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All I want to listen to lately is post-hardcore punk and jazz/funk/R&B
The first category makes me feel good about feeling angry and critical of everything.
The second one makes me feel good about being sassy and p.much laughing in the face of everything.
I think it’s actually the same feeling, but I just like having different music.
So I did buy the sunburst Jag at Mr. Music. It sounds better (sparklier) through my Hartke bass amp w/ a Mullard 12AX7 in the preamp than it did through the Roland microcube at the store. The Hartke gives the guitar a sound that is 100% clean (too clean for my taste) but I think this amp&guitar combination would kill for playing jazz. Maybe I’ll get that $70 Pignose one of these days for a portable, less clean amp. I have a Pork Loin pedal that gets close to a “dirty clean” sound with this combo, but it still sounds pretty sterile through the Hartke’s bass speakers and tweeter. The Jag has so much high end with the tone pot all the way open that the tweeter ends up working pretty hard, and it doesn’t exactly make the loveliest sound imaginable. Want to be heard, clean, above ~anything~? Plug your guitar into a 350 watt bass amp 😉
First, the trem bar that wasn’t attached in the store works great. I’m teaching my muscles how to use it. I spent an hour at least playing Quicksilver Messenger Service the night I bought the guitar (“Pride of Man”!). That super fast vibrato sounds soooooo good on the Jaguar. I finally get why people think the “choke” switch on the Jag does nothing. They’re playing through small (or few) speakers. The choke switch on mine cuts plenty of low end, which is quite audible through 4 10″ speakers. The difference is like a Ric 330 (choke on) vs. a strat. You can always apply a highpass filter to the guitar’s channel in the mixer (or DAW), but it’s not the same effect, since the guitar goes into its amp with less low end, and the amp reacts differently before getting recorded. This would probly matter more if the amp were breaking up (clipping) while recording.
Now I totally get why Nels Cline was enthusing about Jaguars. It’s not just that the loved Tom Verlaine’s sound (which I really do, too). Isolated, the front pickup on the Jag sounds FANTASTIC for playing runs of notes with a full, smokey kind of sound (like that film of Joe Pass playing one in the mid 60s). The 24″ scale makes it easier (for me) to play fast, not harder. It doesn’t feel that different from a Gibson Byrdland, and I vastly prefer the much less $ Jaguar. I think the short scale and the particular build of the pickups makes the Jaguar sound the way it does– not the crappy old bridge or tailpiece. The short scale makes a rounder, punchier sound, and the pickups transduce an enormous amount of high harmonic information. The result is that you ~hear~ the harmonic weirdness of playing the low strings up high on the neck. I think that particular effect accounts for a lot of the tonal quality that Television and Sonic Youth got from their guitars. It’s not just altered tunings, but the quality of the upper harmonics as you play in different areas of the neck, too. You can hear that in the opening arpeggios of “Prove It” off of “Marquee Moon.” The low E string always sounds weird on short scale guitars played above, like, the 10th fret. I’ve got .012-.52 strings with a wound G on the Jag right now. The heavy strings make the short scale hold pitch better, and they make the the guitar put out more fundamental pitch on a given note. I can see how the high harmonics could get overwhelming with thinner strings.
I want to finish the last song on the digital EP I’m releasing soon (the song “Daughter of A Gun”). But once that’s done, I’d like to record some of my favorite songs (lately) on this guitar..
Song To The Siren / Tim Buckley (I’d like to see what would happen if I play the straight chord progression 1chord/1bar, with a little vibrato gliding, then overdub like, little fast gnarly figures, with the straight melody on top of it all.
Deluge / Wayne Shorter (I wanna see how far I can replicate what I’m hearing on the recording using only my guitar. Comping the changes with the rhythm circuit, then overdubbing the melody with the lead circuit 🙂 )
That should be enough to keep me busy.