Thursday, September 25, 2008

twang my whammy bar, baby

There was an interesting article in the Independent yesterday about the 50th anniversary of the Fender Jazzmaster guitar. While the Strat was always the orthodox rock god's guitar of choice (Clapton, Hendrix, David Gilmour, Ritchie Blackmore), the Jazzmaster (along with its counterpart the Jaguar) has been used by generations of punk, new wave and grunge guitarists, partly because of the range of interesting sounds you can get out of it, but also for more mundane reasons like its relative cheapness compared to the Strat.

The list of Jazzmaster and Jaguar users reads like a condensed list of Music I Like - here's a few examples, in no particular order:

  • Elvis Costello - the iconic picture on the cover of 1977's My Aim Is True features him holding a Jazzmaster. The quintessential Costello album is probably its successor This Year's Model, though.
  • Kurt Cobain - a fully comprehensive list of Cobain's equipment (apart from the shotgun) can be found here, if you want it.
  • J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. It looks like a luridly colour-schemed Jazzmaster that Mascis is playing in the picture attached to this post. 1993's Where You Been is the album you want.
  • Tom Verlaine of Television. Television's 1977 album Marquee Moon remains a rock landmark; if you want longer, looser versions of the songs with more guitar playing on them (and why wouldn't you?) try the live compilation The Blow-Up as well. I think that might be a Jaguar in the picture on the right.
  • Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine. The blurred close-up on the front of Loveless is of the pickups of a Jazzmaster.

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