Brad Delson

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Brad Delson
Linkin Park-Rock im Park 2014- by 2eight 3SC0285.jpg
Delson performing with Linkin Park at Rock im Park in June 2014
Background information
Birth nameBradford Phillip Delson
Also known as
  • Big Bad Brad
  • BBB
Born (1977-12-01) December 1, 1977 (age 42)[1]
Agoura, California, U.S.
  • Musician
  • record producer
  • Guitar
Years active1995–present
Associated acts

Bradford Phillip Delson (born December 1, 1977) is an American musician and record producer, best known as the lead guitarist and one of the founding members of the American rock band Linkin Park.[2]

Early life[edit]

Brad Delson attended Agoura High School in Agoura Hills, an affluent suburb of Los Angeles, with childhood friend and Linkin Park band mate Mike Shinoda. He played in various bands throughout his high school career, the most notable being Relative Degree, in which he met and teamed up with drummer Rob Bourdon. Relative Degree's goal was simply to play a show, and, after achieving that goal, they disbanded.

After graduating in 1995, Delson, Shinoda and Bourdon formed Xero, which would eventually become the starting point for Linkin Park. Delson entered UCLA in 1995 as a Regents' Scholar working toward a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies with a specialization in Business and Administration. He shared a dorm room with future Linkin Park band mate Dave Farrell for three out of his four years at school.[3] Delson also had the opportunity to intern with a member of the music industry as part of his studies and ended up working for Jeff Blue, an A&R representative at Warner Bros. Records, who offered constructive criticism on Xero's demos, which were from the 4-track sampler tape Xero, which was released in 1996. Blue later introduced Chester Bennington, who would become the lead vocalist of Linkin Park, to the rest of the band.

After graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from UCLA in 1999, Delson decided to forgo law school in order to pursue a musical career with Linkin Park.[1][2]

Linkin Park[edit]

In 1999, Delson's band, Xero, replaced former lead vocalist Mark Wakefield with Arizona native Chester Bennington and renamed themselves Hybrid Theory. Before long, Delson, along with Shinoda, had produced the six-track EP of the same name as the band, distributing it to various websites online and earning the band its own cult following. By 2000, after one more band name change, Linkin Park was signed by Warner Bros. Records.

On October 24, 2000, Linkin Park released the overwhelmingly successful Hybrid Theory. Over the next year, Delson helped produce the remix album Reanimation (2002), and added his own creative insight into the remixed interpretation of "Pushing Me Away" ("P5hng Me A*wy").

After Reanimation, Delson played a key role in the production of Linkin Park's second studio album, Meteora (2003), which featured heavier guitar riffs than ones in Hybrid Theory.

Linkin Park released their third studio album Minutes to Midnight on May 15, 2007 in the United States. For this album, the band strayed away from the nu metal style they had perfected in Hybrid Theory and Meteora, and developed an entirely new sound. For Delson, this meant experimenting with different guitars and amps, both new and vintage. It also meant he needed to push aside his disinclination for guitar solos, which are featured in the tracks "What I've Done", "In Pieces" and "The Little Things Give You Away".

While the band pieced together the song "The Little Things Give You Away," Delson experimented with an E-Bow, creating a song called "Ebow Idea," which would afterwards become "No More Sorrow". Listeners can also hear him jingling his keys in "Given Up", an idea which he is credited with in the album booklet, as well as the multiple tracks of hands clapping. He has also played the piano for a few of the live shows on the song "Hands Held High".

Brad also added his own creative insight into "New Divide", the track composed and performed by Linkin Park for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – The Album in 2009. It was also the band's last single before the whole band got together, away from their side projects to compose music for their fourth album, A Thousand Suns, released on September 14, 2010. Their next album, Living Things, was released on June 26, 2012. The tenth song of this album, "Until It Breaks", features Brad Delson, doing the vocals. Near the ending, Brad sings a melodic part, which is the first time he actually sings lead vocals in a record.

Side projects[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Delson married Elisa Boren in September 2003.[4]

He was the keynote speaker at his alma mater UCLA's College of Letters and Science commencement ceremony on June 12, 2009, in Pauley Pavilion.[5][6]

Delson identifies as Jewish.[7]

Delson and his wife have a son, Jonah Taylor Delson, born on March 25, 2008. [8] [9]

Delson has cited that his biggest influence is singer and vocalist Sebastian Bach. [10]


  • 2004 – Delson and his wife established the Delson Scholarship Fund at UCLA, which annually awards four-year scholarships to extraordinary students from Huntington Park.[2]
  • 2005 – Linkin Park established Music for Relief, a non-profit organization founded to aid victims of world catastrophes and combat global warming. Since its founding, Music for Relief has raised almost three million dollars, helping victims of the South Asian tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, and the Southern California wildfires.[2]
  • 2005 – Signed on as an official supporter of Little Kids Rock, a nonprofit organization that provides free musical instruments and instruction to children in underserved public schools throughout the United States. Delson has personally delivered instruments to children in the program and sits on the organization's board of directors as an honorary member.[11]


With Linkin Park[edit]

Playing style and equipment[edit]

Brad Delson performing at Smirnoff Music Centre in Dallas, Texas on August 4, 2007.

Delson's style is sometimes criticized as being too simplistic, lacking complexity, and largely limited to non-solo, non-instrumental sections, particularly during the Hybrid Theory and Meteora eras.[citation needed] He has stated that he "doesn't like to show off", and that he attempts to play his guitar so that it sounds as though it were the keyboard or strings so as to seamlessly fit in with the band's hip-hop- and electronica-style compositions. Delson has also stated that he likes to produce a gritty, "sampled" feel with his sound. Although a self-described "fervent opponent of guitar leads," he started performing solos in the Minutes to Midnight era after his bandmates encouraged him to do so.[12] Delson performs guitar solos on the tracks "What I've Done," "In Pieces" and "The Little Things Give You Away." Delson also played many solos on Linkin Park's 6th studio album The Hunting Party.

In the early days of Linkin Park, their usual bassist, David "Phoenix" Farrell was unavailable due to touring commitments with Tasty Snax. As a result, on Hybrid Theory, Delson filled in as their recording bassist. For live shows, Brad has occasionally swapped instruments with Farrell during "Nobody's Listening" and he also plays the keyboards during the song "Hands Held High." During the A Thousand Suns Tour he expanded his live repertoire to include percussion and backing vocals, as well as keyboards during "Waiting for the End" while Mike Shinoda performs the song's rhythm guitar parts. During the 2012 tour promoting "Living Things" he also played keyboards during other songs like "Burn It Down".

Delson typically performs while wearing a pair of Shure brand headphones, in order to protect his hearing.[13][14]

Delson's equipment includes the following:[15][16]


  • Paul Reed Smith Custom 24/Standard 24/CE 24 guitars – Delson's favorite guitar is his custom-made red PRS with the Hybrid Theory soldier on the body, Tuned to Drop C#. he Also has one with a greyburst finish and the "Minutes to Midnight-era LP" logo on it for tuning to Drop D and for performing songs from Minutes to Midnight. He also has a blue CE24 and sunburst Custom 24 that was his main guitar for the early days of Linkin Park and can be seen in the videos for "In The End, Crawling, and One Step Closer". It was retired in 2003. He Also has two CE24 and a Custom 24 with a Fernandes Sustainer neck pickup for performing "No More Sorrow".
  • PRS Custom 22/CE 22 guitars. Delson has two Custom 22, one in a greyish color tuned to E♭ tuning and one red, with the Hybrid Theory soldier on the body identical to his Custom 24 tuned to Drop C#. The same red guitar had its neck pickup changed out for a Fernandes Sustainer pickup for performing No More Sorrow.
  • PRS NF3 – used on "Runaway" and "With You".
  • PRS Standard – Silver finish. Used in Eb tuning. Retired in 2002.
  • Ibanez RG470XL guitar – used on "Don't Stay" and "Nobody's Listening", tuned to Drop B
  • Ibanez GRG370DX guitar
  • Ibanez RG120 guitar – Used on "A Place for My Head" during the Summer Sannitarium 2003 Tour and some Projekt Revolution shows in 2004 (one was smashed at just about every show on Summer Sanitarium in 2003, and occasionally on Projekt Revolution in 2004).
  • Ibanez RG7620 7-string guitar – Used on "Runaway" and "With You" from 1999 to 2002, tuned to B tuning
  • Fender Rory Gallagher Tribute Stratocaster – Used on "What I've Done", "The Little Things Give You Away", "Valentine's Day", "Bleed it Out", "New Divide", "Iridescent", "Burning in the Skies" and "The Catalyst".
  • Fender vintage 1950's Stratocaster – Use mainly in the studio or as a back up for his Fender Rory Gallagher Tribute Stratocaster. (During Summer Sonic 2009 he asked for one in the middle of New Divide as his Rory Gallagher had a problem)
  • Fender Jaguar
  • Fender Telecaster
  • Gibson Les Paul (no longer used)
  • Ibanez RGT3120 – used on "Runaway" and "With You" in 2003–2007, tuned to B
  • Gibson J45 – Used on "The Messenger" (A Thousand Suns)


To avoid problems with pedals being damaged during live performances, Delson keeps his effect pedals in a rack along with his amplifiers and controls them through a pedalboard onstage. The board also contains a pedal control which allows him to change the settings for his effect pedals.[17]

Amplifiers and current rig[edit]

For the first two albums, he used Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifiers and modified Marshall 1959SLP reissue heads live and in the studio, but during the recording of Minutes to Midnight Delson decided not to use much of his old equipment to give him a new sound. Delson used several vintage and rare amplifiers such as Soldano SLO's, Marshall JCM 800, Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier, a 1972 50 watt Hiwatt Custom, a Bogner Uberschall, and an extremely rare Bo Diddley amplifier with an onboard tape delay that was probably made for Diddley by Watkins (WEM). During live performances Delson relies on several Randall MTS Modules to recreate the sound from these different amplifiers.[19]

In 2014, the Randall rig was eventually phased out for a Fractal Axe-FX II setup, which is run direct into the PA system and a Matrix GT1000FX power amp. The only analog effect pedals being used are a Devi Ever Shoegazer fuzz, Electro-Harmonix H.O.G., and a Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor.



  1. ^ a b Corey Apar (December 1, 1977). "Brad Delson | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d [1] Archived February 21, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "U. Arizona: INTERVIEW: Linkin Park guitarist discusses highs of rock stardom". April 17, 2003. Retrieved March 3, 2012.
  4. ^ Keys, Lisa (December 13, 2007). "Jewish Journal". Jewish Journal. Retrieved March 3, 2012.
  5. ^ "Linkin Park's Brad Delson to keynote UCLA commencement | UCLA". Retrieved June 20, 2015.
  6. ^ "UCLA replaces actor with rock star for commencement speech". June 9, 2009. Retrieved June 20, 2015.
  7. ^ Torok, Ryan (November 19, 2010). "Jewish Journal". Jewish Journal. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  8. ^ "Linkin Lady: Elisa Delson". Linkin Lady. February 23, 2005. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  9. ^ "Please Meet Jonah Taylor Delson". September 9, 2008. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  10. ^ Linkin Park (August 29, 2014). ""Ask Brad" - Linkin Log #4 - Linkin Park" – via YouTube.
  11. ^ [2] Archived January 7, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Gold, Judah. "Buzz: Linkin Park." Guitar Player, vol. 35, no. 3, 2001., pp. 70-70, 72.
  13. ^ Freeman, Phil (July 21, 2017). "Linkin Park Were America's Last Huge Rock Band". Stereogum. Retrieved July 24, 2017.
  14. ^ "Linkin Park Gear Gallery". Premiere Guitar. Retrieved July 24, 2017.
  15. ^ [3] Archived October 29, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ Guitar World, July 2008
  17. ^ "Guitar World – Linkin Park's Brad Delson touring rig". December 4, 2008. Retrieved March 3, 2012.
  18. ^ "In the Studio with Linkin Park". April 17, 2014. Retrieved June 20, 2015.
  19. ^ "Electric & Acoustic Guitar Gear, Lessons, News, Blogs, Video, Tabs & Chords". Retrieved June 20, 2015.

External links[edit]