Sunday, December 19, 2010

My Fender Jaguar

For pretty much my entire musical career up to this point, my only electric guitar has been my Fender Jaguar. I bought it at a small mom 'n pop shop in Maryland just outside of DC, where I was living at the time. It was the summer of '93 and I had just made a bunch of money working in construction (I was framing houses). Up until that point I had been playing a nothing-special Squire Stratocaster (Fender's cheaper, made in China, line) that my parents bought me in highschool. I decided since I was starting to play live more I would need a cooler axe.

I chose it because it was the same guitar Kurt Cobain played and had become one of the main choices for grunge guitarists the world over. It definitely looks cool. Beautiful sunburst finish, rosewood fretboard, floating tremolo....all perfectly weathered and worn. It came off the factory floor on April 1, 1965 (Fender first started making Jaguars in 1962) and was wonderfully aged by the time I bought it 28 years later. It's a good investment; since buying it the guitar has tripled in value.

We've been through a lot, playing gig after gig, recording albums, gig I accidentally left it at the club. I was so relieved when it was still there the next day (someone from the bar held on to it for me). I recently got it set up for the first time in years and it plays better than ever!

For all the switches and tone controls, the sound is actually not that versatile. It goes from warm and rich (using the neck pick up) to sharp and twangy (using both pick ups), to very thin and twangy (not a good or useful sound). Still, it does what it does well, and the action is superb. I've also used the tremolo bar for all sorts of solos and effects. Lately, I've been eyeing a new guitar; a hollow body or semi-hollow body Gibson or Gretsch. It would give me a different sound and, after playing the same guitar for so long, I'd like a chance to try something new. But I have no plans on ever selling my Jag and it will always be my first love. Here's to you 1965 Fender Jaguar!!!

Me being goofy and posing with my guitar back in the day

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Congrats Neil!

Neil Diamond has entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!!! Turn on your heartlight, Neil! Congratulations.

Oh, good ol' Brooklyn boy Neil. I was first introduced to him by my college girlfriend...I initially thought it was ridiculous that she liked him and thought it was some kind of joke. To be true, liking Neil Diamond always has a sort of knowing glance to it. Many of his songs are oh-so-precious. But you can't hold a good performer down, and Neil's one of the greats. I was quickly a convert.

The only time I saw him live was early in the morning at Rockefeller Center for the Today Show. Maybe not the greatest example of a show, but I'll take what I can get. His greatest album is Hot August Night, which ends with a raucous sermon, screaming and spitting at the top of his lungs.

Tonight I drink a toast of cracklin' rosie wine to the Diamond.