True Temperament player


Stefan Helleblad

Within Temptation

What role do you have in Within Temptation compared to JoNo?
– The two bands work in two quite different ways. With JoNo, the singer Johan Norrby brings the song ideas to the rehearsal room or studio and shows what he has on piano or guitar and then we all start together build up a finished song of it.
– Besides being one of two guitarists in Within Temptation, I´m also responsible for recording and editing  guitars and drums. All song ideas are built in Logic before any proper recording is started.
– In JoNo I run the whole thing from recording to mix and the producing is done together with the rest of the band. And of course I play guitar. It is more organic and ”old school” in sound and production compared to Within Temptation which is more modern and productive.
Is JoNo working on a new album?
– We have actually recorded a lot of basic tracks for a new album, remains to be seen if we want to add more songs and another recording opportunity. Then ”only” remains to add all toppings: guitars, guitar solos, choirs, synths, maracas and vocals etc. Don’t know exactly when we are going to be ready, but sometime in the fall, winter hopefully.
You have your own studio, Hellblade Studio.
– My studio is primarily intended for mix/mastering and overdubs. The concept is minimalistic and it´s equipped only with the most essential in terms of gadgets, only equipment that I really benefit from. For instance the fantastic outboard reverb Bricasti M7 and the SSL Fusion; that does things that I cannot successfully recreate in the computer. 
– I also use ProTools, Logic and Steinberg Wavelab. Monitors are the Focal Twin 6 with its sub. I use the Uad Apollo x16 interface as DA and which also manages to run many of UAd’s plugs, also the Slate Raven Touchscreen that acts as a DAW controller which speeds things up. Plus a lot of plugs, of course.
Your guitar quipment? Any differences, live and studio?
– With JoNo live, I always us an amplifier; a Diezel VH4 with a Marshall 1960A cabinet. I usually have the same setup in the studio. On our the latest album (Life) I did some solos with a Kemper, with a profile I made from my Diezel rig.
– The Diezel rig has also been my main amp on many Within Temptation recordings. Live I used a Mesa Boogie Rectifier during the tours but right now I have gone all the way to the Kemper. It’s perfect for what we do. You get the same sound every night, and no one will stumble over the microphone to the speaker cabinet. 
The latest album was recorded entirely with the Kemper.
Which are your main guitars?
– The guitar I had in my possession for the longest time, is a Gibson SG 90s model. It´s the first guitar I got with True Temperament installed. Pickups are two Wilde Pickups (Made by Bill Lawrence). My go-to guitar when it comes to JoNo.
– One of my absolute favorite guitars, incredibly easy to play and fantastic sounding is the Jackson Kelly Ke-2 USA Select 6-string with Floyd Rose. Also with Wilde pickups.
– Another guitar I got with True Temperament is a Jackson USA signature Chris Broderick Gloss black 7-string. Incredibly balanced and good sounding guitar.
– On tour i use two Jackson 7-string B7 Deluxe guitars with Bareknuckle pickups.   Strings are usually a regular 010 set, Dáddario.
You have TT on two of your main guitars. What are the benefits compared with a standard fretted guitar?
– It mainly gives an advantage when picking, or playing chords that are a bit more ”advanced” than regular rock chords. Especially if you play against pianos and keyboards than just bass and guitar. Picks, notes and chords high up on the neck make it a lot easier to bring along. It simply makes life easier!
– It’s a bit like an obstacle gone, you can just sit down with the guitar and play, and be completely free without any flat notes that interrupt in the middle of a great take. A True Temperament equipped guitar saves a lot of time and frustration. I have often been close to throwing the guitar through the window while sitting there trying to get different chords to match really well, but you don´t have to do that anymore.
How would the perfect studio guitar be if you were to design one?
– The ultimate would be if you could connect a USB cable directly to the brain, and then it played exactly what you thought, in exactly the mood you wanted. Would be boring though not to play by yourself…
– No, then I want a neck with a True Temperament fretboard, and a lockable nut together with a Floyd Rose-like bridge, but one that was mounted directly on the body, but was fine tuned. The guitar should also have a pickup swapping system where one can change pickups instantly and get the right sound for different takes. Preferable hum free humbucker pickups with coil split.
Favourite guitarists?
– Angus Young: His woody tone and bluesy style. AC/ DC was one of the first bands I started listening to as a six(!) year old.
– Marty Friedman: His playing style is incredibly musical, special and fun. Hard to find the right words, but his tone and fluidity have been a great inspiration to me.
– Dimebag Darrell, of course. Mainly the riffing and the tightness in combination with the gritty, dirty tone. And of course his unique squeaky and fantastic soloing. A guitarist who was completely groundbreaking! 
– Zakk Wylde: Yet another guitarist with a very own style. Great riff guitarist as well as soloist.
Plans for the future (apart from Corona)?
– Apart from Corona, it’s family, songwriting and guitar playing on the menu right now, that a lot of gigs have been cancelled. But hopefully things will look better this summer and fall. Ulf Zackrisson©