“A Whammy pedal might be sacrilege on a vintage National, but live, it’s really interesting!” Troy Redfern may play slide guitar, but he doesn’t want to sound like Derek Trucks – and his bold solo approach blazes a new blues trail

Troy Redfern
(Image credit: Future / Olly Curtis)

Having smashed the target on his latest Kickstarter campaign within the first nine hours, it’s fair to say there’s already a hefty buzz around Troy Redfern’s forthcoming studio effort, Invocation.

The slide guitar maverick talks gear, resonator ‘sacrilege’ and making it without label support… 

You’re known as a vintage resonator kind of guy, but you’ve been seen using something rather different lately… 

“It’s a 1963 Teisco Orbit Four. It’s got four gold foil pickups and it’s super interesting for its tonal scope. I’ve used gold foils on my Silvertones and on the Dobro for about 15 years. When I came across that guitar that had four, I thought it was something I needed to purchase! 

“It really fits because the type of music I’m doing with this new album is in the rock ballpark. Using those pickups, while using that gainy guitar sound, gives you a lot more string definition and a lot more character.” 

Has the guitar inspired a new chapter in your sound? 

“If you have an evocative guitar sound coming back through your amp, that will fire you in a certain direction.  The sound is dictating how the idea is going to form. So, definitely. With the song Getaway, that certainly had a sound about it – a very rock ’n’ roll, raunchy kind of thing. There’s probably about five guitars on the album, so each one will have its own feel. It’s not just a rock album where every song sounds like the heavier ones - there’s some more atmospheric things and even a song that borders on country.”

Among the different styles, are you still playing lots of slide? 

“It’s all open tunings. So, even if it’s not slide, I’ll probably be wearing it when I’m playing or writing because I want to be able to navigate that live. I think every solo on the album was done in the slide style. I’m not trying to do the Derek Trucks thing. These days, there’s so many players that go down that avenue. 

“Across the last three albums, it’s more about playing from the gut. It’s whatever comes out. I come from the school of thought of people like Frank Zappa, who are interested in decorating a piece of time. Whatever happens in that time is the solo.”

What are your other gear essentials? 

“The Magnatone Twilighter Stereo is the main amp I’m using these days, and also the Hermida Distortion pedal. Live, I’m using a DigiTech Drop and Whammy Ricochet. When it comes to soloing, I like having different sounds to dive into – especially playing with the resonator in the way I do with gain and a distorted sound. A Whammy pedal might be sacrilege on a vintage National, but live, it’s really interesting!” 

What would be your number one tip for artists wanting to crowdfund a record? 

“With Kickstarter, it’s all-or-nothing. If you don’t hit your target, you get nothing. Using myself as an example for the last two albums – from The Wings Of Salvation to this one – getting more ears via Planet Rock radio and things like that has been key. I think it’s about trying to get as much visibility as possible – via social media as well – because, without that, who’s going to back the campaign?”

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Ellie Rogers

Since graduating university with a degree in English, Ellie has spent the last decade working in a variety of media, marketing and live events roles. As well as being a regular contributor to Total Guitar, MusicRadar and GuitarWorld.com, she currently heads up the marketing team of a mid-scale venue in the south-west of England. She started dabbling with guitars around the age of seven and has been borderline obsessed ever since. She has a particular fascination with alternate tunings, is forever hunting for the perfect slide for the smaller-handed guitarist, and derives a sadistic pleasure from bothering her drummer mates with a preference for “f**king wonky” time signatures.