Best Guitar For Ambient

Best guitar for ambient music:


  • Total voters
    67

More Reverb

Member
Messages
29
I'm biased, but a Telecaster is the better choice. I play a couple of 70's Telecaster Customs with the Wide Range Humbucker in the neck. I get the best of both worlds with this guitar. I would still go with a Telecaster with a 4 way switch over either Les Paul. 3 way switch as well, but the 4 way gives that useful extra in series wiring of the two pickups. It's not the same sound as a humbucker, but series wiring for a Telecaster offers an additional ballsy sound.

For ambient I would go with a 335 over a Les Paul. Way more feedback options plus the sound is less tubby with a 335 than a Les Paul. The 335 is my second favorite guitar for a good reason: their versatility is unparalleled.
I like this suggestion. 335s are great, but probably more expensive than I wanna go for a guitar that I’m not 100% sure about. And since I’ll be shopping online only for a while, the 335 is out. I could get a Les Paul BFG for say 1k or less...

The idea of a thinline telecaster custom is extremely interesting to me. This might be where I go with my next guitar.

What might have started this tone hunt is when I put new pickups in my strat and noticed a dramatic difference. So, right now I have a set of Fralin Jazzmaster pickups in my cart and...
 

MESA/BUDDA

Member
Messages
3,185
I also use a Strat for ambient, something about the open jangliness and the tremolo block and springs all influence the tone so much when playing that kind of music.
That's why Jaguars and Jazzmasters work well too...their vibratos and the 25.5-in scale lengths.

A sound that also worked well for me was a PAF humbucker equipped Les Paul in coil split mode on either the neck or the bridge.
 

Jayyj

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,010
I have seen those. Are they any good?
They're supposed to work really well. I'm seriously debating grabbing one, I'm just not sure which guitar to put it on and therefore which color. Two have gold and two have chrome.
I have one on an ES Artist (weird 70s Gibson thing). It's a great idea and well executed. Easy to install, you just take off the old tailpiece and pop it in. In terms of feel it's quite different from a Bigsby and to me almost more like a Strat vibrato, I think it's the fact it hinges so close to the bridge where a Bigsby or JM vibrato is much further back so you don't feel it rotating as much as it goes up and down. Tuning stability is much the same as a Bigsby/Vibrola/JM set up - get the nut and saddle slots cut well and lubricated and it'll be fine.
 

IAE

Member
Messages
1,353
Just ordered Antiquity II’s. Maybe they’ll be an improvement over the Fender 65 pickups.
The 65s are excellent, they really are. I have recently put antiquity IIs in my jazzmaster and to be honest I’m happy with either.


That's why Jaguars and Jazzmasters work well too...their vibratos and the 25.5-in scale lengths.
Just an FYI...Jaguars are 24” not 25.5”
 

ctreitzell

Member
Messages
2,785
how delightful that there is a perverted byrdland club here. :) great to be a member.

i have a slightly similar byrdland origin story, too. i went to check it out on behalf of the jazz guitar board because i knew they were discontinued and were increasing in value, and a used one had just appeared in a local shop. i played it for a bit but it the store was closing so i only got about an hour with it. went about my business but i kept hearing it in my head. it just had a very specific, beguiling sound i hadn't heard anywhere else. eventually i got upset because the guitar was forcing me to go back for it even though i couldn't afford it.

went back the next day and played it for another two hours. guys kept popping in to hear what was making that sound. i eventually realized that no, i wasn't going to leave without it, and no, i wasn't going to flip it, either. after the deal was done, the owner mentioned he already had two guys trying to buy it online so that would have been my only shot.

and that's the only good thing that ever happened to me on valentine's day.
uh oh...digression into a thread hijack.

Great story. These things happen, don't it. I think a lot of guitarists think of The Nuge when they think of a Byrdland. I think of Hank Garland and Geordie Walker...Burrell and Metheny, too. And, of course, Nugent.

My Byrdland story is I bought a Vox Phantom in 2007 at Wunjo on Denmark St in London. I went back to get the intonation worked on. That tech upstairs took forever...like 4 or 5 hrs to get to my Vox. So I lingered on Denmark Street for hours. Denmark Street is a short stretch, but practically every shop is a musical instrument vendor. Lot's of guitars. I was there long enough to play every archtop in Wunjo. I was avoiding the beat up Byrdland with an unreal ticket price. That guitar looked like it had been in a basement flood or somesuch.

My missus was with me. She's often come along to help keep me focused and she has a good ear. She urged me to try the Byrdland. I eventually caved. From the first note, I was sold. That guitar was filthy, in the way only London can be, humid and sooty. I was kind of concerned about the condition; with green oxidation all over it. My missus actually preferred the sound of a blue Guild Artist that was in the mix. Not me, I was playing and knew what I was holding.

The clerk in the store told me it was a '69. I haggled them down to £3500. When I got it home a week or so later; I did a thorough deep clean. I was careful and did research before I started. That gold plating will come right off, so treat it very gently. The nitro was pretty sticky; the only way I have found to keep the nitro friendly is to play it. Just dust it off once in a while.

oh, man, I could go on and on...and have :facepalm

But there is a reason I pulled the trigger on that Byrdland. I had played a 1940s L7 in a store a couple years earlier. That incredible sound was stuck in my mind; I really should have bought that L7. I did not...and it was gone. Now, that L7 was thrashed. The top looked like the guitar had been tied to a horse and dragged through 5 miles of gravel...but the sound! my word, incredible. That is the moment I was convinced to stay away from new guitars.
 

More Reverb

Member
Messages
29
The 65s are excellent, they really are. I have recently put antiquity IIs in my jazzmaster and to be honest I’m happy with either.
I believe they’re both good, but I’m hoping the Antiquities will be... chimier and glassier? Less boomy?
 

Shelby27

Member
Messages
59
EOB 1.jpg

Fender Ed O'Brien Stratocaster - i bought one a few months ago with the intention of selling the sustainer unit, but my lord has it been a revelation. It makes me think about playing completely differently and has opened me up to a wide range of ambient tones that I've never considered as a guitar player
 

IAE

Member
Messages
1,353
I believe they’re both good, but I’m hoping the Antiquities will be... chimier and glassier? Less boomy?
I honestly had not a single issue with the stock 65s. Makes me think why I even bothered swapping to be honest. ;)

They are 2k hotter and considering they are the exact same pickup type this makes a difference when you hit the distortion. That’s the only benefit from them IMO.
 

ldizzle

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,322
I work in this world in the pop CCM market- It's just whatever tool you need to get the job done. All of them will.

The greater midrange of the gibson, PAF, thing might be a little more forward. But, they can also be super mellow and warm!

The jag and JM may need some EQ and more push for the big passages and I don't love their specific sustain.

Honestly, for the day in <> day out I'd take my SSH strat for recording.

It's work capacity- I know what tool I need to get the job done.

Out of the poll: a tele. I have two nashville setup teles I use a BUNCH and a suhr T that gets a substantial amount of work.

It's a tool. make music. get a tele ;)
 

Bigsby

Member
Messages
1,247
I use my Travis Bean Artist for recording parts that need a pristine sound. It's got the roundest, bell tone of any guitar I have. I was playing it direct into my DAW the other day and didn't realize that I hadn't yet put my planned Fender amp model on it yet. It sounded amazing with absolutely no effects or anything on it. No quack or plink.
 
Messages
6,155
None of these. Tele? Hollowbody with a Bigsby? Les Paul?
Not for me.

My setup is totally different than any of these:

Fender Roland Ready Strat (Supervee Bladerunner trem + Roasted maple neck + tusc nut) into various hexaphonic pitch shift and processing devices plus guitar to midi plus standard tube gear all run simultanously live.

Just an example of the kind of thing I've done:

My other ambient guitar is a Jackson Soloist with carbon fiber stabilizer bars in the neck with a GK3 pickup through my standard rig.

I've played ambient music live around the twin cities with similar setups for around ten years and done
some film scores too.
 
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WPmedia

Member
Messages
74
Right now I’m playing a Jazzmaster and a Strat. But I’ve got the GAS. I have three reverb pedals and two delays on my board and do long-form ambient music. ...
Have you tried alternate / open tunings yet? ;)
That would make a world of difference in that genre....
 
Messages
189
I would skip the LP with HB's. Low output pickups work better for ambient tones IMO. LP with P90 or Tele would work. I pick Tele out of these options.
Still... I would go for a Gretsch without a second thought.
+1 on a hollow Gretsch (preferably with Dynasonics)

I wouldn't call P90s low output ;)
 

InkStained

Member
Messages
3,812
A hollowbody, like this guy:

Great sounds in this video, but the presence of an Ernie Ball volume pedal on these kinds of boards always mystifies me.

I know the EBs are cheap and everywhere, and they do that job for a while. But eventually, the exposed pot gets muckered up, the string breaks and for all their apparent hardiness, they fail.

Or they really don't sound that great. I used an EB for years and recently got one of the new Xotic volume pedals on a whim. I was amazed at how much clearer the sound is. It takes up less space to boot.

This really isn't corksniffery. Or maybe it is, I don't know. But if you have a Timeline and a Big Sky in front of you, you really should have a better volume pedal to harness all of that advanced wonderfulness.

(Now, cue all the members who will remind me that Andy Othling, king of the ambients, used an EB pedal ...)
 

Jynx

Member
Messages
607
Fender Ed O'Brien Stratocaster - i bought one a few months ago with the intention of selling the sustainer unit,
You... wait! What! I would've considered the sustainer to be the selling point on that guitar!

I'm planning on a sustainer guitar myself. Probably this Schecter.



Or this one.

 
Messages
670
The idea of a thinline telecaster custom is extremely interesting to me. This might be where I go with my next guitar.
I have an AVRI 72 Tele Thinline which I just upgraded with the recent CuNiFe WRHB reissues, really fantastic guitar that can now escalate into ambient territory. Previously the stock humbuckers were fine and I could get into very 335-ish territory. These pickups move quite far away from that and changed the game entirely for this guitar - wonderful harmonic colour now.
Just ordered Antiquity II’s. Maybe they’ll be an improvement over the Fender 65 pickups.
Switched to 250k pots on my AV65 about six months ago which solved some of the high-end issues, but admittedly it’s that top character which makes Jazzmasters such a good pairing with effects - it just cuts through. But I’m also moving away from the stock pickups, got a set of Monty’s Retro Winds on order. Be curious to hear how much different you find with the Antiquity IIs.
The jag and JM may need some EQ and more push for the big passages and I don't love their specific sustain.
Funny, that lack of sustain I’d consider a feature, especially if it’s a particularly characterful time-based effect. Together with that vibrato... man, what a magic combo.
 




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