BUCKETHEAD: Biography, Guitars and Pedalboard

Buckethead is the character behind whom the American guitarist and composer, Brian Patrick Carroll, hides.


Due to his stage fright, Brian began to devise a way to hide behind a fictional character.

A fan of horror movies, he would use a white mask of Japanese origin to hide his face, inspired by the mask used by the murderer from the movie Halloween IV.

But his character would not be definitively completed, until one day eating at a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant he placed the mask, and a bucket from the famous restaurant on his head.

After looking in a mirror he said to himself: "There is Buckethead, right there." As if some kind of superhero had been born.

Later the inventor of this strange figure, would declare that from that moment he wanted to be that thing all the time, being born the expressionless and mysterious character.

Then he would add a sticker with the word Funeral to the bucket of fried chicken.

There is another mythical side story to give the character personality, which points out that Buckethead was raised on a farm, and that his childhood friends were chickens and chickens. Later he would decide to escape the chicken coop, although Buckethead would remain a lover of chickens. Staying powdered for life.

Little is known about Brian's personal life, since the musician has always tried by all means to remain behind the mystery of this character.

There are only two photographs of him outside of that characterization. One of them is the image he published in 1989, in a specialized magazine in Los Angeles, in order to find musical projects. And the other is the one that appears supposedly next to his father, on the cover of Disc Pike 13.

Buckethead does not usually give interviews, and when he grants one, he does it through a puppet. Naming himself in the third person, always referring to Buckethead.

Brian Patrick Carroll was born in 1969 in Huntington Beach, California. Beginning to play the guitar at the age of 12, later receiving classes from the virtuoso guitarist Paul Gilbert, one of his main influences being his fast phrasing, and his Shred technique.

He would also be influenced by other Shredders guitarists like Eddie Van Halen, or Joe Satriani, but he also highlights other musical influences like Michael Jackson.

The musical styles that Buckethead develops are very varied. Different subgenres of Metal and Rock, Jazz, Blues, Electronic and Environmental Music, among other genres.

In 1988, Buckethead sent the song entitled "Brazos" to a Guitar Player Magazine contest, obtaining in 1992 a contract with a Japanese record company, allowing him to publish his first album entitled Bucketheadland.

During the 90s he would continue to publish records and participate in music for films. But his full recognition would not come until his incorporation in the year 2000 to the band Guns N 'Roses, leaving the band in 2004. According to Buckethead himself, he would leave the group due to the band's low work rate.

The truth is that Buckethead's work pace is second to none. Counting so far with 270 albums published. And apart from being a great guitarist, he also plays bass and banjo with great skill. Apart from playing other instruments like the piano.

Among his most prominent songs is "20th Century Boy". With an initial solo at full throttle, and with a hellish sound worthy of our worst nightmares.

Also with some very fast-paced parts, and with continued use of the Killswitch control, we have the theme "Jordan". Dedicated to his idol Michael Jordan.

Among his most environmental songs are "Soothsayer", "Whitewash", "Electric Tears", and "Dawn At The Deuce", among other many high quality environmental songs developed by the great guitarist.

Acoustic guitar songs like "All In The Waiting" and "Padmasana" also stand out.

It even has an electric guitar version of »El Concierto de Aranjuez» by JoaquĆ­n Rodrigo (Sketches of Spain).

Something very characteristic of Buckethead's staging is his robotic dance and his skill with the nunchaku. Demonstrating in his performances, his skill with the traditional Asian weapon, emulating another of his idols. Bruce Lee.

Buckethead: Guitars, Amps and Pedals

His most iconic guitars include the Jackson Y2KV with "DiMarzio X2N Pus" pickups, and a modified Gibson Les Paul White with "DiMarzio Tone Zone" pickup in neck position, and a "DiMarzio Air Norton" in bridge position.

Both guitars have Killswitch pads. The ones on the white Les Pauls are arcade-style like those used in old video game machines.

Buckethead Guitar

The Killswitch would simply cut off the signal when pressed, but when pressed repeatedly, it feels like the same note is sounding over and over again.

The strings that he usually uses are the D’Addario 9 - 42. And the picks that he usually handle are the Dunlop Tortex of 1.14 mm.

In terms of amplifiers, the assortment is quite varied:

 - Peavey

 - Marshall

 - Mesa Boogie

 - VHT Pittbull


The assortment of effect pedals is also quite extensive:

 - Wah Wah Dunlop Cry Baby 535Q with equalizer

 - Delay Line 6 DL4

 - Digitech Whammy II Octaver

 - Alesis MidiVerb II Reverb

 - BOSS OS-2 Overdrive / Distortion

 - MXR EVH Phase 90

 - Analog Man Bi-CompROSSor


Ozzy Osbourne wanted Brian Patrick Carroll to play with his band, as he thought Buckethead played the guitar like a real bastard.

The only requirement he asked of Buckethead was that he remove the cuvette and mask so that he could play with his group. But he refused to let go of his character and play just like Brian would.

Sometimes you have to admit that there are impossible things, even if Ozzy Osbourne himself demands it.

One of those things is for Buckethead to put down his mask, and his bucket of fried chicken.

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