- For the director and writer, see Stephen Carpenter (writer). For the limnologist, see Stephen R. Carpenter.
Carpenter performing with Deftones in November 2009.
August 3, 1970 |
Sacramento, California, US
|Genres||Alternative metal, nu metal, heavy metal, post-metal, experimental rock|
|Instruments||Guitar, bass guitar, drums|
|Labels||Warner Bros., Maverick, Reprise, Altered Beats|
|Associated acts||Deftones, Sol Invicto, Kush|
|ESP STEF B-7|
His guitar technique makes use of both ringing open strings and dissonant chord voicings, as well as stock power chords in poly-rhythms. Carpenter began his musical career with Deftones playing the traditional 6 string guitar. After becoming influenced by such bands as Fear Factory and Meshuggah, he began playing seven-string guitar in the late 90's. After Deftones' third album White Pony, subsequent releases would be written with seven strings; up until 2010's Diamond Eyes and 2012's Koi No Yokan, which were written with an eight-string guitar.
Carpenter is rumoured to be a member of a project called Sol Invicto.
Early life 
Stephen Carpenter was born on August 3, 1970 in Sacramento, California to a North American father and a Mexican mother. He has a sister named Marci. He grew up in the Sacramento area and pursued many hobbies, including skateboarding.
When Carpenter was 15 years old, he was hit by a car while skateboarding. He used a wheelchair for several months. It was at this point that he began teaching himself guitar by playing along with bands such as Anthrax, Stormtroopers of Death and Metallica. It has been reported that the driver paid Carpenter a cash settlement that allowed the band to purchase equipment, but drummer Abe Cunningham commented in an interview that this was "a myth about how our band was started."
Carpenter attended McClatchy High School with future band mates Chino Moreno and Abe Cunningham. They were childhood friends and remained friends through the skateboarding scene in Sacramento. When Moreno found out Carpenter played guitar, he set up a jam session with Cunningham and the three began playing regularly in Carpenter's garage circa 1989. After playing with several bassists, the band settled on Chi Cheng and within two years the band began playing club shows and later expanded their playing territory to San Francisco and Los Angeles where they played shows alongside bands such as Korn.
His relationship with Deftones lead singer and band mate Chino Moreno has been recorded as being fraught at times. Apparently, recording of Saturday Night Wrist was protracted due to their "warfare". With regards to musical tastes, Saturday Night Wrist being described as "more aggressive" equated to it being "more aggressive for him [Chino]"; Carpenter said he'd "definitely be glad to take it to the next level, but that's asking too much right now."
Musical influences 
Carpenter has stated that he mostly listens to rap, but outside of rap, Meshuggah, Fear Factory, Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, and Faith No More are some of his influences. He also draws influence from Depeche Mode and Led Zeppelin, which can be heard on more subdued tracks. He has also stated that his favorite album of all time is Chaosphere by Meshuggah, saying: "The most brutal record I've heard, from second one to second last. It left me wondering where the hell I'd been the whole time." While recording Deftones' Diamond Eyes, he claimed that the only artist he listened to was American rapper Tech N9ne.
Other Projects 
Carpenter is rumoured to be a member of a project called Sol Invicto which is a mix of Industrial/metal & electronica. The group is made up of producers Richie Londres and AJ Cookson based in London, with members of Cypress Hill and Sikth. The group have released a collection of remixes of artists like Tech N9ne and Saul Williams as well as the original tracks Carrion and Unidose. The group released two official Deftones remixes in December 2010, namely of "Diamond Eyes" and "You've Seen The Butcher". The group released a debut EP Initium in 2011 and are set to release 2 follow up EP's by the end of 2012.
Side projects 
Carpenter was involved in a project known as Kush, featuring Christian Olde Wolbers and Raymond Herrera from Fear Factory and B-Real from Cypress Hill. When asked by Ultimate Guitar Archive about the side project, Carpenter did not directly answer the question but hinted that the Deftones record label, Maverick Records, did something to prevent it from being released.
Stephen also plays other instruments. He has been known to play keyboards alongside Frank Delgado when Deftones perform the song "Beware" from their album Saturday Night Wrist. He contributed keyboards and ambiance textures on the song "Teenager" from the White Pony album. Carpenter plays a black Fender bass through his guitar amp on the songs "Xerces" and the heavy ending to "Beware" from Saturday Night Wrist, and still plays that bass through a guitar amp on the song "Needles and Pins" from their self-titled album. Also, in multiple interviews he has disclosed that he plays drums on the instrumental track "U,U,D,D,L,R,L,R,A,B,Select,Start" from Saturday Night Wrist, and also drummed on the track "Anniversary of an Uninteresting Event" from Deftones.
Carpenter has stated that as a musician and songwriter, his ideas become more solidified with the use of a drum beat prior to adding other instruments. Because of this, he is usually the first person to complete his song ideas, which he then presents to other band members.
Carpenter currently endorses ESP Guitars, Marshall Amplifiers, GuitarRig and EMG pickups. He has been a major endorser of ESP since the mid-1990s with a number of signature six (now discontinued), seven, eight string and baritone models in production.
On tour, Carpenter carries 14 guitars using 7 main guitars, with the rest being used as back ups in different tunings. He used six string guitars in E standard for Adrenaline, drop D♭/C# for Around The Fur and drop C for White Pony. Carpenter then switched to using seven-string guitars, using G#/A♭ standard for the self-titled album and drop F#/G♭ for Saturday Night Wrist. On the album Diamond Eyes, he used an 8-string in F#/G♭ standard tuning, while on Koi No Yokan Carpenter used Drop E tuning on some songs such as "Poltergeist" and "Gauze" and half-step down tuning (standard F) on songs "Tempest" and "Rosemary" in addition to F#/G♭ standard.
Since transitioning from a 6-string to a seven-string guitar in late 2000, in live performances Carpenter plays the songs originally played on a six-string guitar on a 7-string with the two highest strings tuned to the same note (ex. EADGBEE for Adrenaline), after discovering that Limp Bizkit guitarist Wes Borland did this to some of his seven-string guitars. Carpenter does this because it was harder for him to play a regular 6-string after getting used to the wider neck and longer scale length of his signature 7-strings. The song "Rocket Skates" from Diamond Eyes is played on an 8-string, although Carpenter does not make use of the low F# string. In order to prevent confusion between rigs while touring, he has two identical rigs, one for U.S. tours and the other for foreign countries.
Carpenter is also a user of Native Instruments' Guitar Rig, a software program designed to emulate amplifier and effect set ups.
- ESP Stef SRC-7
- ESP Stef B-7
- ESP Stef T-7
- ESP Stef T-7B
- ESP Stef B-8
- ESP SC-600
- LTD SC-608B
- LTD SC-607B
- LTD SCT-607B
- LTD SC-500 (discontinued)
- LTD SC-208
- LTD SC-207
- LTD SC-200 (discontinued)
Amplifiers & Cabinets 
Carpenter now uses the Fractal Audio Systems Axe-Fx II for effects.
Guitar Rig & Signal Flow 
A detailed gear diagram of Stephen Carpenter's 2000 Deftones guitar rig is well-documented.
With Deftones 
- Adrenaline (1995, Maverick/Warner Bros.)
- Around the Fur (1997, Maverick/Warner Bros.)
- White Pony (2000, Maverick)
- Deftones (2003, Maverick)
- Saturday Night Wrist (2006, Maverick)
- Diamond Eyes (2010, Warner Bros./Reprise)
- Koi No Yokan (2012, Warner Bros./Reprise Records)
- Eros (currently unreleased)
With Sol Invicto 
- Unidose (EP) (2008, Altered Beats)
- Carrion (2008, Altered Beats)
- Initium I (2011, Altered Beats)
- Morte Et Dabo (Sol Invicto Remix) (2011, Sumerian Records)
- A Lesson Never Learned (Sol Invicto Remix) (2011, Sumerian Records)
Guest appearances 
- "Savory" - from Soon by Far (1997)
- "Rizzo" - from Pass Out of Existence by Chimaira (2001)
- "The C.I.A. is Still Trying to Kill Me" - from The Future Is Now by Non Phixion (2002)
- "By_Myslf" - from Reanimation by Linkin Park (2002)
- I'd Start a Revolution (If I Could Get Up in the Morning) by Aimee Allen (2003)
- Blue-Sky Research by Taproot (2005)
- "If I Could" - from All 6's and 7's by Tech N9ne (2011)
- Interview with Stephen Carpenter, Guitar World, October, 1997.
- Prato, Greg. "Deftones biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2007-12-14.
- Unknown (December 22, 1997). "Hotstar — Deftones". Pollstar. Retrieved 2007-12-16.[dead link]
- Interview with Abe Cunningham, Metal Edge, January 2007.
- Deftones [interview], Rolling Stone, 2000.
- Barr, Greg (2003-07-31). "Korn Shuckers". Houston Press. Retrieved 2007-12-24.
- Ailes, Drew (2006-03-27). "Deftones interview". Lambgoat. Retrieved 2007-12-20.
- Cooper, Adam (2000). "Stephen Carpenter's 2000 Deftones Guitar Rig". GuitarGeek.Com.