Let the Devil Loose

Again this is another short entry, but nothing can be helped about this.  I am currently lost in the fantastic wilderness that is Mikhail Bulgakov’s epic, ‘The Master and Margarita‘.  I am currently half way through the book and wishing that I was only a quarter of the way through instead, although even then I suspect I would only hope I was 1/8 of the way through!

Aside from belated reading Bulgakov’s masterpiece, I found myself back in an old rehearsal room this weekend with a good friend.  He took up the sticks and drummed and I took my beloved Jazmaster and amp and played.  We touched upon old riffs, a part of a Hendrix song, some Jeff Buckley (albeit briefly) and ended trying to emulate the wall of noise that My Bloody Valentine do so well.  I tried to emulate some of the circular guitar playing that Anna Calvi does so well (not circular picking as such), although I think I was only partly successful in this.  It is an interesting technique though and one that makes the guitar sound more like a stringed instrument than it often does.

Heck, even though my friend couldn’t hear me above the beat of his bass drum and the roar of my Blackstar amp, I also attempted to sing along to my own guitar playing.  Now, even though we have jammed innumerable times before, I am still a relatively shy person.  So to sing was quite exhilarating, especially because it was just a daft made up song on the post.  But it felt good, sounded alright, and it was quite ridiculous.  A fine mixture of feelings!

I managed to get a photograph of the last time we went into the same rehearsal rooms, of my friend playing my old battered guitar across from a quite column of a Marshall stack.

The question is, of course, are you ready to sing and to be heard?

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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.

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The hardware. Photograph by the author.

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Headstock. Photograph by author.

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High notes. Photograph by author.

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Jamie. Photograph by author.

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Jamie II. Photograph by author.

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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.