dinosaur jr

Rig Rundown: Dinosaur Jr 's J Mascis [2022]

The Jazzmaster icon goes beyond offsets and shreds on fresh, sparkly Teles and a Vox-Fender mashup. Plus, he encounters his first Floyd Rose.

Dinosaur Jr.’s J Mascis is rock ’n’ roll’s loudest low talker. Onstage, the reserved frontman is overshadowed by his three full stacks, summoning up President Teddy Roosevelt’s quote: “speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.”

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The first single from the Dinosaur Jr. frontman’s sixth solo album starts off great and gets better—especially on the solos.

Even when J Mascis is crooning over an up-tempo tune, his vocals somehow sound like he tracked them while he was still in bed. And, as with most of his recordings, that sleepy signature singing style is just part of the charm. “Every Morning” is no exception. It starts off with sprightly strummed acoustic guitar before a simple meat-and-potatoes rhythm section ushers in Mascis’ meditative melodies, replete with those high octave harmonies fans know and love. Even when he lets loose on the kinds of punchy Marshall-pushed leads synonymous with all things Dinosaur Jr., it’s the catchy chorus that reminds us how—in addition to being a guitar luminary—he’s also one of the better songwriters of our time.

Tied to a Star also promises guest contributions from Mark Mulcahy (Miracle Legion, Polaris), Cat Power, Pall Jenkins (the Black Heart Procession), and others. More importantly, if the rest of the songs are as great as this one, it will be much more than an album to put on while you’re waiting for the next Dinosaur Jr. release. jmascis.com

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From Bonamassa to Lamb of God, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Dweezil Zappa—10 Stomp Stations from PG’s Hottest Rig Rundowns

When it comes to finding fresh tones that inspire new song ideas or put the sonic palettes of your heroes at your fingertips, there’s simply no substitute for slogging it out and putting tons of time into experimenting with different instruments, techniques, effects, and amps. We’re individuals with our own unique touch on the strings, a set of ears that’s heard things no one else has, and a guitar or bass rig that—due to our budget limitations, being finicky, or (hopefully) an insatiable longing for new tonal titillation—is never going to be exactly what we want. Let’s face it—we’re impossible to please. But if it feeds our muse, how can that be a bad thing?

Still, sometimes getting out of your own headspace and considering other players’ contexts can get the gears in your brain turning in ways that woodshedding can’t, even if that context sometimes comes from guitarists or bassists you don’t particularly dig or know much about. Hearing someone play a particular pedal and seeing how they use it—what their settings are, where they put it in their signal chain, and how they adjust their attack or their instrument’s onboard controls—can reveal a previously mundane-seeming device to be a corridor into mind-blowing sonic realms.

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