Swooshing Pink Floyd vibes, kerranging Sleep chugs, and mutating mellow Motorpsycho tones symbiotically swirl in this guitar duo’s growing setups.

Pedal pleasures for Michael Risberg start with the Tapestry Audio Bloomery volume pedal. Then the tone coloring happens with a Teese RMC3 wah, ZVEX Distortron (used as a preamp to excite the low-output single-coils), an Electronic Orange Moon-Vibe (that can footswitch between chorus and vibe modes), a Hudson Electronics Broadcast for lighter distortion, a Creepy Fingers Sound Distorter (modernized interpretation of a German Schaller fuzz), a Basic Audio Scarab Deluxe, a Strymon El Capistan, and a Strymon Flint. And the last box in the chain is a mysterious grey unit that is a Fender Twin-style preamp based on the AB763 circuit. And Michael’s T-style is kept in check with a TC Electronic PolyTune 2 Mini. Pedals that have been used on tour or on Elder albums, but currently on the bench are the EarthQuaker Devices Arapnoid, Source Audio Ventris, DigiTech Whammy, Fjord Fuzz GJALLARHORN, Montreal Assembly Count to Five, Park Fuzz Sound, EQD Westwood, Basic Audio Futureman, and Gamechanger Audio Plasma Pedal.

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"I don’t like any type of art that has to be explained."

Photo by Scott Friedlander

The profoundly prolific guitarist leads his band of tricksters through a surrealist sonic exploration of deep, esoteric rhythms and intricate interplay on Thisness.

On his new album Thisness, Miles Okazaki is credited as playing guitar, voice, and robots. If you imagine that the reference to robots is some sort of artsy kitsch—like trapping a Roomba Robot Vacuum into a tight space to sample its struggles as it percussively barrels into the four walls—you’re very far off the mark. Okazaki—who has an elite academic pedigree with degrees from Harvard, Manhattan School of Music, and Julliard, and currently holds a faculty position at Princeton University (after leaving a post at the University of Michigan, to which he commuted weekly from his home in Brooklyn for eight years)—wasn’t kidding.

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See a sampling of picks used by famous guitarists over the years.

Marty Stuart

Submit your own artist pick collections to rebecca@premierguitar.com for inclusion in a future gallery.

How does a legacy artist stay on top of his game? The pianist, hit singer-songwriter, producer, and composer talks about the importance of musical growth and positive affirmation; his love for angular melodicism; playing jazz, pop, classical, bluegrass, jam, and soundtrack music; and collaborating with his favorite guitarists, including Pat Metheny and Jerry Garcia.

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