Sick Riffs: Mike Visser teaches you the looped, alternate-tuned clean lines of Imaginary Tricks' Art Flakey

Sick Riffs #122: Brooklyn-based band Imaginary Tricks released their latest EP Art Flakey back in July. Its four genre-fluid tracks incorporate everything from ethereally clean electric guitar lines on Silver & Gold to the vocal harmonies à la The Beach Boys on Believe It.

Guitarist, vocalist and band leader Mike Visser joins us in today's episode of Sick Riffs to show you how to play the EP's title track. Its somewhat ominous sound is produced partly due to the track's unusual altered tuning – C-F#-C-F#-F#-C – which he's conveniently taped onto his guitar. 

The two adjacent F# strings allow for the creation of some chorus-y bends, which when paired with layers of looped accompaniments generate a remarkably diverse sense of space.

Visser plays a Tele through a Hardwire DL-8 delay/looper pedal and an MXR Carbon Copy analog delay.

"Fortunately, I haven’t lost anyone close to me," Visser says. "I feel very grateful for this and my heart goes out to those who have. It's a surreal time to be alive."

Support Imaginary Tricks

Sick Riffs is a Guitar World video series designed to help guitarists affected by the coronavirus. Self-isolating players around the world have each filmed a lesson where they teach you one of their own guitar riffs, up close and personal. If you dig the lesson, we encourage you to buy music and merch from the artist or stream their music.

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.