Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Posts 1 to 21 of 21
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    Just wonder what would be your favorite setup in a terms string action and string gauge for a chord melody style of playing?

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2
    That's asking a very specific question for a very broad and deceptively general topic. Might I ask you to begin, why do you think it'd be significantly different for any particular aspect of playing, eg. chord melody? I set up my guitar for what feels good for my hands and it changes a lot from time to time. I also set up instruments for other players, a good number of whom play chord melody among other styles. It's a personal thing for them too.
    The only thing I can observe is the more they play, or the longer I've been playing, the less anybody else's setup matters compared with what I feel I need in the evolving relationship I have with my own instrument. It'd be an interesting survey, I guess, but what are YOU working on and what are your observations about what works for you? That's the long process of learning your own self as a musician. Good luck!

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note
    That's asking a very specific question for a very broad and deceptively general topic. Might I ask you to begin, why do you think it'd be significantly different for any particular aspect of playing, eg. chord melody? I set up my guitar for what feels good for my hands and it changes a lot from time to time. I also set up instruments for other players, a good number of whom play chord melody among other styles. It's a personal thing for them too.
    The only thing I can observe is the more they play, or the longer I've been playing, the less anybody else's setup matters compared with what I feel I need in the evolving relationship I have with my own instrument. It'd be an interesting survey, I guess, but what are YOU working on and what are your observations about what works for you? That's the long process of learning your own self as a musician. Good luck!
    That is exactly want I am interested in,,what is YOUR setup?

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by DjangoBG
    Just wonder what would be your favorite setup in a terms string action and string gauge for a chord melody style of playing?
    Not a late 60s Gibson neck.

    other than that I’m easy. Not too hard to play is good.

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    Also roundwounds? Squeak is offset by a more harmonically rich sound that’s less tiring to listen to for my ears. You need a sound that’s more piano like and wider range than an ensemble guitar which is all focussed in the midrange.

  7. #6
    Thanks on your quick response Christian, by the way I really dig your tone and playing... excellent work!

  8. #7
    Thanks Jimmy on your very comprehensive answer

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    Assuming an electric guitar... as little relief as possible on a radiused neck with 11 gauge strings because I don't want to work hard. Low action because I don't want to work hard. Flat-wound strings on an archtop, half-round on my Tele. Very short, well polished fingernails too.

  10. #9
    I have also 11 flats on my Ibanez, since I am new to a archtop world wanted to try lighter side of the gauge world, and might say that I am pretty satisfied with a tone, ok there is probably less volume and low end than with heavier strings but what I like about them is more defined , more articulate sound that they produce , might be wrong...and yeah as Martin said you dont have to work hard...

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note
    It'd be an interesting survey,
    Which seems to be exactly what the OP is doing lol

    So what is your CURRENT setup?

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    For me, it isn't any different from any other jazz or jazz influenced style I play i.e. I don't have a specific setup for "chord melody". I use .12 Thomastik Flats whether I play with my fingers or a pick. I like my action on the low side e.g. 4/64s on both Es. I keep my nails short and filed. As I have a left hand(fretting) injury, I tend to favor wide necks. My favorite guitars have 1 13/16-1 7/8" nut width with a custom string spacing.

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    Only things for CM I can think of might be to clear the sound of even a minute amount of string buzz for those that normally tolerate a little for general playing, or have an additional dedicated guitar set up so for CM for those that like a little buzz in their nonCM playing.

    Personally I set up to disallow any string buzz whatsoever in any circumstance.

  14. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by DjangoBG
    That is exactly want I am interested in,,what is YOUR setup?
    Just curious, do you think that a setup on a guitar, or a guitar itself would be different for Chord Melody per se, as opposed to just playing guitar and being able to play chords with melody notes voiced on top? I'd think that's a stylistic distinction and not so much one of guitar configuration.
    Honestly, until you made this thread, it never occurred to me that my guitar was any different in purpose or function than any other guitar. It strikes me a little like saying "What tyres and seat cushions do you use to drive along the coast?"
    I'm probably being dense. I did come from classical roots so it never would dawn on me that someone would ask me if Savarez or LaBella was better for playing chords with harmony. Very interesting.

  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    Tim Lerch did an interesting video on his setup, details of strings etc. start about 3 minutes in:


  16. #15

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note
    Just curious, do you think that a setup on a guitar, or a guitar itself would be different for Chord Melody per se, as opposed to just playing guitar and being able to play chords with melody notes voiced on top? I'd think that's a stylistic distinction and not so much one of guitar configuration.
    Honestly, until you made this thread, it never occurred to me that my guitar was any different in purpose or function than any other guitar. It strikes me a little like saying "What tyres and seat cushions do you use to drive along the coast?"
    I'm probably being dense. I did come from classical roots so it never would dawn on me that someone would ask me if Savarez or LaBella was better for playing chords with harmony. Very interesting.
    Hi, Jimmy,
    You've raised some interesting questions. I believe that Chord/Melody is both a stylistic distinction and a physical set up if you're playing an archtop--full or semi. With an acoustic-electric that is played without a pick, the action must be set higher since your music would be overburdened with string buzz--even though the attack is less than what is required to play a Classical/Acoustic guitar. I am dealing with this as we speak after, in the last six months, resurrecting my Gibson ES125 after a 50 year sleep and previously playing ,exclusively, a Classical guitar. What I am finding is that there must be a happy balance between facility and sound. I am currently playing D'Addario Pure Nickel 13-56 and find that although I like the sound, the extra hard tension strings create too much left hand tension/fatigue. My next set will be D's EPN 21's(12-52 heavy) that I hope will relieve much of the hand fatigue while still allowing the potential for a "fat sound" and adequate string vibration. Also, if you were a former Classical player, you will have to adjust the level of your attack when playing since a big/louder sound is largely controlled by volume levels on your amp, not, necessarily, the strength of your attack.
    Finally, there is a big difference between LaBella and Savarez CG strings. Savarez, generally, produce a much brighter sound while LaBella, similar to D'Addario, has a more neutral sound. So, if I wanted a lush sound on the CG playing chords/comping, I'd opt for D'Addario's/LaBella.
    I hope that this discussion continues since there is a wealth of seasoned players here who have dealt with this important consideration in developing one's own personal sound. Good playing . . . Marinero
    Last edited by Marinero; 05-06-2020 at 10:01 AM. Reason: punctuation

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note
    Just curious, do you think that a setup on a guitar, or a guitar itself would be different for Chord Melody per se, as opposed to just playing guitar and being able to play chords with melody notes voiced on top? I'd think that's a stylistic distinction and not so much one of guitar configuration.
    Honestly, until you made this thread, it never occurred to me that my guitar was any different in purpose or function than any other guitar. It strikes me a little like saying "What tyres and seat cushions do you use to drive along the coast?"
    I'm probably being dense. I did come from classical roots so it never would dawn on me that someone would ask me if Savarez or LaBella was better for playing chords with harmony. Very interesting.
    TBH some people like to justify their guitar collections haha

    As a classical player would it not make sense to differentiate between a guitar better suited to, say, concertos and one suited better to solo recitals, or does it not work like that?

  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    Was watching that ‘Evening with Joe Pass’ video and he said (if I heard it correctly) that he liked his action a bit lower for solo guitar, but higher when playing with a group (because he would ‘dig in’ a bit harder with a group). As he was playing with drums and bass for the concert in the video, he then raised his bridge slightly.

  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    TBH some people like to justify their guitar collections haha

    As a classical player would it not make sense to differentiate between a guitar better suited to, say, concertos and one suited better to solo recitals, or does it not work like that?
    Hi, C,
    To simplify, when one chooses a CG, the choices are rather simple: cedar or spruce. Cedar produces a warm, rounded sound while Spruce, generally, has a brighter, edgier sound. However, depending on the builder and tonewood selection, these lines, in some cases, may be blurred. I own three cedar guitars and one spruce. All of them have a different voice. All of them, except the spruce, were luthier built instruments. None, except the spruce, is really better than the others but, like people, they have different personalities. So, after you've mastered technique, one needs to determine what sound one prefer to express their ideas. I play exclusively cedar for all my performances/gigs. I find for my playing style it provides the sound I want to hear and my focus in 19th Century Romantic Music.
    So, whether playing with an orchestra(I don't) or playing solo--my exclusive focus, the choice will come naturally to most players as they develop. I hope this was clear. Good playing . . . Marinero

  20. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    TBH some people like to justify their guitar collections haha

    As a classical player would it not make sense to differentiate between a guitar better suited to, say, concertos and one suited better to solo recitals, or does it not work like that?
    To be honest, it was a while since I considered the classical world my home turf, but back then, though it was a personal choice of wood, scale length, and ultimately string choice, but aside from not having a parlour guitar for playing early music, I sought one instrument I could feel fit my needs, found it and that was pretty much it. It was nothing like the hunger for gear detail that I see in this community. But yes, that was a long time ago and I spent so much time on making the details and nuance of playing my priority that I didn't really think about, no less obsess over "classical gear".
    I brought that sensibility with me to the jazz world so I determined my needs and work with a couple of custom instruments. I play single line, chordal, ensemble, duo, solo, prepared, amped, strictly acoustic, and yes, classical pieces on a steel string. I don't separate the function from the instrument and my setup changes a lot. For instance last week the lower action I worked with all winter didn't inspire me, so I changed the brand of strings, the gauge, the action and I changed my amp settings to bring out a more defined attack that I presently find inspiring. I had been working on voice leading exercises and the lower action and the nuance of vibrato was what appealed to me, but now my guitar is different, in setup and sound. My fingers relate differently. But I still play "chord melody". My sound and approach has changed, but that has much more to do with the context of the material I'm working on.
    I guess that's the disparity between what I see as a distinction with its origins in genre based gear setup and an approach or definition of the music coming from the needs and demands of a particular way of playing.

  21. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    Was watching that ‘Evening with Joe Pass’ video and he said (if I heard it correctly) that he liked his action a bit lower for solo guitar, but higher when playing with a group (because he would ‘dig in’ a bit harder with a group). As he was playing with drums and bass for the concert in the video, he then raised his bridge slightly.
    And then there's Bill Frisell who played an SG with .010's, if he was playing with a high volume rhythm section or playing solo. The instrument in his hands was different...and different from anyone else's. Many modern players see a spectrum of playing styles they work to play with personal expression. Their own equipment is an evolved causal result of personal choices of playing...not so much genre. Jim Hall began playing with electronic effects in his latter chapters, but I think he saw that more as a search for an overall sound as opposed to a genre of music. That sound, he applied to all situations, as comping, complementing, soloing or playing unaccompanied.
    Ben Monder plays quite a bit of unaccompanied solo work these days. He also plays plenty of side man work. Chord melody is a distinction of attitude, not so much equipment. Actually a lot of younger players do a lot of unaccompanied solo work these days; it's becoming more and more of a given. Nobody I've talked to personally sees a difference in setup preference based on the time they play without a band.
    Who knows? Interesting discussion, for a perspective I am new to.

  22. #21

    User Info Menu

    I only have one jazz guitar (Gibson 175) so it has to do everything, I use .012 flats on it and a reasonably low action, but not too low. Seems to work ok for solo guitar as well.

    Interesting thinking about classical guitars, when I bought a decent one about 10 years ago, I was able to try out a selection of spruce and cedar guitars. I went for spruce because I like the clarity. But I can see it would be nice to have a cedar one as well, would probably suit certain pieces.