Jazzmaster Study

Owing partially to my love of bands such as Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine and Nirvana (along a whole host of others including The Jesus Lizard, Mudhoney etc.) I recently got my hands on a new electric guitar, the wonderful Fender Jazzmaster Modern Player.  It is a cheaper model than an American Jazzmaster (by half!) but a step up from the cheaper Squire models that Fender also produce.  I love the beefy yet brittle sounds that the humbucker pickups produce and I adore the offset body, something that is slightly different from the normal Stratocaster or Les Paul guitar bodies.  It fits comfortably against my own body and it isn’t a guitar that is afraid of a good thrashing during the throes of emotive playing.

The Jazzmaster guitar is, of course, now a marker for slightly alternative rock bands after it failed to be marketed to jazz musicians in the late 50’s, but this is a versatile guitar and I’m having a lot of fun trying different tones and techniques.  It also looks particularly beautiful so I’ve been having fun trying to photograph this legend of a guitar.  The following photographs are shot on a 1963 Pentax S1a camera with black and white film.


The hardware. Photograph by the author.


Headstock. Photograph by author.


High notes. Photograph by author.


Jamie. Photograph by author.


Jamie II. Photograph by author.


The physicality of music. Photograph by author.

If the photographs are used elsewhere please credit as appropriate and state the author of this site as the photographer.

Dinosaur Jr Jamming

Dinosaur Jr are one of my favourite bands of all time (along with Pearl Jam, Nirvana, The Knife and a handful of others), and I’ve recently been enjoying watching this 30 minute live set recorded for 96bFM at Roundhead Studios in 2013.

Dinosaur Jr, for me, offer an intoxicating mix of low-fi rock that mixes extended guitar solos sesisons with sweet melodic acoustic music.  They are also fairly prolific at producing albums, with the singer-guitarist J Mascis also releasing a number of solo albums and bassist Lou Barlow also producing music with the band Sebadoh (who I’ve wrote about previously).  The latest album, 2012’s I Bet On Sky, is a particularly strong album that helps to showcase the variety of sounds that Dinosaur Jr inhabit.  Although this is just a brief stub about the band, I highly recommend reading Michael Azerrad’s 2001 book Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981-1991 which places Dinosaur Jr within the context from which they started playing.  It is a fantastic book profiling a number of important bands including Dinosaur Jr, Mudhoney, The Butthole Surfers, Sonic Youth and Husker Du among others. 

In a quick side note Dinosaur Jr have also influenced my guitar choice as I’ve recently got my hands on a mid level Fender Jazzmaster guitar.  I cannot wait to properly jam with it!


‘On Fire’

‘On Fire’ is a beautiful song of the 1996 album ‘Harmacy‘ by the American band Sebadoh.  With the confirmation of a new album scheduled for release on the 17th of September this year (2013), the first new album by the band for 14 years, I for one will be eagerly awaiting it.  The new album, entitled ‘Defend Yourself’, will mark the return of the band self recording their albums, and represents a change of record label from to Sub Pop to Joyful Noise (in the US at least).  For anyone interested in the back history and formation of Sebadoh, I highly recommend reading the engaging and wonderfully wrote biography of the American indie underground by Michael Azerrad, entitled ‘Our Band Could Be Your Life‘.  It is a beautifully realised book profiling the important American indie bands of the 1980’s and early 1990’s, with some of my favourite bands featured including Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr, Butthole Surfers and Mudhoney.

Although one of the founders of Sebadoh, Lou Barlow, was kicked out of Dinosaur Jr in the late 1980’s (after the release of ‘Bug’) following various disagreements with the bands singer and guitarist J Mascis, Barlow returned to Dinosaur Jr in 2005.  Dinosaur Jr have continued to release fantastic albums in the past decade, and are well worth a listen in their own right.  Thankfully Barlow has also kept up the sterling work with Sebadoh and other musical projects. The lyrics of the song ‘On Fire’ particularly struck me tonight, helping to highlight as they do the changing human nature of thoughts and actions and their consequences.  So, for your pleasure, here are the lyrics…

“My opinion could change today, but I’m responsible anyway
For second or third hand information
That complicates the complication
And I don’t think before I speak
And I don’t know how far my words reach
So wrong nearly every time, that I’m sorry I speak my mind
If what I said was unkind,

Now it feels like I’m on fire
It’s burning the world through
But don’t hold it against me, ‘cuz I know you’re lying, too,

Is there any need for apology? There’s no reason to believe me
Judgments born in my jealous mind, creeping inside outside
Connections I’ve made never follow through
And sooner or later disappoint you
Or cross you twice when your back is turned, that’s how I’ve learned
That someone has got to be burned,

Now it feels like I’m on fire, these words are not the truth
But don’t hold it against me, ‘cuz I know you’re lying, too
Feels like I’m on fire, it’s burning the world through
Don’t let me fall without someone to hold on to
Someone to hold to, someone to hold on to”.