Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 26
Do you tour with them?
For touring overseas, I usually take a
Japanese Jaguar. Fender guitars are great
for touring because they're so solid. They're
really trebly, though, so I change the pots.
They have 1,000k pots, and I swap them out
to 500k which takes the edge off the treble.
Then I throw American pickups in them. The
Japanese Jaguar pickups aren't wax potted,
so they're really microphonic. I put the neck
pickup in the bridge position and the bridge
pickup in the neck position and it makes it
much better for what I do.
What is your go-to guitar for playing live?
I use a lot of vintage guitars, but with some
of the Guyatones and Burns, the microphonic
pickups just don't cut it live. So I gave a famous
luthier in Japan, A. Kuwano, my Starstream,
Astro Jet, '64 Jaguar, and Guyatone, and I said
"Put these four guitars together." And the one
he built is my main live guitar. It has the scale
length and neck shape like the Starstream,
which I'm very comfortable with, and the
inlays because I'm blind as a bat onstage. It's
got a solid mahogany body, mahogany neck,
and an ebony fingerboard. It originally had
Filter'Trons like the Gretsch, then I switched
to humbuckers. I tried all kinds of pickups
and we ended up with a set of current Guild
pickups - the small D'Armond P-90-shaped
ones - and they sounded the best out of
Are you also a fan of vintage stompboxes?
The Routes: Psychedelic Faithful
he Routes embody all the best elements of
the '60s psychedelic-rock scene. Based in
Japan and fronted by British-born guitarist and
songwriter Chris Jack, the band's sixth release,
Dirty Needles and Pins, has the band staying
true to form by relying on period-correct gear.
"In England, you rarely see vintage guitars
in good condition, not even in shops," Jacks
said. "When I started out, everyone wanted an
Ibanez or Kramer; I got a Westone, which was
actually a really good guitar. In the late '80s
and '90s, buyers from Japanese shops went to
England and the States and bought guitars.
Now, Japan has more vintage guitars than
they need and a lot of buyers from America
are coming over and buying stuff back."
Over the years, you've established quite
a collection of vintage guitars, including
some rare Guyatone and Burns models.
A lot of my stuff came from a famous
collector in Japan who has a book about his
collection. By chance, I stumbled on one of
his guitars at auction. The first one I bought
was my '63 Burns Black Bison. I also have got a
'67 Guyatone LG-220T, which is the holy grail
of Japanese guitars, a '65 Burns Double Six, a
'65 Burns Vista Sonic and a '64 Burns Vibra
Artist. I've also got a '67 Gretsch Astro Jet and
a '64 Fender Jaguar, which I love.
Do you modify your vintage guitars to
make them play or sound better onstage
or in the studio?
No, mine are all stock, I don't want to change
anything on them. I have a '67 Vox Starstream
that has all the built-in effects - wah, distortion, a repeater effect which is like a tremolo,
a treble booster, and a bunch of stuff. I do have
to clean it all the time or it gets that horrible
Given your choices of guitars and pedals, is it safe to assume you also rely on
Yeah, I used my '60s Selmer Treble 'N Bass
Mk II on most of the new record. That's the
same model Syd Barrett used. You crank it all
the way up and get that "Interstellar Overdrive"
sound. I use a Roland JC-40, as well, and occasionally gig with my '60s Vox Super Beatle,
which I really like. It's a workhorse and has such
a huge sound. When you put the fuzz through
it, you get every bit of fuzz; nothing's affected.
So I've got all the vintage gear for performing
live, but for the convenience of recording, I
sometimes use modern gear. - Johnny Zapp
Chris Jack: Yoko Ono.
I like vintage fuzz pedals, especially Japanese ones. One I use a lot is a '70s Acetone
Fuzzmaster II. I also use an early-'70s Univox
Super Fuzz, a Vox V810 Valve Tone, a '70s Eko
Multitone, a pair of '70s Roland Bee Baas, a
1967 Maestro Fuzz Tone and a '70s Elk Super
Fuzz Sustainar. I have clones made for travelling overseas. Mitstuteru Takaki at MT Labs is
my effects man and he makes original pedals
and clones using NOS parts. On the first album,
I didn't use any effects, I just plugged straight
into a Roland JC-120.