Indie shredder’s axe of choice: a Jazzmaster.




Stern is an autodidact guitarist known for her towering sound and angular
avant-awesome licks—but she considers herself more of a songwriter than some rarefied
female shredder. So while she did listen to a lot of guitar-oriented music
(AC/DC, Elvis Costello) while recording the follow-up to her
critically-acclaimed 2007 debut, In
Advance of the Broken Arm
—and still creates a mighty din on the new record
— guitars weren’t foremost in her mind. She wanted to make This Is It And I Am It And You Are It And So Is That And He Is It And
She Is It And It Is It And That Is That
(Kill Rock Stars) “fun.”


“I’m not
trying to prove myself as much—just focusing on the songs,” she says. She
recorded those tunes in part on a funky Pro Tools unit fast approaching its
expiration date. The front grille is falling off, but Stern can’t afford to fix
it. In fact, she’d rather buy a Telecaster, but until the real money pours in
she’ll settle for her trusty Jazzmaster.



WHEN I GOT ‘ER, AND WHY: In my early 20s, I
lived across the street from a guitar shop and became friends with the owner.
He basically sold me on the guitars I got and it ended up shaping my sound. I
started off with a Danelectro Japanese re-issue that I bought for 150 bucks—I’m
actually using it now because the other guitars aren’t working. I like my
Jazzmaster the most. I’ve played it for so long. It has a third pickup, which
is rare I guess.  


WHAT SHE COST: The Jazzmaster cost $700


HOW SHE SOUNDS: Really good tone


SHE HAS A NICE ________: The tone, the shape,
the neck—long and thin, easy for tapping. It stood up well for a really long


WHY I’LL NEVER LET ‘ER GO: I’ve been using the
same guitars and pedals for 10 years. When I look at them they remind me of the
places that I’ve lived and what was going on.

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