Korn’s Brian ‘Head’ Welch and James ‘Munky’ Shaffer have been proponents of extended range guitars since their self-titled debut album. But as anyone who has played a seven-string or eight-string guitar knows, tuning can be an issue, particularly when dabbling in the lower registers.
But since the pair have equipped their electric guitars with EverTune bridges, they insist the increased tuning stability means they’ve never sounded better.
“[Brian] started using [an EverTune], and he was like, ‘You’ve gotta try this,’” Shaffer recalls in a new interview with Ola Englund. “I was like, ‘I don’t know.’ And then I had a couple put on my guitars.
“We used them on recordings on a couple of albums – it saves so much time. Especially in a live scenario where we’re both playing [with a] heavy right hand and pulling on the strings and chords. We can get away with a lot more. And we’ve never sounded better because everything is perfectly in tune the whole show.”
“We used to fight that back in the day,” Welch adds. “Now, if someone goes out of tune, we know it’s the bass player, instantly!”
Elsewhere, the guitarists discuss the effects they have on their current touring pedalboards.
“As I get older I want more simple,” Welch says. “[Whereas Munky’s] like mister freaking spaceship with like 40 pedals.”
“I love having old analogs right in front of me,” Shaffer replies. “I make mistakes. I tend to make more mistakes by not hitting that switch or this switch, but I’m a little bit of a control freak when it comes to selecting the right effect.
“Because if some guys hire somebody, they’ll have their tech or somebody do the switching, and every time I’ve done that they’ve made so many mistakes, and then I get mad at them.”
The guitarists also touch upon where they find inspiration in songwriting. “Every day there’s something to draw inspiration on, whether it’s your own personal stuff or something from the past,” Shaffer says.
“We did a thing in London the other night, and Jonathan [Davis, Korn frontman] was like, ‘I’m finally happy in life,’ because he just got into a place of peace,” Welch adds. “And I go, ‘So does that mean Korn records are gonna suck now?’ But that’s not how it is. We’re drawn to the dark things in life – all of us. Movies, TV shows… It’s always gonna come out. Even if we’re happy, it’s gonna come out.”
“Now that we’re older, [we've learned] how to balance the light and the dark in our lives,” Shaffer continues. “Before it was just like, there’s this whole darkness, and we didn’t know how to control it. But now we have clarity.”
“And with age and having children and kids and having different things in our life balances the light and the dark. And we like to jump in the dark with the art we create. But we don’t live there. We know how to go there, to play music, and then we know how to put that aside and then joke and be happy in the afternoon. No walking around gloomy all day. Most of the time we’re joking around and clowning around all day on tour.”
- Korn's James ‘Munky’ Shaffer and Brian ‘Head’ Welch: "We love making weird noises – filling that synthy space using our guitars is something we love doing"