BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE MAY SEEM
like a new band to many, but in fact coguitarists
Michael “Padge” Paget and
Matthew Tuck are old friends who began
releasing hard rock albums as Jeff Killed
John in 1998. After changing bassists and
the band’s name in 2006, Bullet For My
Valentine achieved international success
with their debut release, The Poison. When
it came time to record their latest album,
Fever [Jive], BFMV enlisted producer Don
Gilmore (Linkin Park, Good Charlotte,
Lacuna Coil), who brought a “less is more”
perspective to crafting monstrous guitar
sounds. “Don helped us get an incredible
mix,” says Paget. “In the past we had layered
four rhythm guitar tracks, but he
suggested we just use two, panned left and
right, and the difference was amazing.
We hadn’t realized that we were actually
thinning out the sound by using more
tracks. By not crowding the space, there
was still plenty of room for the leads to
come down the middle. That also gave us
a more authentic sound, like we’re playing
in the room with you.”
Did you change up any of your gear while recording Fever?
I played a Gibson Zakk Wylde Bullseye Les Paul
with EMG 81 pickups for some of the crunch tones,
but otherwise I used my ESP Michael Paget signature
model, as I had on the previous albums. Years
ago when ESP gave me the DV8 Dave Mustaine Series
guitar to check out, it quickly became my favorite.
Then when Dave left ESP, I took his slot, which was
a dream come true. My signature model is really just
a modified DV8. The inlay and name are new, but
otherwise I didn’t mess with it much, because I
already loved the guitar the way it was [laughs]. I
played through a Peavey 6505 head, like on the last
album, which I ran through various Peavey and
You and Matt also played in a lower tuning, right?
Yes. We were already tuning down a whole step, but
on Fever we tuned down another whole step to dropped-
C, and then tuned the first and sixth strings down yet
another whole step (Bb, F, Bb, Eb, G, Bb, low to high).
How does your live rig differ from your studio setup?
I run a Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier along with the Peaveys when I play live. I also use the
TC Electronic G-System to manage my
effects, which makes things a lot easier
because I’m not tap-dancing all over my pedalboard.
My two most important effects are
an Ibanez Tube Screamer and a Dunlop SW-
95 Crybaby Slash wah, but on the current
tour I’m also using an MXR Zakk Wylde
Overdrive pedal, because it not only worked
well when recording, it also sounds great
in my live rig. That’s not always the case,
because something that sounds good in the
studio can sound absolutely dreadful live,
and vice verse.
Did you take lessons when you started out, and
what sort of gear were you using at first?
I don’t have a musical education. I
couldn’t afford to take lessons, so I taught
myself by watching others. My first guitar
was a Spanish nylon-string acoustic that I
didn’t even learn how to tune for a few
weeks. Then I got an old Aria Pro electric
with a Floyd Rose tremolo, followed by my
first Gibson SG. My first amp was a hand-me-down from a friend of my parents, a
little Marshall Valvestate that I still have.
My guitar tech gave it a good cleaning and
it actually still works. The clean tone isn’t
so great anymore, but the crunch is awesome.
Your solos are hardly basic. How do you compose
them without any formal knowledge?
I just try to envision the shapes of notes
and patterns on the fretboard, such as the
ascending and descending patterns of an
arpeggio. And it’s cool when you connect
one shape to the next, like playing an arpeggio
high on the neck, followed by an
inversion a few frets lower, maybe connected
by a pick scrape down the stings. When you
think of all the chords you already know, and
all of the individual notes within them, there
are endless possibilities. Breaking away from
common rock scales also makes for a more
Who are some of the guitarists that have influenced
Kirk Hammett, and Iron Maiden’s Adrian
Smith and Dave Murray were big for me—
but some of my favorite musicians are blues
guitarists such as Stevie Ray Vaughan and
Jimi Hendrix. Stevie both because of his
lightning-fast licks and the way he could play
slowly with tons of feeling. His tone is the
defining point for every blues player. Once I
heard him I went into a crazy blues addiction.
And Jimi was the master. He pretty much
reinvented the guitar and did a whole lot of
stuff that seemed impossible at the time—even when he was completely smashed!