Tom Verlaine mid 80's black Jazzmaster

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Tom Verlaine mid 80's black Jazzmaster

Post by Paco » Fri Mar 05, 2021 4:47 pm

I was reading Feeding Back, David Todd's book with great interviews with various guitar players, and the Tom Verlaine interview really got me curious to take a deeper (obsessive ::) ) look at his gear. In the interview he talks a lot about a strat with a JM neck and some lipstick pickups, this guitar has been previously talked about on this forum. This guitar rocks, and it pretty much is the foundation of Verlaine's modern tone, but...

While researching I found this video of Verlaine's band in 1984 (incredible set and line-up) and he's absolutely ripping this black JM apart. I think it might be a goldguard? (I've heard about Verlaine's goldguard, but found no pictures) Anyone knows more about this particular guitar?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLiyNqr ... keller2008

I had never seen this footage before, and Verlaine is really loose and fun, so it's a really nice show overall. But the tone of that Jazzmaster is haunting me. What's his amp? Silverface twin? I just can't get a hold of his effects either. By the end of Marquee Moon he's just putting out some behind-the-bridge action and pretty much No Waving the shit out of that jazz 8)

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Re: Tom Verlaine mid 80's black Jazzmaster

Post by Larry Mal » Fri Mar 05, 2021 5:15 pm

Beats me, but what a great performance.
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Re: Tom Verlaine mid 80's black Jazzmaster

Post by windmill » Fri Mar 05, 2021 7:20 pm

Thanks for posting the video , it was very good.

It looks like a silverface twin on the stage.

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Re: Tom Verlaine mid 80's black Jazzmaster

Post by timtam » Fri Mar 05, 2021 8:15 pm

Reading the same book currently !

That 1984 show has him with that black JM, plus Jimmy Rip on guitar instead of Richard Lloyd. From around the same time there is also possibly the best live video of Marquee Moon, with a silvery strat with no-decal (?) maple neck (no lipsticks, but covered strat pickups) and an AC30 (?) - so rather different gear. And Richard Lloyd. Unfortunately it was posted to youtube in the days when youtube restricted videos to 10 minutes, which means it's in two parts (you can download/join them) - 17 minutes all up !
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDRIpopYxj8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ysOU5EFhio
In a time when guitar solos were mostly eschewed, I recall zero criticism at the time for that meandering and mesmerizing solo. Around 4 minutes long on the record, but never played the same way live, and usually longer. Been obsessing on it lately, as I've been learning the 4-minute solo from a few cobbled together bad tabs and ear.

Marquee Moon (faster, but also truncated at 10mins) from the 84 show with the black JM and Jimmy Rip ...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LmVeXJHM9s
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Re: Tom Verlaine mid 80's black Jazzmaster

Post by marqueemoon » Fri Mar 05, 2021 10:52 pm

That was cool. I hadn’t seen that one before. Leather pants and roto toms!

Can we talk about how badass Fred Smith’s L-1000 sounds? I think I need to track one down now. It’s the perfect blend of the piano-like Stingray thing and P growl. His playing is so solid on this.

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Re: Tom Verlaine mid 80's black Jazzmaster

Post by adamrobertt » Sat Mar 06, 2021 7:11 am

timtam wrote:
Fri Mar 05, 2021 8:15 pm
Reading the same book currently !

That 1984 show has him with that black JM, plus Jimmy Rip on guitar instead of Richard Lloyd. From around the same time there is also possibly the best live video of Marquee Moon, with a silvery strat with no-decal (?) maple neck (no lipsticks, but covered strat pickups) and an AC30 (?) - so rather different gear. And Richard Lloyd. Unfortunately it was posted to youtube in the days when youtube restricted videos to 10 minutes, which means it's in two parts (you can download/join them) - 17 minutes all up !
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDRIpopYxj8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ysOU5EFhio
In a time when guitar solos were mostly eschewed, I recall zero criticism at the time for that meandering and mesmerizing solo. Around 4 minutes long on the record, but never played the same way live, and usually longer. Been obsessing on it lately, as I've been learning the 4-minute solo from a few cobbled together bad tabs and ear.

Marquee Moon (faster, but also truncated at 10mins) from the 84 show with the black JM and Jimmy Rip ...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LmVeXJHM9s
I saw Television with Jimmy Ripp three or four years ago when they came to town. Verlaine was still playing that silver strat and the AC30. Not a single Jazzmaster on stage! Great show though.

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Re: Tom Verlaine mid 80's black Jazzmaster

Post by Larry Mal » Sat Mar 06, 2021 7:17 am

marqueemoon wrote:
Fri Mar 05, 2021 10:52 pm


Can we talk about how badass Fred Smith’s L-1000 sounds? I think I need to track one down now. It’s the perfect blend of the piano-like Stingray thing and P growl. His playing is so solid on this.
As a longtime owner of an L-1000, I can tell you that's exactly what you should do. They are magical and incredible instruments, definitely among the best basses in the world.
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Re: Tom Verlaine mid 80's black Jazzmaster

Post by marqueemoon » Sat Mar 06, 2021 8:58 am

Larry Mal wrote:
Sat Mar 06, 2021 7:17 am
marqueemoon wrote:
Fri Mar 05, 2021 10:52 pm


Can we talk about how badass Fred Smith’s L-1000 sounds? I think I need to track one down now. It’s the perfect blend of the piano-like Stingray thing and P growl. His playing is so solid on this.
As a longtime owner of an L-1000, I can tell you that's exactly what you should do. They are magical and incredible instruments, definitely among the best basses in the world.
I know some of the old ones can be pretty heavy, but what a great sound.

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Re: Tom Verlaine mid 80's black Jazzmaster

Post by Larry Mal » Sat Mar 06, 2021 9:20 am

marqueemoon wrote:
Sat Mar 06, 2021 8:58 am


I know some of the old ones can be pretty heavy, but what a great sound.
Yeah, no doubt. Mine is out of commission but I really don't remember it being all that heavy, it was made between '81 and '83 as I recall. Someone actually told me recently, I'll see if I can find that. But I never found the weight to be an issue, I'm not super sensitive to that, though.

That being said: Get one of the new CLF ones. I need to have a new neck made for mine and it's making me a little leery to trust the truss rods G&L was using back in the day any more. I'd be a little hesitant to sink a lot of money into a bass that might crap out like mine did.

Plus, the new reissues have a six bolt neck on there instead of three, no reason not to take the added stability, they've streamlined the body and made it a little smaller and such. It's an attractive update on the design and still has the same electronics so far as I know, so no reason not to take advantage of the update.

The neck won't be quite the same I guess, mine is a 7.5" radius width with a very nice 1.75" nut on there, nice and wide. I don't know if they make the new ones like that, that being said, I have four G&L basses at this point, none of them have the same neck, all of them are excellent in their own way. G&L knows what's up and if they put a neck on something it's going to be a great neck.

Actually, I just looked it up, it seems almost like G&L is using a J-bass width on these reissues. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but it is a considerable difference after all.

Just a few thoughts- hope I didn't de-rail the thread too much.
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Re: Tom Verlaine mid 80's black Jazzmaster

Post by marqueemoon » Sat Mar 06, 2021 9:57 am

Larry Mal wrote:
Sat Mar 06, 2021 9:20 am
marqueemoon wrote:
Sat Mar 06, 2021 8:58 am


I know some of the old ones can be pretty heavy, but what a great sound.
Yeah, no doubt. Mine is out of commission but I really don't remember it being all that heavy, it was made between '81 and '83 as I recall. Someone actually told me recently, I'll see if I can find that. But I never found the weight to be an issue, I'm not super sensitive to that, though.

That being said: Get one of the new CLF ones. I need to have a new neck made for mine and it's making me a little leery to trust the truss rods G&L was using back in the day any more. I'd be a little hesitant to sink a lot of money into a bass that might crap out like mine did.

Plus, the new reissues have a six bolt neck on there instead of three, no reason not to take the added stability, they've streamlined the body and made it a little smaller and such. It's an attractive update on the design and still has the same electronics so far as I know, so no reason not to take advantage of the update.

The neck won't be quite the same I guess, mine is a 7.5" radius width with a very nice 1.75" nut on there, nice and wide. I don't know if they make the new ones like that, that being said, I have four G&L basses at this point, none of them have the same neck, all of them are excellent in their own way. G&L knows what's up and if they put a neck on something it's going to be a great neck.

Actually, I just looked it up, it seems almost like G&L is using a J-bass width on these reissues. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but it is a considerable difference after all.

Just a few thoughts- hope I didn't de-rail the thread too much.
Good to know. I really dislike J width. I’m a bass player, dammit.

Getting back to the Verlaine guitar there’s definitely some other footage out there of him with this black JM. A few TV appearances. In some of the closeup shots it looks like there is a bevel, so that would make it white, not anodized.

I see two Ibanez pedals on the floor. Maybe an AD-9 and a CS-9? I don’t hear Tube Screamer, but I could definitely be wrong. There’s some kind of fuzzy dirt happening in places.

Jimmy must have a rack setup as there is some pitch shift/whammy stuff happening, and there’s a foot controller on the floor.

Another thing about this that is very Tom Verlaine is the tuning. I’ve seen him twice with Television and one solo and he spends a LOT of time tuning. He has a tuner on the floor here but doesn’t fully trust it, so he tries to tune by ear too and doesn’t always get it 100%.

Also notice the fabric or foam under the strings on the headstock to kill whatever ringing is happening there.

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Re: Tom Verlaine mid 80's black Jazzmaster

Post by Paco » Sat Mar 06, 2021 2:28 pm

When I saw Television on tour some years ago (the exact same lineup as in the La Edad de Oro video!) they were awesome, Verlaine used the lipstick Jazzstrat and a rental AC30, I don't remember Jimmy Rip's setup but there was a tele there too. No Jazzmasters, that's for sure. Not much effects either. And no Richard Lloyd sadly :mellow:

In the video it does sound like he's using an AD-9 and maybe the compressor. My guess for distortion is an MXR Dist+, there are some brief sights of yellow on his pedals and the sound matches. Man, that tone. I believe the white pickguard on the black JM could be a replacement too, something is off... And what about Rip's guitar. What's that?? :fp: I love that we suddenly get to talk about Fred Smith's L-1000, g&l basses are tone machines and the whole brand is so underrated.

I love Verlaine's whole approach to guitar, specially on the old jags and JM's. Also, he seems to be the first modern offset player, reinterpreting its quirks (alternate tunings, heavy trem and behind the bridge playing, proto-prepared guitar) for his own shit. I wish I had seen Television with Richard Lloyd, tremendously underrated player IMO. Its hard to believe that such amazing, complex players could be on the same band.

I remembered this video too, which is in my opinion one of the most powerful performances of Television ever caught on film. I think all the gear on this video is rented, including the beautiful JM on Verlaine's. And Lloyd here is so powerful too, so dynamic and elegant. In this era they were all in full command of their shit, and in great shape.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lrl7O-g ... el=TomCruz
Last edited by Paco on Sat Mar 06, 2021 4:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Tom Verlaine mid 80's black Jazzmaster

Post by PorkyPrimeCut » Sat Mar 06, 2021 2:44 pm

Paco wrote:
Fri Mar 05, 2021 4:47 pm
...While researching I found this video of Verlaine's band in 1984 (incredible set and line-up) and he's absolutely ripping this black JM apart. I think it might be a goldguard? (I've heard about Verlaine's goldguard, but found no pictures) Anyone knows more about this particular guitar?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLiyNqr ... keller2008
It actually looks to be a white guard (or mint, maybe?) if you look at it from around the 1:45 point. There seems to be shielding behind it. Either that or it has that white/black/white bevel.

Black pickup covers too!? I know the early, fabled prototype had them but did they ever actually appear on stock models by the mid 80s?

EDIT - I just checked back & marqueemoon had already pointed out the bevel. Cool guitar, regardless.

EDIT II - The pickup covers look kinda matt in appearance too so I'm thinking it may have been a custom/home done thing, along with the black knobs.
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Re: Tom Verlaine mid 80's black Jazzmaster

Post by bogmummy » Sat Mar 06, 2021 5:34 pm

PorkyPrimeCut wrote:
Sat Mar 06, 2021 2:44 pm
Paco wrote:
Fri Mar 05, 2021 4:47 pm
...While researching I found this video of Verlaine's band in 1984 (incredible set and line-up) and he's absolutely ripping this black JM apart. I think it might be a goldguard? (I've heard about Verlaine's goldguard, but found no pictures) Anyone knows more about this particular guitar?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLiyNqr ... keller2008
It actually looks to be a white guard (or mint, maybe?) if you look at it from around the 1:45 point. There seems to be shielding behind it. Either that or it has that white/black/white bevel.

Black pickup covers too!? I know the early, fabled prototype had them but did they ever actually appear on stock models by the mid 80s?

EDIT - I just checked back & marqueemoon had already pointed out the bevel. Cool guitar, regardless.

EDIT II - The pickup covers look kinda matt in appearance too so I'm thinking it may have been a custom/home done thing, along with the black knobs.
It kind of looks like the pickup covers are absent?

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Re: Tom Verlaine mid 80's black Jazzmaster

Post by Maggieo » Sat Mar 06, 2021 7:44 pm

Good, but pretty weak tea, compared to Tom and Richard in Television.
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Re: Tom Verlaine mid 80's black Jazzmaster

Post by charmonder » Fri Mar 12, 2021 5:42 pm

I can't get enough of this concert. watched it twice, all 3 their guitar tones are amazing, that outrageous string crash on the other guy's strat is so freakin awesome

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