Ben Gibbard says his Fender signature has inspired the new Death Cab For Cutie album to sound “reminiscent of the first half of the band’s existence”

The guitar is based on Gibbard’s own heavily-modded Mustangs.

Ben Gibbard

Image: Barry Brecheisen / Getty

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Ben Gibbard has spoken about the impact of his new signature Fender Mustang, and how it has changed his approach to writing the next Death Cab For Cutie album.

Speaking to NME, he called receiving a signature model from Fender an “honour.” He also explained the origin of the extensively-modified guitars Ben Gibbard Mustang is based on: “All of the modifications I’ve made to my stage guitars were done so because when I’m playing and singing, I want as few distractions as possible,” he said.

“In designing this guitar, I wanted to make something that was really bare-bones that would suit my personal needs, but also that someone could just pick up off the rack at a guitar shop and just intuitively know how it works.”

The Ben Gibbard mustang features a chambered ash body, with a bolt-on maple neck and two specially-voiced single coils. These are chosen via the unique addition of a rotary switch disguised as a tone control – leaving only a master volume as the only normal knob, in line with Gibbard’s streamlined approach.

It’s also notably fitted with what looks like a standard Mustang vibrato – but is actually a hardtail bridge.

Gibbard is using the guitar to write the follow-up to Death Cab’s 2018 album Thank You For Today, and told NME that the new material is sounding “reminiscent of the first half of the band’s existence”.

“[Having this guitar] was nostalgic and exciting in a way,” he said, “It was cool to be playing guitar in a style that felt familiar but to filter it through new ideas.”

The follow-up album is still a work in progress, and is yet to get a release date or a title.

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