The (Jim) Root of all Fenders: the Slipknot/Stone Sour Guitarist on His Signature Jazzmaster

You know what I like to see in a metal interview? Guitars that aren’t pointy as all fuck. Something I can’t gouge my eyes out with. Well I suppose that even on the most rounded guitar the tuning pegs provide ample gouging opportunities, but it’s a more difficult proposition.


Well Slipknot may not be the most metal of all who have ever rocked, and certainly Stone Sour aren’t, but Jim Root (who plays guitar in both bands) and I can bond in our love of Jazzmasters, so he gets extra metal points in my book. I could wax endlessly on why they’re the illest of all Fenders, but I haven’t sold millions of records, so you probably want to hear it from him.

Below he extols the virtues of his signature Jazzmaster, which admittedly takes some liberties with the design. Well, okay, it takes all the liberties. A mahogany body? No pickguard? It doesn’t even have the cool rhythm/lead control switches up top… dude, that makes the guitar. And humbuckers? I never thought I’d see an EMG 81 in a Jazzmaster.

So maybe Jim and I can’t really bond after all, because I’m not really sure what makes his guitar a Jazzmaster besides the headstock that says “Jazzmaster.” For all I know this is the greatest guitar in the history of putting strings on wood and making them go “chugga chugga squeeeeee,” but I’m irrationally angry. Just watch the video. It seems like a nice axe. But I’m going to sit here and yell obscenities toward my monitor for the next 45 minutes.

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Chris Alfano has written about music and toured in bands since print magazines and were popular. Once in high-school he hacked a friend's QBasic stick figure fighting game to add a chiptune metal soundtrack. Random attractive people still give him high-fives about that.

Latest comments
  • When the pick up selector is at the top I always bash it with my arm. Finally, a Jazzmaster that I can comfortably play

    • The switch at the top of a JM isn’t a pickup selector. It switches between the lead and rhythm circuits, the main difference there being the lead circuit has hotter pots. I’m not sure if the rhythm circuit on the JM excludes the bridge pickup, on the Jaguar, the rhythm only turns on the neck pickup. But the pickup selector is under the strings, not above.

  • more like jim fruit amirite

  • I’m not generally super religious about what makes X Fender an X (I have a friend who gets very angry that the Pawn Shop Mustang isn’t called a Duo Sonic), but Jazzmasters are one of the most distinctive guitar styles ever and it seems pretty wrong to slap the name on one that has nothing to do with the JM style other than general outline. No trem, no Jazzy pickups, no circuit selector. What’s the point? Why buy this over any generic superstrat?

    • ^^êxactly!^^ it’s a not a jazzmaster to me. Sorry Mr. Root!

    • The body shape/mass is very different from a Strat, therefore giving a different tone. On this one specifically, unlike Strats or other Jazzmasters, there aren’t massive mounts of wood getting gouged out and then covered up with a plastic pickguard, so there’s the tonal difference from that as well.

      Personally I’d play a jazzmaster that looked like this [sans active pickups] over a standard model. It looks 100x better to my eyes.

      • I hate to break it to you, but the difference in tone between this and his Tele model is likely near zero. EMG active pickups have their advantages, but one of their disadvantages is that basically any guitar with them sounds pretty much the same. That could be a good thing I guess, depending on how you look at it, but tonally this is likely far closer to a superstrat with actives than even a Jazzy with passive humbuckers.

  • Slipknot is fantastic. That is all. Also holy fuck dude, shave.

    • cant tell if troll

      • Slipknot > Maiden

        Obvious troll is obvious

  • I’m so sick of this guy ruining great guitars with generic, terrible specs. My jimmies are fucking rustled, man.

  • ITT: Fender purists causing a stink over nothing. If you had the chance to design any guitar you want, would you? OR would you listen to people who think a guitar is supposed to look a certain way to be considered that specific guitar? I’d choose the former IMO.

    Yeah, it ain’t a “Jazzmaster”, but it’s Jim Roots and i think it looks cool. Probably serves him well.

  • It only has 22 frets, I hate 22 frets, means you can’t play a vast array of songs on them, which is majorly frustrating. Also it’s such a dumb number of frets. 24 just makes sense because it’s 2 octaves.

  • isn’t** not aren’t

  • Not a JM.

  • his left hand plays when he talks, awesome guitar player

  • I could totally go for this body type without the pickguard and all if it had everything else original, but then the electronics of the original wouldn’t have anywhere to go really i guess…

  • He seems like a great player, but one must accept the Jazzmaster with all of its quirks and awesomeness. The Sonic Youth guys’ models are much better in their customization of the original in my opinion.

  • When did Jim become a Hipster?


    • dude! where’s your internet? they’ve shown their faces since like 10 years ago.

  • It’s more of a Jaguar than a Jazzmaster.

    • Jaguars have short scale necks, 24″ if I recall.

  • I got da blues, so bad, uh huh.

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