The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
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  1. #26

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    I notice that Gravytrain wants a Gibson ES-137. I was thinking about this when I consider that my playing deserves it, particularly because of the vari-tone. The ES-345 I had in the 1960s had this switch and it produced some really interesting tones, therefore it's the ES-137 Custom model that would be very nice.

    However, as I've not exactly tried one yet, I am interested in what you guys say about 137 and 175 comparisons. I'm currently using an Epiphone ES-175 with flat wounds which is nice to play but doesn't do much for me in terms of tone. So for anyone who's tried them all, how does this match up to the Gibson version and the Gibson ES-137? Or are Gibson's so overpriced that the difference between these and other makes simply don't stack up? I ought to mention that I like mellow tones with the occasional bit of edge.

    (By the way, the guitar in the picture is a Paul Fischer made for me in 1976).
    Last edited by Ged; 04-30-2008 at 03:40 PM.

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  3. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ged
    I notice that Gravytrain wants a Gibson ES-137. I was thinking about this when I consider that my playing deserves it, particularly because of the vari-tone. The ES-345 I had in the 1960s had this switch and it produced some really interesting tones, therefore it's the ES-137 Custom model that would be very nice.

    However, as I've not exactly tried one yet, I am interested in what you guys say about 137 and 175 comparisons. I'm currently using an Epiphone ES-175 with flat wounds which is nice to play but doesn't do much for me in terms of tone. So for anyone who's tried them all, how does this match up to the Gibson version and the Gibson ES-137? Or are Gibson's so overpriced that the difference between these and other makes simply don't stack up? I ought to mention that I like mellow tones with the occasional bit of edge.
    Let me start out by saying I am pretty opinionated about Gibson. I have had some bad experiences with recent models. However, I do still have a 1970 ES175. To me, the 137 is more of a single cut version of a 335. I am not a big fan as it is heavy and semihollow. However, some guys love them, and they do sound good. Just not my cup o' tea.

    The Epi 175 is not going to sound like the Gibbo, if for no other reason, it has a maple neck vs mahogany. That big chunk of mahogany is a large part of what gives the 175 its sound imo. I just sold a 1999 Tal Farlow to a guy in Hungary, and it was a very nice guitar, but I am thinning out the herd.

    Personally, I would look for something made in the 80's-90's, as Gibson's quality control has really been lousy the past few years. As far as 175 vs 137, pretty different guitars I think, but both do jazz well. I would think the 137 would do other things better though, like blues, fusion, etc.

  4. #28

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    Thanks for your views Derek, I've also read about Gibson quality control issue so I'll bear that in mind. It's nearly forty years since I sold the Gibson 345 so I simply can't remember the detailed differences. I'm in London next week so I'll look around there...however, I can't stand these shop sales people. It's like, "for Christ sake leave me alone to get on with it!" And then there's the three finger 'wonders' playing at 200 watts in a bloody shop. Sorry...my prejudices are taking me off the point here... Better still, I'll look around for something with a few years on it.

  5. #29

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    I gotta add my 2 cents worth. I have always been an acoustic electric archtop fan. I have had a super 400 Gibson, A Johnny Smith Gibson, a D'Angelico (1929 non-cutaway) A Gibson 335, a fender strat (late 50's) a fender tele and several low end archtops that really ddin't cut it for me. I also now have a Taylor T5 and a Stroup Benedetto copy and I just received (a few hours ago) my Sadowsky Jim Hall Signature model. Of all these great guitars, the Stroup has undoubtably the best low-volume acoustic electric sound I have ever heard but I don't use it for my gigs because of the feedback problems associated with all the acoustic electrics I have used. The T5 is the most versatile of the group and has been my gigging guitar for the past year. However, After plugging in the Jim Hall model, I have a new favorite. With the short scale and wide neck, it is the easiest playing guitar of the batch. Although I don't usually make snap judgements on guitars, this one ((JH Model) seems to be better for my tastes than any of the others and will become my gigging guitar as soon as I get new strings on it. It is the most sound-balanced instrument I have ever played and seems to be able to produce almost any sound I need to use. Check out my new avatar!
    wiz

  6. #30

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    Here is a link to the german store where I bought the guitar, the guitar brand is 'Harley benton'. I have no idea as regards its reputation or anything, to me it feels like a lot for the money, considering that the equivalent guitars at stores in my hometown are like 3 times the cost...


    Perfect Jazz Guitar?-harley-benton-manhatten-jpg

  7. #31

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    Hi I play a Ibanez Af105nt (Artcore) and It sounds fine. I went to Mandolin Brothers in Staten Island NY and was blown away by the sound coming out of a Gibson L-4.(same as ES-175 except the L-4 has a wood top not laminate.)
    Last edited by cherokeebat; 05-01-2008 at 08:29 AM. Reason: grammer

  8. #32

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    Hey Wizard...congratulations on the new guitar.

    I have recently been on a guitar hunt. I'm 51, the kids have moved out and my wife is telling me...."Go get what you want?" Good place to be.

    After countless searches in the Seattle area, playing many fine guitars I decided to keep my Carvin 7-string.

    However, I did buy a Gretsch 6119 (admit it<g>...we all like Chet Atkins<g>) so I could have an archtop in the house. Seriously, I was driving along listening to Chet and was thinking about how beautiful his tone allways was. Very clear but warm. So, I started checking out the Gretsch's that are made in Japan.

    I didn't find a bad one...everyone I played was outstanding and for me was a better choice than the venerable ES-175. It has plywood for days<g> - like an ES-175, Filtertron Humbuckers and is just an outstanding guitar. It is narrower than an ES-175 (I'm using the 175 as a reference because everyone generally knows what those are like and I am not critisizing those of you who use them). Mine also has a 25-1/2 inch scale length with an ebony fingerboard. There are options with 24.6 inch scale lengths. An ES-175 has a 24-3/4 inch scale length. The Filtertron pickups are brighter than standard humbuckers, but retain the warmth.

    So, I have a question...how come more jazz guys don't play Gretsch's? They are very similiar to an ES-175 they can help you get a different sound (I think establishing a unique "signature" tone is very difficult to do and a very worthwhile pursuit). Also, there are so many options available with different scale lenghts and different body sizes that it is kind of like picking a semi-custom 175. I encourage all of you to check them out. I have even seen vintage Gretsch's for sale at a fraction of the cost of Gibsons. Also, they all seem to be in the $2,000 to $3,400 range for a new one. Not cheap, but I bought my new on Ebay for $1,100! It is just a killer guitar with great sustain and a classic look.

    Pros on the Gretsch:

    I believe that they are made better than all of the newer Gibsons I have seen. Certainly, in the price range I am talking about they are not only better built but have more choices for fingerboard wood for this price range. Some models have flamed maple as an option.

    Filtertron pickups are not "overused" in the jazz community - a chance to grab a unique tone. They also come with the old De'Armond single coils or the HiLo pickups which are single coils as well.

    I always get compliments on how beautiful the guitar is.

    If you want to buy an American made vintage Gretsch they are priced well below comparable Gibsons, Guilds and Fenders.

    Cons on the Gretsch:

    The Bigsby tremolo is fun, but I have been thinking of turning it into a doorstop. It could fit between the door and the wall and the spring could keep the door knob from hitting the drywall. I think I could do this without any modifications to the door or the Bigsby<g>. Gretsch does make some models with a standard tailpiece. All models can be retrofitted with a standard tailpiece.

    Some models have way too many knobs and switches, but I can live with this.

    I kept the Carvin because it is made from premium materials, looks OK and plays extremely well, ,and feedback is not an issue. It is not a lower quality guitar to Paul Reed Smiths or any other high end solid body. I have a Koa top with an alder body, so it is very warm sounding.

    I didn't buy an expensive hand built archtop, because I don't think they are worth it (IMHO). I used to own a 1976 Guild Artist Award that was at the NAMM show in LA. Very nice guitar, but as I have posted elsewhere, not versitle and it is heartbreaking to spend that kind of money on a guitar when I had a telecaster that was better at all volumes above a whisper. All of my favorite guitar players do not play pedigree instruments for the most part - and what initially attracts me to a player is their sound. If I had a D'Angelico New Yorker I would sell it to a rock star and pay off my mortgage<g>. I mean...what do you get for your $20,000 $50,000 that you can't do for much less?

    Good luck to all of you, as their is no right answer here.
    Butch
    Last edited by Butch; 05-01-2008 at 07:33 PM.

  9. #33

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    Butch,

    I have tried Gretch guitars thru the years, but they always feel a bit stiff (how to explain that? ), and I never got a sound I liked out of them due to the pups they use I guess.

    I think this is a great example of why there are so many different guitars. It would be pretty boring if we all played the same model. I have tried several times to go with something more unique. I have been thru a couple of Jim Triggs archtops, a PRS archtop, an Eastman archtop, a Gibbo Tal Farlow, a 335 clone, and have a Forshage Ergonomic guitar on order.

    Each time I wind up going back to my 175. I will always own a few different guitars since I play a variety of music, but the 175 is king for me. I am glad you found one that speaks to you. Btw, I have one of those wives also, can't be beat!
    Last edited by derek; 05-02-2008 at 12:29 PM. Reason: typo

  10. #34

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    I've been trying to find an Epi Elitist Broadway...but they are all backorderd and none of the stores I frequent have any. Anybody know when Epi is going to make them available? I'm looking for a jazz box and have tried several, including the famed ES 175. I was expecting to be overwhelmed by it, but was disappointed considering in was a Gibson. I like the upper end Gibsons alot but it would kill the family budget if my wife found out :>)

    Fred

  11. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by vikinin
    Thank you Matthew for the 13 guitar round-up ("So you want to buy a jazz guitar") published on the web page. It should prove helpful to many. My only regret is that there's way more than those 13 axes suitable for jazz, not mentionned there.
    What about Sadowski or Heritage? What about other entry models from Ibanez and Hagstrom or the AES 1500 and SA 2200 from Yamaha?
    Well I am not a pro player but I own several guitars (a headless Steve Klein, a small Hagstrom archtop, a special edition koa strat with duncans and a Yamaha SA 2200 hollowbody) ;
    I love them all and I am quite certain you can play jazz on all of them. Quite a number of contemporary players play on headless Kleins (Andre Bush, Tom Miller, David Torn...) but these babies are certainly leaning more on the *electric* verge than solo chord melody a la joe pass.
    Here is a clip of a guy I study with in the summer, playing chord melody on a Klein. See what you think.



    BTW, since you can't get a Klein anymore ($5000+ used on ebay), Chris Forshage is making an ergonomic version that takes some design ideas from the Klein. Here is a youtube video of one Chris made. Mine will be a black burst.


  12. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Butch
    So, I have a question...how come more jazz guys don't play Gretsch's?
    I'd biggup the mighty Gretsch

    Looking to learn serious Jazz stuff and not wishing to ever become professionally involved (so thats groups, live etc) then the mid-price guitar range serves up some nice potential (archtop) guitars

    Epiphone Joe Pass/ES-135/ES-175's

    or for more versatility (albeit at expense of the warm humb tones) the Gretsch Electromatic Series

    With a budget of £500 I was eyeing up the Joe Pass but settled for a Gretsch 5129 (which I think has more versatility)

    Its fantastic - has Jazz potential (with some tone tweaking it must be said) but still allows a surfeit of other styles I wouldnt have got from the JP (surf,rockabilly,Serious Crazy Horse style etc)

    BUT I do think the JP would have given perhaps a straightaway seriously similar Jazz tone immediately

    I dunno..I never got to play one

    Great forum/Web site btw

  13. #37

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    A difficult question. But for sure my entry level 400 € made in China semihollow is far from perfection.

  14. #38
    I'm looking at these: D'Angelico EX-DC, Stromberg Monterey, Stromberg Montreaux, and Gibson ES-137. Can anyone provide some information regarding these and perhaps comparing these?(also, I wouldn't mind any recommendations and information regarding guitars in this price range)

  15. #39

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    I don't think there is any such guitar. I have used my 65 Telecaster on some jazz gigs. My partner was using a Gibson jazz box and most folks couldn't tell the difference.
    Just listen to Ed Bickert on his Tele. How sweet it is.
    I currently use either a Epi Joe Pass, a Sheraton, a 56 Gold Top reissue or a Les Paul Ultra.
    The Ultra's body is hollow, in that there are hollow chambers carved in the body. It gives it a more open acoustic touch. The major benefit is it doesn't weigh a ton.
    Jazz should come from the heart. Just about anything with strings will do.
    I also have a pickup on my Martin D28. It works also.

  16. #40

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    Hi, I agree about the Epi Elitist series, especially the Broadway. I was looking for a jazz box but could not find one anywhere to play. Furthermore, none of the retail stores here had any - they are back ordered for months. I had the opportunity to buy a Heritage 575 Custom that was seven years old and had almost no play time at all. It's a sweet guitar - as one reviewer said, "It's what the Gibsons made today should be." Oh well, there is always the next guitar to purchase, right?

    Fred

  17. #41

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    After five years of schlepping around archtops (first an Ibanez Artcore then a handcrafted Eastman) I rediscovered the tele (which was my fevourite before taking the archtop route). I use a stock 52 RI now with either polytone and fender amps. can sound very full and warm. the neck pickup sounds very jazzy if I roll down the tone a bit. not the midrange sound like a humbucker, but a very open, dynamic and warm tone.
    main advantage over the archtop is added versatility (although not really needed for jazz) and the ability to sustain a bass note without getting hooting sounds. I used to dial out the bass with my archtops pretty much to prevent feedback, now with the telly I can use as much bass as I want. no problem.

  18. #42

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    If i had the money i would be completely happy with the L-5 Wes model, i know id get a good sound out of one of them.

  19. #43

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    Yamaha AE1200 1200s 2000, the best being 1200s mk3 (late 80s early 90s), fantastic to play: thin neck and bassy woody tone. Sorely missed!


    Perfect Jazz Guitar?-yamaha-ae1200-jpg

  20. #44

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    After a search in the local shops I emptied my wallet and got an Ibanez artcore. Now I'm really under the ice financially, but I love the guitar, and I'll never buy another. It's great to play, and the good tone and warmth shines through even directly lined into the mac. It's so nice to play, and now I will never be able to blame my shortcomings as a guitarist on the guitar, everything is there, I'll just have to keep learning and evolve as a jazz player.

    Peace
    Skei (the artcore proud and satisfied owner one)

  21. #45

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    i'm also a big fan of Klein guitars. Down here there was a bit of a craze for them a while back and I know plenty of cats who own some. One friend of mine has 2 and another 1 on order. There was some confusion about the company for a while but apparently it's back on track now and they are being built again, but how customized, I'm not sure. They sure are a healthy guitar to play with a really beautiful sound and feel.

    I've been playing 335 style guitars for 12 years almost religiously now. I use my 335 for everything these days from Blues to Jazz to Christian Rock. Versitle, great turned up and blasting and subtle and textural in lower volumes.

  22. #46

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    I have to say I really like my Sadowsky (Jim Hall signature model best).
    I have always been a fan of the acoustic electric f-hole guitars. I currently have a Stroup (rough Benedetto copy, a Taylor T5 (really easy to play) and the Sadowsky. Of the three, I think the Sadowsky is the best one for gigs althought I worry about it because it is beautiful and I am problably over-cautious and don't want to scratch it. Actually, If I could afford it I would add a "50's"Fender Telecaster to my small collection. I had one when they first came out (easiest playing guitar I have ever owned) but I traded it for a Gibson 335 (also an easy -playing guitar).
    To sum it up, The Sadowsky is my favorite with a perfect balanced jazz tone. The Stroup has a sweet, mellow acoustic-electric tone many pro's would kill for (feedback is pretty bad though), the Taylor T5 is no doubt the easiest one to play and the most versatile in terms of different types of sound you can make with it. I love them all, but the Sadowsky is the one I use for gigs (perfect tone & no feedback problems).
    best wishes to all,
    wiz

  23. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by wizard3739
    I have to say I really like my Sadowsky (Jim Hall signature model best).
    I have always been a fan of the acoustic electric f-hole guitars. I currently have a Stroup (rough Benedetto copy, a Taylor T5 (really easy to play) and the Sadowsky. Of the three, I think the Sadowsky is the best one for gigs althought I worry about it because it is beautiful and I am problably over-cautious and don't want to scratch it. Actually, If I could afford it I would add a "50's"Fender Telecaster to my small collection. I had one when they first came out (easiest playing guitar I have ever owned) but I traded it for a Gibson 335 (also an easy -playing guitar).
    To sum it up, The Sadowsky is my favorite with a perfect balanced jazz tone. The Stroup has a sweet, mellow acoustic-electric tone many pro's would kill for (feedback is pretty bad though), the Taylor T5 is no doubt the easiest one to play and the most versatile in terms of different types of sound you can make with it. I love them all, but the Sadowsky is the one I use for gigs (perfect tone & no feedback problems).
    best wishes to all,
    wiz
    If I didn't have an old 175 I adored, I would own a JH Sadowsky also. Designed after Jim's old DA Jazzline (which was modeled after a 175), Rodger hit a home run with that one, imo. Gary Stroup seems to be an interesting cat, and based on reviews posted online, guys either love'em or hate'em. I really want to like the T5, but never found it to be a comfortable guitar.

    If I were performing regularly on an acoustic, and standing, I would probably own one as it is so light and easy to play. However, it doesn't seem to sound like an acoustic, and not really like a solid electic to my ears. It sounds more like an archtop or semihollow to me. It kinda is it's own animal. That Bob Taylor must have a muse that is a workaholic. The guy just never stops coming up with innovative stuff.

  24. #48

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    Very interesting topic this is! I hope not with the intention of finding THE perfect jazzguitar... impossible of course. But always nice to see some different approaches and perspectives.

    Maybe I can broaden the perspectives a little as well. I've seen Framus mentioned above. Their new AZ-10 model got positive feedback, although I have never tried it.

    But I am a big fan of Framus though, since I own three of their 'vintage' archtop models: a 1973 Missouri, a 1968 Atlantic and a 1977 model (probably a Sorento or an Atlantic). Mind you, these 3 guitars together cost me "only" 950 euros (although they could now do a little more perhaps), a fraction of lets's say an ES-175, which is also a laminated guitar like these Frami.

    I think these old Framus guitars are a very cool alternative for expensive Gibsons or other high-end archtops. They sound and play very very well.

    Personally I am very into Grant Green, Kenny Burrell and Wes Montgomery, just to give you an idea of what sort of tones I pursuit. Especially my 1977 Framus guitar is very interesting: it's like a Gibson ES-330, but with a bolt-on neck and one painted-on f-hole. From under the bridge towards the tailpin runs a sustainblock. Some ES-335 features too also, but with the neck joining the body at the 16th fret, a mostly hollow body and the single-coil PU's (very P90-like) closer to an ES-330 I think. I attached a picture. I love this guitar to death! And although harder to find, there are quite a few of them around if you start looking for them. They range from 250 - 600 euros.

    Last but not least I'd like to mention my Furch G-1 archtop. This Czech-brand is formost known for it's high-quality but reasonable prices flattops, but if you ever come across a G-1 Archtop: don't hesitate! Everywhere I play I get complimented on this guitar and players who try it out are very positive on its playability.

    So far my contribution to the quest for The Perfect Jazzguitar!

    greetz,
    Jasper
    Last edited by Little Jay; 07-09-2008 at 04:53 AM. Reason: language error!

  25. #49

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    I noticed no one has mentioned a Pat Martino Guitar. Anyone have an opnion on these? I have a chance to buy one at a reasonable price.

  26. #50

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    i play a epiphone joe pass sunburst. as the fret brd. is a shorter scale, it is easer to play for me, due to an accident to my pointer finger.