Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums

Jazz Guitar


zigzag

Recommended Posts

I bought an Epiphone ES-175 Premium last week. That's right, not an ordinary Epiphone ES-175 no sirree not for me, a Premium Epiphone ES-175. It should help my approximately 30 second jazz repetoire sound divine!

But seriously, it's a great guitar, I put some big flatwounds that don't bend on it, makes just great jazz sounds which is why I bought it! I like it a lot, it's a keeper.

 

So I guess I'll have to get out some jazz records and at least double my chops, and this KB one is a nice one you've put up here.

 

rct

Link to comment
Share on other sites

An ES-175 is the only guitar I'm really gassing for, but as hard as I've worked at it, I really don't have the jazz chops to justify it. Reckon I'll just stick with my Ibanez AFJ91. Congrats on the new guitar rct. Don't forget me in your will.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

An ES-175 is the only guitar I'm really gassing for, but as hard as I've worked at it, I really don't have the jazz chops to justify it. Reckon I'll just stick with my Ibanez AFJ91. Congrats on the new guitar rct. Don't forget me in your will.

 

I owned an ES-175 in the past and love it with Flatwounds. Eventually I traded up for my current Wes Montgomery L5. Jazz is more of a feeling and less about the guitar you play. Having owned several Gibson guitars in the past and present I came to realized that my jazz playing did not change too much depending on the guitar that was in my hands.

 

Gibson makes great jazz guitars. Expensive as hell too!

 

Jazz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

An ES-175 is the only guitar I'm really gassing for, but as hard as I've worked at it, I really don't have the jazz chops to justify it. Reckon I'll just stick with my Ibanez AFJ91. Congrats on the new guitar rct. Don't forget me in your will.

 

I tried a few of the Ibanezii while looking for a fat hollow jazzbox. They were nice, I've never owned one of theirs. I ran into one of these new 175s by chance while in the midst of lusting after them and it was really nice except for the paint, it was a Natural. I ordered a black one, got a case for it, 15% off for the holiday and BAM! I'm a Jazzbo. I'm not thrilled with the paint, it's a matte sorta satin finish on it, and I suspect not the most robust, but that's ok. The nut looks like it was cut with a Sawzall and the bridge saddles were grooved with a bread knife, but that's it for shortcomings. All in all, well put together, feels nice and solid, plays great and sounds great. I highly recommend one for anyone looking to embrace their inner George Benson.

 

I'll never have the chops for a 175, but I sure like the noodly weedly sounds I can get out of it! I have a couple t00ns in my head to record with it, so I'm pretty happy with it.

 

My(our) will(s): Sell everything. Give the money to Yellowstone.

 

Sorry bro.

 

rct

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The nut looks like it was cut with a Sawzall and the bridge saddles were grooved with a bread knife, but that's it for shortcomings...

My(our) will(s): Sell everything. Give the money to Yellowstone.

 

Thas what makes it Premium.

 

AND...

 

Yellowstone cain't play no jazz.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

... Jazz is more of a feeling and less about the guitar you play. Having owned several Gibson guitars in the past and present I came to realized that my jazz playing did not change too much depending on the guitar that was in my hands....

 

So true. We've been down this road before. I've heard great jazz on a Tele. milod has mentioned that he thinks that playing with your fingers helps get more of a traditional jazz sound. I think to get more of a traditional jazz sound, you need a hollow bodied guitar with 57 classics set low, a fat pick, boost the mids on the amp, cut the tone back using the neck pickup, and use a wooden bridge. The fact is that everybody has their own idea about how to get the sound they're looking for. I play mostly jazz-type stuff these days on a Carvin SH550, a 335, and a Dot with P-92s. There is something about the way a 175 (or an L-5 for that matter) with flat wound 12 or 13s sounds that you can't get with a Tele or a Strat. The tone is not just in your hands, but also in your brain. I can play the heads on a lot of jazz standards; it is the solo improvisation sections where my chops need a lot of polish. Just having a 175 or an L-5 ain't gonna get me there... but it sure wouldn't hurt.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My favourite!.......a great topic! Mind if I go on a bit?

 

Kenny Burrell - over 100 albums to his name (check the credits 'cos he even sings on a few) and probably 300-400 as a sideman, reputedly the favorite guitar player of both Wes Montgomery and Duke Ellington...I have a fraction of his output, some 30 albums among which are 'Round Midnight', 'Tender Gender', 'Midnight Blue' - probably his best-known album....the 2 albums with Coltrane are stunning, the closest he ever gets to fusion is on the album 'Sky Street'...he is still with us but must be very old now. He plays a wonderful solo on the 13-minute version of Howlin' Wolf's "Spoonful" which can be found on 'The Individualism of Gil Evans'. Always clear and beautifully articulated, never hurried and very recognisable tone and touch.

 

The ES175 - probably every jazz player of note since 1949 has had one in his hands at some point. Wide, near-flat, friendly fingerboard. Many, many classic jazz recordings using this model guitar, whether with P90s or HBs....from Burrell, Tal Farlow, Herb Ellis, Jim Hall and so many more to Pat Metheny. Even Jeff Beck grabs one for a couple of numbers in his Les Paul tribute video. Joe Pass 'Virtuoso' albums vol 1 and vol 4 are all on a 175 recorded unplugged, yes 100% acoustic. You can play anything on a 175. I finally had to get (a black) one last year.....with Bigsby. The ES295 Scotty Moore played with Elvis is a gold 175 with a Bigsby. The Gibson Barney Kessel is basically a 175 with 2 cutaways.

 

Congrats to rct, pics?

 

Recent buys in jazz guitar-related CDs: Steve Khan 'Subtext', Lenny Breau 'Hallmark Sessions'(bass and drums? Rick Danko and Levon Helm!!), John McLaughlin 4th Dimension 'The Boston Record' which is just mind-boggling prog-fusion, Jack Wilkins 'Trio Art' - now that really is pure jazz guitar - John Scofield 'Uberjam Deux' which is more of a rock-funk outing for one of today's greatest players. In blues I finally got Ronnie Earl / Duke Robillard 'Duke meets the Earl' - Robillard can play jazz too - and T-Bone Walker 'T-Bone Standard Time' which is the late 60s sessions produced by Huey Meaux and by far the best T-Bone Walker I ever heard. T-Bone played a Gibson Barney Kessel and (CD liner notes say) took guitar lessons in Oklahoma from a man called Chuck Richardson, the same guy who taught Charlie Christian....whose broadcasts with Benny Goodman electrified a generation including Wes, Jim Hall, Kessel, Herb Ellis and Kenny Burrell.

 

Here is Christian without Benny Goodman, from 'Live At Minton's'. This uses the chords of a standard called 'Topsy'. I think it was an ES 150...?

 

 

I better stop there. Regards!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All kidding aside, my own love for the 175 has to do with its shape compared to my playing habits and personal geometry.

 

Other short-scale, flat radius, similar nut width, 16-inch hollows ditto.

 

I'm actually more comfortable playing even a bit of Bach on it compared to on my nylon string guitars. (and just got a new one of the latter variety)

 

Pass mostly played the 175 (dunno about the acoustic only on it, but so what) I think for about the same reason. I've seen at least one vid of him playing a Fender Jaguar.

 

I'd say that the Gibbie is the high end of it, but as Rabs noted, the new Epi ain't bad - and the Epi Joe Pass ain't that much different in terms of dimensions and feel. I ended up with a one-pup Eastman of 175 shape and it's comfortable as an old shoe. To me, anyway.

 

To me jazz is far more than the material of the 40s and 50s where bebop got beyond the "let's do standards or similar new material and then do neat solos after we do the real melody a time or two." "Dixieland" had plenty of room for improv too, and some pretty basic melodic lines. Swing started to take that material into more complex forms some "new" ideas - and then post-WWII really got into the complexity of Gershwin's material.

 

But... back to "jazz guitar?" For years my wintertime "take out to do fancy chords and stuff" guitar was a solidbody wearing 8-38 and other than other musicians, folks didn't know or care what I was playing as long as it sounded half decent.

 

m

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Joe Pass 'Virtuoso' albums vol 1 and vol 4 are all on a 175 recorded unplugged, yes 100% acoustic.

 

 

Pass mostly played the 175 (dunno about the acoustic only on it, but so what) I think for about the same reason.

m

 

So I need to check the truth of my assertion!

 

From producer/label owner Norman Granz's liner note to 'Virtuoso #4':

...."At the same recording sessions from which came Virtuoso #1, he also recorded several numbers which were never released. This new double album contains the cream of that unreleased material and, unlike the subsequent Virtuoso albums, the outstanding feature in this one is that it is played totally on acoustic guitar - another rarity in jazz." (My italics)

 

So there. However....even Mr Granz was not 100% right. A close (and very enjoyable) listen to all the tracks from these 2 albums reveals that Joe played amplified on 2 cuts; "Here's That Rainy Day" (Virtuoso #1) and "Indian Summer" (#4). All the other tracks are quite clearly acoustic. It sounds exactly like an unamplified ES 175 and I really don't think it can possibly be anything else. Fortunately, someone has put all the tunes from 'Virtuoso #1' up on You Tube, in sequence; try listening to a few moments of one then compare it with track 3, "Rainy Day" and you will hear what I mean -

 

 

So....I was very nearly right but must correct myself and apologize as "ninety-nine and one half won't do".

And - paraphrasing Bertrand Russell; "a pedant is someone who prefers their facts to be true".

 

Enough already! Regards!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One way or another...

 

I think that for me, at least, the 175 "type" is the closest to an "ideal" guitar. Again, mostly it's the shape and the way it can play about anything I wanna play except flamenco and some bluegrassy/old time types of things. Although I don't play current rock at super-high volumes and wouldn't try on it.

 

Again, though, it comes down largely to the fact that it seems to best "fit" my body, my shorter-than-average arms, how and what I play as a mostly fingerpicker who does his own thing.

 

Gotta figure too that I'm playing 9-42 strings that some would consider heresy on a "jazz guitar." So what. I like 'em and they fit what and how I play. Too, I started with a classical guitar rather than a "board" guitar. So my "feel" is for something thick-bodied; a 335 seems to be longer necked because it ain't.

 

Any guitar can be a jazz guitar. Even a 1950s Stella $10 made of orange crates and painted-on dots. I've noted before that one of my favorite "jazz" vids is an old, old one of Roy Buchanan on a jazz program with Mundell Lowe and Roy takes on Misty marvelously on his Tele and in a "style" that very few if any could emulate even if they wanted to.

 

To me the 175 "type" - and the ideal is of course a Gibbie - is worth anyone playing not because their technique deserves it, but rather because if it's a "fit" as it is for me, it improves technique and seems to encourage a mental flexibility with technique into what fits a given guitarist.

 

Why? I think it's because to me it's a great marriage of the great archtops of the all-acoustic big band era and the incoming electric era. To me, at least, it's far easier to hold standing or sitting than a LP, Strat, Tele, SG or whatever. It's not as big as the bigger archtops that my short arms (a 32-inch dress sleeve is at least an inch to two inches too long) don't care for when it comes to playing standing or seated with what I figure is most comfortable posture.

 

Everybody has their own body, their own way of addressing the hold of a guitar. I look at the pix of Pass and - yeah, he holds the instrument closer to how a classical guitarist does. The neck may even be held higher and body lower. Maybe.

 

My bottom line is that although it's as easy to say that the 175 is a "jazz guitar" as to say that the 335 is a Chuck Berry style rock guitar and the old Gretsch is a Chet Atkins style guitar, but the bottom line is that the guitar was there first and folks who were comfortable with it played anything from jazz to pop to rock to movie stuff.

 

It's of interest to me why "we" end up with certain guitar shapes/styles. The LP was apparently about perfect for this great picker named Les Paul, but wasn't all that popular or salable until some rock pickers used 'em. So, was it that the guitar wasn't really that super by itself and needed a "current teen music idol" to show it's great - or simply to have what the idol had? Ditto "jazz" guitars, Teles in country and...

 

???

 

m

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting thread...

 

I only managed to scan through most of it (the thread that is), but I believe Pass played an acoustic on the first Virtuoso album. ES 175's aren't particularly loud when unplugged and don't sound like a full on acoustic (like his sound on the album). Unless they put a mic inside a 175 you would not hear it that loud and full in a studio unplugged. Bear in mind 175's are laminated and no laminated guitar would surely sound that acoustic?! I hear old 175's are louder than the newer ones, but I still can't see him playing that album on anything but an acoustic (except the tracks noted earlier). Besides, I'm sure I read somewhere it was some random acoustic they found in the studio!

 

Also, Milod's point about how guitars are associated with certain styles always baffles me too! Some people are surprised you can actually play jazz on a solid body...they seem to think it is not at all possible - like the fretboard has different notes/ layout or something bizarre?!!! How is this?! I usually play jazz on my 175 (the one in my profile pic), but I once did a gig on my Les Paul Classic, playing all the old standards and some classical pieces and a few people commented they never thought you could play jazz on a Les Paul!!, and obviously not knowing that Lester was a real person. It seems hollow and solid guitars are like learning 2 different instruments to some folks!! Solid being say a violin and hollow being a cello :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Congrats to rct, pics?

 

Here's some of my well know photography skillz in action. The only thing that I know more about than photography is playing jazz.

 

1751.jpg

1753.jpg

1755.jpg

 

I put a review over in the Epiphone Electrics forum.

 

rct

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looks very nice indeed! I do like a black guitar....congrats!

 

I've always liked Lee Ritenour's playing. Jazz guitar? Some of his albums are terrible soft-pap-pop-jazz but others - his fusion records like "Sugarloaf Express" and his Wes tribute "Wes Bound" are great.

I've seen him a couple of times and lately he's been playing and touring in this quartet with his long-time associate Dave Grusin.

He starts on Yamaha frame guitar and moves to the Gibson Ritenour L-5 at about 7 min in, gets out the slide just after the 12-minute mark and starts heating up on the Les Paul from about 40 mins in.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUt_pnutRtI

 

The bass player (http://www.melvinleedavis.com/) plays a Smith 7-string bass and is a total monster.....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Always interesting to 'riff' about jazz guitars... [thumbup]

 

Some people regard Charlie Christian as the 'first' electric guitarist of note playing an ES150 in the 1930's...

 

Nowadays players use almost any guitar to play jazz on...and fusion...

 

John McLaughlin is seen playing Les Paul Juniors through to custom full hollows fitted with synthesizers... :blink:

 

Via Gibson double neck solids...and recently some tasty Godins...notwithstanding a Fender Mustang... [biggrin]

 

All good stuff...!!

 

V

 

:-({|=

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...