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Geared Up: BORN OF OSIRIS Shredder LEE MCKINNEY Discusses His Signature KIESEL Headless Guitar

Born of Osiris’ Lee McKinney collaborates once again with Kiesel – whom he dubs “the people’s guitar company” – in a stunning signature headless guitar, the same used on the recent Sumerian release, The Simulation.



When it comes to progressive metalcore – and especially the djent movement – 10 years is a long time in the game. However, Born of Osiris are far from content to rest on their laurels, continuing to push their sound further into the future on their upcoming fifth album, The Simulation (which dropped on Friday 11th Jan, via Sumerian), a record which aptly questions how long we have before our reality turns into a virtual fantasy.

Contributing to this futuristic sound is guitarist Lee McKinney, who collaborates once again with Kiesel – whom he dubs “the people’s guitar company” – in a stunning signature headless guitar, about which he gives full details below in this Geared Up exclusive.

What’s the elevator pitch for this new signature guitar?
Lee McKinney: This is the best of all guitars in one. You have big spanky rock tones, warm clean neck tones, you can split all the coils for Strat-style tones, and you can switch to Piezo for acoustic tones. Oh, and you can blend all of these at the same time if you want. It’s the perfect guitar for any style of player.

What is the standout feature for you about it?
McKinney: The pickup/Piezo options. I could say the headless aspect, but there is nothing completely groundbreaking in that regard. Kiesel has been doing headless forever. As far as tones go, there is nothing you can’t get out of it. Point out your favorite guitar and what your favorite tonal aspects of it are, and I’ll show you how you can get it on my LM model.

How was this gear used during the recording of your latest album, The Simulation? Can you divulge something about the setup?
Lee McKinney: I had the prototype of the LM towards the midway process of the album. One really fun aspect of tracking with it was that I was going through tons of prototype pickups as well while we were designing the ILLUSIONIST bridge pickup. The final Illusionist bridge pickup is on the album, but so is another variation of it that you won’t be able to find elsewhere. The pickup is really SPANKY. It’s honest. I love the relationship between the string, fret, and fretboard. It’s not often talked about or highlighted, but we made sure to let all that shine through.

How do you recreate your album guitar tones in your live set?
Lee McKinney: Well, I believe it depends on what sound engineer we have with us. We have a few really extremely talented engineers that travel with us, and I believe they each approach this differently. As far as guitars go, I could use exact album tones live thanks to the Fractal Axe-FX, but I choose not to most times. Definitely similar, 100%. I just don’t ALWAYS feel that studio tones for an album mix translate to perfect live tones for a live mix.

Do you have a backup for this gear, and if so, what?
Lee McKinney: I have backup LM models in case a string breaks, backup Axe-FX units for live in case one goes down, etc. Everything I use live we have two of. This ensures that if a piece of equipment goes down, the set continues almost immediately.

Give us your best “gear goes wrong” story [this applies to any piece of equipment].
Lee McKinney: We played too close to an airport once, and that made our wireless frequencies go haywire. We switched to a different type of wireless unit after that show and we haven’t had problems since.

Any final thoughts or comments on the guitar?
Lee McKinney: I think one thing that separates my model to the average consumer is how it can be aesthetically customized for anyone. Most companies put out a model and it only comes in color A or color B. Only touring musicians can get the custom guitars from the bulk of companies. With my model, you can get it in any color. Kiesel does things personally for anyone and everyone. They are the PEOPLE’S guitar company. They are doing everything at a higher level in my opinion.

Check out the band’s official video for “The Accursed”. The Simulation is available now via Sumerian Records.