The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
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  1. #1

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    The results of this thread and an email poll with the simple question "What is your favorite jazz guitar amp?", are available here:

    The Most Popular Jazz Guitar Amps (Top 25) - Survey Results

    The Ultimate Guitar Amp-jazz-guitar-amps-jpg

    What amp do you use?


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

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    From all the amplifiers that I have owned, I like my Roland Jazz Chorus JC120 the most. It has a beautiful reverb and very usable chorus, but is a little noisy though. The distortion sucks big time.

    The Ultimate Guitar Amp-roland-jc120-jpg
    Last edited by Gareth; 09-20-2007 at 07:51 AM.

  4. #3

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    Of all the amps I've owned, the Roland JC120 was my favorite as well for wonderfully responsive, clean and dynamic sound. And the chorus was SWEET. Just a touch, mind you...

    Man, I miss that amp.

  5. #4

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    My guitar teacher plays thru JC120s and though they have a good clean tone, great chorus, and are very dependable, they all seem to hiss, and are way too heavy for me.

    For distortion, I prefer a tube based sound, but like ss for clean. I don't think there is such a thing as an ultimate amp to me. However, the Mesa Boogie Road King came as close as anything I have had before.

    4 channels, all can be configured with various tube settings, so you can go from a Fender clean tone, to a old Marshal crunch ala AC/DC, to a high gain Mesa sound ala Satriani.

    However, at $2500 and 100lb for the 2x12 combo, it killed me, so I sold it. I play my POD thru a Atomic amp which is designed for modelers. It has a tube power section, so it warms up the POD. Then I have the flexibility of the various amp settings. I can get lots of good, usable sounds out of it for jazz, blues, rock and pop stuff.

    It is the best compromise I have come across.

  6. #5

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    can't argue with a Fender Twin Reverb. yes, they're big, heavy, loud, and expensive to maintain, but hey. it's a twin.

    i still regret selling mine 5 years ago, but playing in my living room and coffee shops the size of my living room, there's no rationalizing a twin.

  7. #6

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    Mr. B,

    Can't you get that same vibe out of a Fender Deluxe Reverb? Less power, less weight, one less speaker.

  8. #7

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    definitely. actually, i get a lot of fender vibe with my blues junior. but i've been eyeballing a DRRI for a while, but i don't need any more GAS now...i just bought a tele thinline!

    being a tele guy though, the lack of a midrange control on the Deluxe Reverb has always concerned me a bit. i like to be able to boost midrange when i cut the highs a bit

  9. #8

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    I just got a tele. After playing dozens of Fenders, Don Grosh, Tom Anderson, G&L, I wound up playing a Bill Nash, and instantly fell in love.

    If you are not familiar with Nash, he has been building guitars using Fender licensed parts for years, and does them relic style. Now, I have always thought the whole relic thing was a bit cheezy, but this one is wonderful.

    It is a clone of the Andy Summers tele, so humbucker in the neck and single in the bridge. It has Lollar pups in it. I was looking for something that would be able to do it all. I think I found it.

  10. #9

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    The ultimate guitar amp...yikes! Anyone who has been playing awhile
    has probably gone through a lot of gear over the years and they have
    likely also changed styles, guitars, venues and
    budgets. What was once the cat's meow now no longer gets it done.
    The dust has finally settled and what I have left is a fine
    60's Twin Reverb, a 60's Champ, a Traynor YCV20-WR, a monstrous Peavey
    Stereo Chorus with allthe bells and whistles at
    a mind numbing 260 watts and a Yorkville AM 100 which was designed
    to amplify acoustic instruments. There is also a variety of types
    of guitars, pedals and some effects. Once you start mixing and
    matching you will find sounds that I was chasing once upon a time.
    That should have been more than enough but no... I needed one more
    ...the ultimate amp.
    So, what to do. I no longer needed gear to fit every stage and room
    cos nowadays the only place I play out is a buddy's house. Luckily
    I hooked up with an amp builder with 30 years experience and together
    we designed an amp to suit my needs.
    It is a 18 watt tube amp with a 10" speaker housed in an well built
    old Vox carcass. On its lonesome it produces such a sweet sound and
    I can use it to drive an old 2x12 Fender cab if the mood strikes.
    We put in the best Mercury iron, the best caps and some very fine
    tubes. Here's the best part. After 30 years of building amps my guy
    learned a thing or two about pre-amps. He built a pre-amp board that
    enables him to quickly change components. I showed up with guitars
    in hand and we tweaked the front end and tried various speakers to
    get the sound I wanted. When the right combo of pre-amp, speaker and
    tubes was found, the amp was built. Simple, solid and bullet proof.
    One master volume, one gain plus treble, mid, bass controls. One channel
    and one line out. No bells, no whistles, no effects, no pre-amp in,
    no PC board, no solid-state, no reverb.
    It will happily accommodate a pedal if so desired. It can go
    Twin clean or I can dial in some tweed deluxe OD. Handles the acoustic,
    hot singles and anything the humbuckers throw at it. No hiss, no hum
    and it produces temple bell harmonics. It makes me smile just hear it.
    Now for the fine print. This amp is a one off that was made for me and
    I in no way wish to denigrate what others have chosen to play.
    If you played it may not even come close to what you want. Triple rectifier
    overdrive, stadium gigs, 300 road shows, on board effects?
    No, no, no and no again. It is one guy, one guitar, one cord and an amp.
    I do believe I'm rolling around in a purple patch.
    Last edited by kaige; 09-21-2007 at 04:28 AM.

  11. #10

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    I like a few of you have too many amps, tried em, liked em and bought them. Mark iv, super reverb, twin reverb, gibson head with 2 cabinets, got a good deal on them, 2 10's and 2 12's in each celestions, i power them with all the amps, oh i have a budda 18 as well, & the blues junior.

    the stuff i play from jazz chord melodies, to a little far out stuff, i haven't found one amp that really does it all for me, straight ahead jazz, chord melodies, the twin reverb at all volumes, can't really beat the tone from this amp for that style, the far out stuff, the mark iv, or budda, even the gibson, because with the 5 way pedal you can combine both channels, getting the sustain and/or crunch at various volumes and while the cabinets are a rediculous handful, i have used one, for an outside show, more a jam band thing, it was great but a killer to move.

    With the roland gt 6, 8 or multi pedals you can achieve a great variety with even a nice clean amp, like the twin, but you have to spend the time dialing in and saving these settings. there are just so many choices today.

    if i had to get rid of all my amps but one, i'd keep the twin reverb.


  12. #11

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    I ran sound for "Shout Sister Shout" last night, a quintet doing classic swing standards. The guitarist was trying out a "new" amp, courtesy of the bass player; his old Polytone from his high school days.

    The guitarist, Josh Davis, spent the breaks seeing what the amp could do, and it could do a LOT. With both his guitars, an early 50's L5 (I think - it was heavily modified,) and a 1930's Kalamazoo with a soundhole pup, the range of delicious jazz tones coming out of that amp was just astonishing. No hiss... from clean as could be to some wonderfully dirty blues sorts of sounds.

    I was totally impressed with that thing, and it was a breeze to bring into the mix. I didn't even have to mess with EQ on it.

  13. #12

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    I have a little Traynor YCV-20 retubed with JJ's from Bob at Eurotube and a custom Weber ceramic Blue Dog. I get great fender like cleans and really creamy overdriven tones from it.

    The Ultimate Guitar Amp-traynor-ycv20-jpg

    For playing around the house my 50's Lectrolab R200b at 1/2 is really clean and overdrives nicely from there. All at acoustic volume.

    The Ultimate Guitar Amp-lectrolab-r200b-jpg

  14. #13

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    The best guitar amp has been the question we've all been asking for years. I have all sorts of amps and guitars and what I've discovered after forty years of playing is that they all have their place. I try to best determine what sound I need for what situation and which guitar and amp combination will work best to get the results I'm looking for. What I do know is this, I wish I had all the amps and guitars back I either traded or sold through the years.
    When we sell equipment, we generally take a loss, only to find out 15 years later we could really use that piece. As far as tube vs. solid state goes, I've played great and not so great of both. In fact, I hope I never find the perfect setup. The quest for the perfect tone is one of the elements that keeps me motivated. What's greater, the journey or the destination?
    With that in mind, I found an old 1950's Premier with a little 8" speaker and Class A in my basement 2 days ago. I was going to practice and I wanted to go really light since we were working out tunes acoustically. What a great jazz sound! That's what I'm talking about.
    Last edited by Gerald; 09-30-2007 at 01:49 PM. Reason: forgot to add the amp

  15. #14

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    Don't consider myself an expert on amps but just bought my first tube amp; a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe.
    It has a great clean sound and while I probably won't use "dirty" options much, it is a very cool amp.

    The Ultimate Guitar Amp-fender-hot-rod-deluxe-jpg

  16. #15

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    I have had several Polytones (and still have a couple), I have an Evans, Music Man amps (more than one), Gallien Krueger, Fenders, . .
    my favorite is my Evans (although this one is the third one I've had). Very reliable, very warm tone for solid state. The Polytone is a 200 watt bass head and is great! stereo, switchable, bi-ampable, very versatile.

  17. #16
    Jazzarian Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Gareth
    What is the *ultimate* jazz guitar amp in your opinion?

    From all the amplifiers that I have owned, I like my Roland Jazz Chorus-120 the most. It has a beautiful reverb and very usable chorus. The distortion sucks big time though.
    BTW, I have seen Benson, front row center, playing a JC-120. Sounded great live.

  18. #17

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    Lots of pros have in their contracts that the venue provide a JC120 beause they are so plentiful, and consistent from amp to amp.

    However, everyone I have ever been around hissed terribly. One of the guys I study with plays thru them, and has 3 located at his regular gigs so he doesn't have to hump them around.

  19. #18

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    I find it interesting under the topic of Ultimate JAZZ amp that a lot of the discussion is about getting a good blues or rock sound and distortion. I guess my idea of a jazz sound is different.

  20. #19
    Jazzarian Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by bodidR
    I find it interesting under the topic of Ultimate JAZZ amp that a lot of the discussion is about getting a good blues or rock sound and distortion. I guess my idea of a jazz sound is different.
    I guess you don't play any fusion.

    I play both straight ahead archtop and fusion. It's not particularly "rare" for someone to do that. John Tropea, Lee Ritenour, Kurt Rosenwinkel play fusion as well as straight ahead jazz.

    John Scofield? I don't know what he plays. His own "style"?

    On the other hand, you wish to discuss archtop sound? How's a '92 Gibson Super V CES (Custom Shop Master Model) thru a Boogie preamp and G Major processor sound to you?

  21. #20

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    No I don't play fusion, which I consider more rock than jazz, but certainly with some jazz elements. no one mentioned fusion, the question I believe was "what is the ultimate Jazz guitar amp". I don't even consider a Roland JC as a jazz amp, because it really hit its zenith during the 80s in the rock and pop scene. Ultimate jazz guitar amp? Lots of very clean power (200 watts or more), very little coloration of the sound from the guitar (that's what I object most about the JC), just amplification; full frequency response (including for 7-strings), small, lightweight cabinet (total less than 30 lbs) and a price of less than $500. There's my ultimate, but alas no one has made it yet.
    I'll keep looking . . .

  22. #21
    Jazzarian Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by bodidR
    and a price of less than $500. There's my ultimate, but alas no one has made it yet.
    I'll keep looking . . .

    I think it's called a used Polytone. You might find a used Evans for that too.

    These days tube preamps are what I look to for great jazz tone. What counts is getting the sound recorded. I refuse to use microphones in this day and age. There is absolutely no need of them for recording jazz guitar, or fusion guitar either.

  23. #22

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    well I have both a used Evans, and 2 used Polytones (use to be three), but none are less than 30 lbs, but yes, all of them were less than $500. Of them all, I like the Evans the best. Evans made a tube preamp briefly with tons of headroom. I got to use one once. It was incredibly clean and the tone was perfect. They now make a head with a tube preamp but I haven't tried one yet.

  24. #23

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    I bought an Evan's JE200 wiyh a tube preamp last year. I really love it and I don't think I'll bother searching anymore. It has very unique tone controls that takes some getting used to but the tonal range is amazing, especially for archtops. It weighs 30 lbs and is very gig-friendly. There is a smaller version called the RE100 (Ron Eschete model) that is only 25 lbs (10 spkr) and very easy transport, guitat in one hand, amp in the other. It is fantastic for solo gigs, but I opted for a bit more body with a 12" vice 10* speaker in the JE200 which is better in a combo setting. If you can find one for less than $500 It would be a great deal.

    The Ultimate Guitar Amp-evans-je200-png
    Last edited by Dirk; 04-19-2020 at 10:11 AM.

  25. #24

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    If you can find ANY Evans amp, in good playing condition, for less than $500, I'll buy it. Yes, their tone controls take some getting use to, but they are the cleanest sound I have found, and certainly for straight ahead jazz with an archtop, the ULTIMATE JAZZ GUITAR AMP (IMO). The trouble is they are very seldom available used, and then usually for much more than $500. BTW, my Evans has a 15" which I like a lot. Not sure I could like a 10" or even a 12". Oh well.

  26. #25

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    The polytones are bass amps, correct? Would any bass amp do the trick (Fender Rumble, others)?