Who plays a Fender Jazzmaster? Elvis Costello for one. Sonic Youth, The Cure, My Bloody Valentine and Dinosaur Jr. are a few of the bands who have made it part of their signature sound.
Great guitars are as unique as the artists that play them. They have their own stories to tell.
If I could play all the memories
In the neck of my guitar
I’d write a song called
“Senorita with a necklace of tears”
and every tear a sin I’d committed
oh these many years
Paul Simon, Senorita With A Necklace Of Tears
So it is for Elvis. Here’s an interesting interview with Elvis Costello in which he talks about his Fender Jazzmaster guitar. It’s a classic story of the guitar choosing the player, and a case of offbeat taste that is truly Costello.
Elvis did this interview as part of the 2008 release of the Elvis Costello Fender signature model Jazzmaster.
A Brief history of the Fender Jazzmaster
The Jazzmaster was introduced in 1958 and was originally targeted, as the name would suggest, at Jazz musicians. Ironically, many Jazz musicians avoided the thing (reportedly due to a propensity to induce unwanted feedback) and it became associated instead with surf musicians.
Elvis references the guitar’s natural fit for this type of music when he talks about “spy movie” music. It’s what led him down the path to creating Watching the Detectives, so I suppose we should be grateful it had such qualities.
And here’s a bonus interview in which Lee Ranaldo talks about his Jazzmaster guitar and why it’s not only one of the most comfortable guitars to play, but also brought Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. together.
Incidentally, Lee Ranaldo also happens to have his own Fender Signature series Jazzmaster available. 😉