PG’s Chris Kies headed to the Cannery Ballroom in Nashville to hang with J and Lou of Dinosaur Jr., and to check out the various workhorse instruments, room-rattling amps, and piles of pedals that forge their signature alt-rock vibe.
J Mascis’ main guitar is a sunburst ’63 Fender Jazzmaster with its original neck and pickups. He replaced the pickup covers and knobs, and added a Tune-o-matic-style bridge. All of his guitars have been outfitted with jumbo frets and he uses Ernie Ball Cobalt wound strings and RPS (with a reinforced ball end) unwounds (.010–.046), and purple Dunlop Tortex (1.14 mm) picks.
Bassist Lou Barlow played a Gibson Grabber on Dinosaur Jr.’s first two albums, before switching to an arsenal of Rickenbackers. Years passed and he forgot how much he liked the Grabber and its sound—until the band went on the road in 2015 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their debut, Dinosaur Jr., and Lou borrowed this Grabber because he wanted the most accurate tone to the original albums. After that tour, Lou traded a Fender bass for the Grabber and it’s been his main ride ever since. He uses Ernie Ball Regular Slinkys (.050–.105) and purple Dunlop Tortex 1.14 mm picks.