Jason Newsted on playing the guitar

The legendary bass player of Metallica, Voivod and Flotsam and Jetsam has just formed his own band called Newsted in which he also sings and plays guitar, just like in his side-project Papa Wheelie. We asked Jason Newsted about his musical beginnings to find out what was his first instrument…

TopGuitar: What came first for you: the bass or a regular six string guitar?

Jason Newsted: Well, I got a six string acoustic when I was nine years old, but I pulled the middle two keys off the headstock and I had four strings: one string going down one side of the neck, one string down the other side of the neck and two going in the middle. I wanted the acoustic guitar to be a bass and I put on the biggest gauge strings I could [laughs]. That was when I was nine, and then I got electric bass when I was thirteen or fourteen. That was it. I started learning Kiss and Black Sabbath, Doobie Brothers, Jeff Beck and Jimi Hendrix, stuff like that.

TopGuitar: But still you play guitar in the band Papa Wheelie and you write guitar riffs for your Newsted band…

Jason Newsted: I never learned any chords on a six string guitar, I always played bass. But in the Newsted band on the “Metal” EP I play all of the rhythm guitars, I play a lot of the melodies and then there’s me on the bass. On the LP we have the two guitar players take over and I did another little bit of rhythm guitars but most of the guitar stuff is done by Jessie [Farnsworth]. Live I play guitar also, I leave the bass for a song or two and play my [Gibson] SG for a couple of songs and sing.



Published since 2005 as a printed magazine, TopGuitar is a magazine of opinion for professional and amateur musicians. Since 2020 on a digital platform. Contain reviews of various guitar-related musical gear, interviews and original articles on world’s most popular artists, music reviews, event reports, guitar workshops and tips, the latest products and artist news. The Editor-in-Chief is Dr. Dariusz Domanski, a guitarist and academic teacher, doctor of musical arts.