The self-proclaimed “midrange mattress” makes a post-rock bed with an “Excalibur” Jazzmaster and some up-the-sleeve Strymon settings.
Dating back to the band’s origins in the early 2000s, Jamieson has played all sorts of guitars including classics like Les Pauls, Strats, and Telecasters—especially in the studio—but during a moment of self-reflection he surmised that he makes those traditional instruments appear miniature across the front of his tall frame. “The Jazzmaster just looks right on me,” says Jamieson. “They’re sexy and I think they look cool, but honestly I just subordinated it to whatever vision I had for our music, what we wanted to do with songs, and what I wanted to sonically articulate.”
Above is his Jazzmaster that did much of the heavy lifting in Caspian for at least a decade including Waking Season and Dust & Disquiet, along with their subsequent tours. The Frankenstein offset was a result of an “Excalibur” moment while blurry-eyed scrolling on eBay. “I couldn’t even recognize what I was seeing because I was browsing so fast and seeing so much, but I stopped when I saw this gorgeous instrument and I wanted to know more about it.”
Jamieson contacted the seller to find out he assembled it altogether from Warmoth parts. They conversed over Phil’s burgeoning love of ’80s/’90s indie Brit rock and recently entering post-rock via Godspeed You! Black Emperor. The seller really wanted Phil to have the guitar and told him to bide his time as he hadn’t received any bids. Hours before the auction ran out, someone offered a cool grand for the parts-master. The seller reached out to Phil and asked if he could match the bid because he wanted Jamieson to have the guitar. Phil said he couldn’t go over $250 (knowing he’d need $10 in his account for gas to drive to close the deal), and, to Phil’s disbelief, the seller sold him the guitar for $150.
It has a swamp-ash body and soapbar Seymour Duncan Vintage P-90 (bridge) and Custom P-90 (neck) pickups, which aren’t the ones that came with it. He removed the piezo and its on/off switch on the lower bout, as well as the guitar’s tone/volume controls.
While he has moved onto a different Jazzmaster for his main squeeze, Phil still acknowledges this one’s importance: “I cut my teeth in Caspian with this guitar. Through its tone and character, I found my place in our sound.”
The band incorporates a wide range of tunings, but some favorites that Phil employs are standard, drop C, drop D, and drop D with a high B or an A. (Phil says during headlining shows he might use a different tuning for every song.) All of his guitars currently take Ernie Ball Burly Slinkys (.011–.052).