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So you CAN play Jazz on a Les Paul


L5Larry
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Yesterday I was going over some charts in preparation for Big Band rehearsal. Our "novelty" song for our next concert series is the theme song from the 1971 movie "Shaft". The band calls these "Larry's Picks", as I will bring in some off-the-wall popular song (or Rock & Roll song), that I have either written a full big band score for, or for which I've "modified" an existing published arrangement.

 

Many of these type of songs just don't sound right on the L-5, and really require a solid body R&R guitar. One of my Strats seems to have become my go-to guitar for this, but yesterday I pulled out the 1975 Les Paul Standard (tobacco sunburst), just to give it some fresh air. Nothing but chunka chunka wah wah for me on this song and the LP sounded really good for this during my practice session.

 

As I was packing up my gear for rehearsal, I decided (since it was ONLY rehearsal) I would take just the LP and play it on everything. This included songs from the likes of Count Basie, Tito Puente, Buddy Rich, Ella Fitzgerald, etc, and the LP sounded (and played) F'ing fantastic on EVERYTHING! I had so much FUN playing the old Les Paul on that stuff, that I'm still talking about it 12 hours later.

 

Now that got me thinking,..... since the Les Paul (guitar) was developed in collaboration with Les Paul (the man), wasn't it really designed to be a jazz guitar in the first place?

 

Now I want to go set it up with some heavy gauge flatwounds. I think I might have a set of "Chromes" around here somewhere.

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Guest Farnsbarns

since the Les Paul (guitar) was developed in collaboration with Les Paul (the man),

 

It wasn't really.

 

 

wasn't it really designed to be a jazz guitar in the first place?

 

Yes, it was, kind of, if you call that Jazz. To me it's not jazz but then I was brought to see only New Orleans jazz as true jazz. To me it was the pop of it's day. I'm the one with the minority opinion here so, yes, you're right.

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You can play jazz on any guitar - jazz is in your fingers, not the piece of wood. And yes, Les Paul was a jazz guitarist.

 

This contemporary idea that semi-hollow and hollow bodied archtops are "Jazz Boxes", Teles are for Country, Strats and LPs are for rock is something I don't understand. Marketing? Urban legend gone mainstream? I have no idea.

 

I see no reason why you can't play Jazz on a Tele if you want.

 

Insights and incites by Notes

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I was at a workshop a few years ago, there was a huge lounge that had two sections..

 

my team was sitting in a smaller part of the louge (kind of an L shaped room),

 

eventually (around 7ish while most of us were getting on the way to being hammered) the house band fired up, I could hear but could not see them but I could tell it was gutiar/bass/drums...

 

they were playing some great stuff (Wes, even to my surprise some Howard Roberts, who plays that stuff??) The guitar player the tone we've come to expect, after a while I peaked around the corner,

 

He was playing a telecaster thin line plugged into what to me looked like a peavy bandit...

[scared]

 

many of us (I believe you included Larry) have said this before,

 

"it's all in hands"...

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I was at a workshop a few years ago, there was a huge lounge that had two sections..

 

my team was sitting in a smaller part of the louge (kind of an L shaped room),

 

eventually (around 7ish while most of us were getting on the way to being hammered) the house band fired up, I could hear but could not see them but I could tell it was gutiar/bass/drums...

 

they were playing some great stuff (Wes, even to my surprise some Howard Roberts, who plays that stuff??) The guitar player the tone we've come to expect, after a while I peaked around the corner,

 

He was playing a telecaster thin line plugged into what to me looked like a peavy bandit...

[scared]

 

many of us (I believe you included Larry) have said this before,

 

"it's all in hands"...

Convoluted as this may seem, that's why I liked the old DeArmond soundhole pickups. Wish I had one now....

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Now that got me thinking,..... since the Les Paul (guitar) was developed in collaboration with Les Paul (the man), wasn't it really designed to be a jazz guitar in the first place?

 

Yes, you just need to take everything off 11 and play with your tone and volume knobs :)

 

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Frank Zappa said Jazz is not dead it just smells funny.

 

How can you pigeon hole any guitar?

 

Tele's aren't just for Country

ES's aren't just for Jazz and Blues

LP's and SG's aren't just For Rock

Explorers and V's aren't just for Metal.

Jazzmasters and Jag's aren't just for Surf Music

 

true

 

but...

 

You wouldn't use an L5 for death metal.

It would be like casting Meryl Streep in a zombie flick.

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true

 

but...

 

You wouldn't use an L5 for death metal.

It would be like casting Meryl Streep in a zombie flick.

Don't know anything about film/movie casting, but my favorite jazz guitar is the one from my avatar, my Government Series II Explorer. Her clean tones are incredibly jazz-box like. As expected, she's also great for any metal guitar style as long as there's no need for a whammy bar.

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"There are no wrong notes in jazz: only notes in the wrong places." - Miles Davis

 

"It’s not the note you play that’s the wrong note – it’s the note you play afterwards that makes it right or wrong." - Miles Davis

 

ahhh, thats where I went wrong.

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