Mojotone and Mastodon guitarist Bill Kelliher introduce Kelliher's Artist Signature pickup, the "Hellbender."
With its distributed coil design, using two different wire gauges for increased dynamics and smooth coil-tapped tones, the Hellbender pickup set offers versatility to players in need of every sound from brutal high gain crunch to delicate and lush cleans. Two different Alnico grades (2 & 5) are used to individually voice the neck and bridge pickups; this helps the user retain articulation while using complex high-gain tones or heavily affected sounds. Finally, ceramic magnets are blended in with the Alnico magnets to achieve tighter attack, more output, and just the right amount of sustain when kicked into overdrive.
Kelliher and Mojotone sent numerous prototypes back and forth with the intention of creating a pickup that would benefit any guitarist, playing any style of music, through absolutely any signal chain.
“Mastodon covers a wide array of sounds and tones, I needed a pickup that can pull off the gauntlet of tones needed for the band while leaving room to inspire new sounds." -Bill Kelliher.
MOJOTONE Bill Kelliher Artist Signature 'Hellbender' Pickup Set - DEMO
Mojotone and Bill Kelliher's all-new Hellbender is available through Mojotone as well as their retail partners and is shipping worldwide now.
For more information, please visit mojotone.com.
We dig deep into our vault to bring you the gear from five boundary-pushing heavy hitters.
Since the days of Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, hard rock and metal have splintered in countless boundary-pushing ways—and the evolution includes the ways in which they use gear. Here we've assembled highlights from our Rig Rundowns with some of today's most interesting purveyors of extreme music—from the shirtless experimentations of High on Fire's Matt Pike to the crushing prog-rock virtuosity of Steven Wilson and Guthrie Govan. After whetting your appetite with the photos, details, and videos, be sure to visit here to dive in and watch more Rig Rundown clips.
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High on Fire's Matt Pike
Mastodon's Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher
Steven Wilson & Guthrie Govan
Russian Circles' Mike Sullivan & Brian Cook
Meshuggah's Fredrik Thordendal, Mårten Hagström, & Dick Lövgren
High on Fire's Matt Pike
As seen in one of our earliest Rig Rundown clips, Matt Pike keeps things stupid simple—as in not being bothered to wear a shirt onstage … ever. His setup consists of a custom 9-string First Act solidbody that’s designed after Santana’s Yamaha SG-style guitar and is 1" thicker than a Les Paul. During High on Fire shows, the 9-string is set in what Pike coins as “man tuning” or C-F-A#-D#-D#-G-G-C-C.
He runs that beast through a Soldano SLO and Marshall Kerry King 2203KFK JCM800. The Soldano is the main amp behind his live sound, but for the band’s aggro-sludgy parts or Pike’s solos, he adds the Marshall for extra dirt and volume. Both amps power three or four—depending on the venue’s size—Emperor 4x12 cabs.
Besides a Boss TU-2, the only pedal he stomps on is an MXR Carbon Copy.
Mastodon's Brent Hinds & Bill Kelliher
Brent Hinds' Gear
During the band’s tour supporting the critically acclaimed Crack the Skye, Brent Hinds mainly used his custom acrylic Flying V-style axe built by Kevin Burkett of Electrical Guitar Company. For quieter and ethereal passages in songs like “The Ghost of Karelia,” he would often use his First Act Custom Shop Lola 12-string because the doubled octave strings “create a ringing, atonal chorus not matched by a pedal.”
His two-amp rig included a ’76 silverface Fender Twin Reverb—that also powered a 2x15 extension cab—and a ’76 Marshall JMP MKII Lead Series through two Marshall 4x12s.
His stomp station had a Monster Effects Mastortion—used to push his amps to the brink of destruction—a Roland RE-20 Space Echo, an Ibanez Tube Screamer TS9, a Boss DD-6 Digital Delay, a Boss GE-7 Equalizer, a Morpheus DropTune, and a Boss TU-2 Tuner.