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  1. #1
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    how size and weight matter- if they do- and the gb 10

    i've gone from very light boutique archtops to very heavy archtops made by gibson and ibanez

    i think the heavy ones are better in just about every way

    that is to say - they are better both amplified AND un-amplified.

    in a way the real shocker is the gb10 : 14.75 lower bout and just over 2 inch rims and very heavy construction (spruce laminate top maple laminate back and sides) (biggest thing is very very heavy bracing - i bet its very close to being like a centre-block) - and floating pickups

    this instrument is incredibly satisfying acoustically - if you put a tune-o-matic style bridge on it it has incredible sustain - and a lovely woody resonance even with the original bridge.

    and the very warm and thick acoustic sound translates into a very warm thick amplified voice - at least as warm and thick as a classic 175, and probably warmer and thicker.

    i have never encountered an instrument that breaks all the rules so flagrantly by achieving a full dark sound without the rim-thickness or lower bout size i thought were necessary. the floating pickups preserve clarity and attack (compared to e.g. a sadowsky with mounted pickups its super-fresh and very high in definition) - but deliver a sound i've only heard before from big mounted pickups.

    just don't understand how they do it.

    the clip on this page shows that another ibanez with much deeper rims does not get a deeper or fuller sound:
    Dutchbopper's Jazz Guitar Blog: Ibanez FG 100 versus GB 10

    and the clip here shows that it is at least as full and thick sounding (i suppose i'm just talking about 'bass response' here) as the classic 175 (it doesn't matter how its being played because both instruments are being played by the same chap)




    i would love to hear what people who know how to build these things have to say about this.

    the other basic datum i have is that my nearly 8 pound L5 CES is better in every way i can think of than any of the much lighter boutique archtops i've had. by better i just mean - it delivers a thicker fuller sound (at gigging volume) without loss of clarity definition and projection.

    the post-benedetto archtop build seems to me to compromise thick full amplified tone for acoustic fidelity (or something). the best examples of these instruments may compete with the L5 at much quieter volumes (and maybe that's why they exist - because the people buying them play mostly in much quieter situations).

    here's a great example of a benedetto type sound (in its element - very quiet)



    and here's a great example of an L5 CES type sound (not so much in its element - very low volume level)



    that's the best i've ever heard a benedetto sound - and i could understand perfectly if someone preferred the benedetto to the L5 at this volume. but most would prefer the L5 sound i think - even at this volume.

    i suppose part of the interest of the post is meant to be to challenge the post-benedetto orthodoxy that amplified archtops should be light and 3'' deep etc. etc.
    Last edited by Groyniad; 04-27-2016 at 02:02 PM.

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  3. #2
    I prefer a heavier build as well. +1!!!

  4. #3
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    We should recall that Les Paul began his experiments at increasing sustain by taking a Gibson hollow body and installing it's "wings" on a beam of solid wood.

    I can imagine how a heavier guitar would have more sustain since the vibration of the body does not damp out the energy generated by the strings. Once the string is plucked, there is a finite amount of energy in the system. If some is diverted to make the top vibrate, then the energy level drops and the string will not vibrate as long.

    Good acoustics, of course, find ways to use that energy, but it's a falling level unless something happens to inject more energy into the system (aka "feedback!")

    Within that framework, perhaps the heavier body does have the sustain. But the full-hollow body, despite its weight, probably still adds complexity to the note, hence its peculiar charm.

    But as a famous philosopher once said, "What do I know?"
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  5. #4
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    Between the GB10 and the 175 I prefer the 175 but the tone of the Ibanez is indeed impressive for its size.
    The GB10 sounds more stringy and compact than the mellower 175.
    The Thunk or Honk whatever you prefer to name it is also absent in the GB10.
    I also prefer the L5 tone over the Benedetto even at that volume, simply mellower.
    The more I listen to boutique guitars even the very expensive carved instruments, the more I know why I am into these routed Gibson thick top electric fat arshes; they define for me the jazz guitar tone I dig.

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by vinlander View Post
    The more I listen to boutique guitars even the very expensive carved instruments, the more I know why I am into these routed Gibson thick top electric fat arshes; they define for me the jazz guitar tone I dig.
    And isn't that the point- looking for the tone we dig? I have come to realize that there are a lot of guitars that sound great in someone else's hands that don't sound very good in mine. For some reason all the Gibsons I have played fall into that category (with the exception of the JS, and I can't afford one of those as the prices are typically just silly); maybe I just haven't found the right one yet.

    Getting the right pickup mounted the right way on my carvetop made a huge difference- I think a lot of what a lot of folks don't dig about the post-Benedetto sound is the pickup. Floating pickups mounted on the pickguard just don't sound good to my ears; putting a Classic 57 on a neck mount on my carvetop a la the Gibson JS was a gigantic improvement in amplified tone. The acoustic tone was already outstanding.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara View Post
    And isn't that the point- looking for the tone we dig? I have come to realize that there are a lot of guitars that sound great in someone else's hands that don't sound very good in mine. For some reason all the Gibsons I have played fall into that category (with the exception of the JS, and I can't afford one of those as the prices are typically just silly); maybe I just haven't found the right one yet.

    Getting the right pickup mounted the right way on my carvetop made a huge difference- I think a lot of what a lot of folks don't dig about the post-Benedetto sound is the pickup. Floating pickups mounted on the pickguard just don't sound good to my ears; putting a Classic 57 on a neck mount on my carvetop a la the Gibson JS was a gigantic improvement in amplified tone. The acoustic tone was already outstanding.
    I thats a good way to go , how did you mount
    the classic 57 ?
    Peter Bernstein has his mounted to the neck too ....And sounds fab

    you can't buy that mount as far as i know ...
    Peter's is off an old JS i think

    someone should make those mountings for a full fat humbucker ....

    (sorry mini hb is not the same sound)

  8. #7
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    they certainly should

    does anyone know if a full size humbucker will fit on a gb10 - there seems to be lots of clearance

    i'm thinking the guitar could be even more amazing with a full size pickup attached to the neck

    the more i play it the more i just can't get over how full and rich the sound is with the floating pickup - i wonder how much that has to do with the fact that it is attached to the neck not the pickguard

  9. #8
    I had many full hollows, between them a 1986 gb10.Old gb10s are heavier at low mids, and highs are not harsh.I have played newer gb10s like that in the clip, and dont like them.
    I sold it because i am 6.2 and it was a chalenge to play because it is very small guitar, but the tone was there.
    In that clip i prefer the es175

    However i am in electric jazz tone, i dont like benedettos, eastmans etc.

    And yes, i think light guitars has more acoustic properties and that doesnt translate well in electric tone

  10. #9
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    Kudos to guitarist Murch on either instrument for his elegant playing!

    Not sure about the issue of heavier versus lighter construction, but if anyone has a spare of either model that I could borrow, let me know!

  11. #10
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    keith - floatingpickup on this forum - has a whole series of incredibly helpful demonstration videos in which he plays a fabulous range of guitars

    i know of no other series of videos where the playing is great and there are a string of really interesting wonderful mainstream jazz instruments being played

    a real service to the community from keith murch - i appreciate it greatly

  12. #11
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    Uote

    Quote Originally Posted by pingu View Post
    I thats a good way to go , how did you mount
    the classic 57 ?
    Peter Bernstein has his mounted to the neck too ....And sounds fab

    you can't buy that mount as far as i know ...
    Peter's is off an old JS i think

    someone should make those mountings for a full fat humbucker ....

    (sorry mini hb is not the same sound)
    I put up a thread with photos about this a while back, which covers the modifications I did:

    Re-New Guitar Day

    Pete's guitar was the inspiration for me to do it, actually; I generally don't like bright jazz guitar tones but I really, really like his. His pickup came from a Gibson Howard Roberts oval hole archtop, as I have read on the Interwebs so it must be true. There are neck-mount full size humbuckers out there- Shadow Zoller pickup, Kent Armstrong will make you one as would, I think, most custom pickup makers like Pete Biltoft, Jazon Lollar, etc.

    Groyniad wrote:

    the more i play it the more i just can't get over how full and rich the sound is with the floating pickup - i wonder how much that has to do with the fact that it is attached to the neck not the pickguard


    I think the attachment makes a huge difference. And we already know that, right? Compare a top-mounted pickup in an archtop to a pickguard-attached one. The tone is very different. I think that it is because the pickup is very isolated from the rest of the guitar when mounted on the pickguard; the pickup mounted in the top is vibrating with the top under the vibrating string. The pickguard mounted pickup (I think) is itself vibrating much less. Mounting on the end of the neck like the JS, GB10 or my guitar splits the difference.

    Part of why the GB10 pickups sound good is they are wound really hot- hotter than any other axe I have.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  13. #12
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    It depends what you want. Tonally my ears are moving away form the '50s classic blue note thing - which no surprises the heavier archtops provide the best.

    Myself I want something more acoustic sounding now, detailed and airy - the benedetto does this fantastically, as do even some of the Eastmans (Benedettos beyond my price point at present), but they can't be played loud, so that's an issue for a lot of the gigs I do for audiences used to amplified music...

    I'm seriously considering abandoning the archtop route altogether and maybe going down the route of something like a Taylor T5. Great guitars - but they look awful. EDIT: this one looks nice.

    But, I have a cheap ass Loar LH600 which sounds great acoustic - why can't I just get that sound but louder and feedback free? It's 2016 FFS. There's no point in me investing in any instruments from the golden age of acoustic archtops if I can't amplify that haha...

    So, maybe the most practical compromise is still to play an electric archtop... Things may have not changed that much since the time of Charlie Christian.
    Last edited by christianm77; 05-02-2016 at 07:02 AM.

  14. #13
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    this is my line on the L5CES - its the only really practical archtop i've played

    it turns out - ime - to be amazingly hard to amplify it effectively. you get feedback on one end and inaudible stringy emptiness on the other. neither are liveable with on the jazz bandstand

    the L5 preserves lots of the airy clarity and 'size' of the sound - but also delivers on smoothness and fullness.

    i've come across nothing else that does this on my guitar journey

    but the gb10 is the best electric sounding guitar i've had. i think its because it manages to get a rich and smooth sound (somehow) whilst enhancing clarity and projection with the floating pickup

    i'm really intrigued about how the ibanez floater can deliver the smoothness and richness i'm after - this stuff about being wound 'hotter' than other floaters is beyond my technical know-how

    makes me think it would be silly to try a different floater on there - like the lollar js - which gets such good press

  15. #14
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    The "wound hotter" part tends to move the resonant peak of the pickup to lower frequencies. It other works it makes the pickup sound darker- more of the fundamental note and less of the high overtones.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  16. #15
    [QUOTE=Groyniad

    the L5 preserves lots of the airy clarity and 'size' of the sound - but also delivers on smoothness and fullness.

    i've come across nothing else that does this on my guitar journey

    but the gb10 is the best electric sounding guitar i've had. i think its because it manages to get a rich and smooth sound (somehow) whilst enhancing clarity and projection with the floating pickup
    s[/QUOTE]

    I agree.From all the archtops i have try, gb10s and L5s have the most usable tones.And a gibson es175.

    There are other marvelous guitars, but after a while i always find something i dont like in their tone.Not on these 3

  17. #16
    Interesting.

    Long ago a Luthier named Michael Tobias told me Koa was a good wood for fat Humbucker and single coil Tones in Solidbody Guitars.

    I like deep warm Tones even in Superstrat Type Guitars and have had great luck with this wood.

    My Guitars have also been heavy- my Koa Superstrat is way over 10 pounds and is very loud unplugged and when I play Les Pauls and recently an ES 137 I like the depth from the heavier weight.

    If the ES 137 had a smaller lower bout( for appearance )and bigger , better frets and better pickups I think it could be a great Guitar...reminded me of a heavy ES 347 I had long ago.

    I did not realize the deeper Tones from Semi Hollows are often better on heavier Guitars...but it makes sense....there is a lower primary resonant frequency from the Body etc. on some instruments...the heavier weight may help IF it does not kill the Guitar Resonance ...

  18. #17
    Which tune-o-matic for the GB10 did you use? I want to try one on my new GB10SE though I am very happy with it as is seems like an easy experiment to try.

  19. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by TedBPhx View Post
    Which tune-o-matic for the GB10 did you use? I want to try one on my new GB10SE though I am very happy with it as is seems like an easy experiment to try.

    i go back and forth between them - but the tune-o-matic enhances sustain and makes the guitar more responsive

    i am using the graphtech black saddled one - nv2 i think.

    hugely impressed by the nv1 on my L5

    gibson use this type even on e.g. the legrande and the L5P

  20. #19
    Thanks!

  21. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Groyniad View Post
    i go back and forth between them - but the tune-o-matic enhances sustain and makes the guitar more responsive

    i am using the graphtech black saddled one - nv2 i think.

    hugely impressed by the nv1 on my L5

    gibson use this type even on e.g. the legrande and the L5P
    The graphtech saddles may be helping you get that bigger darker in a good way tone on the GB10 ...

    I have heard they are warmer without killing sustain- some Rock guys hate them but I like warmer tones...
    better to have a bit warmer Tone than needing to turn treble way down - which can kill the harmonic overtones when gone too far ..

    Does your GB10 sustain as well as a SemiHollow like a 335?

  22. #21
    That L5ces in post #1 , has the sound for me !
    It's has everything

    One day !
    Last edited by pingu; 04-10-2018 at 08:40 AM.

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