From The Desk Of Redd Kross’ Jason Shapiro: Guitars (Old Wood Or New Wood?)

Redd Kross just released its first album in 15 years, which we honestly didn’t think was going to happen. Researching The Blues (Merge) is as close to our Platonic ideal of what a rock ‘n’ roll record should sound like: punk-rock fury mixed with power-pop hooks and tinged with a fringe of psychedelia. Researching embodies the best of what the band has done since it started out 34 years ago (during the first wave of L.A. punk) and continued throughout the ’80s and ’90s while taking perpendicular approaches to the prevailing trends of the era. In an age where the tenets of genre conventions and the rigidity that once separated sounds and scenes are no longer relevant, Redd Kross returns as prodigal sons. Brothers Jeff and Steve McDonald, Roy McDonald (no relation) and Jason Shapiro will be guest editing all week. Read our brand new feature on them.

Shapiro: I have to say I prefer the sound and feel of vintage guitars. I usually buy ones with issues, therefore I don’t mind taking them on the road. There is just a sweetness that the new ones don’t have. Some of the historic or custom-shop Gibsons get close, but you could buy a vintage with issues for the same price. My main guitar lately is a 1969 Les Paul that’s been stripped of its gold paint on the front and routed for humbuckers. It has a one-piece body and neck similar to the ’50s era Les Pauls. This guitar seems to never let me down in a live situation, always sounds good and stays in tune. Another favorite, and the guitar I’ve owned the longest, is a 1964 Non-Reverse Firebird. It’s also been completely stripped of paint and now has humbuckers in it. This guitar fits my hands perfectly and is such a nice slab of resonant mahogany; the new versions of this are not even close. I do, however, appreciate the playability of some new guitars that are set up really well.

Video after the jump.