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Mascis and a Sunrise-pickup-equipped Gibson CF-100 playing at the
2010 SXSW festival. Photo by Kelly Davidson | etchedonfilm.com
What acoustic guitars did you use on the album?
Mostly a Martin 000-18. I can’t remember the exact year, but it’s from the ’50s. Then I have a Gibson CF–100 that I play live. I also have a Martin D-28 that I use sometimes.
Did you mic the guitars or use a piezo pickup?
Mostly mic’d, unless it’s through some effects. If it’s through a pickup, I usually use a Sunrise.
Songs like “Where Are You,” “Can I,” and “What Happened” feature distorted guitar parts. Were they recorded with acoustic or electric guitars?
It’s acoustic through a fuzz pedal.
All of it?
And which fuzz pedal did you use for those parts?
I think a lot of those parts were recorded when I was using a fuzz that Jim Roth, the guitarist in Built to Spill, made. I think it’s a copy of a Tone Bender, although I don’t know which one, MKI or MKII.
Was it hard to keep the fuzzed-out acoustic from feeding back and going nuts?
Nah. I’m used to that battle, so it doesn’t bother me.
Other than the tambourine on “Not Enough,” there’s no drums or percussion on the album. Why?
Just so it didn’t sound like all my other stuff. If I put drums on it, then I’ll start putting in other guitars. I just wanted to try and make it sound a little different somehow.
In addition to your Several Shades of Why tour and some Dinosaur Jr. shows, you have some Indian kirtan and devotional singing shows lined up. How did that come about?
Just through Lady Amma. She’s kind of like a Mother Teresa figure and has a lot of charities. She has a lot of music at her programs, and I wanted to contribute something—to play there and try to relate to the people who wouldn’t necessarily be into my music.
Are you going to continue to pursue this more acoustic sound in the future or are there no set plans?
I don’t have any plans, really.
Okay. Let’s switch gears a bit and talk about the guitar that you’ve been famous for over all these years. What’s the story behind your first Jazzmaster?