My Morning Jacket is keyboardist Bo Koster, bassist Tom Blankenship, guitarist Jim James, drummer Patrick Hallahan, and guitarist Carl Broemel.

After a hiatus, the rootsy rock heroes reconvene with new guitars—including James' signature Gibson ES-335—to deliver a self-titled album of big beats and powerhouse jams.

My Morning Jacket guitarists Jim James and Carl Broemel both play amazing, beautiful, high-end guitars. But during sessions for their latest album, My Morning Jacket, they spent some time gripping a pair of unusual, less-than-fancy instruments that probably wouldn't need to be kept behind the glass case in your local guitar store.

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Hiatus Kaiyote are, from left to right, drummer Perrin Moss, bassist Paul Bender, keyboardist Simon Mavin, and singer-guitarist Nai Palm.

Photo by Claudia Sangiorgi Dalimore

The Melbourne-based soul quartet used layered bass tracks, a pointy headstock guitar, old solid-state amps, samples, countermelodies, strange syncopations, and a Brazilian composer to create the complex and colorful Mood Valiant.

According to Paul Bender—bassist for the trippy yet eminently soulful Melbourne-based quartet, Hiatus Kaiyote—the band's live sets often meld into one continuous song. "I never really get a break in the set because we always play all our tunes together for some reason," he says. "I basically never stop playing. I don't have a moment where I am not doing something at any point in the set."

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Although he's become a leading figure in both jazz and blues guitar, Robben Ford's first instrument was saxophone. He switched to guitar at 14 and was fronting the Charles Ford Blues Band—named after his father—and supporting blues greats Charlie Musselwhite and Jimmy Witherspoon by age 18.

Photo by Mascha Thompson

The jazz and blues virtuoso changed his tone palette on the new all-instrumental album, Pure, stepping way from his legendary 100-watt Dumble. After 36 years playing the same rig, the transition was not easy.

"I consider it a real blessing having learned the guitar through the blues medium," says Robben Ford. "I then developed a great love for jazz and, in particular, the tenor saxophone. Those guys—or the guys that I like, I should say—are all very vocal players. They're singers. Miles Davis's trumpet as well is the most brilliant example of a trumpet player using his horn as a voice. It's very much related to speech. Sometimes you speak softly. Sometimes you just groove along. Sometimes you yell. You're always trying to say something as opposed to play something."

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