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Mastodon: A Year in the Life of the Sludge Metal Lords


Brent Hinds’ Gear

Gibson Flying V with signature Lace Brent Hinds Hammer Claw pickups
Electrical Guitar Company Brent Hinds Custom acrylic V-style
First Act Lola 12-string
First Act Brent Hinds Custom

Marshall JMP Mk2 Master Model 100-watt Lead head
Marshall 4x12 cab with 75-watt Celestion speakers
silverface Fender Twin Reverb

TC Electronic Flashback
TC Electronic Corona
TC Electronic PolyTune

Strings and Picks
D’Addario EXL116 medium top/heavy bottom (.011–.052)
Dunlop Tortex .73 mm picks

Did you crank the amp or use preamp gain?
I used the preamp gain of the amp. Turned the gain and volume up and it just gives you the sound of the amp. The speakers are big enough where they don’t break up too much, they break up a little bit when you crank it up really loud, but it’s a good breakup.

What do you use for effects?
I use a lot of TC Electronic stuff, their delay pedals and chorus. I like a lot of vibrato and tremolo pedals.

Hinds: I use very minimal effects ... there’s no sense in having all that garbage all over your guitar.

Brent, there are videos of you creating some TC Electronic TonePrints. Are you still using those pedals?
TC Electronic? Yeah, I use some of those.

Which ones?
I can’t really remember, to be honest with you.

There’s a cool pulsating sound in the middle of “Once More ’Round the Sun.” What did you use there?
Oh yeah. I think that’s an old Uni-Vibe or a vibrato pedal, just moving the knob as we were playing.

How were you physically able to maneuver the knob while you were playing?
We had the producer turn it as we were playing to make it go all over the place. I also use some DigiTech pedals. They endorse me and I just flipped through their catalog and said, “Let me try out a bunch of pedals.” I use their tremolo pedal live, and their HardWire tube distortion. They also have a distortion pedal called the Bad Monkey.

Oh yeah, that’s a killer pedal that’s also pretty affordable.
It’s awesome, it’s fuckin’ great. I’ve been using that just straight into a Marshall for the past couple of tours. Just to give it a little bit of distortion on top, a little overdrive.

“I like pedals and have got hundreds of distortion pedals that I use in different ways, but for this record I basically plugged straight into the Friedman.” —Bill Kelliher

Brent, how did you come up with your hybrid-picking approach?
Just by watching Jeff Beck play guitar.

That’s unique in a metal context.
Yeah, that’s a good thing for me. You’ll see everybody do it in the future just like everybody else copying everybody all the time. Just like I copied Jeff Beck. See how that went?

How do you keep things clean without the open strings accidentally ringing? I imagine it’s probably hard to control.
Palm mute it.

Is the intro to “Feast Your Eyes” played using hybrid picking?
I don’t know the names of any of the songs because they all got changed at the last minute. If it’s me playing, it’s probably hybrid picked.

What do you practice away from the band stuff?
I don’t.

So how do you maintain your chops?
I have no idea. They’re just there. I don’t know how they stay there. Sometimes they show up, sometimes they don’t. Whatever, they have a schedule of their own. It’s like one of those natural powers. You just have it, I guess. I don’t know. Sometimes you’re nimble and sometimes if it’s cold or you haven’t played in a while, you’re rusty, then seconds later you’re doing something you’ve never done before. I’ve been playing for a long time, since I was 10, you know. You just have a big discography of things you can do after a while, I guess.

Do you have a favorite track off Once More ’Round the Sun?
Probably “Once More ’Round the Sun” or “Halloween.”

How does Once More ’Round the Sun compare to your earlier records?
It’s just a feel-good, rockin’ record for the summer. We had a bunch of songs that we’d written and just wanted to display in the truest form. We wanted to just let the songs come out the way they are and not attach any concept to it. They stand on their own and didn’t really need to have any kind of extra thought about it.

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