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jdogric12

Broadway vs Joe Pass Emperor II

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Hi gang. A friend of mine is thinking of getting either a Broadway or Joe Pass. The only differences I see on the site are the end of fretboard, inlays, switch position, signature, and tailpiece. Any other differences? Would they be the same-sounding unplugged? Thanks, J

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To the best of my knowledge I believe the Emperors are a bit smaller than the Broadways. Going by the specs both have the same woods for theirs tops, back and sides and necks. They both use the same pickups too, but the Broadway uses the Frequensator tale piece which many believe to make the lows lower and the highs higher if I remember right. Beyond the spec sheets I can't help you because I've only had a Joe Pass Emperor II in my hands briefly and haven't been able to try out a Broadway yet. I would doubt that they would sound the same unplugged though because of the difference in the shape and size of the bodies.

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Size is the biggest difference. A Joe Pass is smaller and more comfortable. Not a lot of difference in how they sound unplugged. As far as PU's, if you want to get the best sound from your Epi, you should upgrade them to a good set of PAF's, like some Duncans. You'll hear a big difference in tone quality.

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I own both, so I can speak to the differences, which are quite noticeable. The scale length is a big factor --- it adds tension to the strings so the same gauge will have more snap and definition on the longer-scale Broadway (and will be slightly harder to bend). The larger body (17"x3" vs 16"x2.75") makes the Broadway quite a bit louder and more resonant acoustically, with more wood and air, and more complex overtones in the tone when plugged in. However, the JP's smaller size makes it very comfortable to play and easier to get around on, especially for players with smaller hands.

 

Until I got my Elitist Broadway a few weeks ago, I found myself playing my JP more often than the Broadway (or any of my other guitars, for that matter), even though I slightly preferred the Broadway's tone. Since then, though, the Elitist Broadway has become my most-played guitar.

 

Both the JP and the standard Broadway are superbly made guitars, and both can sound wonderful when played by a good player through a good amp. The JP has a slight edge cosmetically, with fancier wood and appointments, and as mentioned, will better suit a player with smaller hands or stature, while the Broadway has a more robust tone for a player who is comfortable with the larger size.

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