Spotlight: Jarryd James

Jarryd James
(Image credit: Alex Radelich)

SOUNDS LIKE: Slick, soulful club anthems
P.M. (LP out now via Universal)

What’s your current go-to guitar?
My favourite guitar at the moment is actually a bass – it’s a 1978 Fender Musicmaster. I bought it a few years ago from Southside Guitars in Williamsburg, and ever since I got it, I’ve taken it to pretty much every session I’ve been in. I find it to be a great tool to get ideas started – it’s just so easy to handle; it’s basically a guitar with bass strings on it.

How did you initially fall in love with the instrument?
My very first guitar was one that belonged to my father. I never met him, and he died when I was quite young – around two-years-old – and when I was in high school, it was given to me by his mother. It’s an old Ibanez dreadnought acoustic, and along with it I also inherited one of those original Pignose amps. Those are really cool little things.

What inspires you as a player?
I grew up listening to Bob Dylan, so naturally figured out how to fingerpick as soon as possible. My mum also had a lot of Leo Kottke albums that grabbed my ear. David Gilmour is one of my all-time favourites, and in more modern times I’d have to say Rivers Cuomo of Weezer for his perfectly simple and melodic solos.

Are you much of a gear nerd?
I’m the opposite of a gear nerd – I have really simple needs and tastes. I have a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe Tweed, it’s a newer one but for some reason it came with a vintage Jensen Alnico speaker in it, which I think is quite unusual. Other than that, I don’t own a lot of pedals – just a couple Boss delays and tremolo. When I record, I mostly use plugins for effects.

Do you have any ‘white whales’?
I’d really love to find an old Martin D-28 someday. So expensive though!

What would your signature model look like?
I’m only half serious when I say this, but it would be a left-handed Fender Strat, flipped Hendrix-style back into a right-hander, and then road-worn, but not too much. I have a Fender Jazz Bass that I did the same thing to – I bought it off my friend George McCardle, who used to play in Little River Band, and customised it so I could use it.

If you could jam with any guitarist, dead or alive...
I’ll say D’Angelo for this, and I reckon it would be fun to just jam random stuff with him – maybe a little 12-bar blues action.

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Ellie Robinson
Editor-at-Large, Australian Guitar Magazine

Ellie Robinson is an Australian writer, editor and dog enthusiast with a keen ear for pop-rock and a keen tongue for actual Pop Rocks. Her bylines include music rag staples like NME, BLUNT, Mixdown and, of course, Australian Guitar (where she also serves as Editor-at-Large), but also less expected fare like TV Soap and Snowboarding Australia. Her go-to guitar is a Fender Player Tele, which, controversially, she only picked up after she'd joined the team at Australian Guitar. Before then, Ellie was a keyboardist – thankfully, the AG crew helped her see the light…