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“It’s the first new guitar I’ve ever bought,” Afie Jurvanen (better known as Bahamas) says of the Bourgeois Vintage D guitar he played on “Bitter Memories” during this exclusive Fretboard Journal session. He purchased the guitar around three years ago from the Twelfth Fret in Toronto after admiring a left-handed Bourgeois owned by musician friend Doug Paisley. “I’ve always had old guitars,” he says. “I have a whole pile of old guitars but this has become my main guitar.”
When he’s not playing acoustic, Bahamas leans towards ‘50s Stratotones and a similar Silvertone Jupiter. There is also, of course, his pink Fender Stratocaster, the instrument he named his first album after. “I found that pink Strat in a music store that no longer exists; it was $400,” he says. “I think it’s bits and pieces of other guitars. I’m superstitious about it and I’ve never opened it up to see what’s going on.”
Amp-wise, Bahamas uses a custom Tex Bernie amplifier, built by Toronto amp maker Anthony Teixeira. “Typically I don’t tour with a bass player so I like amps that are a little clean,” he says. “He made those Bernie amps and it was a little too fuzzy for my liking, so he made me this [custom] one and that’s what I play the most.” As of October of 2014, Bahamas has also been using a new Magnatone Twilighter on tour.
Stombox-wise, he keeps thing simple: an analog delay, reverb and the occasional octave pedal.
Surprisingly for an alternative rock musician, Bahamas uses antique tortoiseshell picks whenever he can get his hands on them. “I just love the sound of them,” he says of the now unobtainium plectrums. “They sound like a fingernail but you can play them more aggressively. It just changed the way I play the guitar; I used to play almost exclusively with my fingers. [The pick] has a power… it’s old. I’m also a huge Tony Rice fan, so anything that he does, I’ll try. I just love his playing and his tone. I look for them whenever I go into antique stores.”
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