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  1. #1

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    I almost picked one up... then I read a few posts on the net where a few people claimed to have talked to Joe during his Ibanez(contract) period, and claimed that he said advised not to pick the guitar, mainly because the pickup was too much in the middle. However I have seen some YT vids where owners LOVED the guitar. Anyone Know what the absolute truth was? If the guitar was not up to Joe's specs, why? Usually don't the companies try to acomadate the celeb player? Anyone have any hard evidence as to what he felt about his Ibanez?

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  3. #2
    I don't have any hard evidence, so my input might be redundant.

    I have played them and although they are ok, I wouldn't buy one, unless I was a collector, or dealer.

    They just sound thin, is the best way I could describe them. The pick-up is indeed too far back from the neck and the design actually sounds a little boxy. They are not very deep and of arched spruce (if I remember correctly) and the acoustic tone, I could only describe as like cardboard'y.

    I was not impressed and when I looked at the price tag, even less so.

    If you want one, for tone, then I would suggest plenty of other better options (imo)

    But if you want one for another reason (big fan of JP, collector of rare archtops, fan of early Ibanez etc) then it should certainly float your boat, but I doubt we'd be having this conversation, if that was the case.

    Of course this is just my opinion.

  4. #3

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    Heck, back in 2002 or so there was a guy selling TWO artist owned and signed guitars, MEGA examples of the model. One was a GB12 with magnificent flamed back, signed on the back by George Benson, with back stage photos of the seller and Mr. Benson to support it. The guy must have been very good because he also had an artist owned and signed JP20, same deal, gorgeous woods used on the guitar which was signed on the back by Mr. Pass with similar back stage photos.

    So what was interesting about the JP20, it had a neck mounted mini hum bucker like what is used on a GB10 but it was painted black so it really sort of hid in the dark sunburst of the top near where the neck met. Controls mounted on the pick guard. Think about that, you have the JP guitar with the floating mini hum bucker where it;s going to make the guitar sound a lot fuller.


    Never like the JP20 for that oddly mounted mid pickup... By the way both guitars sold for a LOT.

  5. #4

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    So basically what you're saying is that you won't buy the guitar if enough people convince you that Joe Pass didn't like it?

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by bob dullam View Post
    I almost picked one up... then I read a few posts on the net where a few people claimed to have talked to Joe during his Ibanez(contract) period, and claimed that he said advised not to pick the guitar, mainly because the pickup was too much in the middle. However I have seen some YT vids where owners LOVED the guitar. Anyone Know what the absolute truth was? If the guitar was not up to Joe's specs, why? Usually don't the companies try to acomadate the celeb player? Anyone have any hard evidence as to what he felt about his Ibanez?
    I have owned three JP-20's over the years. They were of the highest quality, but I wasn't really happy with the tone, even after trying replacement pickups. I talked to Joe about the design of the JP-20 in later years, after he had gone back to playing a Gibson. He didn't criticize the JP-20 or advise against buying one, but he did say that he believed the pickup should have been closer to the neck. I got the impression that he didn't give it much thought when the guitar was designed, but he realized it wasn't ideal at a later date. He continued to play one for many years anyway. IIRC, he stopped playing it when Gibson put his name on the Epiphone Emperor Joe Pass model. Interestingly, I don't think he ever really played the Epiphone Joe Pass though. We got him to sign one and play it at a clinic that we held one time (my brother has the Epiphone that Joe signed and played that day). He said that when Gibson offered to build him a custom guitar, he asked them to put the pickup right against the end of the fingerboard, because he felt that was where it would sound best. They did that for him on his single pickup (slightly thinner) ES-175. That guitar was terrific. I always felt they should have put that guitar into production as an artist model.
    Keith

  7. #6

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    See that Gibson ES-175 in some of Joe's 1992 performances in Germany. Wasted opportunity.

    It looked 3" deep and the fretboard looked like ebony with a maple neck. The ES-775 comes closest to what that model would have been.

  8. #7

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    I don't think the Emperor I I was called the Epiphone "Joe Pass" until after he died.

    I also don't know if you can believe album covers and liner photos, but Joe is pictured with an ibanez JP on Andre previn's "after hours", and that album might be some of the best tone of job's career. Outstanding record...
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    I don't think the Emperor I I was called the Epiphone "Joe Pass" until after he died.

    I also don't know if you can believe album covers and liner photos, but Joe is pictured with an ibanez JP on Andre previn's "after hours", and that album might be some of the best tone of job's career. Outstanding record...
    Joe's name was on the Emperor about a year before he died. That was the main reason we were able to get him to play a clinic for us. My brother was a Gibson/Epiphone dealer at he time (Murch Music in Cambridge Ontario). Joe was appearing at a club called the Top of the Senator in Toronto, so my brother asked the Canadian Distributor for Gibson/Epiphone (Yorkville Sound) if they would assist us in arranging a clinic in his store. They agreed, due to the new endorsement deal. There was only one catch - someone would have to pick Joe up at the hotel and drive him to the clinic, which was an hour away. That was my job. It involved pasta for lunch, a lot of guitar talk, the clinic, and we just had to get him back in time for his gig that night. Joe played his new single pickup 175 for the first part of the clinic. We had the new Joe Pass Emperor in stock, which he signed with a sharpie and played for the second part of the clinic. He also signed an epiphone promotional poster for me (Joe knows Jazz, we know guitars).
    Keith

  10. #9

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    @50hz, without having access to the Ibanez jp20, I have to rely at least somewhat on the general consensus. Most guitar stores don't stock really high end archtops anymore. We all know that these archtops are expensive, and even though the Ibanez has joe's name on it, who would want to play it if it really didn't sound all that good.
    I can't help but be curious as to why Ibanez didn't make the effort to correct this, and get Joe a guitar that he REALLY liked, that makes no sense to me. And if this is the case you kind of have to wonder about any of these "signature" guitars, because we don't know the real story behind them. maybe some of them are really what the artist likes, maybe not so much. I've seen one famous guitarist through the years endore one brand, then another, then yet another, each time testifying that this is THE best guitar. Of course everyone has time related changes in taste. but...
    I have the Tal Farlow hotlicks DVD. in the section where he talks about his guitars, he mentioned that he had this idea for a pickup that could slide in any position from the neck to the bridge, but Gibson didn't want to do it.

    in regards to having to rely on general consensus about a guitar, there are lots of guys on youtube playing everything. got to listen to a guy last night, who has a yt channel, good player, used a new D'angelico exl1, then a gibson wesmo. gotta say that D'angelico was NICE... on another post in this forum, a guy was talking about going to Dave's guitar store in Lacross Wi. There they carry many high-end gibson archtops, he noted that the guitar he liked most above all the l-5's etc. was the gibson es-175. the one Joe used. He did not mention Joe in context with it, so leads me to think that ya, maybe there is some magic to the 175. Be nice to go there sometime, and get to witness the tone on a good variety of high-end archtops first hand.

    I own an Epiphone Joe P. I bought it mainly because it was there going for cheap, at a local guitar center, and no one wanted it(new). Not many people these days are archtop fans. I changed the tailpiece, knobs, and took off the pickguard. Really pretty nice sound for the buck. But at some point I would like to get a really great sounding box, but I have to do the homework, cause I don't have the cash to just buy and then try...

  11. #10

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    here's a better recording of the Ibanez..


  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by bob dullam View Post
    I almost picked one up... then I read a few posts on the net where a few people claimed to have talked to Joe during his Ibanez(contract) period, and claimed that he said advised not to pick the guitar, mainly because the pickup was too much in the middle. However I have seen some YT vids where owners LOVED the guitar. Anyone Know what the absolute truth was? If the guitar was not up to Joe's specs, why? Usually don't the companies try to acomadate the celeb player? Anyone have any hard evidence as to what he felt about his Ibanez?
    Joe came to the uk during that period with his JP20 ( didn't bring his D'Aquisto) along with
    a few others had a lesson with him,we swapped instruments he made no adverse comment
    except his preference for the pup to be in the neck position ,I also disliked its placement
    but it played very well nevertheless. I acquired mine in 1983 for £350 and sold it a few years
    on for for than double that cost( it had some provenance as JP had used it.

  13. #12

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    Ha sorry if I sounded rude earlier Bob, I guess I'm just thinking that the guitar should need to meet only your specifications, not those of Joe Pass or fellow forumites, that's all. I can definitely sympathize with a lack of opportunity to try nicer archtops locally but if you're serious about the JP surely you can get one through mail and negotiate a trial period seeing as it's a pretty significant investment. I think from some vids you can get a general idea of how a JP sounds vs an ES-175, so whichever one sings to you, go for it.


    You could also try a seance with Joe Pass if you really need to know the answer though

  14. #13

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    How do we really know it's the D'Arc is to on that cut?
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    I don't think the Emperor I I was called the Epiphone "Joe Pass" until after he died.

    I also don't know if you can believe album covers and liner photos, but Joe is pictured with an ibanez JP on Andre previn's "after hours", and that album might be some of the best tone of job's career. Outstanding record...
    Here is a picture of Joe playing the Epiphone "Joe Pass" at the clinic I referred to, approximately a year before he died. They had just started putting his name on the guitar at that time.
    Keith

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by bob dullam View Post
    anyone know the details about the 175 pickup placement? i.e. what yrs, of make did they put the pickup next to the fingerboard.?
    Like Floatingpickup said above, they didn't. It was a custom build for Joe. The L4 has the PU placed closer to the neck than the 175, so an L4 may be the nearest you'll get to Joes custom 175 - apart from talking the Gibson Custom Shop into making a "Joe Pass Special" for you. It may be an ideosyncracy of mine, but I do firmly believe that the sound difference between a 175 and an L4 very much depends on the placement of the neck PU - which the recordings of Joe with the custom 175 seems to confirm.

    But back to the Ibanez JP model: I don't like the sound of it and I think the misplaced PU is the main reason. I have a recording Joe made with Benny Carter, on which he used the Ibanez JP. To be frank, IMHO the sound is awful. I heard Joe with NHØP live at a Copenhagen club date where Joe also used the Ibanez and though I was overwhelmed by his playing, I was underwhelmed by the sound of the guitar. It's my understanding that Joe used the Ibanez as much - and as little - as he had to to fulfill to his endorsement deal obligations. It seems he brought the Ibanez if he had to take it on an air flight whereas he often used the D'Aquisto if he could travel on ground and carry the case himself. And he wasn't seen using the Ibanez after the endorsement deal ran out. Maybe Joe learned about the negative sides of endorsement deals the same way Barney Kessel did. After his deal with Gibson, Kessel never again used any gear he didn't pay for himself. He was once asked about his choice of string and was hard pressed to reveal it because, as he said, there are many excellent strings out there and he payed for his strings himself according to what worked for him but other players might not share his preferences.
    Last edited by oldane; 03-12-2014 at 05:49 PM.
    "But if they all play like me, then who am I?" (Lester Young)

  17. #16

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    I just now watched a long video of joe at a workshop in Va, where he talked a bit about the Ibanez. he said that he designed the neck, and wanted the bridge and tailpiece out of wood, as opposed to metal. He did mention that he had to play it because he endorsed it, when asked why he didn't play the gibson, or the D'aquisto. Wish we could hear a taste test w/ the Ibanez, back to back w/ the gibson, through the same amp. recorded at the same place in the same way.

  18. #17

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    Built quality, acoustic quality and playability of the neck on a Ibanez JP20 is very good! BUT... If you are interested in a JP 20 consider the points below before you buy one. A really good alternative is a 80s Ibanez AF200. To me the AF200 is a far better choice!

    Joe Pass played finger-style a lot and hit the strings between the fingerboard and the pickup. To get a endorsement, he asked Ibanez to make a guitar with more frets (22) then his ES-175 AND with more room between fingerboard and pickup. Consequently the pickup on a Ibanez JP20 is placed more towards the bridge then on any common jazz guitar by approx 4-5 cm / 1.5 - 2 inch more.
    The electric sound of these guitars therefore is thinner and hasn't got the thick and deep 'thumb' you get on a ES-175 and most other quality jazz guitars with a full humbucker. I always heard a sheen of the typical bridge pickup sound in the tone. I didn't like that. But it is a really different tone, if that is what you are looking for. Joe Pass didn't like the guitar very much himself and only played it in the early 80's and later, on TV to keep the Ibanez endorsement money, I guess.

    I also kept hitting the pickup with my pick. This sounds like a minor reason, but it really is very important! I simply couldn't play the JP20 for thát reason. One other (big) difference to a 'normal' Ibanez or Gibson jazz guitar: The JP20 has 25.5 scale length, like a L5 or a Fender guitar.


  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by EriktK View Post
    Built quality, acoustic quality and playability of the neck on a Ibanez JP20 is very good! BUT... If you are interested in a JP 20 consider the points below before you buy one. A really good alternative is a 80s Ibanez AF200. To me the AF200 is a far better choice!

    Joe Pass played finger-style a lot and hit the strings between the fingerboard and the pickup. To get a endorsement, he asked Ibanez to make a guitar with more frets (22) then his ES-175 AND with more room between fingerboard and pickup. Consequently the pickup on a Ibanez JP20 is placed more towards the bridge then on any common jazz guitar by approx 4-5 cm / 1.5 - 2 inch more.
    The electric sound of these guitars therefore is thinner and hasn't got the thick and deep 'thumb' you get on a ES-175 and most other quality jazz guitars with a full humbucker. I always heard a sheen of the typical bridge pickup sound in the tone. I didn't like that. But it is a really different tone, if that is what you are looking for. Joe Pass didn't like the guitar very much himself and only played it in the early 80's and later, on TV to keep the Ibanez endorsement money, I guess.

    I also kept hitting the pickup with my pick. This sounds like a minor reason, but it really is very important! I simply couldn't play the JP20 for thát reason. One other (big) difference to a 'normal' Ibanez or Gibson jazz guitar: The JP20 has 25.5 scale length, like a L5 or a Fender guitar.

    The playing though!!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  20. #19

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    I think the guitar sounds great. I really do.
    You have to understand something. If you want a guitar that sounds like an ES175, then buy an ES175.
    To me it is important that a signature guitar has a unique quality. The Ibanez Jp-20 is an excellent guitar. I would still have my JP if the neck was thicker. But 99.9% Of the folks who own these Ibanez guitars prefer the neck size, so what do I know..
    I loved the complexity of sounds I got out of my JP. It was different. That was refreshing to me.
    JD

  21. #20

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    I find my JP-20 to be an excellent guitar. Truth be told, I do prefer my ES-175's and think that the JP-20 would have been a better guitar if the scale had been 24.7 (that would have, along with a shorter neck, put the pickup in the correct spot). I have used my JP-20 on many gigs and do not find it to be "thin-toned". It is a bit on the bright side, but for some rooms, it is just the ticket. I do not believe that Joe Pass disliked this guitar, but I do believe he preferred the Gibson 175. His last guitar was the ultimate Joe Pass model. Too bad it never made it into production.
    Last edited by Stringswinger; 01-29-2017 at 06:18 PM.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  22. #21

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    Joe D. Is one player who coaxes a very good sound out of the JP20, better than the tone Joe Pass usually got out of it. There are a lot of factors that go into getting a sound from any given signal chain. Joe Pass often/usually went direct to the PA which works well or poorly depending on the FOH equipment and the soundperson. He did not want to carry an amp with him, and he liked not having his sound coming from a single point on the stage. I have read that he had a custom DI box to facilitate this. In general on the videos he usually sounds better when you can clearly see that he was plugged into an amp.

    Also, Joe's inspirations were players with a bright tone like Charlie Christian, Les Paul, Django Reinhardt. The fad for dark, woofy jazz guitar tones came after Joe was developed as a guitarist. So he might have well been OK with the brighter sound of the JP20. Even on his ES-175 and D'Aquisto his tone was often bright.

    There is a lot of myth and lore around the JP20 and I don't know what is true and what is not. Some claim that Joe gave his D'Aquisto to Ibanez to copy, which pissed off Jimmy D'Aquisto and sundered their relationship. Some claim that the guitar was designed by Ivor Maraints with some input by Joe, maybe looking at the D'Aquisto and that was the design sent to Ibanez. In the process, two extra frets were added which pushed the pickup further towards the bridge- and that Joe did not initially know about this (he acts surprised on one of his instructional videos when he notes "hey, it goes up to D!"). It has also been reported (by another pro jazz guitarist on r.m.m.g.j who knew Joe Pass well) that Joe acknowledged the tone problem but played the instrument faithfully because Ibanez paid him an annual fee for quite a few years; this made up much of his income for the last decade or so of his career and he had a family to support. I think the math on these things is different when you are making your living and caring for your family by playing music, compared to when playing is an avocation.

    But you'd think Ibanez would have been falling over themselves to make it better! They made lots of tweaks to the Benson guitars as well as making multiple models. They worked very extensively with Bob Weir, making many prototypes* and a couple different production models (which probably sold far fewer copies than the JP20 did). Although IIRC Weir and Benson worked with Jeff Hasselberger of Ibanez in the USA, so maybe that was a difference. And maybe Joe, who seems to have been a very humble person, just didn't feel he could go back and say "hey, man, this is kind of a drag and can you fix it?" I think he even played just the one JP20 over the years...



    *Weir apparently has one of the GB10 prototypes intended for George Benson. He was at Ibanez meeting with Hasselberger and was shown the GB10s; he was so taken with it that he told them "call the cops if you want, but this one is leaving with me."). You can find photos of Weir playing it at gigs, and he also has an L-5CES that he has put the GB10 tailpiece on. His blue Hoeg archtop has a few similarities with the GB10 in terms of size, mini-humbuckers, etc.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by 50Hz View Post
    You could also try a seance with Joe Pass if you really need to know the answer though
    Hey, when you get that set up would you please let me know? I'm a-gonna try to make it...

  24. #23

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    I just listened to Joe's album "Blues for Fred". There is a picture of Joe on the back with his JP-20 and to my ears, this solo album sounds like he did use the JP-20. It is a solo guitar album and sounds great. Most guys who put the JP-20 down have never played one. The only thing that I am certain of is this, there are way more "guitar experts" posting stuff on the Internet than there are competent guitarists.

    Anyone who is curious about the JP-20 should play one. It is a long scale, thin bodied 16 inch laminate guitar with a thin neck (though it does have a 1.75 nut, the neck is pretty thin front to back and does not get much thicker sideways going up to the body joint) and a single humbucker that is forward of the neck pickup harmonic. It is brighter than a 175. And while it is beautiful (clearly a Jimmy D'Aquisto design that was "borrowed"), it is not for every jazz guitarist. But then again, no archtop accomplishes that.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara View Post
    Joe D. Is one player who coaxes a very good sound out of the JP20, better than the tone Joe Pass usually got out of it.
    Cunamara, thanks buddy. But with all due respect, my name shouldn't be mentioned in the same sentence as the great Joe Pass.
    ive seen pictures of Joe Playing his JP20 live at shows, with black tape over the Ibanez logo. Now, one would assume that he was less than pleased with Ibanez at that moment, but it still didn't stop him from playing the guitar.
    I wouldn't blame the guitar for sounding thin sometimes. Strings, amps, soundmen, they all had a hand in the sound.
    I loved the guitar. But like SS said, the neck was thin and stayed that way all the up to it connection to the body.

    Come to think of it, my JP had stainless steel frets on it too. There was nothing thin about it.

  26. #25

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    If I recall correctly, the JP-20 and the AF207 shared the same body. I owned a AF207.High quality 7 string instrument built for just a few years starting in the late 90's. I had a issue with the neck being too narrow for a 7. Amazingly it was the only 7 string I sold that I actually made money on when I moved it.
    Last edited by SierraTango; 01-29-2017 at 03:19 PM.

  27. #26

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    Boy, there are lots of good sounds in the world of jazz guitar. But if I had to listen to the same one, ALL the time....

    Hey Wes M., that L-5 sounds great, but when are you come out/up from the bottom of the swimming pool ?!, because that's what it sounds like some of the time.

    Hey Joe P., that 175 sounds great in the small group, but solo (?)...isn't it a little dry and barky-sounding?

    Hey Johnny S.....great articulation and note separation, but how about a little "grease" sometimes?

    Hey Django....great Gypsy "cut" in that small string-based group....what you gonna do, in a big band setting? (Gotta go listen to some more late-career Django.)

    Hey George....great upper range on that Guild or Ibanez, BUT you could play an L-5 sometime....seriously, nobody will mistake you for Wes.

    Hey Hank G.....you know what...don't change a thing...it's just too bad we have so few top-flight recordings to appreciate.

    Maybe, this is why I like listening to trumpet/horn players. They all sound different anyway. Louis A., Roy E., Dizzy, Lee M., Donald Byrd, Booker Little, Harry James, Bunny Berrigan, Freddie Hubbard, Clifford B., Thad Jones.
    Last edited by goldenwave77; 01-29-2017 at 03:41 PM.

  28. #27

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    I've played a couple JP20s and liked them. The sound seemed good on fingerstyle but I prefer a less murky sound. The necks are great. Acoustically it wasn't much but then most Ibanez archtops don't seem to have any volume. I think they are versatile as far as tone but you have to be willing to explore where you pick between the bridge and neck to draw the most out of it. Just playing one as you would a neck or 2 pickup guitar is apt to be puzzling.

  29. #28

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    I'm the proud owner of a 1980 JP-20 - I guess not for everyone, and the pickup placement is unusual for sure. But that said, I think the "thin sound" complaint is sometimes over-stated - dare I say it, and don't flame me, but I find the tone Joe Pass himself got with the guitar wasn't really as sweet/warm as it's capable of. But like with a lot of things re guitar tone, it depends on how the guitar is played and also on the amp, strings used, etc. - anyhow I'd say the stock pickup sound is a perfectly decent jazz tone, if not quite typical.

    But I did for a while have a Kent Armstrong Slimbucker (only the cheap Asian-made version) floating pickup installed in the gap between fingerboard and the stock pickup (I made a new scratchplate so as not to have to alter the original) and with that pickup I got a really nice sweet warm jazz tone. For various reasons, I put the guitar back to just a pickup in the stock body-mounted surround, but I'm thinking I might try adding a hand wound Kent Armstrong floater as that ought to be pretty great.

    I love the neck on the guitar - it's a bit wider than some (1.75" at the nut IIRC) but as has been said quite slim, and I find it perfectly manageable and very comfortable to use. Depends on taste of course - personally I seem fairly tolerant of a variety of different neck profiles.

    Just some pics of the guitar below,

    1. as it was until about a year or two ago, with added Kent Armstrong floating pickup, and my own supposed to be Art Deco-ish pickguard design . The KA pickup was just supported on a rubber base and held on the guitar with double-sided sticky tape (not strong enough to damage the finish) but it was just a bit of a precarious arrangement, although it sounded good.

    2. a pickup I had made for the guitar by Chris Hernandez at Wound4Sound pickups - a alnico 3 magnet, about 7K resistance.

    3. the Wound4Sound pickup fitted, and I've removed the KA floating one, and gone back to the stock pickguard. Not sure if I'll keep the guitar like this or not at the moment.


    did Joe Pass NOT care much for his ibanez JP20??-dscf2998-jpgdid Joe Pass NOT care much for his ibanez JP20??-dscf3003-jpgdid Joe Pass NOT care much for his ibanez JP20??-dscf3024-jpg

    I still have the original Super 58 pickup also by the way, although it looks a bit on the tatty side now, but just FWIW. I haven't been using the guitar a lot recently to be honest, but I'll have to play it a bit and consider what's the best way forward for using the guitar - it is a very nice instrument.
    Last edited by Meggy; 01-29-2017 at 04:23 PM.

  30. #29

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    SS,
    Cannot disagree with your comments on the JP20, I acquired mine in '82 or '83
    tho' it sat in a shop for some time unappreciated. The asking price was £599. As
    there was no interest in it I waited a while then bought it for only £350.
    I took it to my then new Tutor, ( unbeknown to me a very good friend of Joe,
    here in the UK) he was mightily impressed with it despite the comment on
    the pickup placement. I kept it for 14 or so years.The great Louis Stewart, another
    friend, called in to my Tutor. and expressed his liking of it although he played
    an S400 at the time. I thought the JP20 was a great guitar. On one visit by Joe
    to my tutor we discussed it and swapped instruments and unless I'm mistaken
    his own JP20 appeared to have a slightly enlarged headstock.? Joe was a very
    friendly and witty character, with a humble demeanour. I met him a couple of
    times. I was very lucky in meeting my late Tutor .He knew many top players
    and introduced Martin Taylor ,Barney Kessel and Tal Farlow etc., I was in
    awe of these players.

    For some inexplicable reason I sold the guitar some years later at a
    good profit but las we all do at some time, I regretted letting it go.

  31. #30

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    If I had one I'd get one of those Guild DeArmond 1100 reissues and put that in the gap between the HB and end of fingerboard. However I'm not convinced that you couldn't get a good tone from the HB though - it's a bit like 24 fret instruments where the neck pickup is a bit further back - my Gibson l6-S is like this. I still have no problem getting a very good jazz sound from that guitar, if anything in some rooms I find it still can get muddy.

    The JP-20s I have played have all been absolute top notch guitars in terms of playability and the build quality was as good as it gets, sadly I never had the chance to plug one in though.

  32. #31

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    [QUOTE=Max405;736529]Cunamara, thanks buddy. But with all due respect, my name shouldn't be mentioned in the same sentence as the great Joe Pass.
    ive seen pictures of Joe Playing his JP20 live at shows, with black tape over the Ibanez logo. Now, one would assume that he was less than pleased with Ibanez at that moment, but it still didn't stop him from playing the guitar.

    JD,
    What Joe Pass would have appreciated is that you play the whole tune, he was less enamoured with a player
    trying to impress with the first 8 bars and launching into a long improv which could be monotonous .
    remember too Barney also taped over the Gibson logo to express his displeasure with the BK model , he
    disliked , preferring a commission ( he didn't get) instead of the guitar.. I might have suggested earlier that
    you would have got on fine with JP, not one to put down others but willing to share his skills.

    007 & M

  33. #32

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    did Joe Pass NOT care much for his ibanez JP20??-ibanez-jp20-jpg

    I pulled mine out today, it is a 1980 model (first year with Joe's signature on the label). The bindings have yellowed and this guitar has a real vintage vibe to it. It is a first rate archtop guitar, as close to a D'Aquisto as I will ever own. For guys who like the early 60's slim neck profile, it is a wonderful electric archtop. For me, it is a keeper.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  34. #33

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    Doggone, the JP20 is always a beautiful guitar. Great shape, great 'bursts. It looks like a jazz guitar. Like all guitars, before you can know whether or not it's for you- you have to play it. On paper you might think "nah, it's going to be too bright and thin." Then you might play it and say "THAT'S IT! That's my sound!" Or you might say "ye gods, what were they thinking?" But you won't know until you try.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max405 View Post
    Cunamara, thanks buddy. But with all due respect, my name shouldn't be mentioned in the same sentence as the great Joe Pass.
    ive seen pictures of Joe Playing his JP20 live at shows, with black tape over the Ibanez logo. Now, one would assume that he was less than pleased with Ibanez at that moment, but it still didn't stop him from playing the guitar.

    JD,
    What Joe Pass would have appreciated is that you play the whole tune, he was less enamoured with a player
    trying to impress with the first 8 bars and launching into a long improv which could be monotonous .
    remember too Barney also taped over the Gibson logo to express his displeasure with the BK model , he
    disliked , preferring a commission ( he didn't get) instead of the guitar.. I might have suggested earlier that
    you would have got on fine with JP, not one to put down others but willing to share his skills.

    007 & M
    Alan, Thank you my good man.
    When Joe was still alive, I regret never making enough of an effort to connect with him. During his rest, I have often vowed to make sure that I do whatever I can do to make sure other musicians don't forget him along with Johnny Smith. When I play their stuff, I do so with reverence to them. I could "make it my own" but I am not worthy. I couldn't do any justice to what they've already done. So I just set my own creativity aside, and honor the greats. When and if I can come up with something original, that is on their level, I will. In due time.
    Joe D

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara View Post
    Doggone, the JP20 is always a beautiful guitar. Great shape, great 'bursts. It looks like a jazz guitar. Like all guitars, before you can know whether or not it's for you- you have to play it. On paper you might think "nah, it's going to be too bright and thin." Then you might play it and say "THAT'S IT! That's my sound!" Or you might say "ye gods, what were they thinking?" But you won't know until you try.
    I've always loved sound of a Strat. In particular, the sound when the switch is between the neck and the middle pickup. Now if you took that sound, and added the depth and fullness of an exquisite hollowbody underneath it, you have the complex and exotic sound that comes from a JP20.
    Cunamara, you nailed it.. you won't know until you try it.
    JD
    Last edited by Max405; 02-01-2017 at 12:12 AM.

  37. #36

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    I've tried an Ibanez JP20 today, the neck is wonderful, very comfortable, more comfortable than a Gibson Johnny Smith or an L5.
    Yes, I've got some friends who own great guitars.
    Ibanez PM is comfortable too, but I prefer the JP, I don't know why, maybe because Joe Pass was a short guy.

  38. #37

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    This is just my experience, I met Joe in 1985 in Paramus, NJ at an Italian restaurant he went to after coming out of a guitar workshop he did for a big music store close by. I asked him a few questions about recordings, players, and jazz in general and I remember asking him about his Ibanez JP20. He replied ; "well, they pay me to play it, besides it's a good enough axe to take anywhere and he didn't have to worry about getting it banged up because he had free replacements. In addition, he mentioned that his favorite guitars he left at home and one of them was a D'Aquisto Excel, and some ES175's he had among others. I kept asking him about the JP20 models but he just told me that he said all he was going to say. I knew exactly what that meant. Years later I bought a used JP20, and no matter what setting I had in my Fender Twin it sounded thin and sterile, so I sold it within 30 days. In my opinion, I think Ibanez made a design mistake setting the pickup so far from the neck, it might have something to do with the tone. It is a beautiful instrument I have to say. Years latter I played a friends Epiphone Joe Pass model and wasn't thrilled by it either. Joe sounded best playing his 175 IMO.


    Cheers,
    Arnie..

  39. #38

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    Notice some pics I posted of my own 1980 JP20 above, so thought I'd bring things up to date - the guitar now has a floating CC-type pickup up against the fingerboard (John Anthony Guitars aka JAG), and I put in a spare gold cover low-wind alnico 3 PAF type made by Ben Fletcher in place of the stock pickup (which of course I still have). Could not bear to cut the original pickguard, so I modded the Art Deco style one I made - the CC attaches to that with a tab. Have to say I do prefer the CC pickup, but you could make a case for the humbucker, despite it's position - theres a 3-way mini switch fixed under the pickguard scroll, that allows selection of either or both pickups.

    did Joe Pass NOT care much for his ibanez JP20??-jp2003-jpgdid Joe Pass NOT care much for his ibanez JP20??-jp2004-jpg

  40. #39

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    That must be a nice upgrade to an already excellent guitar.
    Ive said it before, I would still have my JP20 if the neck was a little fuller. I loved the sound of it. It sustained for days and it had a sort of Hollowbody Strat sound that I favored. It was a tremendously well made guitar.
    If Joe Pass didn't care for his JP20, he sure did an amazing job of fooling me. Some of the greatest solo guitar performances came from Joe and the JP20. That guitar has no limitations. It has a sweet-spot that rewards you when you find it.
    Joe D

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max405 View Post
    That must be a nice upgrade to an already excellent guitar.
    Ive said it before, I would still have my JP20 if the neck was a little fuller. I loved the sound of it. It sustained for days and it had a sort of Hollowbody Strat sound that I favored. It was a tremendously well made guitar.
    If Joe Pass didn't care for his JP20, he sure did an amazing job of fooling me. Some of the greatest solo guitar performances came from Joe and the JP20. That guitar has no limitations. It has a sweet-spot that rewards you when you find it.
    Joe D
    Thank you - the CC pickup does certainly give the option of using what you might call a more classic kind of jazz tone - useful for me anyhow. To be honest, when I bought the guitar, I was young and knew very little of pickup placement considerations and other technical issues to think about with hollowbody arch top guitars. I just thought it was a cool-looking guitar, and surely Mr Pass knew what he was doing? (possibly he didn't! ), and I did really like the neck (still do, it suits me very well). Only over time did I become aware that it wasn't universally liked, largely due to the pickup position. But I've used it happily enough over the years, and still do.

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by Meggy View Post
    Thank you - the CC pickup does certainly give the option of using what you might call a more classic kind of jazz tone - useful for me anyhow. To be honest, when I bought the guitar, I was young and knew very little of pickup placement considerations and other technical issues to think about with hollowbody arch top guitars. I just thought it was a cool-looking guitar, and surely Mr Pass knew what he was doing? (possibly he didn't! ), and I did really like the neck (still do, it suits me very well). Only over time did I become aware that it wasn't universally liked, largely due to the pickup position. But I've used it happily enough over the years, and still do.
    This guitar is a Joe Pass signature model.
    It is setup the same way his guitar was setup. That space in between the pickup and the end of the neck was there for a reason. That's where he picked his notes.
    Its a great guitar you have there. Enjoy it.
    Jd

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max405 View Post
    This guitar is a Joe Pass signature model.
    It is setup the same way his guitar was setup. That space in between the pickup and the end of the neck was there for a reason. That's where he picked his notes.
    Its a great guitar you have there. Enjoy it.
    Jd
    Absolutely - I have enjoyed playing the guitar for several decades, and will continue to do that for sure.

  44. #43

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    I eventually sold my JP-20 because I came to the conclusion that I liked the ES-175 model better (I like the shorter scale). I think Joe Pass felt the same way. That said, the JP-20 is a great guitar and the workmanship on those is top notch.

    If you pick between the neck and the PUP on a JP-20, you can get a great jazz tone.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  45. #44

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    Joe sounded the best on his 175 for electric work and the D'aquisto gave him the acoustic edge to his sound. In fact some of the cuts on his first Virtuoso recording are the 175 straight to the board no amp was picking up the sound, those cuts are amazingly good. You can here the change on the recording of Virtuoso from tune to tune. That by the way is my all time favorite Pass recording...…...Joe went in sat down and played. It all comes together and this was a landmark of jazz guitar recordings.
    specializing in repair and setup, does your guitar play like it should?

  46. #45

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    One luthier who made at least one guitar for Joe Pass, reported seeing Joe play live on two different occasions when he was using his Ibanez JP. He said that the first time he saw him play, the guitar's jack input was so messed up, it was making loud electronic noises, buzzing and even cutting out.
    The second time he saw Joe play, a month or so later, Joe was having the same problem with it. He spoke to Joe about it, and he said he didn't care enough about the guitar to get it fixed, and was just playing it to fulfill his part of the endorsement deal.

    This luthier, who apprenticed with Jimmy D'Aquisto for a number of years,, was fascinated with the Ibanez JP model, saying that Ibanez had done a great job copying the plans Joe had given them (without Jimmy's permission), but couldn't understand why they changed the position of the neck pickup. He called the JP model, "an aborted D'Aquisto".

    Unlike John D'Angelico, who could have sued Gibson for illegally copying his guitar to make the Gibson Johnny Smith model, Jimmy took Ibanez to court, and the JP model was off the market a few months later.

  47. #46

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  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgcim View Post
    One luthier who made at least one guitar for Joe Pass, reported seeing Joe play live on two different occasions when he was using his Ibanez JP. He said that the first time he saw him play, the guitar's jack input was so messed up, it was making loud electronic noises, buzzing and even cutting out.
    The second time he saw Joe play, a month or so later, Joe was having the same problem with it. He spoke to Joe about it, and he said he didn't care enough about the guitar to get it fixed, and was just playing it to fulfill his part of the endorsement deal.

    This luthier, who apprenticed with Jimmy D'Aquisto for a number of years,, was fascinated with the Ibanez JP model, saying that Ibanez had done a great job copying the plans Joe had given them (without Jimmy's permission), but couldn't understand why they changed the position of the neck pickup. He called the JP model, "an aborted D'Aquisto".

    Unlike John D'Angelico, who could have sued Gibson for illegally copying his guitar to make the Gibson Johnny Smith model, Jimmy took Ibanez to court, and the JP model was off the market a few months later.
    I'm confused by your last sentence above. If Jimmy D'Aquisto "took Ibanez to court...", doesn't that imply that some type of legal action (e.g. lawsuit) was filed by D'Aquisto? If so, there would be a record of it somewhere. This is the first I've heard of any such action. Any details?

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger View Post
    I eventually sold my JP-20 because I came to the conclusion that I liked the ES-175 model better (I like the shorter scale). I think Joe Pass felt the same way. That said, the JP-20 is a great guitar and the workmanship on those is top notch.

    If you pick between the neck and the PUP on a JP-20, you can get a great jazz tone.
    I concur, the JP20 was a good guitar. when Joe visited his friend., my tutor, in the Uk we swapped our
    JP20's he played mine and vice versa. ,and made no adverse comment on the guitar. While i'm name
    dropping here . Louis Stewart also commented positively on the JP20 when he heard it, although on the
    small side for him.
    In similar fashion to SS I swapped mine but for an L4CES instead

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by silverfoxx View Post
    I concur, the JP20 was a good guitar. when Joe visited his friend., my tutor, in the Uk we swapped our
    JP20's he played mine and vice versa. ,and made no adverse comment on the guitar. While i'm name
    dropping here . Louis Stewart also commented positively on the JP20 when he heard it, although on the
    small side for him.
    In similar fashion to SS I swapped mine but for an L4CES instead
    Foxman,
    Joe played your guitar? Wow I never knew that. If Joe ever played my guitar, my guitar would make a laughing sound every time I’d try to play it.
    JD

  51. #50

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    Jimmy D.'s attorney might have just sent Ibanez a letter? Joe's contract might have simply run out? The sales of that model did not support continued production?

    There are a lot of possible explanations as to why it came off the market.

    If an actual lawsuit was filed, that public record would be out there.

    Regardless, that guitar is an interesting part of archtop guitar history. I played many gigs with mine and enjoyed my ownership of that guitar for several years. Those who have never played one should not knock it.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass