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  1. #1

    Grant Green's tone-how do I achieve it?

    Okay first off, I know this not really about improv, but one of my favorites is Mr. Green, not because of his usage of space and phrasing, but also because of his tone. I don't have a solid hollow, so I'm trying to get that "cutting" tone he used. I read somewhere that he turned his bass and treble all the way down on his amp, and his middle up. I tried that this morning, and it is closer, but does not match his tone. If you haven't heard, or have forgotten this "cutting" guitar tone:

  2. #2
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    die and be re-incarnated as Grant Green. Otherwise you'll just be chasing it for a long time.

  3. #3
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    P90s, shades and cigs.


  4. #4
    haha.

  5. #5
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    i've heard the drop bass and treb and mid up as well for gg- from listening it sounds like he used a coin or something very hard or mettalic for a pick

  6. #6
    BFOL-THAT'S EXACTLY THE SOUND I'M TRYING TO GET-the "coin"!!!!! Man woud it blend in SO WELL with my group!!!!

  7. #7
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    yeah i never actually use a coin as i always think it is going to break my strings faster but i know of 2 rock guitar players who use coins are billy gibbons of zztop (think it is a quarter) and brian may of queen(some pence coin)

  8. #8
    i still think jake had the best advice.

    not being an ass, but there's a story i like to tell.

    when i was a kid, i really liked andre dawson. i had an andre dawson cubs jersey, a real cubs fitted cap, and i saved a whole summer's worth of paper route money to buy an andre dawson signature bat. but you know what? i still couldn't play like andre dawson.

    so if you're "close" to grant's tone, be happy. not that it isn't a great tone--it's one of my favorites, too.

  9. #9
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    Can't help you with the *Grant Green* tone, of course.


    But isn't dialing DOWN the bass all the way and the treble most of the way and ramping UP the midrange all the way pretty common setting for many people, particularly on an archtop?

  10. #10
    I don't know, becAuse I don't own one

  11. #11
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    Wes Montgomery

    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzyteach65 View Post
    Okay first off, I know this not really about improv, but one of my favorites is Mr. Green, not because of his usage of space and phrasing, but also because of his tone. I don't have a solid hollow, so I'm trying to get that "cutting" tone he used. I read somewhere that he turned his bass and treble all the way down on his amp, and his middle up. I tried that this morning, and it is closer, but does not match his tone. If you haven't heard, or have forgotten this "cutting" guitar tone:
    Here´s some info on his guitars(and discography etc.).http://website.lineone.net/~johnharris/grant_green.htm
    Great player.
    Good luck with the "tone"!
    Last edited by Chev; 04-13-2009 at 04:00 PM. Reason: forgot link

  12. #12
    Hey, if you don't want to use a coin, you can get metal picks from several suppliers. Mine are made by Dugain, and I usually get them at gypsyjazz.net. (Although I use those for rock, because I like the clarity. For jazz I use wood, same manufacturer, same source.) Be ready though, they're THICK and completely inflexible. But they have a nice little groove for your thumb and forefinger!

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by NSJ View Post


    But isn't dialing DOWN the bass all the way and the treble most of the way and ramping UP the midrange all the way pretty common setting for many people, particularly on an archtop?
    not that i'm familiar with.

    most of the jazz payers i know leave their EQ pretty flat, maybe boosting mids a bit and cutting highs a little.

    i have heard that about grant's tone too, but i've also heard that one of the house amps at blue note (which grant likely used) was a tweed deluxe, which i don't believe has a midrange control.

  14. #14
    A tweed Deluxe (as legend has it as the house amp) has gobs of mids; the tone control is a treble cut only, cathode bias 6V6's and a P12R gets a very fat sound, like the early 60's Ampegs. Another factor is the Melody Maker pu on the 'jelly mold' 125 that GG used early on. They get a certain warmth, but it's definitely clearer than a P90.

  15. #15
    Using a hollow/semi-hollow body guitar is the first step towards achieving a Grant Green-type tone.

  16. #16
    Stackabones, you left out probably the most important component: the guitar strap has to go all the way to the headstock not behind the heel of the neck.Crucial!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flat5 View Post
    Stackabones, you left out probably the most important component: the guitar strap has to go all the way to the headstock not behind the heel of the neck.Crucial!



  18. #18
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    I'm resurrecting this thread because there is a lot of misinformation, believe it or not, about what manipulating a simple B,M,T tone stack does on a fender style amp. Grant Green knew what he was doing. I have read that he dropped the bass and treble and left the mids up. That is NOT going to boost the mids. On a Fender style amp, the result is to give you a FLAT, Ampeg sound. Try it. I just did, on my 4x10 Bassman. Remember, you can't turn all three tone knobs off because then no sound passes to the power amp. But, with the controls set at 0.5, 0.5, 7 (Bass, Treble, Middle--on the Bassman) you get a flat, jazzy tone. Here's the printout:

    Grant Green's tone-how do I achieve it?-flat-fender-tone-stack-jpg

    Do not imagine that what you will be accomplishing is tanking the bass, treble, and boosting the mids. Well, you will, actually, but remember that a Fender amp produces an ungodly bass peak/treble peak if you set the controls at 5,5,5:
    Grant Green's tone-how do I achieve it?-fender-amp-5-5-5-jpg

    This is the sound that everybody is accustomed to. Big bass peak, big treble peak, and the B-natural on the 1st string is about 18-decibels down. (On a Marshall, the valley is on the F-note at the 13th fret; on a Vox it is at the 15th fret--the Marshall is the flattest of the three).

    Green was just taming "non-flat" amps to get a jazzier sound.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greentone View Post
    I'm resurrecting this thread because there is a lot of misinformation, believe it or not, about what manipulating a simple B,M,T tone stack does on a fender style amp. Grant Green knew what he was doing. I have read that he dropped the bass and treble and left the mids up. That is NOT going to boost the mids. On a Fender style amp, the result is to give you a FLAT, Ampeg sound. Try it. I just did, on my 4x10 Bassman. Remember, you can't turn all three tone knobs off because then no sound passes to the power amp. But, with the controls set at 0.5, 0.5, 7 (Bass, Treble, Middle--on the Bassman) you get a flat, jazzy tone. Here's the printout:



    Green was just taming "non-flat" amps to get a jazzier sound.
    That was cool. Thanks!
    I am no longer a moderator here. Please contact Dirk Laukens (username: Dirk) or Matt Warnock (username: m78w) with concerns normally addressed to a moderator.
    All best,
    Mark

  20. #20
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    I know that it seldom occurs to set Fender/Marshall/Vox amps on 0.5/0.5 (Bass,Treble)--for amps with two controls--or 0.5/7/0.5 (Bass,Middle,Treble)--for amps with three controls--but try it. It provides a sound much like an Ampeg on 5,5 or a Polytone on 5,5, etc.

    Again, I think Grant Green was trusting his ear and getting a jazzy sound. Had Wes Montgomery checked out what Green was doing, he might have been happy staying with his Super Reverb instead of moving to the Standel (which featured the same kind of tone stack as Ampeg).

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by NSJ View Post
    Can't help you with the *Grant Green* tone, of course.


    But isn't dialing DOWN the bass all the way and the treble most of the way and ramping UP the midrange all the way pretty common setting for many people, particularly on an archtop?
    Every times I've tried that, it's horrible.

    Dialing the bass down helps reduce feedback but too far and you lose fatness and warmth. Bringing the mids up (usually that's around 1000 Hz) too much tends to sound harsh and clanky, you want just enough to get definition. The treble provides some shimmer and sizzle, but to much starts to sound spiky and harsh again. The "traditional" jazz guitar tone (Tal Farlow, Johnny Smith, Barney Kessel, etc.) has a lot more highs than the stereotype would have it.

    To me the goal is to have the highs be round and smooth but to have plenty of them. Of the modern guys I really like Peter Bernstein's tone, he's managed to get just that- a smooth, round top end with great definition and clarity but no harshness. Most amps to my ears are voiced for rock and distortion and the high end is too harsh and pointy. There are some exceptions- the clean channel on my Egnater Rebel 30 is very easy to dial in for jazz, for example (I think getting the Grant Green type sound on that amp would be very feasible, BTW).

  22. #22
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    Well...If it did what you think those knob twists produces...maybe, but owing to the interactive nature of F, M, V knobs all you are doing is getting the flat response that Johnny Smith used on his Ampeg.
    Last edited by Greentone; 08-21-2014 at 12:38 PM.

  23. #23
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    Grant Green's tone was functional for playing with screaming Hammond organs in pack filled raucous Harlem clubs. Same for Benson and Montgomery and Martino. Have a listen to the recordings with Baby Face Willette and Patton and Young. Something the 'traditional' jazz guitar tones of Kessel, Smith and Farlow would never have confronted. Different strokes for different folks. The things that work today might not necessarily be the things that fitted the times back then. How many 'jazz' players today have ever encountered clubs and atmospheres like that would have been.

  24. #24
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    Green's setting is the same as Smith's Ampeg at 5,5. The tone is a lot like Kessel's on his Gibson amp.

  25. #25
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    Well, I set my Princeton to 0.5 / 0.5 and I must say, it's nice. Sweet but also crisp, and less peaky than the usual setting of Treble 3, Bass 2.5. Thanks for the tip.
    Current favorites: '47 L-5N, '63 ES-175, Eastman T59/V

  26. #26
    Whatever amp you are using make a point of getting to know its tone controls. It's especially valuable to know what settings give the flattest frequency response. I like starting from that setting, then dial up the bass and treble to suit each environment I play in.

  27. #27
    cool thread. love me some GG.

    on a budget…start with single coil pickups. p90s would get you close.

    for the real deal, he used a ES330 with p90s, an early L7 with a McCarthy PU (the cool ones with the "floral" inlays), and then later (my personal fave) an Epi Emperor with the same McCarthy PU mounted on that. i think he may even have used a D'Aquisto in the later years. though I'm not sure i have heard any recordings of that.

    using blackface Fenders the 0-ed bass and treble is a good call too. as started earlier, i think we are hearing a tweed Deluxe on all the classic Bluenote stuff. tweeds get ALL THE MIDs, and are really much better suited to playing jazz than any BF in my opinion. anybody got a few grand i can borrow?

    but for me GG is really just playing with a lot of soul and funky time.

  28. #28
    I find my Guild American Patriarch X-500 with TI Jazz Swings (12) through my Henriksen Jazz Amp 112 set flat gets pretty close. If I practice 8 hours/day every day for the next 30 years perhaps I will be able to play like Grant...or not.

    This guitar has Franz single coil pups, which look like P90's but aren't as hot. The guitar in my avatar is that guitar.

  29. #29
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    Yes, and the Henriksen is an amp that you can actually set "flat" without any strange twisting of the eq knobs. It's right there--mid-detent on the eq knobs. GREAT amp, by the way.

  30. #30
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    My 2 bits on GG's tone

    It is my humble opinion gang that a lot of the great Grant Greens tone came from the very unappreciated ,unpopular but great original Gibson ES 330's with those dusty old P 90 pickups,,,,

    I played thru many and only regret I never bought one,,,,

    Why? Because the 330 was the guitar nerds "red Headed stepchild",,,,,,we let him hang around and we "tolerated" him and feed him,,,,but we all really wanted a bitchin dot neck sunburst ES 335 with a stud tallpiece,,,,,

    In other words,,,"A Freddy King Guitar",,,,no 330's for me thank you,,[what a dunce I was,,,]

    Go to a vintage place ,,plug in an old ES 330 hopefully set up with some flatwounds,hook up a tube Fender Deluxe or Twin,,choke up on a medium weight pick and hold it near the tip,,,put the toggle switch in the middle position,,both pickups ,,,roll back both pickups full treble and bass the close em about an 1/8 of a turn

    So what you get ,,,,that always got me close to GG's tone

    Hope that helps

    DD in Los Angeles

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