ruban nielson

Over the course of all these Rig Rundowns, we see a lot of pedalboards! Here are 13 of our favorites from the past year, from Billy Strings, Nile Rodgers, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Sunn O))), and more.

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Rig Rundown: Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Rig Rundown: Unknown Mortal Orchestra's Ruban Nielson

Ruban Nielson explains how custom collaborations with Baranik and Benson, along with a paunchy pedalboard with homemade clones, unlock a psychedelic playground in stereo.

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Unknown Mortal Orchestra guitarist Ruban Nielson likes to keep the kids guessing, so he includes a few mysterious handmade pedals on his board.
Photo by Annie Atlasman

This tinkering guitarist’s philosophy is to sound unique by building his own gear.

In 2010, ex-Mint Chicks guitarist Ruban Nielson posted new music online under the moniker “Unknown Mortal Orchestra.” He didn’t know what to expect. After years fronting the somewhat-punk Mint Chicks, Nielson, a New Zealand native, relocated to Portland, Oregon, and worked nine-to-five. Music making was something he did at night after work as a hobby.

That changed fast.

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