Kaoru (musician)

is a Japanese musician and one of the guitarists of Dir en grey. He has been with the band since its inception in 1997 and was previously a member of La:Sadie's. He has composed most of Dir en grey's songs (at least up to the Vulgar album, at which individual credits for the music were dropped). His contributions display a fair amount of variety, ranging from slow ballads such as "Zakuro" to upbeat numbers like "Jessica". He performs many solos for the band, which vary strongly in feeling and tempo, similar to his compositions. Kaoru uses guitar amplifiers and cabinets by Diezel.


Kaoru is endorsed by ESP Guitars in Japan, who provides him with most of his guitars, picks, and straps. In the past, Kaoru primarily used ESP Custom Shop guitars from his signature-series, Ganesa. He stopped using the Ganesa guitars around 2005 and switched to the Viper series, in which he has his own custom model, the D-KV-420.Recently a limited edition Edwards version of his D-KV is being sold.

ESP has released several replicas of Kaoru's signature guitars in Japan through the ESP and Edwards product lines. The ESP artist series offers replicas of the D-KV-420 and the Ganesa II. Edwards offers a miniature Ganesa and replicas of the Ganesa IV and VIII.


Brand Model Notes
ESP Ganesa I Originally made with a see-thru purple finish on an alder body, which was covered when the guitar was sent to the ESP Custom Shop for repair. ESP also refers to it as Ganesa Sabe because of its faux-rusted metal finish.
ESP Ganesa II Has a quilted maple top, which is typically used for aesthetic purposes on instruments, that has been covered by opaque black paint since the guitar's creation.
ESP Ganesa III Has a purple quilt maple top, and is fitted with a sustainer system
ESP Ganesa IV Same as the Ganesa II, but with an all alder body instead of the usual quilted maple top and mahogany back.
ESP Ganesa V Kaoru broke the headstock during the Tour 00 >> 01 Macabre and the guitar was fixed by the ESP Custom Shop, but the damage was not painted over.
ESP Ganesa VI First Ganesa to feature the slimmer body of the later models.
ESP Ganesa VII The seven-string Ganesa model. Two were made so Kaoru could use two different seven-string tunings.
ESP Ganesa VIII First of Kaoru's guitars to have his "Japanese Zombie Heroes" slogan painted on the back of the neck, which was then added to most of the existing Ganesas.
ESP Ganesa IX Little information is released on this guitar. It features a metallic silver finish, and can be seen in Dir en grey's music video and television performance of "Embryo".
ESP VP-200 none
ESP VP-CTM Custom made for Kaoru, has a quilted maple top and a custom see-thru pink and purple sunburst finish.
ESP VP-SL7 The artist's only seven-string Viper. It can be seen during live performances of "Obscure".
ESP VP-Prototypes Early versions of Kaoru's recent signature guitar. These and the models which followed have more definition in the body than regular Vipers.
ESP VP-DKV-420 His signature model from ESP.
ESP Horizon Custom Has a black see-thru finish with a quilted maple top.
ESP Horizon III Kaoru Custom A see-thru purple Horizon, maple body and neck. Used same as the other Horizon.
ESP MA300 Custom The MA300 Custom has an alder body, maple neck, and it uses EMG pickups. A sustainer was installed after a performance at the Budokan
Jerry Jones Baby Sitar The Sitar is used only for the recording of mazohyst of decadence.
PRS Custom 24 Has a see-thru grey-black flame maple top with tremolo bridge. The guitar can be seen during the performance of "Kodoku ni Shisu, Yueni Kodoku." on the It Withers and Withers DVD.
Fender Jaguar The Fender Jaguar was only used for faster recording on Gauze. The serial number for Kaoru's Jaguar is 187753.
Gibson Les Paul Standard They were used only for recording on Gauze.
Gibson Flying V Has a cherry finish with white pickguard.

Pickups and other accessories

  • Custom Audio Electronics 3+SE Preamp
  • Fender Tone Master Guitar Amplifier
  • 2x Marshall 1960 Guitar Cabinets
  • Dunlop Cry Baby wah-wah pedal
  • Vox V847A wah-wah pedal
  • Ibanez TS-9 Tube Screamer Pedal
  • DigiTech Whammy Pedal
  • MoogerFooger MF-101 Low Pass Filter
  • EMG 81 on neck and EMG 85 on bridge of Ganesa I, II, and IV
  • EMG 81 on bridge and Sustainer Driver EMG SA on neck of Ganesa III
  • EMG 81 on bridge and neck on most recent Viper
  • EMG 707 pickups on Ganesa VII
  • Seymour Duncan SH-1n and SH-4 on all 6-string Vipers
  • Seymour Duncan SH-1n-7 and SH-4-7 on Viper-SL7
  • ESP custom-printed picks
  • ESP Dir en grey series guitar strap
  • Diezel VH4 amplifiers
  • Mesa/Boogie Standard Rectifier Cabinets


External links

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