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Rig Rundown: END's Will Putney and Greg Thomas

See how these guitar-playing producers create pit-provoking, sinister sounds by combining a Swollen Pickle, 5150s, and wayward pitch-shifting.

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Now five albums deep, Harakiri for the Sky was founded by guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Matthias Sollak (at right) and singer J.J. in 2011. Sollak composes the music and J.J. pens the band's lyrics.

Austrian black-metal magus Matthias Sollak realizes his panoramic vision for Mӕre via cues from prog, shoegaze, and neo-classical.

For all the black-metal bona fides Matthias Sollak has accumulated as a guitarist, his musical range extends into areas you might not expect from a 31-year-old who's been running with headbangers for most of his life. Even during his long stint with Bifröst, the band he co-founded in his native Salzburg, Austria, at the age of 16, he brought elements as far afield as bagpipes, folk instruments, and keyboard samples to a freewheeling and unpredictable sound that helped set the group apart from their self-avowed "pagan metal" contemporaries.

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My top three forays into hot-rodding resulted in a replacement tour guitar, a potential collectable that's now my No. 1, and a sentimental guitar that brings me joy.

I came of age when players prided themselves in hot-rodding their instruments, often with mixed results. Sure, Van Halen built his Frankenstrat that changed the world, but remember "Shark," his 1976 Ibanez Destroyer played on "You Really Got Me," "Jamie's Cryin',"and "On Fire"? Ed admitted Shark was a mod casualty. "It was a great-sounding guitar, until I hacked a chunk out of it to make it look different. It was ruined!"

Sometimes they work, sometimes not. Here are a few of my adventuresome mods. Crazy? You be the judge.

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