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Mythbuster


whitefang

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I have long time maintained a fantasy that if I had the chops, money and reputation as a jazz guitarist, I'd record a CD of about 10 well known jazz tunes. I would call it "Mythbuster" because I would use guitars not nowadays associated with jazz.

Like maybe a Stratocaster, a Gibson SG, and a B.C.Rich Warlock.

All on that order.

 

Some years ago, a member of this forum posted a thread saying he was thinking of switching from rock music to jazz, and wanted our opinions on which model of guitar would be a good "jazz" guitar. My reply was "Probably the one you already own". After all, jazz is a playing styleThe guitar shouldn't matter too much.

 

It seems certain guitar models and styles have been attached to different genres of music. The Stratocaster and Les Paul are the kings of rock music. The Telecaster to Country, The Gretsch to Swing and Rockabilly. And big, fat, archtop hollow bodied monstrosities to Jazz. I am of the opinion it isn't nesseccary to sport a Gibson Herb Ellis or L-5, DeArmond or D'Angelico to be a jazz guitarist.

 

If you go back in rock and roll history, you begin to see the error of these ways. Many of the early rock and roll "heros" came from country music. Elvis at first aspired to be a country music star. His guitarist, Scotty Moore I beleive, played a Byrdland. Eddie Cochran and Duane Eddy played Gretsches. Even the man I call the true "king of rock and roll" Chuck Berry cut loose on a Big 400 and Byrdland. By the same token, Ed Bickert, a well known and highly respected Canadian jazz guitarist uses both a Fender Jaguar and Telecaster. And Les Paul, who designed that wonderful rock and roll icon, used it for jazz! It was out on the market BEFORE rock and roll became a valid music genre. I don't think Bickert ever once thought, "Jeez, I better get a fat, clumsy, Gibson Herb Ellis if I want to be taken serious!"

 

Even Ted Nugent, while with the Amboy Dukes, was playing a Byrdland.

 

If any of you who might be serious jazz players and can afford to put out such a CD, please feel free to use the concept AND the title. You don't have to pay me anything. Just send me a copy. ;)

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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I think you're on to something. I played a strat in my jazz band in high school and never had a complaint. Used the out of phase 2 and 4 pu postions, mostly.

 

Mike Stern plays a tele and he is right up there. The Beatles used Epiphone casinos a semi hollow body guitar.

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Wasn't Lee Ritenour just in GP holding a Les Paul?

 

Anyway, most of the jazzers I've seen for the last few decades locally play strats, Ibanez Gems, Steinbergers, Charvels, Jacksons... all kinds of boutique solidbodies, modded Teles...

 

On the other hand, those "clumsy" Jazzboxes are just wonderful, and inspiring, and damned cool.

 

 

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Gettin' close to exasperation... :facepalm:

 

What kinda geeetars did your heroes use ?

What effects did they use them for ?

 

I think I'm kind of with you...

 

I know a guy who does jazz gigs with a Variax into a laptop, which could probably cover any gig...

 

but what fun is that... and I pray no one tells my lady any of that exists and that I don't need the 12+ axes to cover everything.

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[quote=p90jr

 

I know a guy who does jazz gigs with a Variax into a laptop, which could probably cover any gig...

 

but what fun is that... and I pray no one tells my lady any of that exists and that I don't need the 12+ axes to cover everything.

 

+1!!

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Drew Davidsen was using Ibanez holowbodies; but is now using Glasstones Guitars, which are solid bodies with a glass fingerboard/fret set up. Too bad the video on his site doesn't show it; but he was at the NAMM show for Glasstones- might be able to find a video that way. Anyway, he's up for an American Smooth Jazz Award, so I guess it will become an acceptable axe.

"Am I enough of a freak to be worth paying to see?"- Separated Out (Marillion)

NEW band Old band

 

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Whitefang- Great idea for your album! Do it, by all means, do it!

 

Wasn't Lee Ritenour just in GP holding a Les Paul?

 

Wasn't the Gibson Les Paul designed as a jazz guitar?

 

 

Whitefang, I agree that jazz is as jazz does, and not the guitar that one does it on; but, often, different guitars are like various golf-clubs in ones bag, and lend themselves to different sounds and feels.

 

And, for example, a friend's rather bright and thin sounding (but nice playing) ESP LTD with a Floyd stylee and bright, thin humbuckers is a little more challenging to getting fat, chonkin', dark chocolate jazz tones that I would want, than my Les Paul is, or a Gibson ES-165 "Herb Ellis" with Thomastik-Infeld flatwounds would be... :D:thu::cool:

 

 

I'll add that after ones approach and technique, string brand/type/gauge selection and set-up are at least as important as the given guitar.

 

I put a set of pure/solid nickel-wound, round-core strings, in 10s, on that ESP LTD, and it warmed it right up. A set of 11s or 12s or heavier would get it even further along there in that direction, as would jazz-rounds or flat-wounds and a higher action with more relief.

 

 

I can sound and feel as jazzily toneful as I wanna be on a flat-top acoustic (straight-up or amplified), a Tele, a Les Paul, a Strat, whatever. But I'd absolutely :love: love :love: a really nice carved-top hollow or semi-hollow jazzbox, like an L5, ES-165, Ibanez George Benson, Guild Stuart, or (shudder sweat drool) D'Aquisto (even one of those cool Fender D'Aquistos), etc....

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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I guess just about all Gibson electrics (even the Flying V and Explorer) before 1960 were designed as Jazz guitars (and the country guys who were playing jazz on the back pickup, basically) because there was no other market. The SG/Les Pauls and Firebirds were designed to compete with the Fenders that were beating them in sales, so i guess that means they were designed with blues, surf and rock and roll in mind...

 

Meanwhile, as documented in things, Fender ignored rock and roll R&D because they thought it was ephemeral until maybe the '70s, and were developing their guitars for country players, and I guess the Jazzmaster and Jaguar were meant for jazz but that certainly has always been an oddball approach. I play jazz gigs with a Jazzmaster, and use the rhythm circuits, etc, and can't imagine someone in '58 or whatever opting for that over an ES-XXX. Actually, I use a Hamer Echotone and Epi 175 for those gigs instead these day myself.

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Whitefang, i agree: you're absolutely right that a skilled guitarist can pretty much play any style with any guitar. I play all kinds of stuff on my Dean Cadillac and my Jon Kammerers.

 

It's just that certain guitars make it easier to dial in one kind of tone or another. But even that said, it has more to do with your skills and overall rig than any one piece of equipment.

 

 

And oh, yeah- great idea & title for an album!

Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: âNinety percent of everything is crapâ

 

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

 

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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If you go back in rock and roll history, you begin to see the error of these ways. Many of the early rock and roll "heros" came from country music. Elvis at first aspired to be a country music star. His guitarist, Scotty Moore I beleive, played a Byrdland. Eddie Cochran and Duane Eddy played Gretsches. Even the man I call the true "king of rock and roll" Chuck Berry cut loose on a Big 400 and Byrdland. By the same token, Ed Bickert, a well known and highly respected Canadian jazz guitarist uses both a Fender Jaguar and Telecaster. And Les Paul, who designed that wonderful rock and roll icon, used it for jazz! It was out on the market BEFORE rock and roll became a valid music genre. I don't think Bickert ever once thought, "Jeez, I better get a fat, clumsy, Gibson Herb Ellis if I want to be taken serious!"

 

Even Ted Nugent, while with the Amboy Dukes, was playing a Byrdland.

 

At the risk of being pedantic:

 

Scotty Moore played the Gibson 295, L-5 and Super 400. Never a Byrdland.

 

Chuck Berry primarily played an ES-350T.

 

Ted Nugent continued to play the Byrdland through most of his uber-successful 70s era.

"You never can vouch for your own consciousness." - Norman Mailer
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I've been thinking along that same lines, not in regards to Jazz in particular but generally. I've often thought that I doesn't really matter what you're using as long as it creates your sound

Ask not what your guitar can do for you, rather ask you can do for your guitar without provoking a divorce or a visit from the police.

- with profound apologies to JFK

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Dunno what you've got against arch-tops - their richness of tone can't be duplicated by any other design. I believe Les Paul was trying to get around the inherent vibration of arch-tops with his solid body designs, and he succeded in creating a great, but distinct sound, with wonderful honk, but without the airy quality of a jazz box. An arch top works somewhat like a speaker, as does an acoustic. When my 175 is plugged into a loud amp, you can actually feel the air coming out of it. It feels far more alive in your arms than any solid body, which may not always be the desired trait, but its one trick pony aspect is unsurpassed at that specific trick. Its gorgeous, majestic ring makes the inherent feedback worth dealing with.

 

All that said, I play solids mostly at gigs because of portability and playability, and I could replace a Strat or LP if a loss occured. But if I were to play a gig of strictly sweet ballady stuff, with minimal FX called for, the 175, with the 355 as a backup would be the best tools. I have too many guitars for anyone not earning huge bucks playing, and I have nearly every imaginable base covered, but the 175 tops 'em all for tone.

Never a DUH! moment! Well, almost never. OK, OK! Sometimes never!
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"When my 175 is plugged into a loud amp, you can actually feel the air coming out of it. It feels far more alive in your arms than any solid body, which may not always be the desired trait, but its one trick pony aspect is unsurpassed at that specific trick. Its gorgeous, majestic ring makes the inherent feedback worth dealing with."

 

And makes the inherent feedback worth EXPLOITING, too! :D

 

:rawk:

 

:freak::crazy::love:LOVE LOVE LOVE :love::crazy::freak: using feedback!!

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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I have nothing against those big arch-top guitars. Many of them look quite fetching. There was a photo of a 1963 L-5 on the back page of the Nov. '99 issue of GP, I think, a custom made with a Florentine cut away that's simply stunning! Look it up and post it if you can. I haven't the PC facility.

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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"...1963 L-5..."

 

:love::cool:

 

... d r o o l ... ... d r o o l ... ... d r o o l ...

 

Slap some T-I Bebop 'jazz-rounds' or Swing flat-wounds in 13's or 14's onnitt and lemmy at that toboggan...

 

...maybe I'd actually begin to approach reasonably acceptable legit jazz chops on it in time! :D:thu::cool:

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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It's always been my personal opinion that monster chops and success aren't required for whitefang's fantasy - but good taste is. Financial outlay would be minimal using a couple of programs rather than going into a pro recording studio with live players.

 

I've started using several tracks of various jazz-pop standards using "Band in a Box", importing the MIDI files into Acid Pro or another DAW and overdubbing lead lines. "Band in a Box" doesn't have the feel of a live band with good players but the "magic" can be provided to some extent by the overdubs if done properly. The guitar player in the program sux but I do my own rhythm guitars anyways. Of course this is not how to make a "master" track but what the hay - it's almost free.

 

The best tone I have personally found for this is achieved by using an acoustic-electric Seagull Artist Studio model either into an Audio Technica mike or going direct through my XT POD. The second best sound was a Gretsch Country Gentleman followed by a Gibson Les Paul and my telecaster is in last place. I'm not sure how Ed Bickert got that warm sound - must be his hands and the Polytone amp.

 

Wasn't looking for a release this time around but would put it out on myspace or whatever.

Been round the block but am not over the hill...

 

http://www.bandmix.ca/jamrocker/

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FWIW, though I learned to play on an acoustic archtop that had a great balanced tone, I've always thought that the classic muted, Jim Hall-ish jazz tone can be well equaled by a Tele with the tone rolled back.

 

On the other hand, what is a jazz sound ?

Something that fits the music at hand ?

d=halfnote
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The SG was originally a Les Paul model, and thus a jazz guitar by design. The current run of SG's also have the same pup's as many of the LP models, so you're not really talking about a big difference in tone. I got a nice Jazz tone out of my SG by playing clean, through the neck pup, with the volume rolled back to right about 9, which takes down some of the high end. when I played the recording back for a friend, he asked where I got the hollow-body.

 

OTOH, Bernard Sumner of Joy Division/New Order got some screaming, nasty distortion out of a nice black ES-335. Unless there's a real piece of junk in your signal chain somewhere, or some kind of noise bomb like a Fuzz Factory, tone isn't usually a matter of one component, it's how you treat the sound overall.

"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

 

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The SG was marketed as a LP model but, IIRC, was one of the things with which Les Paul himself had nothing to do with & hated.

While they're good---even great---guitars, they, along with other issues, led to his disasociation with Gibson.

 

SGs are rock guitars by design but, as mentioned above, what something's designed for & what they may be used for are not the same.

d=halfnote
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On the other hand, what is a jazz sound ?

Something that fits the music at hand ?

 

A lot of people would beleive it's that "tone rolled back" sound you mentioned. Other artists, usually the ones whose works wind up on the "smooth jazz" radio stations seem to think it's that tone while playing "octaves", ala Wes Montgomery. Perhaps the most overused method among up and coming "jazz" players. Sometimes I think I'd like to hear a jazz guitarist rip out with a sharp treble tone or even use the old Wha-Wha!

 

A friend of mine who is deep into jazz playing says he believes the use of that tone goes back to the days of Charlie Christian, who achieved that tone because the early electric guitars were unable to offer much else. So those who came later might have felt that it was intended to be the standard. Maybe so?

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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