An underrated alt rock luminary, those who know David Pajo's work with Slint, Tortoise, Zwan and now Gang Of Four are well aware of what a talent he is. And it's fascinating to get a look into his guitar world with EarthQuaker Devices. Where we find out he's an electric guitar tinkerer.
We join Pajo at his guitar station where he spent lockdown working on instrument. His current projects being a Jazzmaster / Tele hybrid and a single-pickup Strat. We love how he's not too precious about vintage and chases ideas for workhorse instruments. But he does have a few old gems; namely an original 1965 Strat he's learned a lot from.
"This sounds amazing, I don't know what's different between guitars now and then really but the pickups are really low output whereas I guess people really like high output pickups to overdrive their amp a little bit," he notes. "But these are really low output and the tone is insane – it just sounds perfect, it's the perfect Strat sound.
"So now I go for low output pickups, whereas when I was in Slint I always used as high output as I could get. I feel like lower output pickups give you more tone, there's more headroom or something."
Food for thought there – and something we can all explore via the huge range of retro-fit guitar pickups out there from big brands and smaller companies. The '65 Fiesta Red Strat that started Pajo down this path was actually a gift by an incredibly generous admirer.
"This guy in Australia who's well to do and really nice, his name is Zal [Destur of Sydney band A Broken Sail], and he gifted it to me. I think it was his first guitar, he has so many nice guitars and he just gave it to me as a gift."
Pajo clearly treasures it; "I won't even take it out on the road because I love it so much. I just use it for recording because I know I'll just damage it."
Check out the full video above as there's plenty more guitar goodness and tones to hear, as well as a history lesson in Pajo's excellent body of musical work.