Tesseract has been a frontrunner for the progressive “djent” music community for over a decade. The “djent” genre as a whole is known for being a community filled with gear nerds of the highest caliber. Founding guitarist Acle Kahney started the project out of his bedroom, releasing incredible, high-quality songs that became staples for the genre. He’s one of the pioneers of the Meshuggah tone-chasers, easily capturing the closest, yet more original versions of the “djent” sound.
The question is, can you sound like Tesseract on a budget, and how? The answer is yes! The trick to the tone is the technique and feel, so while we can get the gear in your hands that you need to start with, it’ll always come down to grooving out and finding joy in polymeters. But that’s a whole other discussion! I’ll be drawing up ideas for gear you can purchase using gear that’s available at the Music Den in stock at our location in Randolph, NJ.
WHERE TO START
GUITARS | What kind of guitars to look for $ – $$$
First, you’ll need a 7 string guitar with mid/high-gain humbucking pickups. In this example, we’re going to use the Ibanez RGDIX7MPBSBB, which is the closest thing to guitarist James Monteiths’ Los Angeles Custom Shop Ibanez RGD 7 string guitar he’s been using live now for years. Why a 7 string guitar? Well, hopefully being a fan chasing the tone of Tesseract, you probably admire the bellowing low tuning of a 7 string guitar. Tesseract dabbles in a few low tunings, but you’ll typically find them in a 7 string drop tuning. For example, AEADGBE (or down a half step, AbEbAbDbGbBbEb).
AMPLIFIERS | What kind of amps to look for $ – $$$
We’re looking for medium/high gain amplifiers. Solid state amplifiers will generally be the most affordable option to go with. We’ll be using a Peavey VYPYR VIP 3 combo amplifier. Fortunately, the most popular amp to get “djent” tone from is a Peavey tube amplifier famously played by Eddie Van Halen. Their current model they produce is the Peavey 6505, which is modeled in the Peavey VYPYR VIP 3.
EFFECTS | What kind of effects to look for $ – $$
- Delay Option 1: Outlaw Effects QUICK-DRAW Delay $59
- Delay Option 2: BOSS DD-3 Digital Delay $129
- Reverb Option 1: Outlaw Effects 24K 3 Mode Reverb $79
- Reverb Option 2: BOSS RV-6 Reverb $149
- Octave Pedal Option 1: BOSS OC-3 Super Octave Pedal $129
Note: the Peavey 40W Vypyr VIP 2 Modeling Amp includes these effects to keep your budget low!
Tesseract is known for incredibly beautiful ambient textures soaking up the foreground of their clean guitar sections. We can easily achieve this sound by using a combination of reverb and delay as well as some pitch effects (at certain moments). We’ll be using a Boss DD3 digital delay pedal, a Boss RV7 reverb pedal, and a Boss OC3 octave pedal.
To conclude our journey in discovering the path to djenting, a lot of the tone in this genre comes down to technique, but it helps to have a good grasp of where the tone is coming from.