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Best Jazz Guitar


Watermelon99

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"Jazz" is a style, genre...not a guitar. All are quite capable, of doing "Jazz!" Strats, Tele's, Jazzmaster,

LP's ES-335-345-355, and the fuller bodied versions, as well. L-5 and the Byrdland, ES-165 or 175.

The most important thing, is the phrasing, and perfecting the fingering, chording, and picking techniques.

Don't worry, to much, about "which guitar is a 'Jazz' guitar!" For under a "Grand," probably need to stick

with Epi's, versions, or possibly a used "Elitist," if you're lucky...of the above, in the Gibson family. Just find

one you really like, the sound of, that's comfortable, and easy to play.

 

Cheers,

CB

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I've never played one, but the Epi version of the es175 looks nice enough and personally I love the 175 size and shape because of the way it just plain "fits" me when I'm playing.

 

The point that "jazz" is not a matter of guitar is very valid. Pass played solidbodies at one point. Whatta yah call what Les Paul played in terms of style?

 

I think personally that the 175 is best shaped to fit me personally, but I'd add that I think some jazz players like various hollow bodies because they are easier to handle while playing their style of jazz picking.

 

One thing that's always kinda bothered me about "jazz guitar" is that in ways concepts ain't changed much from the 1950s with "use a hollowbody and the thickest, heaviest strings you can sorta depress onto the frets." Sheesh. I went that way for a cupla years and concluded it didn't play how I wanted to play.

 

The "superheavy flatwound on an F-hole" style then tends toward 50s bebop.

 

I dunno. To me personally "jazz" is so darned broad a concept that ... awwwww, heck. I love a lotta 50s pickers; Kessel, Pass, Ellis... but it's not me. I'm probably more like Charlie Byrd but with electric strings, 10 percent of the talent and not playing 60s bossa nova.

 

I'll say this, too: It seems like guitars as well as cameras tend to have a lot of folks who love to look down on those who own "lesser" equipment. I don't claim to be that much of a guitar picker, but I'll tell you that I've probably had many times more photos published in various venues with less expensive cameras than some "photo experts" who lift their noses at anything less than a $97,000 setup. <grin>

 

BTW, here's another thought - what are you playing jazz on now? Is it comfortable playing? Do you like it? Why change unless you've got GAS? Have you considered that a different neck might not be as comfy as what you're using?

 

m

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A jazz sound is really my style, and I play mostly an ES-335 and a Gretsch 6120 Nashville and like both.

 

I was at the South Carolina Jazz Festival and heard a guy playing great stuff on his Strat! When I've played my stuff on my Strat, it just doesn't work for me.

 

I've been gassing for an ES-175 for a long time, but I figure it's got the 57 Classic pups just like my 335, so I might have to re-think that.

 

For under $1000, an Epi is probably the way to go, maybe a used Elitist like Charlie suggested. A Gretsch 5120 might work, but I believe the pups on it might have a little too much sting for the style.

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Hell, I've used my SG for "jazz" tones.

 

I like the idea to pick up an Epi, I think that their hollows and semi-hollows have good reputations and I think they sound pretty good, so it may be worth it to check them out.

 

If you're going for versatility, I think a semi-hollow is probably preferable, for the sake of feedback control.

 

I also recommend that you check out Hagstrom. They have some good, sturdy and fairly inexpensive guitars.

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XDemonknight...

 

My mid 1970s Guild version of the SG is why I ended up asking what this picker is playing now and if there's a good "fit" with the instrument.

 

I've noticed that I play it differently somehow, likely because the neck seems longer - but the sound is fine...

 

The "feedback" thing is probably valid with rock; never had problems with it myself with a hollow.

 

m

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XDemonknight...

 

My mid 1970s Guild version of the SG is why I ended up asking what this picker is playing now and if there's a good "fit" with the instrument.

 

I've noticed that I play it differently somehow' date=' likely because the neck seems longer - but the sound is fine...

 

The "feedback" thing is probably valid with rock; never had problems with it myself with a hollow.

 

m

[/quote']

 

The Guild S-100? Actually, I played on one of those last week--my teacher, who had close ties with Guild for a decent amount of time, owns the prototype of that model, and handed it to me during my lesson. He told me a few interesting stories about it, but I don't know if I could do them justice.

 

Yeah, the feedback thing mostly matters in a rock context, high-gain and what-not. Unless your idea of jazz requires heavy distortion, then feedback shouldn't really be much of an issue with a hollow.

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Yeah...

 

Mine is the S100c version with the carved acorns and oak leaves.

 

She wears 8-38s, but then I almost never use a pick.

 

She was my #1 for years; now... well, kinda still depending on what and where and how...

 

Gotta admit the 175 bod is a better fit with mine, though - although only after I gave up on the "gee, you gotta use cables 'stedda strings on an F hole...

 

I've actually played the hollow pretty loudly and right in front of speakers and such. I've forced a whine a time or two, but...

 

Here again, I've had perhaps somewhat less whine problems 'cuz I mostly use an acoustic amp and you can wind out the offending frequency... <grin>

 

m

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Of course, "Jazz" is a pretty broad term, even in that genre! Some play "Jazz" on "Classical" guitars.

Other's play it, on guitars normally used for "Shredding"... There's a DVD out, of Miles Davis, and his

guitarist, at that time, was using what would have normally been seen, in a "Metal" band (solid body,

wide fingerboard, unlimited upper fret access)...and doing great things on it....Granted, it was more

"Fusion" style "Jazz," with lots of "Chorus," as well. Point is...depending on your (favorite) type of

"Jazz," "Traditional, progressive, Fusion," etc., might Help determine what kind of guitar could be better

suited? Whatever it is...Good luck, in your search! ;>)

 

CB

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First Measure...

 

Yeah, one problem with music at times is the idea that there's a specific "look."

 

I note that during one earlier thread about longtime rock players, there was a somewhat critical statement made of Eric Clapton wearing a suit. Yes, it was a comment made by a younger forum regular, but it shows some cultural change and also the sorts of expectations of different types of music at a given point in time.

 

Like it or not, there tends to be an expectation that a jazz guitarist will play a "big fancy F Hole" guitar; other guitarists expect he or she will use heavy flatwound strings.

 

Sheesh.

 

To me that's like saying that you're only a jazz woodwind musician if you play a tenor sax and take drugs.

 

For what it's worth, swapping guitars for a "look" in a given band playing a given style is probably the most stupid thing I've ever done either inside or outside of playing music for money. And I was dumb enough to do it more than once.

 

The point has been made that the amp has more than a little to do with the sound itself; as far as I'm concerned, a neck and strings that match a player's technique are far more important than the look.

 

Okay, maybe that's some sort of a proof that I'm old. Grump, grump, grump.

 

m

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Milod

 

I guess it's all part of the "Show" in Show Business. The audience doesn't just want to hear Live Music, they want to see it. I'd love it if Audiences had more Open Minds, but I don't see that happening.

 

What do you think would have happened if Tommy Dorsey or Glen Miller showed up in Short Sleeves and Khakis instead of a Shark Skin Suit? The reviews wouldn't even have mentioned the performance, they would have been all hung up on Wardrobe.

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Well, Larry is likely the major "jazz" guy who's a regular in the lounge.

 

I'm not sure what you'd call the stuff I do. There are jazz chords in some of it...

 

I've used a 175 clone, a semi hollow and the 70s Guild SG clone for audiences and it doesn't seem to make any difference around here. In fact, after using the semi for a couple weeks (I don't like to take the 35-y-o 175 into saloons), I took the Guild. Some friends were telling me I should use it more because it sounded better. And I was using 8-38s on it.

 

The 175 has done the Star Spangled Banner, "cowboy," blues and jazz in public, but mostly because I love the thing and I do like the sound - and use 9-42s.

 

So... I dunno. Joe Pass used a solid body Fender at one point.

 

Mother Maybelle used a big old F hole for pre-country "country."

 

I think sometimes we convince ourselves that "marketing" includes the guitar we play.

 

As I've said, I've made some of my biggest mistakes in swapping X for Y guitars because of "the look." In retrospect it was pretty stupid. I look at some of the folks who make, rather than follow trends in guitar music and... sheesh, I've concluded they play what they want to for how they play.

 

m

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