Photo by Austin Steinsick at Phishbone Photog

An acoustic power trio that’s influenced as much by Tony Rice as they are by deadmau5.

With Lost at Last, the Jon Stickley Trio (with Lyndsay Pruett on fiddle and Patrick Armitage on drums) combine the ethos of a newgrass power trio with the energy and dynamics of a runaway train. Stickley’s powerful flatpicking gathers influences from the greats such as Tony Rice, but also allows for other, more modern, sounds to creep in. “Darth Radar” is a rapid-fire take that moves from a serious ska beat to burning surf-style runs that would make Dick Dale proud.

The tune combines two of Stickley’s favorite techniques—alternate picking and harmonics. “I used an alternate picking pattern that incorporates the open string with a pentatonic scale,” describes Stickley. “I also use the guitar's natural harmonics to create a melody over fretted bass notes that define the chord progression," mentions Stickley. Combine that with some EDM elements from Skrillex and deadmau5 and you will soon realize why this jam has become a crowd favorite at JST gigs.

Multiple modulation modes and malleable voices cement a venerable pedal’s classic status.

Huge range of mellow to immersive modulation sounds. Easy to use. Stereo output. Useful input gain control.

Can sound thin compared to many analog chorus and flange classics.

$149

TC Electronic SCF Gold
tcelectronic.com

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When you consider stompboxes that have achieved ubiquity and longevity, images of Tube Screamers, Big Muffs, or Boss’ DD series delays probably flash before your eyes. It’s less likely that TC Electronic’s Stereo Chorus Flanger comes to mind. But when you consider that its fundamental architecture has remained essentially unchanged since 1976 and that it has consistently satisfied persnickety tone hounds like Eric Johnson, it’s hard to not be dazzled by its staying power—or wonder what makes it such an indispensable staple for so many players.

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While Monolord has no shortage of the dark and heavy, guitarist and vocalist Thomas V Jäger comes at it from a perspective more common to pop songsmiths.

Photo by Chad Kelco

Melodies, hooks, clean tones, and no guitar solos. Are we sure this Elliott Smith fan fronts a doom-metal band? (We’re sure!)

Legend has it the name Monolord refers to a friend of the band with the same moniker who lost hearing in his left ear, and later said it didn’t matter if the band recorded anything in stereo, because he could not hear it anyway. It’s a funny, though slightly tragic, bit of backstory, but that handle is befitting in yet another, perhaps even more profound, way. Doom and stoner metal are arguably the torch-bearing subgenres for hard rock guitar players, and if any band seems to hold the keys to the castle at this moment, it’s Monolord.

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