After decades of backing up world-class artists and leading the SNL band, the famed Telemaster shares some of his tried-and-true gear secrets.

Few guitarists have had a more illustrious career then G.E. Smith. From his run with Hall & Oates to his decade of leading the Saturday Night Live band, Smith has played with nearly everyone including Mick Jagger, Tina Tuner, Eddie Van Halen, Buddy Guy, Al Green, and Bob Dylan. Smith hung out with Premier Guitar’s John Bohlinger after soundcheck before a recent show at Nashville’s City Winery during the Masters of Telecaster tour and gave an up-close look at his killer, old-school rig.

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It’s ok for a guitar to not sound like a guitar.

As much as we all love juicy, organic guitar tones, it can be just as inspiring to go the opposite way. Combining various modulation effects, envelope filters, oscillators, and more can result in sounds that owe more to Kraftwerk than Led Zeppelin.

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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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