit the market. For those who aren't familiar with it, Fractal Audio (its maker) describes it as an all-in-one guitar tone and effects processor that accurately recreates the sound and feel of real tube amps. Except that’s modest…it does and insane amount more!
To control this beast, I use the Fractal MFC-101 foot controller: the pedal designed for the AxeFX, which is equally as innovative. When it came time to power the AxeFX Ultra, I chose to stick with the ENGL Powerball I was using before. I like the fact that it not only powers theAxeFx, it helps to shape the tone more with its resonance and depth-punch features. The combination of these two companies helps give me the best tone I've ever had.
Onto the cabs. I choose to play and am endorsed with Orange. I've played many great cabinets since I've started playing guitar but with Orange I get the gigantic low end and clarity I need to finish off shaping my tone. These cabs are top quality and feature some of the finest, thickest construction around! Putting two of these together as I do is dangerous!
Thissums up my live rig for the most part. Thanks for checking out my first column, and I hope you check in again. In the future I plan on covering everything from my technique, my band, my tendencies, what I've learned on and off the road, and just about anything else I can think up… or get you guys to help me think up!
Lee McKinney plays guitar in Born of Osiris, a deathcore band from Illinois. The group has released two albums and one EP on Sumerian Records. Their album,A Higher Place, reached No. 73 on the Billboard 200. Their second full-length album, The Discovery, which came out in March 2011, debuted at No. 87 on the Billboard 200.