A guitar designed to intuitively transition from acoustic to electric voices with the 3-way switch, or from clean to driven with a turn of the Blend Knob.
Fender continues to explore the sonic possibilities of an acoustic-electric guitar with the Acoustasonic Player Jazzmaster. Purposefully streamlined and equally versatile, this guitar intuitively transitions from acoustic to electric voices with the 3-way switch, or from clean to driven with a turn of the Blend Knob.
- 3-way switch, or from clean to driven with a turn of the Blend Knob
- Modified Jazzmaster body
- 2-pickup configuration: Under-Saddle Piezo, Acoustasonic Shawbucker Magnetic
- Finishes include: 2-Color Sunburst, Shell Pink, Antique Olive and Ice Blue
Exploring the Acoustasonic Player Jazzmaster | Fender
- Hybrid Jazzmaster with 10 blendable acoustic and electric voicings
- Piezo and magnetic pickups supply an impressive range of rock, blues, country, folk, and pop tones
- Body sensor pickup (P3) is perfect for loop building and percussive playing
Gaming inspired the young dream-pop star to pick up a real guitar. Now he puts a couple of Fenders to work on his bash 'n' roll breakout album, Chew the Scenery.
Fans of lo-fi bedroom pop have undoubtedly already heard of Oscar Lang. Since his early teens, he's been a leader in the dreamy, synth-laden genre. Guitarists who prefer their music loud and rocking may not know Lang, but with the release of Chew the Scenery, the two worlds are colliding as the young songwriter comes of age, electric guitar in hand.
Lang has built quite a name for himself over the last half-decade. Songs from his seven-plus self-produced and self-recorded EPs and singles are featured in EA Sports' video games, and he holds production credits with modern stars like songwriter-guitarist beabadoobee and Canadian rapper Powfu. Not bad for a 21-year-old.
Lang's love of all things music came very early in life. His late mother, who was also a musician, fed her child's prodigious talent with her love of great pop. Though she died when he was 7, her favorite music, combined with the piano she gave him, opened his eyes to a life of unending artistic possibilities.
Oscar Lang - Stuck (Official Music Video)
"There was this little CD that my dad made for me when she died," says Lang. "It had all of her favorite types of music, and I used to play that. That gave me a weird kind of influence when I was younger. I was listening to music that I wouldn't have listened to if I hadn't had that CD. I used to play that over and over in my room, listening to the songs that she loved.
"I've lost the CD, and we don't know what songs are on it, so it's a mystery. But sometimes I'll listen to a song that just unlocks a sound, and I'm there—I can remember the CD. Deee-Lite's 'The Groove Is in the Heart' is one that's always stuck in my brain. That bass line ingrained a little bit of funk into me.
"I get influence from everywhere in my life. I started playing music and actually writing songs when I was about 11. But I got into rock music and guitar stuff through playing Guitar Hero. I used to love that so much as a kid and got back into it when I was 14. I dug out my Wii and whipped out Guitar Hero, and then I was like, 'Why don't I actually learn how to play the guitar?' That got me inspired to start taking guitar lessons." Once Lang got a guitar in his hands, he crafted a bare-knuckled approach to the instrument—attacking it with ferocity for both emotional and physical release.
"When I was 14 I dug out my Wii and whipped out 'Guitar Hero,'' and then I was like, 'Why don't I actually learn how to play the guitar?' That got me inspired to start taking guitar lessons."
Lang is as in love with the stage as he is the studio. So much so that, he explains, it was the catalyst behind Chew the Scenery's powerful new sound. "I was more into the bedroom-type stuff and that synth-y sound. But we had these few songs like 'Flowers' and 'Drinking Wine' that were a live rock sound. I was really keen to go in that direction." He started moving that way in 2019, and the EPs bops etc. and Hand Over Your Head hinted at what was to come with Chew the Scenery.
"It was really hard for a bit, because we've played those songs for years. People would be like, 'What is that song? Where can I find it?' We'd say, 'It'll be out one day.' Then, finally, the songs came out, and it happened to be in the middle of a pandemic where we couldn't play any of them live. These songs are made to be played live, and people need to see that. It's been hard. But I've also recorded a whole bunch of music that I probably wouldn't have done if I'd been playing a whole bunch of shows."
When Lang couldn't bring his new songs to the stage, he sought to bring the excitement of the stage to his songs. As he recorded, he leaned on influences as diverse as Black Kitty and the Scott Pilgrim vs. the World soundtrack for the "whole bunch of music" that became Chew the Scenery. "The last year, I've been listening to a lot of post-punk. Me and the boys are big musos, because a lot of post-punk is weird rhythms. The tracks that Nigel Godrich and Beck did for the Scott Pilgrim soundtrack … they wrote those songs for the [movie's fictional] band Sex Bob-Omb. I was listening to their song 'Threshold' a lot. I used to listen to that while I was running, and that was the one song that could just get me absolutely blasting! It was just so intense in your headphones. That's what kind of inspired 'Stuck.'"
Oscar Lang’s Gear
"Me and the boys in my band like music that's interesting and weird, with polyrhythms and countermelody," says Oscar Lang. "We sneak them in here and there."
Photo by Korrie Powell
- Fender Telecaster
- Fender Player Jazzmaster
- Fender Stratocaster (studio only)
- 6-string and 12-string acoustics (studio only)
Strings and Picks
- .014 sets
- Cuts his own from discarded plastic cards
- Logic guitar amp sims
- Fuzz pedal
- Strymon BigSky
- Waves auto-wah plug-in
That song—the album's first single—is a perfect microcosm of Chew the Scenery's no-rules vibe. It roars with gritty guitars, fuzzed-out bass, and harmonized 6-string lines that are equally exciting and jarring from beginning to end. Hot on the heels of "Stuck," "Yeah!" introduces a very '90s electronic element. Then the piano ballad "Final Call" arrives at the end of the album to remind you of the wild, diverse ride you've been on.
The explosive energy and the stylistic shifts are no accident, obviously. From the start, Lang knew what he wanted, who it was for, and that this would be a different sort of album. "We wanted to encapsulate all the sounds that I had done. You look at my Spotify profile, and my music's changed so much over the years. I wanted to bring everything in and tie it up in the new, crispy sound we had with me and Rich. [Rich Turvy co-produced the album and has worked with Blossom, the Coral, and other pop-rock breakthrough artists.] I also wanted it to work for the two different types of listeners. There are the musos that like to listen to the album as a whole. It's not that it has to have a huge storyline or anything, but I wanted it to flow nicely. But, also, the songs are different enough that the average listener is only going to listen to one or two songs. So you can come in wherever, and it'll still make sense."
"I'm well known for breaking strings in my band, so nobody gives me their guitars. That's why I use .014s. Those are the ones that snap the least when I'm playing."
For Chew the Scenery, Lang—who was joined by his bandmates and co-producer—recorded in a professional studio for the first time. "We wrote a lot of songs up in Parr Street in Liverpool, which is a famous studio that Coldplay recorded a lot of their earlier albums in. And we finished off writing some of it in Coastal Sound. It was the first time that I'd spent a long time in a studio with windows [laughs]. It felt pretty good, to be honest, because of the amount of time I've spent in basically a dark box. The album is mostly me and Rich Turvy. We just sit in a room and figure things out. As I'm starting a song, I can really hear where it's going, and he hears the same thing, which is really helpful. He really understands me. And a lot of the bass is Rich. He has a touch that I can't quite replicate.
"I also had two members of my band. Mac [Luis] does all of the drums. Then Daniel Bath comes in and does guitar. He'll shred a solo that I can't rip because I'm not that technically proficient."
Technically proficient or not, Lang understands what's exactly right for his songs, so his raging bass and guitar parts are all over the album. "There'll be times where we listen to the demo, and it's just so extreme that Rich can't do that. I go in and just smack a bass or guitar. I can just hit it with fucking attitude. Nobody else does that for some reason. I have to fill in when it needs to be messed up in a good way. I'm well known for breaking strings in my band [laughs], so nobody gives me their guitars. That's why I use .014s. Those are the ones that snap the least when I'm playing."
TIDBIT: Although Lang's earlier singles and EPs may have made him a star, his new full-length is the first album he's recorded in a formal studio and his first guitar-focused recording.
Despite Lang's ham-fisted approach, Chew the Scenery features some surprisingly advanced musical concepts, from polyrhythms and countermelodies to strange intervals and chromatic flourishes. "Me and the boys in my band like music that's interesting and weird, with polyrhythms and countermelody," he relates. "We sneak them in here and there. But the music-theory side of music, I've never been into. And with all the instruments that I've learned, I've never really been good at practicing. I always used to hate it. I'd go in and do the first few lessons. From then on, I was just teaching myself through doing covers and looking at different chords."
Lang knows as much about tone chasing as he does music theory. Yet he crams the new album with captivating guitar sounds. "I think a lot of [the record] was recorded with DI. There would be times we'd run through an amp and, for some reason, it didn't have the same tonal qualities that the demo that I'd done had. We went, 'Yes, it sounds like guitar, but it doesn't sound like the guitar that we want.' And a lot of the time, the sounds are Rich trying to recreate the mad sound that I've made in Logic at 3 a.m. I've probably just worked two amp simulators and an overdrive, then whacked it through compression. It's not done the right way, but sounds weirdly good. Rich has to try and do that, but also make it sound professional and clean.
Inspired by his love for the game 'Guitar Hero,' Lang reached for the guitar at an early age.
"Other than that, I don't really know what we used on the album. There's probably a little bit of phaser and some reverb on there. I know that we doubled all the acoustics. And we might've whacked a 12-string on it. I'm not 100 percent sure. I think we tried to whip out a Les Paul one time. Then we were like, 'This is too much. We're going too far in the wrong direction.' So, most of it was recorded on a mix of Strat and Tele. I never take time to sit down and be like, 'What guitar is this?' It's more like, 'What does this song need? Acoustic guitars.' We'll go grab it, and you're instantly recording. Then you put it down, and you're moving on to the next thing. It's all a blur—go, go, go, go! So, I never have a chance to look down and see what I'm doing. I'm just cranking the gain on overdrive, and it's, 'Yes, that sounds good,' and moving on with the day."
Nonetheless, Lang does have a pair of pet guitars. "I have a Fender Telecaster, which is a matte light blue. It's just so nice. That one's called Mary. She's homey and just sweet—my little light blue guitar. Then I've got Murphy, who's the naughty boy. He's a Fender Jazzmaster, buttercream with a black fretboard. It's so nice."
"The music-theory side of music, I've never been into. And with all the instruments that I've learned, I've never really been good at practicing."
The bottom line, though, is that Lang doesn't even really consider himself a guitarist. "I'm a piano player first, really. I was the classic 7-year-old. My mom got me into it and signed me up for the lessons. So I'd say the instrument I could stick with is piano, just because it's so versatile. I'm also trying to put the guitar down as much as I can, to be as free as possible. When we get back out live, I'm going to put the guitar down and have my hands out to make as much movement as I can
"I also like to make music on my laptop. Having a piano, you can pretty much do everything. You can do drums, bass guitar, everything you need. There were times where I was trying to exclusively write on guitar. But now I'm back and writing on piano. I'm getting into synths and electronic vibes. The plan is to keep releasing music. It's something that I'm always doing—constantly making music. I'm not really ever going to stop."
Oscar Lang - Antidote to Being Bored (Live)
There's a perfectly good reason why the famous offset's most high-profile ambassador has a new signature Telecaster—and the silver-maned fuzz lord also turned to a number of other surprising choices for Dinosaur Jr.'s wonderfully varied new Sweep It Into Space.
Dinosaur Jr. has long had a home with fans of fuzzy indie rock, but they've also never sounded quite like any other band. The sour/sweet juxtaposition of J Mascis' gentle, reedy vocal textures against his hallmark wall of swirling, violently massive guitars isn't without precedent, yet in the context of Dinosaur Jr.'s music it's always stood out as something unique and genuine—and it's had a major influence on the hordes of contemporary artists chasing the alt-rock glory of the '90s.
The Massachusetts-based trio has had three distinct periods as a band, yet Mascis' earnest songwriting and equally vicious, noisy, and melodic guitar have always been the eye around which the band's sonic hurricane revolves. He is a revered tone hunter, a passionate student of rock's grimy past, and a prolific gear collector. Weaned on a steady diet of '80s hardcore punk, '70s proto metal, and especially Stooges records featuring Ron Asheton's primal guitar work, Mascis has a style—particularly in his soloing, which feels like a 6-string stream-of-conscious monologue—that's unmistakable.
Dinosaur Jr. - Full Performance (Live on KEXP at Home)
Dinosaur Jr.'s original lineup of Mascis, bassist Lou Barlow, and drummer Emmett Jefferson Murphy III (known as "Murph" to everyone but the government) formed in 1984 in Amherst, Massachusetts, and put out three highly influential albums before splintering. Mascis continued to make Dinosaur Jr. recordings, chiefly by himself, until 1997, at which point he began a solo career in earnest. However, Dinosaur Jr.'s founding triumvirate unexpectedly reunited in 2005. And the band's third act has added four critically acclaimed albums to its discography—now followed by an inspired and vibrant fifth, the new Sweep It Into Space.
Mascis has historically been downright negative about the role producers play, however, this time the band opted to call in friend, fan, and prolific singer-songwriter Kurt Vile to help bring Sweep It Into Space to life. Mascis says that, unlike the typical artist-producer relationship, Vile's role was more like a fourth band member and cheerleader. "Kurt was good because he likes the band already and wasn't really trying to tell us anything to do. He was mostly playing and singing different parts to the songs, and if I liked them I'd put 'em in. Kurt was also a good vibe guy and I think he made the other guys feel a little more comfortable, because we can get a little tense when we record. Kurt kept the vibe good." Mascis adds that he and Vile have similar tastes as guitarists, and that "if we were both being interviewed, you'd hear some similarities in the things we like from the past."
I bought a Les Paul Deluxe just because I was in Thin Lizzy mode. That was an interesting new purchase, and I played some rhythm stuff on the album on that guitar.
So many high-profile reunions fail to yield strong new albums, let alone five. Sweep It Into Space elaborates on the magic of Dinosaur Jr.'s beloved early output. It's a pure representation of Mascis' songwriting, with the classic Murph and Barlow support, and every track is a feast for fans of Mascis' guitar work. From the jangle and bash of opener "I Ain't" to the hulking, Black Sabbath-informed riff that opens "I Met the Stones" to the layered acoustic guitars and blazing solos that punctuate throughout (particularly the burners on "Hide Another Round" and "N Say"), Sweep It Into Space finds Mascis at the peak of his prowess. Though Mascis claims not to have noticed any specific changes in his playing throughout the pandemic's isolation, he did find himself on a serious Thin Lizzy kick he admits probably found its way onto the new album (perhaps as manifested by the harmonized leads on "I Ran Away").
"I was watching a lot of Thin Lizzy videos. My friend Graham [Clise] that's in [side-project] Witch with me told me to watch this video of Gary Moore on [BBC TV program] The Old Grey Whistle Test, and his backup band is Scott Gorham, Phil Lynott, and Cozy Powell on drums, and he's really ripping in that! That video led me to get more into Thin Lizzy, because it sounded a lot like [MC5 guitarist Fred "Sonic" Smith's band] Sonic's Rendezvous Band or something that was definitely up my alley. I bought a Les Paul Deluxe just because I was in Thin Lizzy mode. That was an interesting new purchase, and I played some rhythm stuff on the album on that guitar."
TIDBIT: While much of Sweep It Into Space was recorded before the pandemic, Mascis also tracked alone at home. "Quarantine made me a better engineer, if anything."
Mascis is a renowned gearhound, so it's no surprise he picked up some new old guitars over the course of the pandemic. However, the big news in Mascis' gear world is his latest collaboration with Fender: a signature Telecaster based on his favorite 1958. Mascis' wildly popular signature Squier Jazzmaster was first put into production in 2011 and is considered by many offset fans to be the best bang-for-buck Jazzmaster available. But despite the role Mascis has played in popularizing Jazzmasters by playing vintage models live since Dinosaur Jr. began, the guitar Mascis has relied upon for the lion's share of the iconic solos heard on the band's albums is indeed that very special '58 Tele, which sports a blue-sparkle refinish, mirror pickguard, jumbo frets, and a "top-loader" bridge. The new Road Worn Series J Mascis signature Telecaster immortalizes that guitar and its unique features in a relatively affordable package.
J Mascis' Gear
Another new gear switch-up: Whereas Mascis blasts through a wall of Marshall and Hiwatt stacks live, for the new Dinosaur Jr. album, he relied on a Vox AC30 and Fender Bandmaster instead.
Photo by Jim Bennett
- Fender J Mascis Signature Telecaster
- 1958 Fender Telecaster
- 1972 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe
- Ernie Ball Music Man St. Vincent
- Vox AC30 AC30HW2 Hand-Wired reissue
- 1x12 cab with Tone Tubby Hempcone Speaker
- Tweed Fender Bandmaster
- Jerms Tone Bender MkI clone
- Chase Bliss Brothers
- Jam Pedals RetroVibe
- Lovetone Cheese Source
- Lovetone Meatball
- Wren and Cuff J Mascis Garbage Face fuzz
- Bad Cat X-Treme Tone
Strings & Picks
- Ernie Ball Regular Slinky (.010–.046)
- Dunlop Tortex 1.12 mm
Rig Rundown - Dinosaur Jr.'s J Mascis and Lou Barlow
So, for a guy whose name is synonymous with the Jazzmaster, what exactly is it about that old blue Tele that's made it his go-to when it comes time to lay down a solo? "I seem to play differently on a lot of guitars, which is another reason why I like to buy different guitars. I come up with different things, and maybe the guitars have some songs in them already. On that Tele, I find my solos are more interesting. If I play the same solo on a Strat, it just sounds like a Strat to me. It's slightly more boring somehow? I don't know where my brain or fingers go or why that happens, but I usually find that if I play solos on different guitars for the same song, the stuff I play on that Tele is always more interesting. The top-loader was the first Tele I really bonded with, and it was about the feel. When I pick up Teles with string-through-body bridges, the strings are a little harder to bend. People say the top-loaders don't have as much sustain, but I never thought of a Tele as a sustain guitar anyway, and when you hit a Big Muff, every guitar has sustain. So that argument doesn't really work for me."
People say [Telecaster] top-loaders don't have as much sustain, but I never thought of a Tele as a sustain guitar anyway, and when you hit a Big Muff, every guitar has sustain.
Sweep It Into Space came together right before the pandemic began to shut things down. While all of its songs were fundamentally tracked by the time lockdowns began, Mascis had to capture some of his solos and overdubs at home and was forced to learn Pro Tools in the process. "I guess quarantine made me a better engineer, if anything," he says. "I did some 12-string guitar overdubs and recorded some solos myself." Although, live, Mascis is often photographer-slamming his sound through a confrontational trio of Marshall and Hiwatt stacks, recording himself led to a different option. "I tended to use a handwired AC30 head, because it has a master volume. Because the amp was right next to me, I could make it really quiet with the master volume, which really helped out. I think I played it through a cab with one of those Tone Tubby hemp speakers."
Dinosaur Jr. (left to right): Bassist Lou Barlow, J Mascis, and drummer Emmett Jefferson "Murph" Murphy III.
Photo by Cara Totman
Another reason Mascis fired up his Vox is that he prefers the way AC15s and AC30s handle fuzz pedals for recording. "I tend to always want to put the mic right on the speaker, and lately I've tended to favor a Vox amp for fuzz. I like the way fuzz hits a Vox amp. It seems to work well with them and it's never that loud when I record, so it's very different than how I get that sound live. I'm trying to recreate maybe the live feel, but it seems much easier to get a cool sound at a lower volume so the mic can handle it." Mascis also says that it's usually a germanium Tone Bender MkI that he reaches for as a starting point for his recorded fuzz sounds, and seldom the Big Muffs he loves live. However, the guitarist is still happy to experiment. "I tend to add different things to that, and I usually always stack fuzzes together to come up with a cool sound."
The only time I'll ever reach for a slide is if I think a song really needs it, because I'm not very good at it.
Interestingly, while the main riff on "I Met The Stones" features one of the most savage guitar sounds on any Dinosaur Jr. release, no fuzz pedals were involved in shaping the track's core tone. "That song I ended up playing in C# … and I think I was using a St. Vincent signature Ernie Ball guitar, because it seemed to play in-tune well at that pitch. A lot of those rhythm parts are on that guitar through a tweed Fender Bandmaster. I think the sound on that song is mostly from the amp and the mini-humbuckers in that guitar."
A 1987 SST Records press photo of Mascis, Murph, and Barlow before a name dispute caused them to add the lovably diminutive appellation to their moniker.
Even though Dinosaur Jr.'s reinvigorated trio lineup has proven yet again to be a fertile and stable partnership with Sweep It Into Space, in 2019 Mascis revisited the major-label releases the band put out during Murph and Barlow's mid-'90s absence, with a series of vinyl reissues. Given that project's proximity to Into Space, one can't help but wonder if any ideas from that '90s output seeped into the new album's tunes. "You definitely hear some songs, and it's like you didn't remember some of them at all," he says. "It's interesting when you record a song and never play it live and then hear it again 20 or 30 years later. You sometimes don't remember much about it. So it was cool to hear them again and wonder what I was thinking about when I wrote them. 'How'd You Pin That One on Me' off of Green Mind has a lot of slide, and the only time I'll ever reach for a slide is if I think a song really needs it, because I'm not very good at it. So it's interesting to hear myself playing slide. I usually don't like listening to people playing slide unless it's someone very specific. Something about slide guitar doesn't appeal to me that much. I like Mick Taylor's slide stuff, which wasn't too crazy."
The major-label years of the mid '90s had stranger things in store for Dinosaur Jr. than an unexpected slide guitar part, though. For example, the band made its television debut on Late Show with David Letterman in 1993, at a time when Letterman's house band typically backed up the show's musical guests. The performance saw Mascis and company rip through an impassioned, barnstorming version of "Out There," with Paul Schaffer and the rest of the Letterman band jamming along, And while that in itself is YouTube gold for fans of rock oddities, it gets better. David Sanborn spends the entire song blowing the living hell out of his saxophone from a perch in the background. It's a weird sound, but one that actually kind of works. Mascis remembers the experience fondly. "I was trying to encourage David Sanborn to jam out on the song, and all those guys are just sitting there, so I figured he might as well just play and see what it sounds like. I remember it being good, but I also remember a few sax notes seeming out of tune … which was surprising for Sanborn."