"This is my main Jazzmaster, this is the first one I ever owned," Cline says ... more
"This is my main Jazzmaster, this is the first one I ever owned," Cline says in this premier guitar interview at (0:10). "I bought it from Mike Watt, my friend, inspiration, a fearless bass player," he said. "I've broken virtually everything on it at some point except for the knobs and the pickups," the Wilco guitarist said. "It has a Mastery bridge, as virtually all my guitars- Jaguars and Jazzmasters - have the Mastery bridge so the strings don't move around...The reason I love Jazzmasters," he says, "is everything about the shape, the feel of the guitar, the sound, strings behind the bridge, and virtual indestructibility."
"My guitar (the second one here, the 1959 Fender Jazzmaster) was purchased in the summer of 1995 from Mike Watt after the first tour by The Crew of the Flying Saucer. I had used my old '66 Jaguar on Watt's first solo record and really didn't know the difference between a Jaguar and a Jazzmaster other than the different pickups and switching configurations. I didn't know then that 1959 is one of the best years for Jazzmasters, and that this would end up being my favorite guitar. I first chose both Jazzmasters and Jaguars for their feel and because they have strings behind the bridge and single-coil pickups. I was copying Sonic Youth and Tom Verlaine, basically. But when I finally played the Jazzmaster, I was smitten with the whole feeling of the neck and body, the sound, and the inherent durability. Watt engraved his name on the base of the neck where it joins the body and on the base of the tremolo assembly. He engraves everything!
This guitar has done more tours and records than I can count: all the Mike Watt tours, the Geraldine Fibbers tours and Butch album, later records with the Fibbers' CarlaBozulich and Scarnella, dozens of recordings by various improvised projects, including all my solo records since The Inkling, tours with Wilco, and all three records I made with them. This guitar mostly lives in Chicago in the Wilco loft now, and I have a different '59 at home in Los Angeles so that I don't always have to fly back and forth with it. I have been extremely hard on it, as you can see — it was in perfect shape when I got it. I play hard. There is actually a very deep and ever-deepening gouge above where the strings stretch from the bridge to the tailpiece, where I play a lot and, apparently, with considerable vigor!
Admittedly, the finish was delicate. It is easy to scratch the paint, revealing a purplish hue, much like eggplant. I used to wear my keys on my pant loop, and after hopping up and down on stage with Watt, I created an interesting and rather sizable stippling on the back of the guitar. In the Geraldine Fibbers, I would sometimes throw the guitar to our drummer Kevin Fitzgerald and play my effects pedals while he savaged it with drumsticks, sometimes ripping out the strings, which is difficult to do on a Fender guitar, and bleeding on it. I have bled on it plenty. The Geraldine Fibbers' "Dusted" caused some wounds, and these days Wilco's song "A Shot in the Arm" might be another danger, though I am much smarter now about things like fret wear. The body, well ... I think it looks great. It's a work in progress, just like me." - Spin Magazine, 2011
Nels Cline was approached by Bill Henss of Henss guitars, who built this cust... more
Nels Cline was approached by Bill Henss of Henss guitars, who built this custom rosewood Jazzmaster-style guitar to compliment Jeff Tweedy's rosewood Telecaster. "I thought, for one thing, they were insane, but beyond that, I thought 'Sure! Why not?'" Cline said in this Premier Guitar interview at (3:00). "The only thing I asked them to do was put equidistant crosss inlays...and no, I am not Swiss," he said. The guitar has an extra Stratocaster pickup, and "Duncan antiquities [P90] pickups, which I really, really like," Cline said.
Nels Cline also owns a faded Gibson Les Paul double cutaway guitar fitted wit... more
Nels Cline also owns a faded Gibson Les Paul double cutaway guitar fitted with two P90s. According to Cline, the guitar was, "given to [him] by Jeff Tweedy when [he] joined the band...but it's the guitar I play in open tuning, which is GGDGGD," (4:53). "It's vitrtually indestructible for a Gibson," he said, at (6:00) "although the headstock did snap off at some point."
Wilco guitarist Nels Cline also plays a Jerry Jones model Neptune 12 string g... more
Wilco guitarist Nels Cline also plays a Jerry Jones model Neptune 12 string guitar. "He made Danelectro style guitars out of Nashville," Cline says at (6:30). "I love Jerry Jones' guitars, all of them...it's one of the speediest 12-strings to play," he said. "I've never played a 12 string that played so easily and sounded so glassy and delicious as the Jerry Jones."
One of Cline's weirder guitars is a Jerry Jones Double Neck Longhorn guitar, ... more
One of Cline's weirder guitars is a Jerry Jones Double Neck Longhorn guitar, spotted in this Rig Rundown video at (8:20). According to Cline, it's "a very unusual one...It had to have been made for either somebody famous or someone he knew, because it's all white...12 string and baritone neck...extremely weird."
Another guitar in Nels Cline's eclectic collection is at 1960's Hopf Telstar ... more
Another guitar in Nels Cline's eclectic collection is at 1960's Hopf Telstar Standard. According to Cline, "It's very luxurious of me to be able to play these guitars live," Cline says at (11:50). "I record with these guitars quite often for their weird tonal qualities and not bring them out on tour...but now of course with Wilco I'm completely enabled."
Nels mentions at 17:05 that Bill Nash gave him this guitar at a show in Seatt... more
Nels mentions at 17:05 that Bill Nash gave him this guitar at a show in Seattle. He admits that while he had been consciously avoiding Tele style guitars, he immediately loved this guitar for its look and feel as well as the Lollarpickups it is fitted with. He also mentions that he has set it up with 0.11s to facilitate bending and achieve a classic Tele twang.
In this video, Nels Cline tells the story of why he started playing a Gibson ... more
In this video, Nels Cline tells the story of why he started playing a Gibson Barney Kessel. It turns out Jeff Tweedy is a lover of this guitar and he had some around the Wilco loft, prompting Nels to try it and like it enough to buy one.
Nels Cline says in an interview that the Gibson J-200 was one of the guitars ... more
Nels Cline says in an interview that the Gibson J-200 was one of the guitars he used to record the album "Lovers".
Another one of his guitars is a custom-built Bilt "El Hombre", which has a cu... more
Another one of his guitars is a custom-built Bilt "El Hombre", which has a custom paintwork done by Norton Wisdom.
According to Bilt's website, another one of the custom-made guitars they buil... more
According to Bilt's website, another one of the custom-made guitars they built for him is a Bilt SS Zaftig guitar.
Throughout this video, Cline can be seen playing the Hofner 457/12 electric g... more
Throughout this video, Cline can be seen playing the Hofner 457/12 electric guitar.
In this 2009 photo of Cline, he is visible with the Fender Lee Ranaldo signat... more
In this 2009 photo of Cline, he is visible with the Fender Lee Ranaldo signature Jazzmaster.
In this photo, Cline is visible playing Bilt "The Relevator" electric guitar. more
In this photo, Cline is visible playing Bilt "The Relevator" electric guitar.
"Tim Schroeder brought one of his amps to the Wilco loft one day, and I playe... more
"Tim Schroeder brought one of his amps to the Wilco loft one day, and I played on of his 30 watt - 40 watt heads...I played this amp and it absolutely blew my mind," Nels Cline says at (18:50). "I'm always looking for low mids- a rich sound...it was just an amazing sounding amp," he said.
Nels Cline runs his Schroeder amp through a limited edition Marshall JTM45 ca... more
Nels Cline runs his Schroeder amp through a limited edition Marshall JTM45 cabinet, outfitted with 4 Celestion Blue-back speakers. The JTM45 was "the amp I was using when I joined Wilco," Cline said in this Premier Guitar interview at (20:40). "It's too big, too loud, too much sound, but it sounds so good, we just sort of point it away from everybody!" he said.
In this video Nels Cline and Julian Lage are using ZT Lunchbox amps. more
In this video Nels Cline and Julian Lage are using ZT Lunchbox amps.
"What's a Mid-Fi Glitch Computer? My roommate Bobb turned me on to this littl... more
"What's a Mid-Fi Glitch Computer? My roommate Bobb turned me on to this little company, which seems to basically be a guy in Massachusetts named Doug and his raw, loud, and SICK creations. Bobb's Glitch Computer is different from mine, but at least mine does what I had hoped for: it makes things sound like they're blowing up. Warning: These boxes (he makes distortion of various types) have so much gain it would be easy to blow up your gear! Start at low gain…"
Nels Cline uses these Source Audio products: soundblox Tri-Mod Phaser more
Nels Cline uses these Source Audio products: soundblox Tri-Mod Phaser
Nels Cline uses a Boss Compressor Sustainer to squish his sound. "People laug... more
Nels Cline uses a Boss Compressor Sustainer to squish his sound. "People laugh at [it], but I still love [it]," Cline says at (25:00), "particularly because it just squishes on with their latch switch thing."
Nels Cline uses a Fulltone Deja Vibe pedal. "I love the Deja Vibe," Cline sa... more
Nels Cline uses a Fulltone Deja Vibe pedal. "I love the Deja Vibe," Cline says at (25:40).
"I always use the Zvex Fuzz Factory," Cline says in this Premier Guitar inter... more
"I always use the Zvex Fuzz Factory," Cline says in this Premier Guitar interview at (26:10), "which most people recognize at being really strange, and intense, and uncontrollable."
"When I started playing with Wilco, I went through the many pedals lying arou... more
"When I started playing with Wilco, I went through the many pedals lying around the Wilco loft looking for EVEN MORE DISTORTION SOURCES. Jeff Tweedy had this, an early '69, and he let me have it. One of the things I look for in any distortion device is MASSIVE GAIN. I need stuff that won't get QUIETER when you hit it, and frankly a shocking number of fuzzboxes and the like are super wimpy in this regard. The '69 (new one pictured here - Jeff's broke, and I need it because this new one sounds different…) just makes the grade. Check my Wilco setting: EVERYTHING ALL THE WAY UP."
Another of Cline's pedals is the Crazy Tube Circuits Starlight. "It's a disto... more
Another of Cline's pedals is the Crazy Tube Circuits Starlight. "It's a distortion, much like a RAT but better," he says at (27:20).
Wilco guitarist Nels Cline uses at Crazy Tube Circuits Vyagra Boost, as seen ... more
Wilco guitarist Nels Cline uses at Crazy Tube Circuits Vyagra Boost, as seen in this Premier Guitar Rig Rundown video at (27:30). "It has a parametric EQ function," he said.
Nels Cline uses a Bigfoot FX Magnavibe, as spotted in this interview at (27:4... more
Nels Cline uses a Bigfoot FX Magnavibe, as spotted in this interview at (27:48). "I prefer to record with an old Magnatone amp, and this is the only pedal that tries to replicate that sound, which is kind of a wiggly sound."
Nels Cline's pedalboard sports an Electroharmonix Stereo Pulsar Tremelo, as s... more
Nels Cline's pedalboard sports an Electroharmonix Stereo Pulsar Tremelo, as seen in this Premier Guitar interview at (27:48). "I like [it] because it's incredibly versatile...It's a cheap pedal and it's great."
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