There’s only one J Mascis. And to the godfather of grunge we say: happy birthday!
As the principal songwriter, singer and guitar player in Dinosaur Jr., Mascis is renowned for using a Jazzmaster plugged into a Marshall amp. Since the band’s pioneering alternative rock days of the mid-‘80s he has used the classic Fender offset (because he couldn’t afford a Strat to begin with) and has since been honored with two signature models: the Fender J Mascis Jazzmaster (released in 2007) and the Squier J Mascis Jazzmaster (released in 2011.)
Earlier this year, Fender also released the J Mascis Telecaster.
But Fender solidbodies aren’t the only electric guitars Mascis favors; he also loves to play a rare 1950s Gibson flat-top model known as the CF-100E. Unveiled in 1951 as an electrified version of the CF-100 (released the previous year) this golden era classic was ahead of its time. These days, cutaway electro-acoustics are the norm, but back in the ‘50s they were slow to catch on and by the end of decade the model was discontinued.
Here’s Mascis putting a Gibson CF-100E to good use during a 2011 solo performance in Austin, Texas…
Fuzz pedals hadn’t even been invented by the time the Gibson CF-100E was discontinued in 1959, and Mascis’ use of the effect is pretty radical even by today’s standards. But then he hardly used the Jazzmaster to play jazz with. And it’s exactly this kind of inventive and uncompromising use of gear that has helped him become such an influential figure in the guitar world. Indeed, Kurt Cobain, Billy Corgan and Kurt Vile have all cited him as a major inspiration.
While we’re on a nostalgia trip, here he is rocking a Jazzmaster/Marshall rig back in the mid-‘80s…
And long may it continue. Many happy returns, Mr. Mascis!
Grab a copy of Dinosaur Jr.'s latest album Sweep It Into Space here.
Rod Brakes is a music writer with an expertise in all things guitar-related. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a journalist covering artists, industry pros and gear includes writing hundreds of articles and features for the likes of Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar World, Guitar Player and MusicRadar, as well as contributions for specialist books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.
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