Can you hear the "hollow" in a hollowbody jazz guitar?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by efnikbug, Mar 17, 2015.

  1. efnikbug

    efnikbug Member

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    I have been listening to jazz guitar music lately (Pandora on a Wes Montgomery channel) and I always assume that I'm hearing hollowbody jazz guitars. But now I'm questioning that.

    Does a hollowbody have a noticeably distinctive sound that cannot be imitated with something other than a hollowbody?

    I can hear, for the most part, that it's some sort of neck pickup, maybe even a humbucker. But some people have bright tones and use a pick, that I'm wondering if one can cop a hollowbody tone with something other than one.

    Awe hell, I'll get to the point, do I need a hollowbody jazz box?
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2015
  2. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

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    Ted Greene, Ed Bickert, Joe Pass, Pat Martino, Pat Metheny and others have all recorded using solid body guitars.

    No, you don't need a hollow or semi hollow. They sound great, but you don't need one.
     
  3. 73Fender

    73Fender Member

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    I heard a Tele with a Charlie Christian neck pickup works well. Then go to the bridge for some honky tonk.
     
  4. Guitarbean25

    Guitarbean25 Silver Supporting Member

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    Also depends what sound your going for. I carved top jazz box with a floater that sounds great acoustically should exhibit those characteristics if amplified correctly. That said, the same guitar can be made to sound less acoustic if one wanted to and you'd have a tough time telling the difference between it and less traditional jazz guitar.
     
  5. AaeCee

    AaeCee Member

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    Most definitely. With your amp turned well up and plugged into a hollowbody, turn and face the amp. The feedback will be immediate and pronounced, and cannot be imitated with anything else. :p

    But seriously, I agree that you can get great jazz sounds out of lots of solid bodies, notably on the neck pickup, but there is a certain depth in the tone of a good h/b that can still set it apart. So in conclusion, of course you need one! You know you wanted to hear that after all. ;)
     
  6. rotlung

    rotlung Member

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    Tele neck pickups are beautoful for jazz.
     
  7. Rick51

    Rick51 Member

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    The good ones have a sound no solid body can match. If you want that sound, you will never get it with a solid body. Likewise, there are hollow body jazz boxes that just don't have it. I played a recent Epiphone Emporer, and I've never been so disappointed in a guitar . Dead. Just dead. Beautiful guitar, but useless.

    Can you play jazz on a solid body? Yes, absolutely. If you can play jazz, you can get excellent jazz sounds from a solid body. But you won't sound like this guy (Gibson L4).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2015
  8. smiert spionam

    smiert spionam Member

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    There are plenty of great examples of non-archtops used for jazz (and yes, a tele is great) -- but no, nothing sounds like an archtop but an archtop. There's an acoustic bloom to the tone (and yes, feedback), and the floating bridge has a lot to do with it, too -- adding a distinctive kind of attack and decay that isn't easily replicated with a solid body or semi-hollow guitar.
     
  9. mwhy

    mwhy Supporting Member

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    Of course, that guy (Jonathan Kreisberg) would sound great on a $100 squire.
     
  10. Rick51

    Rick51 Member

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  11. dconeill

    dconeill Member

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    No. You need to get a sound in your head and then find the guitar that will allow you, with your touch, technique, and musical sensibilities, to get that sound. Chances are that if you're a jazz player you can get a jazz sound out of just about any guitar.

    Owning a Gibson L5C or ES175 will not make you a jazz player, anymore than owning a Telecaster will make you a chicken picker.

    But it's your money, spend it how you want. And this is TheGearPage, after all, so sure, buy a guitar. Just don't have unreasonable expectations.
     
  12. Jazzandmore

    Jazzandmore Gold Supporting Member

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    The feel of a hollow is different as well. That bigger body and the neck to body area. To me that specific feel, and that woodier tone bring out different playing.

    Yeah saw Kreisberg here in a tiny place perfect for jazz. He was definitely on fire.

    Can you hear the "hollow"? Oh yeah with a good guitar you'll know. Why not go audition a few at a store and see if the beauty of the clean hollow feel and sound grabs you.
     
  13. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    OK that was freaking awesome.
     
  14. HammyD

    HammyD Supporting Member

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    Great clip but I believe that's a ES175. The pickup on an l4 is closer to the neck.

    I always loved big box jazz guitars but a Tele gas its own magic, too!
     
  15. Average Joe

    Average Joe Member

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    Jazz boxes absolutely have something going that you can't *quite* get on a solid. You can get in the ballpark with flatwounds but the tone and sustain envelope is different on hollows.

    a good example, taken from the thread over in the pub
     
  16. 59Bassman

    59Bassman Plank Cranker Silver Supporting Member

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    Yup. And it's more prevalent on the big boxes than on a thinline like a 335. I think a 335 can often get close, but you really have to get into ES-175 territory before you've got the attack/decay properties of a hollowbody.

    I owned a nice Heritage 575 for a while, and it does force you to think about playing differently. In some respects, playing a hollowbody reminds me a lot more of playing an acoustic than a solidbody electric, at least from an approach standpoint.

    I suck at acoustic, so I never really bonded with the 575. What I have as an alternative is a Hamer Artist Korina, which is a semihollow with P-90's. Set up with heavier strings and a wound "G", it gets me in the sonic landscape of a jazz box but with the sustain and playability that I'm used to in a solidbody.
     
  17. Sinister Goatfish

    Sinister Goatfish Member

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    Jonathan Kreisberg is just wonderful. Check out his own Youtube vids....awesome jazz.
     
  18. MKB

    MKB Silver Supporting Member

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    Full hollow bodies are great in that the clean notes have more character/harmonics than most solid bodies, and IMHO are much more satisfying to solo with using a clean tone. Also hollow bodies have a more immediate attack to the note (snapping strings and chicken picking can really have an impact). Thirdly, there are generally more highs and lows in the tone, not so focused in the mids.

    Lately I've been greatly digging an Epi ES-175 Premium for all sorts of music, as long as the stage volume is low enough to prevent feedback. And on loud stages I've found the feedback isn't an issue due to judicious use of a volume pedal. It also has a nice raw solo/crunch rhythm tone, and is good for screaming solos with lots of gain. I didn't expect it to sound so good with distortion.

    The 175 has a typical hollowbody tone characteristic where the tone of the low strings will get hollow and thunky sounding between the 10th and 14th fret. You can clearly hear this in many recorded hollowbodies, and it is a cool sound. I haven't heard a semi-solid or solid that will get that tone.

    One really cool thing of the feel of a hollow body is playing clean on a loud stage and the guitar is on the verge of feedback. The guitar will quiver like crazy at that point, and its a great thing.

    To the OP; you can play jazz on a solid body, but the vibe of the hollowbody is a big help IMHO. I don't think I'd use a LP for clean jazz, too much sustain and mids.
     
  19. funkmeister79

    funkmeister79 Supporting Member

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    I've been playing in a funk/jazz/soul group for about three years, and it wasn't until I got hold of a hollow body (Ibanez AF-80 from 1994) late last year that I realized I had found the perfect guitar for me.

    Others have pointed these things out, but for me it's the acoustic snap in the picking attack, that huge, warm tone that focuses on the highs and lows, and not so much on the mids. It's just a complex, full tone that makes every single note matter.

    I've brought other guitars like a Gibson LP Special with P-90s to gigs, and while they're fun to play, they just don't fit the type of music I'm playing. I find that I do, in fact, play differently on each different guitar I play.
     
  20. C-4

    C-4 Member

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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRNpc-hFkCs
    I studied jazz guitar in the styles of Johnny Smith and Django Rheinhardt.
    Here is Johnny Smith playing Moonlight In Vermont. You can hear the quality of the hollow body coming through.
    He has the best jazz tone and phrasing of anyone I have ever heard.
     

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