and kitchen supply stores, flea markets, and
One tool employed almost universally is
the aforementioned alligator or electrician’s
clip, which can be placed anywhere along
the length of a guitar string to great effect.
In school, Kleier found he liked ring modu-
lators and metallic-sounding synth sounds,
but because he was a destitute student, he
had no access to those electronic luxuries—
and he was better off for it. “I found that
an electrician’s clip placed on the strings
gave me very unusual overtones. And when
you add distortion, you can really get the
ring-modulator sound. [Placing the clips]
closer to the bridge, you get more of the
fundamental notes—Gamelan-like . . .
further back toward the nut, you get more
upper [harmonic] partials.”
Tammen prefers to clip them between
the bridge and neck pickups to draw out
very low, gong-like sounds. “These are great
for creating rhythms by banging the strings
with different kinds of mallets,” he says. “I
have a collection of five mallets, going from
a hard wooden one to one with a fluffy top.
When playing his Squier Tele onstage, Kleier keeps his implements closeby on a music stand.
Photo by Dominique Coupin