Sophie Lloyd has built a formidable reputation – not to mention a massive social media following – from her uncanny ability to turn classic pop-cultural moments into epic shred jams.
Michael Jackson's Thriller? No problem. Justin Bieber on electric guitar? Why not. The Legend Of Zelda: Link's Awakening? Bring on the culture clash. And the English guitarist's latest work of virtuosic reinterpretation sees her transform Britney Spears' 2003 hit Toxic into a three-minute tour-de-force of instrumental rock.
Lloyd opens her performance using her Kiesel Limited Artist Edition A6H Aries signature guitar but alternates to the Manson MA EVO Floyd Rose Sustainiac for the middle section – a guitar she received as a gift from Manson big boss and Muse guitarist/frontman Matt Bellamy.
As with all Lloyd shred versions, she mixes up fluid legato passages with meticulous alternate picking and has an uncanny knack for teasing out a song's melody and oversizing it so that it works within the context of solo guitar.
Lloyd chose Kiesel after being introduced to the brand via Volbeat's Rob Caggiano, and was looking for a guitar that would combine the warmth and sustain of a Les Paul but have the ergonomics and the high-performance dimensions of an Ibanez.
Her signature A6H Aries has a black limba body with a burled maple top, a black limba neck reinforced with two carbon fibre rods, and topped by a royal ebony fingerboard with glow-in-the-dark Luminlay SuperBlue dot markers down the side.
For pickups, there are two direct-mount Lithium humbuckers, controls for volume and tone, and a five-way pickup selector offering up a variety of in between tones. Priced $2269 and handmade in the US, you can order one from Kiesel direct. The finish is Sophie Purple Burst.