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Jazz Guitar "for life"

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2005 4:06 pm    Post subject: Jazz Guitar "for life" Reply with quote

Dear all,
I'm a classic guitar player and I'd like to start to play with improvisation in jazz, blues Music.
I want to buy a guitar for this new kind of music to play; as for my classic guitar, a good one remain "for life" and does't loose value.

What is a Good guitar You suggest to play Jazz, Blues not for professional use but for "good ears"?:

- has to be a jazz guitar?
- or a Fender/Gipson electric guitar..... 500-1000-2000euro?
- or I can continue to play with my wonderful KONO classic guitar without amplifier...

Thanks for our reply..
Mauro Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2005 7:44 pm    Post subject: guitars for Jazz Reply with quote

My name is Jim Stubbs, living in Pennsylvania. There is no simple answer to your question. I have listened to and played Jazz on everything from a fender telecaster to my latest purchase a gibson 336. Fat boxes, thin boxes, no boxes.
What I would suggest is discover what the musicians you listen to play. Also, today the Korean guitars and other non standard, cheaper priced guitars usually meet the need. Good Luck.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ThanKYou Jim!,
do You know the name of such a good quality/price Korean guitars? (IŽll look for them hier in Italy....)

Have You suddestion also about the Amplifier?

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd suggest continuing playing on you classical guitar. I have one and love it to bits. I can't play any classical stuff on it, but it sounds great for Bossa (of course) and I've used it for jazz gigs, especially where I am the sole accompanist for singers.

I don't think it is necessary to change your technique in order to play jazz. Have a listen to guys like Lenny Breau, Charlie Byrd and of course, Antoio Carlos Jobim. The advantage of playing jazz with a classical technique is that you can play polyphonically, whereas plectrum jazzers can only play a single note at a time or in homophonic harmony. It's a different instrument, effectively.

If you are set on trying an archtop, I'd recommend Ibanez's Artcore range. My AF75 is fantastic value for money. For an amp, The Polytone Mini-brute is standard among po-faced jazz players, but expensive. Roland's Cubes sound really good for the money - a nice clean solid state sound, with the option of amp modelling if you want to play around with some rock noises. You could set yourself up with this gear for about $700-800 US (ish - about Ł500-600 GB)?

Good luck!
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2005 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ThankYou Christian!
IŽve now some good basic informations to think about....when IŽve decided IŽll tell You the results!

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Mauro;
A jazz tone has a lot going into it. Beginning with your hands and whether you want to use a pick. Joe Pass and Wes come to mind.
Epiphone make good quality guitars, mostly Korean, with the range of the more expensive Gibsons. It is important to play the guitar and listen for the guitars ability to sound jazzy. Washburn and Sammick make good wood. I've found the pickups a little weak. Also, the ability to range the volume and tone controls is important.
Amplifiers. In most cases a strong, but not booming bass with the ability to roll off the treble is wanted . Tube amplifiers are warm, a little more expensive, and can be a problem when often transported. I have enjoyed Roland Chorus amps. Stay away from the 10 inch speakers. Gibson has a group of class A tube amps with a made in England lable. Very clean, warm, with a celestion speaker.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I agree, Jazz Choruses are - amazingly - quite good for jazz. And you can always play '80s goth-pop on it if you get bored of all this jazz malarky.

Jazz Choruses are big and heavy. Next down, I'd go for the Cube 60, which has a 12 inch speaker. Very nice amp. will probably get one myself.

I have a Laney LC30 which would be great for a touring rock band in a van, but for jazz gigs is a little impractical. Some say the LC30 can't deliver jazz tones, but I really like the noise it makes. It's just a bit *heavy* (physically)
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh - just to finish - there are no rules to what makes a jazz set up. Consider the options among the 'great and good'

George Benson, Wes, Jim Hall, Joe Pass et al. - Gibson archtops, typically ES175, L5's
John Scofield - Ibanez semi-solid guitar
Pat Metheny - custom built Ibanez archtop with a toothbrush attached
John McLaughlin - Gibson Les Paul.
Bill Frizzell - Klein guitar (seen a few of those about)
Mike Stern - Telecaster
Allan Holdsworth - used to play a Steinberger. Has now switched to custom model.
Django Reindhardt and the Gypsys - Macaferri guitars. DR had justed started using Gibson electrics before he died.

The nylon strung classical remains popular with most latin american jazz guitarists.

Telecasters and stratocasters also seem very popular with jazz players. I've heard tele's especiallly making a lovelly fat jazz sound. Who'd have thought it?

The Gibson/Mini-brute combination (about $3000 worth) is not the only combination - but it is an excellent sound. I like mini-brute amps the deliver an extraordinary 'sock' for their dimsensions.

Digital modelling offers further possibilies.

The question to ask yourself is do you want to be a 'jazz guitarist' (i.e. in the traditional mode - suits, archtop, mellow tone, beady lines) or a jazz guitarist (i.e. and indivdual improvising musician who comes from the jazz tradition but has other things going and engages with contemporary musical culture.)

Personally, I played a solid guitar (les paul) for years, before I swapped to an archtop. My style has become more traditional and less rock influenced, but I actually think jazz guitar in the Wes mode sounds more contemporary and less dated these days than heavy rock guitar tones or fusion licks. And plus, I just fell in love with the instrument, which is really the only way to know if you've bought the right instrument.

Anyhoo - time to shut up Wink
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the truly cool things about jazz is you can make any set up you want. I play a Martin EM-18 solid body and recently traded my arch top Alvarez electric for a classical Alvarez with built in electrics so I can play through an amplifier. It is a totally different sound on stuff like joe Pass music.

But then, I never have played good enough to play for anybody but my own ear. Laughing
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Joined: 28 Apr 2005
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2005 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Look around and try different things.

Full and semi hollows (Gibson, Ibanez, whatever), telecasters
Classical guitar can be an excellent jazz tool as well.

I'm first of all a fingerstyle player, I love solo chord melody arrangements, and more folkish approaches to fingerstyle.

So whatever you buy, remember that you already have one excellent jazz tool, your classical.
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PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2005 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Also - gear is very personal. Some people I have heard make AER amps, for example, sound great. Others make the Gibson ES175 sound amazing. But they are not for me.

Choose what works for you.
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Joined: 25 Apr 2005
Posts: 163
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2005 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you ask 10 people as to what equipment they like, you'll get 10 different answers. It's personal preference, budget, etc. I would like to mention that playing jazz/blues fingerpicking style or using a guitar pick will create different tones on the same equipment at the same settings.

Although not always discussed, this especially holds true with guitar picks. I use Dunlop Jazztone picks on my archtop for a very warm sound, but Dunlop Tortex on my electric (.60mm), and Dunlop Tortex (.88mm) on my acoustic.

When you're trying out guitars, fix the settings and try it using your fingerpicking style as well as different types of guitar picks. It makes a difference.

Have fun,

Mr. Lawrie Mann: Toronto, Canada

Guitar Gear:
1968 Raven Semi Hollow
1970 Ovation Balladeer
Roland Cube 60
Roland Microcube

Bass Gear:
Douglas WEB-825 NA
Markbass LMII
Bergantino AE112/HS210 Cabs
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