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Jazz Guitars

Porschefender

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
247
People play Rock and Roll on "Jazz" guitars.

Play what looks good, feels good, sounds good, what comes comes out may or may not be jazz.
 

mad dog

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
10,961
It comes down to personal taste, playing comfort, and how you want to sound. I've come to love P90 equipped hollowbodies for jazz practice. To the exclusion of pretty much everything else, for that purpose I mean. But that's just me, how I want things to sound. You have to experiment, see for yourself what works best. No rules in this game.
 

IIIBOOMERIII

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,529


For the money. ES-135 are at a very comfortable price point. I have a 2002 ES-135 and for my first serious jazz guitar I really love it. Once I got over the fact it wasn't a ES-335, I loved it. The whole ES-335 thing is really crazy. Nice guitars I would love to own one again but I have to keep reminding myself I sold my first ES-335 for a reason.

I think the main take away is that it is important to study Jazz and not important to study Jazz guitars. Jazz works well on a Les Paul as well as a Tele. Ask Robin Ford, he is an amazing player who is rarely seen playing a "traditional" jazz guitar. The guy played with Miles Davis, Jazz Royalty! His performance with Larry Carlton is amazing and it's all done WITHOUT a semi-hollow or hollow body.

 

TVa

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
320
How your guitar interacts with the amp is important for a compelling tone.

Combinations that can achieve fluidity are going to sound better on single note solos/heads. For instance, a typical 335 on the neck pickup through a deluxe reverb has great fluidity. A strat can achieve it with a deluxe as well, but to get the same fluidity for trad. jazz, players typically darken everything a lot which makes the whole thing duller and less compelling for the audience in my opinion.

As an exception, Bill Frisell has the most amazing tone and often uses a vintage strat through a deluxe reverb, but his tone frankly has some kind of secret sauce that I don't understand. When he throws out the occasional bebop style phrase, it has a very acoustic guitar quality to it, and he is the best in the business at manipulating the tone of each and every note.

Anyway, I took the plunge and bought a Gibson L4 a few years ago. It's the jazz guitar I liked best after trying dozens over the years. Lots of fluidity with that acoustic style thump when you need it. I haven't found an amp it doesn't sound good with either .
 

mrpinter

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,404
I think the amp also counts for a lot in the pursuit of the jazz tone.
So right, but like guitars it's a very individual thing. My friend Brad Rabuchin - who was Ray Charles' guitarist for five years or so - has tube amps, but won't use them with his Sadowsky, and other, jazz boxes. For those he uses a solid state Henricksen. On the other hand, Sid Jacobs - head of MI's jazz department at the time (this - normally used a JC120. But he borrowed my Matchless Chieftain for a club gig (quite a while ago) and loved it. Go figure. Henry Johnson - who played for Stanley Turrentine, Joe Williams, Nancy Wilson and others - plays through Twins sometimes. He also often plays in a bluesy style, with a lot of bending on heavy flatwound strings on his signature Heritage jazz box.
 
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IIIBOOMERIII

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,529
There is an interview floating around, where after years of hauling around amps...Joe Pass switched to using only direct boxes.
 

ddog

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
422
owned some nice big boxes...$$$...wish I would have kept guild manhatten...nice tele les paul can get it done and said pretty nicely
 

jaxjaxon

Member
Messages
235
In order of used in Jazz, Banjo, Arch Top, Resonator. Then they put pickups in arch tops. You can use any guitar to play jazz on.
 

mchildre

Member
Messages
8
So I've started learning jazz chords... Other than looks what are some things that a good Jazz guitar has? I'm guessing the fretboard is a little more rounded for chording.

Anything else that really defines a good jazz guitar?
Honestly, I love my Fret-King Jerry Donahue Tele model for jazz (and just about anything else....which is kind of the point for this particular model). https://fret-king.com/artist-series/jd-jerry-donahue.html#.X4Xm0tBKg2w

A Tele isn't everyone's first thought when it comes to jazz, but I see a lot of them listed in this thread, so at least I'm not in no man's land by a far shot. The thing that's great about this particular model (definitely not one that readily springs to mind for most) is the inventive way the pick ups and switches are wired. You can go from the regular ringing bridge sound we all know and love, move a couple positions, and suddenly be in George Benson territory. It can really be that true to what we think of as the "jazz sound." Just a great idea and a great implementation of it.
 

firebrand

Member
Messages
265
My first year in a jazz orchestra and trio I was playing an Ibanez Universe.
Having said this, a jazz guitar typically has heavier string gauges.

In most jazz performances (I have performed) runs, phrasing, and arpeggios rule the day over strings bends. A nice, clear ringing of every note and chord is paramount, as is a mellow (tone knob NOT on 10) sound that does not get bottom heavy.

My three main guitars for jazz (not in any order) are my PRS Custom Artist (57/08 pickups), D’Angelico EXL-1, and another D’Angelico (Excel SS).
 

Frank Lee

Member
Messages
118
Though you can and I do play jazz on any sort of guitar, I do prefer a rounder fretboard (9.5 radius or rounder). Teles make spectacular jazz guitars, and a jazz box was my only guitar for a good bit of the 90s (from about 96 through 05). Flamenco and Roma jazz cats do it with a classical, though, and you can’t find a flatter fretboard than that. So, it’s all subjective.

It might be tough on a super Strat with only a bridge pickup, though, but I have seen it done. That tone control is key.
 
Messages
17
I've just found an '06 Eastman AR805ce a month ago - with floating pickup. I have to say that the TONE of a carved arch top via the floating pickup is very unique - a sound I've been after for years. It only has a volume knob - so it's a bit of a one trick pony - but it's a satisfying ride! The amplified tone is deep, acoustic, and woody - just what I was after. The acoustic sound is thinner, but still great for practicing. It has half round strings on it now (12 - 52) - but I'd like to try other sets to maybe get a better acoustic sound with no amp. Any suggestions?
 

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warchol

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
23
So I've started learning jazz chords... Other than looks what are some things that a good Jazz guitar has? I'm guessing the fretboard is a little more rounded for chording.

Anything else that really defines a good jazz guitar?
Second the mention of Ted Greene (and Bill Frissell) sounding good Jazz on Telecasters...
 

Black&Blue

Member
Messages
561
Have it strung is key...:)
Low wind/output pickups.
The fuller, deeper dynamic range of using a neck position pickup.
And the natural resonance that breathes beneath the notes and chords of a guitar. When I think of the generic tradition of jazz guitar, these things spring to mind.
 




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