Gear Rundown: The Jam

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Gear Rundown: The Jam

The Jam feature
Words by Lewis Noke Edwards

The Jam forged the way for mod-rock throughout the 70s and 80s.

Having formed in high-school in the early 70s, The Jam were a three-piece, beginning to make a name for themselves when made up of Paul Weller on bass and vocals, Steve Brooks on guitar and Rick Buckler on drums. Bruce Foxton joined on second guitar, and when Steve Brooks left the band in the mid-70s, Brooks switched to bass while Weller played guitar and continued to sing.

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The Jam used some classic 70s equipment, their influences ranging from American rock and roll like Chuck Berry and Little Richard, to The Who, as well as music from Motown, Stax and Atlantic Record companies.

They used primarily electric guitars and basses, though on their most famous songs, “That’s Entertainment” from the 1980 Sound Affects was played on a 12-string acoustic guitar. Their influence exceeds the 5 or so years they were a commercial success.

Paul Weller Guitars

Throughout his time in The Jam, Paul Weller played a black Rickenbacker 330 almost exclusively. 330’s have Rickenbacker’s own high output pickups, with independent volume and tone controls for both, and a three-way selector switch. What makes the Rick’s electronics unique is that they feature a pickup blend as well.

Paul Weller Rickenbacker

Weller has also used other Rickenbackers throughout his career, from solid body versions to other 330s and beyond.

Vox amps

Vox AC-30

Walls of Vox amps often lined The Jam’s stages, Weller being featured in Vox AC-30 advertisements at different times throughout The Jam’s career as an active band. The Vox AC-30 is one of the quintessential British amps, their chimney, bell-like quality being spattered across decades of bands.

Vox V125 Lead Stack (Vox V125 Lead amp head & VR212 2×12 Enclosure)

The Vox V125 Lead stock borrowed heavily from Marshall amps of the same era. Doing away with the classic brown, woven tolex in lieu of a darker weave with brighter accents.

Note the bass port at the bottom of the VR212 enclosure.

Paul Weller

Marshall Plexi

Multiple Marshall Plexi amps also occupied a lot of stage space for Weller, their live shows often being amassed with amps and cabinets. The Plexi refers to Marshall Super Lead amps and their plexiglass control panel.

Bruce Foxton Bass

Fender Precision Bass

Foxton played a Fender Precisions Bass throughout his time in The Jam, recognizable because of the black body and scratchplate contrasted against the maple neck. The Precision’s single, split-coil pickup helped fill out The Jam’s sound, the bass often poking through in a, now iconic, fashion.

Rickenbacker Bass

Foxton also played multiple Rickenbackers, complementing Weller’s affinity for them. Foxton’s Rickenbacker 4001 is famously used in their video for Going Underground. He also deviated to an Ibanez clone of a Rickenbacker after their first album, wanting to retain the aesthetic but do away with the sound of the Rick.

Rick Buckler Drums

For a reasonably consistent and anchored player, drummer Rick Buckler liked to use pretty extensive drumkits.

Often seen with rack of 4-5 toms or more, Buckler used the extra drums and percussion to add interesting rhythms and texture to The Jam’s otherwise sparse arrangements.

A powerhouse drummer, Buckler would drive the band forward, melding mod, punk, rock and contemporary influences into one ultimately cohesive sound.

Read more about the history of Vox amps here.