Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Posts 1 to 34 of 34
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    Hi!

    I am acoustic fingerstyle player and I am thrilled about buying my first archtop and dive into jazz. I was thinking of pulling a trigger to a Martin Taylor Virtuoso and a a used Roland JC-40 based on the following consideration:

    1. I wish to have a neck as close as possible to my acoustic Martin. Especially, I need 1 3/4 at nut or wider.
    2. I plan to play with my fingers so I need good string spacing and a "sort of" fingerstyle instrument,.
    3. I am thinking of playing mostly amplified, so I was gravitating around a laminated instrument.
    4. I have chosen Roland JC-40 as it looks a best-bang-for-the-bucks kind of amp, based on a quick Google search, and was thinking of buying a used ones as "they are all the same".

    Could you please correct my thinking and/or give me advice? I am not sure I am making the right choices. I tried a few archtops at my Guitar Center but was disappointed with their nut width (and I never tried a MT virtuoso). I could also increase budget up to $4k if necessary.

    Cheers!

    Ll.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    Maybe not as good as the Martin Taylor, but Eastman and The Loar make archtops with 1-3/4" nuts. The JC's are proven amps for jazz. Probably a good choice, but if weight is an issue, people really like Henriksen's, Polytones, etc.

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    Hi - welcome to the Forum!

    There are many "what guitar should I buy?" posts here, so I'd definitely recommend reading some for other ideas.

    A $4K budget is excellent, and gives you many, many options! That being said, for a "first archtop" -- and knowing nothing else about you, your playing, your skill level on guitar, etc. etc. -- I'd recommend maybe spending a quarter of that, and then saving the rest until you figure out more about jazz, what you like, and so on. If you are only looking at GC, of course, your choices are quite limited! We also don't know where you live, which also matters (in terms of what you can demo, what your budget gets you, etc) ... A used Peerless or Eastman could be great, or find a Warmoth tele with a 1 3/4" fretboard, too! [I'm a "JC-hater," from personal experience, but we can talk amps later!]

    Many online/Reverb dealers have "3-day return" policies, which could be safe if you would like to play the guitar first. A lot of people say, "You have to play 20 guitars to find one you like!" but often that's not realistic.

    I posted a "public service announcement" on this earlier, but if you wanted to go for it, you can't beat this CB Hill guitar (from California)!

    Happy hunting, and let us know what you decide!

    Marc

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    I guess I owe you telling you something about myself then

    I have been playing guitar kind of all my life but always as a hobbyist. Recently, I have been playing fingerstyle acoustic arrangements of jazz standards, where I comp with thumb and play melodies with i-m-r. I can do that fine, but would love to dig into improvisation better and get an electric jazz sound. I understand what a II-V-I is, and I can play it with various substitutions. I can single line on it with various scales, although nothing fancy.

    I play the guitar with bare fingers and I hold it in a sort of classical position. For my first jazztop, I plan to use a strap. My most important thing is "feel": I do not wish to change my posture, and would like to get a good tone out of my archtop in a similar way I do with my acoustic.

    I live in Boston, MA.

    Ll.

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    Great, thanks! Plenty of good teachers in your area -- are you studying improv with anyone (yet)??

    Nothing wrong with fingers, strap, and classical position!

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    Eastman El Rey 4 and a Roland Cube 60. Less than half your budget and it'll get you started in figuring out the new world. It's likely you will not keep the first guitar and amp you buy, so used is the most sensible choice in my opinion.

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Llewlyn
    Hi!

    I am acoustic fingerstyle player and I am thrilled about buying my first archtop and dive into jazz. I was thinking of pulling a trigger to a Martin Taylor Virtuoso and a a used Roland JC-40 based on the following consideration:

    1. I wish to have a neck as close as possible to my acoustic Martin. Especially, I need 1 3/4 at nut or wider.
    2. I plan to play with my fingers so I need good string spacing and a "sort of" fingerstyle instrument,.
    3. I am thinking of playing mostly amplified, so I was gravitating around a laminated instrument.
    4. I have chosen Roland JC-40 as it looks a best-bang-for-the-bucks kind of amp, based on a quick Google search, and was thinking of buying a used ones as "they are all the same".

    Could you please correct my thinking and/or give me advice? I am not sure I am making the right choices. I tried a few archtops at my Guitar Center but was disappointed with their nut width (and I never tried a MT virtuoso). I could also increase budget up to $4k if necessary.

    Cheers!

    Ll.
    Just curious ... why can't you play jazz on the guitar you already have? If you're looking for classic jazz tone, you aren't going to get it (well, not easily) playing fingerstyle. What would be the advantage of playing an archtop?

    BTW, some great jazz has been played on round hole acoustic guitars. Along with every other type of guitar.

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    I do play jazz on the one I have, but wants to start gigging out so am going for an amplified instrument. I can purchase an electrified acoustic of course, but to add variety would prefer an archtop.

    @marcwhy: which teacher would you recommend in my area? Not studying with somebody yet (although I *really* like the books from jazzguitar).

    Ll.

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Neverisky
    Eastman El Rey 4 and a Roland Cube 60.
    Cool - but nut width is less than 1 3/4 therefore not an option.

    Ll.

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Llewlyn
    Cool - but nut width is less than 1 3/4 therefore not an option.

    Ll.
    Check again. Here are the specs.

    ER4 - Eastman Guitars

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    Oh - I am so sorry. I was looking at Eastman ER4 | Guitars 'n Jazz which lists a different nut width.
    You're absolutely right, the instrument is gorgeous, slightly more expensive than MT virtuoso and all solid wood.

    This is a great advice and will go over various review/youtube videos.

    Ll.

  13. #12

    User Info Menu


  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    Welcome from the North Shore! I haven't been to this music store in a long time but check out The Music Emporium, Acoustic Guitars - Collings Guitars - Martin Guitars - Taylor Guitars - Finely Crafted Banjos & Mandolins there in Lexington, MA. They also offer lessons. Mike Mele teaches there among others.
    Bills Salem Music in Peabody also has a store on Reverb Bill's Music | Reverb

    Your lucky to live in an area with many music schools. I think there will be other stores in the Boston area with some fine guitars.
    Best of luck

  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Llewlyn
    I do play jazz on the one I have, but wants to start gigging out so am going for an amplified instrument.
    When you are ready to gig in Boston, you won't need to ask online strangers what rig to get.

  16. #15

    User Info Menu

    Asking others what guitar to buy is like asking them what clothes you should buy. Take your time. Look around. Try everything hanging on the wall. Keep your mind and ears open. You might start your search thinking that you want an archtop, then discover that you prefer a tele for playing jazz. There's no right or wrong choice. The only person that needs to like your guitar is you.

    Be sure to let us know what you end-up with and perhaps why. Enjoy the hunt and may you play it in good health!

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulieBoy
    .. . You might start your search thinking that you want an archtop, then discover that you prefer a tele for playing jazz. There's no right or wrong choice...
    Except a Tele is always the right choice.


  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    narrow neck :P

    Ll.

  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Llewlyn
    Hi!

    I am acoustic fingerstyle player and I am thrilled about buying my first archtop and dive into jazz. I was thinking of pulling a trigger to a Martin Taylor Virtuoso and a a used Roland JC-40
    Another thought... like you, I recently became interested in electric instruments. In my case, at age 60 following a 45 year devotion to the acoustic guitar. I also play with my fingers and have conservatory training in classical technique. It was nails on nylon and Alaska Piks on steel strings. My destination Martin, after owning many acoustic guitars, was a 24.9" scale 000 size guitar with a Modified V neck, 1.75" nut and 2 5/16" saddle spacing. Red spruce over mahogany. Most important, the sound of the guitar compels me to play it. Perfection, in my view.

    I've been learning about the electric world for about 2 years now and a number of guitars have passed through my hands. In the process I have relearned a lesson: it's the sound of a guitar that inspires me to practice and to play.

    So my advice, again I guess, is to jump in... based on specs, sure... and begin to learn what you like. Unlike the acoustic world where the player owns the tone, much of what makes up the tone in this new world is engineered into pickups, amps, speakers and other things that influence the signal chain. And depending on how you twist the dials and how you set the string in motion, you may find the that you pull the most inspiring tone from an unexpected guitar / amp combination.

  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    Off the top of my head:

    Jazz players with terrific tone:

    Lorne Lofsky, Stratocaster and other solid bodies. Not a household name, but guitarists know who he is. Great player.

    Ted Greene, Telecaster. Tone like a chorus of angels.

    Jack Wilkins, Comins GCS-1, the last several times I saw him perform. He was Tony Bennett's guitarist, among a long career of other credits.

    Mike Stern, toured with Miles Davis, playing a Telecaster.

    Chico Pinheiro tours with a Benedetto full body archtop, but I saw him on one tour playing a Frameworks body-less nylon guitar and sounding amazing.

    I hardly need to list the great tones obtained by some of the archtop masters. The quintessential jazz guitar tone IMO is Wes. L-5. I also love Kenny Burrell's tone (various Gibson and D'Angelico (original) archtops. Chico Pinheiro gets a very distinctive sound from that Benedetto and always sounds great.

    The point is that great jazz tones can be obtained from a very wide range of guitars. To me, there's no such thing as a "Jazz box" if that means that other types of guitars aren't appropriate for jazz.

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    When you are ready to gig in Boston, you won't need to ask online strangers what rig to get.
    cosmic gumbo seems to one of those jaded users you get on all forums eventually who browse threads in order to find a way to ridicule or make unfunny smart arse comments at the OP’s expense. The OP having posted on good faith for advice. They’re a cancer to forums and discourage new users.

    Presumably he gets fun out of it though.

  22. #21

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Etcher
    cosmic gumbo seems to one of those jaded users you get on all forums eventually who browse threads in order to find a way to ridicule or make unfunny smart arse comments at the OP’s expense. The OP having posted on good faith for advice. They’re a cancer to forums and discourage new users.

    Presumably he gets fun out of it though.
    I agree; the post served no purpose. The OP was very concise in what he was looking for and why: he has only an acoustic guitar and when playing gigs (or even small house parties) one needs to be able to control volume. Of course one can use an acoustic guitar adding a removal pick-up but that wasn't the type of "jazz sound" the OP desired.

  23. #22

    User Info Menu



    Here you can hear two full body archtops and two semis.

    Jack is playing the Comins GCS-1. Can't see the amp, but when I was there he played that guitar through a Compact 60 iirc.

    Vic is playing a similar looking guitar. I think it's a semi. When I was there he played through a Fuchs amp and a box which may have been an Earthquaker Devices Dispatch Master.

    Mark W. is playing a full body guitar. Looks like a D'Angelico reissue. I don't recall what guitar he used when I was there. I recall that he had a wireless setup.

    I don't recognize what Ron is playing and he wasn't there the nights that I went.

    Again, the point is that great jazz can be played on different gear.
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 01-20-2020 at 05:19 AM.

  24. #23

    User Info Menu

    an internet guitar forums a bad place to be sensitive fellahs...cosmics been here for many years..and contributed a heck of a lot of great posts...his humor can be cutting..but that's the idea! the diamondcutter! hah

    no ultimate harm..and keeps you on your toes...the truth often hurts..and if it isn't truth..then there should be no pain

    i wish the op well, and he's had many great responses from our esteemed forum members..so one dark comic reply shouldn't send him packing..or anyone else for that matter

    best to all

    cheers
    Last edited by neatomic; 01-19-2020 at 09:00 PM.

  25. #24

    User Info Menu

    lol - well he visited my profile page so perhaps he has a crush on me.

    Recommendation for my first jazz box-screen-shot-2020-01-19-8-02-32-pm-png

    Ll.

  26. #25

    User Info Menu

    OP - Have you heard of Sean McGowan? He's a wonderful finger-style solo jazz player. Being a finger-style player yourself, you might consider listening to the sounds he gets from his gear for some reference. (Hope this helps.)

  27. #26

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    Again, the point is that great jazz can be played on different gear.
    Fun video, thanks!

    This is also an interesting example of how amp settings/volume/etc can make such a difference: I could barely hear Ron at all (yet from further across the room, Vic was heard fine)!

    Great playing by all!

  28. #27

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar

    Mark W. is playing a full body guitar. Looks like a D'Angelico reissue. I don't recall what guitar he used when I was there. I recall that he had a wireless setup.
    Perhaps it was borrowed. (I'm not knocking it.) He's typically seen with his Steven Marchione custom. I dig his 7th Avenue Stroll.

  29. #28

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by marcwhy
    Fun video, thanks!

    This is also an interesting example of how amp settings/volume/etc can make such a difference: I could barely hear Ron at all (yet from further across the room, Vic was heard fine)!

    Great playing by all!
    I think I may have been there the week before. Ron wasn't there that night. When I was there, I recall that Vic had the biggest amp, but I don't recall him as being especially loud. Joe Cohen was in the chair next to Jack. Volumes were all similar.

    And, that room, historic though it is (Monk was the house pianist at one point), is really small. The width of the stage you see is about the width of the room and it's not much longer than it is wide.

    To my ear, Jack's tone was my favorite -- and I went out and bought the same guitar (although I didn't realize then that he had a different wood option). I think he was straight into an AER Compact 60. Vic also sounded great. As I recall, he used more reverb. So, that might suggest that my preference is semi-hollow, which is what I usually play. I also play solids. I love archtops when other people play them, but I had trouble dealing with feedback and the physical size of a lot of the instruments.

  30. #29

    User Info Menu

    Man, that is a tough question. An acoustic arch top with a floating pickup is much different than an electric arch top with a top mounted pickup which isn’t too far away from just playing on a solid body electric such as a Tele. I have all of those types of guitars. The acoustic arch top, in my case a Campellone 18” Special, Really nails that old archtop tone, but I don’t really care for it through the floating pickup. When I play it acoustically I use 80/20 Bronze strings which do not pick up so well on a magnetic pickup, but when using nickel strings it doesn’t sound quite the same. So when playing through a pickup I tend to use my 60's ES175 or my Eastman AR371 (which does have a 1 3/4 nut width). These respond better to using an amp as they are designed as electric guitars, but still will get howling feedback in certain situations. This is where the solid body electrics come into play for me and really it is the player who makes the tone of the instrument and not the other way around so a Tele or Les Paul or PRS or Ibanez or you name it can work to play amplified music of any style. I understand your desire for the 1 3/4 nut width as I prefer it as well, but my guitars range from 1 5/8 to 2” nut width and after a few moments I adjust my technique to accommodate as the difference is really quite minimal for instance the 3/8” difference between my 1 5/8 and 2” nut width divided by 6 strings is .0625” at the nut and the way most guitars are set up at the bridge the difference is even smaller for your picking hand. So get out there and play all of the guitars that you can and find one that speaks to you within your budget and within the limits of how you want to project your visual image (a Flying V may be the most comfy guitar, but how does that affect your overall image) and buy that guitar. There is no best guitar, but there are certainly guitars that work for each of us.

  31. #30

    User Info Menu

    There are so many conventional laminated jazz boxes at decent price..

  32. #31

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic
    an internet guitar forums a bad place to be sensitive fellahs...cosmics been here for many years..and contributed a heck of a lot of great posts...his humor can be cutting..but that's the idea! the diamondcutter! hah

    no ultimate harm..and keeps you on your toes...the truth often hurts..and if it isn't truth..then there should be no pain

    i wish the op well, and he's had many great responses from our esteemed forum members..so one dark comic reply shouldn't send him packing..or anyone else for that matter

    best to all

    cheers
    I'm not a sensitive type and the post didn't bug me. I just call them as I see them. If there was a joke there it was lame because I didn't see one.

  33. #32

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Llewlyn
    Martin Taylor Virtuoso and a a used Roland JC-40
    Ll.
    That combination would be excellent.

  34. #33

    User Info Menu

    So, to the original question (after the obligatory sequence of snark, scold, and litigation ...)

    SFAIK, Eastman is the only company that standardizes on a 1 3/4" nuts, so if that is the an absolute requirement, that's where the most options lie. The Godin 5th Ave series has 1.72" (43.688mm) nuts, which is just shy of that. FWIW, when I plug that number into a cell in excel and format it as 16th's, it rounds to 1 12/16, so you can call it 1 3/4, I guess (and 2+2=5 for certain values of 2 ...). If that works for you, there are a bunch of different models. I play the most basic one (5th Ave Kingpin, no cutaway, single P90 pickup). They make a bunch of others, all based on the same basic body and neck (with or without cutaways, varying degrees of fanciness, different pickups). The body is a hair under 16" at the lower bout, a bit slimmer than, say, a 175, so it's very comfortable, and probably closer to the feel of a classical than a bigger archtop. Fingerboard radius is also flatter (16", as opposed to most other archtops, which are 12"). Godins are also relatively cheap, which makes experimentation a little easier.

    But I would caution against drawing a hard line at a particular nut width, because this is a somewhat deceptive number. It's telling you how wide the neck is at the nut, but that's really it. If you are looking to maximize string spacing and to have have a fretboard that's closer to classical sized, nut width is not telling you string spacing. It's also not telling you neck taper, string spacing at the bridge, and how much real estate is actually on the fingerboard net binding, fret shape, and the "rolling" of the the fingerboard edges. You really have to try stuff to get a sense of what's what.

    As far as amps go, Roland JC anything is not to my taste. I find them overly bright, and have never been able to dial in a tone I like with one (and I've played through a lot of them). There are so many smaller, louder and better amps these days, I'd recommend almost anything else, including amps in the Cube series.

    John
    Last edited by John A.; 01-21-2020 at 02:43 PM.

  35. #34

    User Info Menu

    The difference between 1 11/16 and 1 12/16 is very small - if the slighty smaller neck width is possible for you, it could be worth considering a used ES-175 or ES-165. Jo Pass got some great sounds out of his playing finger style..... For the amp, if you are into clean-clean Henriksen, Jazz Chorus or Polytone would be high on my list of recomendations