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  1. #1

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    So I am hoping to pick up a nice jazz box and have narrowed it down to these models: Gibson ES-175, ES-775, L4 or Gibson Tal Farlow.

    I've been watching lots of Dutchbopper's videos to get an idea of the sounds of each and listening for differences. Unfortunately there aren't many videos of the ES-775.

    I don't really have an opportunity to play them. The nearest shop that has an ES-175 and Tal Farlow is 3 hours away.

    Any thoughts, info, opinions, sound clips, videos to help me decide would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by geese_com; 01-20-2017 at 10:07 PM.

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  3. #2

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    Perhaps the 3-hour trip would be worth making, in this case?

  4. #3

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    Difficult not to be sold on the Tal watching DB's videos, but it is the only 25.5 scale instrument of your list.
    Thinking about it, there is a very nice L4 for sale on the forum at a real good price.
    ...every note has an origin and a destination...
    - Tal Farlow

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by M-ster View Post
    Perhaps the 3-hour trip would be worth making, in this case?
    This, and play every other archtop you can get your hands on. You may end up loving a guitar that's not one of the models you think you want.

  6. #5

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    Another trick question eh?

    I own a Tal, and 175, if the price were equal and the Tal was ratty and the 175 were pristine, the Tal would make it into my house any day.
    Regards,

    Gary

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by geese_com View Post
    [Which one to buy: ] ... Gibson ES-175, ES-775, L4 or Gibson Tal Farlow. ...
    Three plywood guitars, 1 spruce/mahogany guitar (L4)
    Three 16" guitars, one 17" guitar (Tal Farlow)
    Three 24.75" scale guitars, one 25.5" guitar (Tal Farlow)
    Some rosewood fingerboards, some ebony
    Neck materials can vary on some models depending on year of manufacture, can be mahogany or maple

    So since the models cited by the OP vary so much, it's difficult to know what the OP is looking for

    I wouldn't buy any of the Gibsons myself. Depending on budget - seems to be around the mid 4 figures - I'd look at Heritage, Sadowsky, and Collings, possibly among others. (I have a Heritage Sweet 16 and a Gibson ES335, so I am not unbiased.)

  8. #7

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    Who are your favorite players and what do they play?!

    Acc'd to Joe Vinikow's site, www.archtop.com the 775 was a carved top maple guitar. It's a little bit of an outlier in that the model was only produced for a short time (3 yrs. I think.) Pretty rare, and don't let the fact that the 175 is "less fancy" sway you: Many people prefer the sound of a 175 to anything else.

    Sometimes hard to tell from YT clips, but the 775 sounds a little less round and full, than any of the others. But if you can play one, and it speaks to you, that is worth a lot.

    Andy Brown plays a Tal, and he has some lengthy YT clips that give you a good idea what they sound like. Big, big sound but it has that drier, slightly compressed laminate sound, which to some people is heavenly. (I like it myself.)

    Check out Jon Dalton's clips to see how big an L4-CES can sound (Jon Dalton Trio "Kandy Kanes").

    Assuming they are sound individual instruments, these are all "top shelf", pro grade choices that wouldn't have to apologize to anybody in any musical setting.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by goldenwave77; 01-21-2017 at 06:58 AM.

  9. #8
    Dutchbopper Guest
    I'd narrow it down to a choice between the 175 ad the Tal.

    The 775 is a fancy 175 with some weird appointments that do not belong on it (ebony fingerboard, deep cutaway and some fancy cosmetics). I don't see the point of that model, it's a bit of a marketing trick.

    The L4 is a guitar that does not appeal to me much sound wise. To me, it's neither fish nor fowl. It does not sound like an L5 and not like a 175. I realise this is a personal thing. It's probably a very good guitar but I'd go for an L5 if I wanted a carved top with a routed in pup. Much more character in the sound.

    Both my Tal and 175 sound great. The Tal sounds bigger though and very authentic. I think it's the most succesful signature Gibson ever built and offers unbeatable price /quality if you buy a used one. For the same price, always go for a Tal. If you can handle the bigger scale.

    All this very personal of course but since you asked for that ...

    Regards,

    DB
    Last edited by Dutchbopper; 01-20-2017 at 06:32 PM.

  10. #9

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    I totally agree with DB that the choice should be between the Tal and the 175. The L-4CES is a solid topped guitar that will feed back in a live situation with a loud drummer and both have an "unusual" tone profile. An L-5 is the right choice if you want the sound of a carved guitar, and only then if you have some other jazzbox for the loud live stuff (I am assuming that public gigs are the goal).

    I prefer the tone and feel of the 175 (probably why I own two of them) to the Tal (probably why I do not own a Tal). If I was after a brighter tone and liked the feel of the long scale, the Tal would be my choice.

    The best solution? Buy a 175 and a Tal. Play both for a bit and sell the one you like least.
    Last edited by Stringswinger; 01-20-2017 at 07:03 PM.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  11. #10
    The two of the four that I am really interested in are the Tal & ES-175. The 775 and L4 are pretty much just on there because they are fancier looking compared to an ES-175.

    My favorite players are Joe Pass, Tal Farlow, and Pat Martino.

    Dave's Guitar in La Crosse, WI actually has both in stock, but as I said it is 3 hours away from me. Maybe I will have to plan a trip sometime.

    I am not in a rush to pick one up so I will probably try to find one used.

    As for scale length, I am comfortable with either. I am playing a Tele right now and one of my other guitars is a Strandberg with fanned frets.

    Thanks for all the comments so far everyone.

    Quote Originally Posted by goldenwave77 View Post
    Who are your favorite players and what do they play?!

    Acc'd to Joe Vinikow's site, www.archtop.com the 775 was a carved top maple guitar. It's a little bit of an outlier in that the model was only produced for a short time (3 yrs. I think.) Pretty rare, and don't let the fact that the 175 is "less fancy" sway you: Many people prefer the sound of a 175 to anything else.

    Sometimes hard to tell from YT clips, but the 775 sounds a little less round and full, than any of the others. But if you can play one, and it speaks to you, that is worth a lot.

    Andy Brown plays a Tal, and he has some lengthy YT clips that give you a good idea what they sound like. Big, big sound but it has that drier, slightly compressed laminate sound, which to some people is heavenly. (I like it myself.)

    Check out Jon Dalton's clips to see how big an L4-CES can sound.

    Assuming they are sound individual instruments, these are all "top shelf", pro grade choices that wouldn't have to apologize to anybody in any musical setting.

    Good luck.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dutchbopper View Post
    I'd narrow it down to a choice between the 175 ad the Tal.

    The 775 is a fancy 175 with some weird appointments that do not belong on it (ebony fingerboard, deep cutaway and some fancy cosmetics). I don't see the point of that model, it's a bit of a marketing trick.

    The L4 is a guitar that does not appeal to me much sound wise. To me, it's neither fish nor fowl. It does not sound like an L5 and not like a 175. I realise this is a personal thing. It's probably a very good guitar but I'd go for an L5 if I wanted a carved top with a routed in pup. Much more character in the sound.

    Both my Tal and 175 sound great. The Tal sounds bigger though and very authentic. I think it's the most succesful signature Gibson ever built and offers unbeatable price /quality if you buy a used one. For the same price, always go for a Tal. If you can handle the bigger scale.

    All this very personal of course but since you asked for that ...

    Regards,

    DB
    Last edited by geese_com; 01-20-2017 at 10:08 PM.

  12. #11

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    Dave's is a great place to check these things out. La Crosse is fun, the scenery around there is great and it's worth the drive. If you're driving down from the Twin Cities, stop at the brewpub in Reed's Landing for the shrimp and grits. Their beer is good too.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  13. #12

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    175

    ..duh
    ; )

  14. #13

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    MHO

    I think your choices come down to the L-4 & the Tal.

    I owned a '60's single p/u 175, and 30 years later bought an L-4 CES. Had I played the L-4 first I'd have never bought the 175.

    Any 175 is always going to sound like the particular 175 it is -- and you'll never be able to dial in any other sound.
    But if you buy the L4 CES, you can easily dial in a 175 sound, but also get a lot closer to the sound of an L-5 for a lot less money. As far as feedback, I think if you're at loud volume levels, the 175 & L-4 will have very similar tendencies. And if you're smart enough to avoid 175 feedback you'll avoid any L-4 feedback too. And in the meantime, you'll get a lot more sound to work with. Hint - ' better sound '.

    My bottom line - -the market loves 175's, and doesn't like L-4's as much. So, for what you get in an L-4, being on the right side of the market, should make that 175 vs L-4 decision a lot easier.
    I looked at my own experience with the 175 vs L-4, and it's like that tv ad: " I could've had a V-8 ".

    The Tal portion gets you into some other differences - - size, scale, etc.

    And Dave's in LaCrosse is absolutely worth a 3 hour drive !!

    Again MHO. And good luck !

  15. #14

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    IMHO I would go with the L4 for my style playing. You need to play them to decide.


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  16. #15

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    I prefer a 16" body and 24.75 scale length, so for me it would be between the L4 and 175. Nothing against 175s, but the one L4CES I've tried was incredible. I also tried an early oval hole acoustic L4 which was really nice, in a parlor guitar sort of way. So, if you're offering to buy me a guitar, I'll take an L4 please. Either of them would do.

    John

  17. #16

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    It really comes down to what you play and what feels comfortable in your hands.
    Buy the Tal if you really want an L5 and you can't afford it. Buy the 175 if you can't swing an L4 and you want a shorter scale, smaller guitar. Buy a 165 if you want the 175 and are short a couple of bucks and you have no need for a bridge pickup.
    Only you know what will feel good in your hands. Both guitars are wonderful and YOU will make beautiful music with either one.
    Buying a guitar because you were Listening to what someone else sounds like playing a guitar is kinda like buying a Chevy because Jeff Gordon won a lot of races driving one.
    You need to make the call. Luckily for you, you can't go wrong with either one!
    Joe D

  18. #17
    I actually went to college in La Crosse, so I have been to Dave's way too many times to count. After I moved away after college, I went back after a couple years and one of the salespeople asked me "Where have you been? You haven't been in for a long time."

    I might have to schedule a trip to La Crosse in a couple months to check out the Tal, ES-175, and L4. Right now, I am leaning towards the Tal, the ES-175, then L4.
    Last edited by geese_com; 01-20-2017 at 10:28 PM.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max405 View Post
    It really comes down to what you play and what feels comfortable in your hands.
    Joe D
    Says it all.
    Best regards, k

  20. #19

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    I think asking other folks opinions on what guitar to buy is like asking "which girl should I marry?".

  21. #20

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    I'm assuming your cool with 25.5 scale and 17 lower bout vs 24.75 scale and 16 lower bout equally. The Tal and 175 are very different in that regard.

    Three hours each way is nothing. I've done it numerous times. Just make a nice day trip out of it. If you come home with something you really love you'll quickly forget about the drive.

    Here's AB making a Tal sound about as good as I've heard (for my taste)



    He also plays an older/modern 175 if you search Andy Brown.

    There's so many incarnations of the 175 since 1949 it's hard to advise you on that. What year is the one you're considering?

    I agree with DB the L4CES is neither fish nor fowl. IMO, YMMV, etc
    Last edited by teleboli; 01-21-2017 at 01:13 AM.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis D View Post
    (...) But if you buy the L4 CES, you can easily dial in a 175 sound, but also get a lot closer to the sound of an L-5 for a lot less money (...)
    This is interesting. Many say this but never tell, how do You dial the ES175 from a L4? Vol 8 tone 6?

    And then they say too that every version of ES175 sounds different. So which of them can You dial from a L4?

    My experiences with hollowbodies are limited (ES165 & ES175) so I would gladly hear.

    For the OP I would recommend the ES175 anyday, but that's only because I have no experience with others.

  23. #22
    Dutchbopper Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Herbie View Post
    This is interesting. Many say this but never tell, how do You dial the ES175 from a L4? Vol 8 tone 6?

    And then they say too that every version of ES175 sounds different. So which of them can You dial from a L4?

    My experiences with hollowbodies are limited (ES165 & ES175) so I would gladly hear.

    For the OP I would recommend the ES175 anyday, but that's only because I have no experience with others.
    I don't think you can really "dial in" other guitar models. At least, I have never been able to do that. I hate using tone knobs anyway. I usually play with all knobs open. I don't see an l4 or l5 sounding like a 175 with a tone knob correction. You get a muffled L4 or L5 at best IMHO.

    I know this player with an L5 that always turns down the tone knob. Does not make any sense to me. The guitar sounds like nothing anymore. Not like an L5 and not like a 175. It sounds well, just bad. Any 500 bucks guitar with the tone knob way down would sound like that. Why play an L5 in the first place then?

    DB
    Last edited by Dutchbopper; 01-21-2017 at 07:44 AM.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dutchbopper View Post
    I don't think you can really "dial in" other guitar models. At least, I have never been able to do that. I hate using tone knobs anyway. I usually play with all knobs open. I don't see an l4 or l5 sounding like a 175 with a tone knob correction. You get a muffled L4 or L5 at best IMHO.

    I know this player with an L5 that always turns down the tone knob. Does not make any sense to me. The guitar sounds like nothing anymore. Not like an L5 and not like a 175. It sounds well, just bad. Any 500 bucks guitar with the tone knob way down would sound like that. Why play an L5 in the first place then?

    DB

    That is exactly my point about how 175's sound. That's what they all have in common. And that is all you'll ever get out of every one of them. A standard 175 with tone set anywhere, is a ' muffled ' L-4 or L-5 .

    So, if you think you may ever want to have a different sound from a 175 size guitar - - maybe a solid top ( L-4 ) would work for you. Then if you ever get really homesick for a 175 sound you can just dial down the tone knob.

    Oh yeah - - and in most cases you don't have to pay more for this feature, because the used market still likes 175's.

    (( " X " dollars for a Solid top L-4 , vs " X " Plus dollars " for a laminated top 175 , for me is a no-brainer. ))


    YMMV, and of course MHO.

  25. #24
    Dutchbopper Guest
    [QUOTE=Dennis D;733113]That is exactly my point about how 175's sound. That's what they all have in common. And that is all you'll ever get out of every one of them. A standard 175 with tone set anywhere, is a ' muffled ' L-4 or L-5 =QUOTE]

    Man o man, you are dead wrong there. There's people that actually prefer the 175 to an L4 or L5 because of the nature of the sound. And I am one of them.

    You must have missed about 1000 discussions on this particular subject here.

    DB

  26. #25

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    The problem with this selection process is likely to be one of uniformity. A GREAT 175 is a dream, but not all are either. I know, I almost gave up on 175's due to this.

    I've played few TF's but every one was consistently excellent.

    That said, I wonder why when an OP asks about specific brands and models, some feel the need to chime in on their own fave model other brand which adds no light to the subject. Clearly the OP wants info on specific wants and needs, and does not need info on myriad other makes and models. Swaying someone from a Ford to a Chevy in a post is as unlikely as doing it on a guitar.
    Regards,

    Gary

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by teleboli View Post

    Here's AB making a Tal sound about as good as I've heard (for my taste)



    He also plays an older/modern 175 if you search Andy Brown.
    this is *the* sound .... just lovely! Great player too.

  28. #27

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    Which one to buy? Gibson ES-175, ES-775, L4 or Gibson Tal Farlow?-img_0121-jpgWhich one to buy? Gibson ES-175, ES-775, L4 or Gibson Tal Farlow?-img_0047-jpgWhich one to buy? Gibson ES-175, ES-775, L4 or Gibson Tal Farlow?-img_0152-jpg

    All I can say is I love all 3 of these guitars equally. They all sound very different from each other.
    I don't think I could say which is best. They are all winners in their own way. No bad choice IMO.
    I guess if I had to choose it would be the TF. Tal Farlow is my hero.

  29. #28

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    [QUOTE=Dutchbopper;733127]
    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis D View Post
    That is exactly my point about how 175's sound. That's what they all have in common. And that is all you'll ever get out of every one of them. A standard 175 with tone set anywhere, is a ' muffled ' L-4 or L-5 =QUOTE]

    Man o man, you are dead wrong there. There's people that actually prefer the 175 to an L4 or L5 because of the nature of the sound. And I am one of them.

    You must have missed about 1000 discussions on this particular subject here.

    DB

    Sorry DB, I didn't miss the 1000 or so discussions here.....(( all the 'woody tones' and 'laminated maple vs. laminated spruce' etc etc )) .....I just especially liked your choice of the word ' muffled ', in describing someone toning down an
    L-4 & L-5, and think it fits when describing a 175......

    If you, or anyone else, prefer the 175 , God love you, have at it.....From new, I owned one of those vintage '60s 175's , and like I said, the only sound it had is the one sound and tone it had....I didn't buy it because it was some kind of Holy Grail, it was just Gibson's entry level jazz box.........Then I learned about & bought an '89 L-4 and found I could still get that 175 sound, if I'd ever want it, but it was also capable of other sounds.....And then I also found out all the gigging guitarists had always been on the lookout for used L-4's, and never 175's, because they were just a better buy - -and still are, IMO....

    I'm pretty sure anyone with an L-4 can get close to a 175 sound if he has to have it, but you don't have that multi-sound & tone luxury with any model or year 175, in my opinion. All you get with a 175 is that particular instruments' sound.

    If you prefer it, more power to you.



    MHO

  30. #29

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    Can you get the "thunk" out of an L4? or is more like for an L5 a "Plunk"?
    ...every note has an origin and a destination...
    - Tal Farlow

  31. #30

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    I have a TF and haven't found a better guitar when playing jazz with others. It always responds with exactly what I want when I want it and sits just right in the mix. Especially playing in a lively room, I would pick the Tal first every time.

    The funny thing about it though is that I don't really care for the sound of it when playing alone. If I'm sitting down by myself, I would pick a 175 over the Tal every time.

  32. #31

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    Tone is so personal. I have found with L4CES's people either love them to death or don't like them at all.
    Mine is one of the best archtops I have ever owned in my life. I love it.
    I have had a lot of dud 175's in my life but when you get a good one....they are spectacular.
    I have owned 3 TF's in my life. 1 with the famous broken headstock that JD now owns. They all sounded wonderful IMO.
    25.5 or 24.75 should be a big factor in your decision. Personally I like both depending on what I am playing. I believe you can't make a wrong choice. All great guitars IMO. LOL

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinlander View Post
    Can you get the "thunk" out of an L4? or is more like for an L5 a "Plunk"?
    L4's are not thunkers. Well maybe the ones with maple back and sides ? Mine is carved mahogany back and sides. Mine is the most balanced guitar I have ever owned. Every string on every fret has the exact same volume.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k View Post
    Tal Farlow is my hero.
    Well that makes at least 2 of us here

    ...every note has an origin and a destination...
    - Tal Farlow

  35. #34

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    Regarding the difference between the 175 and the L4, besides the carved spruce / plywood top difference, on the L4 the neck PU is placed closer to the neck whereas on the 175 it's placed closer towards the bridge. That means a sound difference. The L4 will have a more spread and lush tone whereas the 175 will have a more compact and midrangy tone. BTW, Joe Pass' last custom 175 had the PU placed as on the L4.
    "But if they all play like me, then who am I?" (Lester Young)

  36. #35

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    [QUOTE=vinlander;733157]Can you get the "thunk" out of an L4? or is more like for an L5 a "Plunk"?[/QUOTE]

    It's kind of in-between, TBH. It does have that thunk...when you dig in to play a note, it's almost like you can hear it resonating toward the neck join underneath the front pu.

    But it's also got a lot of the richness of the L5...a Baby Grand, not a Concert Grand, which is what the L5 is.

    The back pu is more twangy, I think, than an L5, so I think you can get a lot of tones out of it.

    And I love an ebony bd. To me, the notes sound clearer and more defined.

    I have the maple-back version. Maple and spruce, a combination that works well on the L5. I don't know why people assume the maple-backed version is inferior. I love mine, and honestly when I bought it, I didn't know the difference. Picked it up at a REAL good price, and it's my flagship. I'll never sell mine.

    These are all good guitars, but they are all slightly different tonally.

  37. #36

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    so full of misinformation. The gigging guitarists were using 175s (and still are in many cases) because of all of its wonderful attributes. I recently went through a dozen L5s looking for one I liked and in the end, I kept my '89 175 over the L5 because I liked it's tone and playability better. Pat Metheny, Jim Hall, Joe Pass, Jonathan Kreisberg, Randy Johnston all loved their 175s and any of them could have played an L5. And if you think all of those guys sound alike - because after all, a 175 has just one sound - i don't know what to say?!?

    And sorry, an L4 or L5 CAN NOT get anywhere close to the tone of a good 175. A statement like that is like saying you can get a strat to sound like a Les Paul or a martin d28 to sound like a nylon string guitar.

    Point me to any L4 or L5 that sounds like this 175 tone.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis D View Post

    Sorry DB, I didn't miss the 1000 or so discussions here.....(( all the 'woody tones' and 'laminated maple vs. laminated spruce' etc etc )) .....I just especially liked your choice of the word ' muffled ', in describing someone toning down an
    L-4 & L-5, and think it fits when describing a 175......

    If you, or anyone else, prefer the 175 , God love you, have at it.....From new, I owned one of those vintage '60s 175's , and like I said, the only sound it had is the one sound and tone it had....I didn't buy it because it was some kind of Holy Grail, it was just Gibson's entry level jazz box.........Then I learned about & bought an '89 L-4 and found I could still get that 175 sound, if I'd ever want it, but it was also capable of other sounds.....And then I also found out all the gigging guitarists had always been on the lookout for used L-4's, and never 175's, because they were just a better buy - -and still are, IMO....

    I'm pretty sure anyone with an L-4 can get close to a 175 sound if he has to have it, but you don't have that multi-sound & tone luxury with any model or year 175, in my opinion. All you get with a 175 is that particular instruments' sound.

    If you prefer it, more power to you.



    MHO
    Last edited by agentsmith; 01-21-2017 at 04:51 PM.

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinlander View Post
    Well that makes at least 2 of us here

    Amen brother !

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by agentsmith View Post
    so full of misinformation. The gigging guitarists were using 175s (and still are in many cases) because of all of its wonderful attributes.

    And sorry, an L4 or L5 CAN NOT get anywhere close to the tone of a good 175.

    Sure they can -- just start the L-4 with the tone knob at zero, then turn it clockwise 'til the sound is barely audible, then back it down 1/16 of an inch. And while I didn't say an L-5 could sound like a 175, I'm guessing using this method, you could probably get close, but who'd want to ?

    .....and Jim Hall's 175 which was either a 175 or was at times a 175 with an ebony f/b, or maybe an L-4, with something maybe done at Gibson............but he liked that sound and that's all he wanted, so ok...... I'm just saying if that's all the sound you'll ever want, then that's the one to buy.......but an L-4 gives you more options --again for basically the same money......


    ...but to call Pat Metheny's as an example of a 175- -with all his on-stage gear, etc etc ?

    ......talk about misinformation......

  40. #39

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    To be accurate, there is a pretty large list of guitarists who never/rarely played a 175:

    Charlie Christian, Oscar Moore, Remo Palmieri, Barney Kessel, Tal Farlow, Hank Garland, Benson (not sure, might have played it some, but not most of his career), Martino---same deal as Benson I think; Johnny Smith, Mundell Lowe, Louis Stewart, Joe Diorio, Bruce Forman, Wes M. (a few times, I think), Sal Salvador, George Van Eps, Kenny Burrell, Ed Bickert; Django; Freddie Green; Grant Green; Andy Brown; Roni Ben-Hur; George Barnes; Irving Ashby; Tuck Andress; Howard Alden; Abercrombie; Scofield; Russell Malone; Billy Bean; Billy Bauer; Chuck Wayne; Henry Johnson; Howard Roberts; Les Paul; Bucky Pizzarelli; John Pizzarelli, Frank Vignola; Joe Puma; Jimmy Raney; Emily Remler; Randy Vincent; Mark Whitfield; Jimmy Wyble; Attila Zoller; Ted Greene; Peter Mazza; Jesse Van Ruler.

    What these people played is all over the lot. The 175 is a great sound, but it is far from the ONLY sound in the jazz world.

    The L5-CES is probably overrevered, IMO, based on how many people actually used them. It's obviously a huge part of the Wes M. sound.

    PS: Joe Diorio did play a 175, and then later it appears, switched to an L4. My bad.
    Last edited by goldenwave77; 01-22-2017 at 10:02 AM. Reason: correct Joe Diorio statement

  41. #40
    Dutchbopper Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by goldenwave77 View Post
    The L5-CES is probably overrevered, IMO, based on how many people actually used them. It's obviously a huge part of the Wes M. sound.
    Indeed it is.

    Jack never said the 175 is the ONLY guitar sound by the way. He only said that the sound on that recording cannot be obtained from an L4 or L5.

    DB

  42. #41

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    True enough, although the L4 sound is pret-ty close. The 175 that Joe P. played at the end of his career (Jazz Baltica live clips) is really pretty close to an L4, due to its pu placement, and ebony bd. The mahog. body L4's really are different. Listen to Joe Diorio's clip on his L4 where he demonstrates pentatonic minors...a little "creamier sounding" than a 175, which is probably mostly the ebony fingerbd., I think, but the general character is quite close.

    I agree that Joe P's "Joy Spring" tone is great, but he didn't even sound like that all the time. This makes me think that it is as much an artifact of the sound engineering, and mixing, as anything else.

    And Jim Hall loved his 175 so much that he swapped out the pu's and put Guild pu's in it, to get rid of some of the mid-range thunk, probably, as Guilds to me sound a little more upper-range treble-y. And he later switched to a Sadowski (though I think he sounded better on the 175).

    And Metheny loved his 175 so much that he cut an extra hole in it by mistake, and continued to use it, probably out of inertia. His sound is SO processed, though, that I think it almost doesn't matter what he plays.


    All the debates/points of view maybe need to be divided up into how does the guitar sound (i) by itself, (ii) in a mix of other instruments, and (iii) in a live setting, with feedback, etc.

    A Tal Farlow is less rich, to my ear, than an L5 or boutique-y archtop floaters, in (i) above, but for (ii) and (iii) it is probably every bit as good, and maybe better. It's got that snappy, well-defined tone that cuts through. Same deal, I suspect with a 175.

    (I had a 347 that I played in a student band when I took lessons with Peter Mazza. I always thought it sounded kind of dark, and not that great, but boy did it ever cut through....everyone commented on it when I set aside a Strat, and substituted the 347. (Should have never sold that guitar...Norlin-era be damned.)
    Last edited by goldenwave77; 01-21-2017 at 06:41 PM. Reason: correct Joe Diorio cite

  43. #42

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    I have two 175's and an L-5. I rarely gig with the L-5. I like the short scale and...the tone. I also own 3 genuine D'Angelicos. And at the end of the day, my favorite gigging guitar in my 97 ES-175.

    There are two components to this debate, tone and feel. If you like the tone of an L-5, but the feel of the 175, get a L-4CES. If you like the tone of the 175, but the feel of an L-5, get the Tal. There are no "right" answers here. Get the guitar that suits you for both tone and feel.

    The 175 suits me for tone and feel. YMMV

    And I heartily agree that 175's vary in both tone and feel. The search for the right guitar is damn near as hard as the search for the right woman!
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger View Post
    ...

    There are two components to this debate, tone and feel. If you like the tone of an L-5, but the feel of the 175, get a L-4CES. If you like the tone of the 175, but the feel of an L-5, get the Tal. There are no "right" answers here. Get the guitar that suits you for both tone and feel.

    ...
    Wow. That's just utterly incredible. You just put into a few words something I've been trying to figure out for years now. My question is actually "Why do I love my MiK/Peerless Epihphone Broadway just as much as my Epi Elitist Broadway?" The latter does the L5ces thing pretty well... but the cheaper Epi gets more of the 175 sound from the big body and longer scale, which is what I always associated with the Tal Farlow: laminate body, but bigger (though not as deep) and with a longer scale.

    Did anybody also observe just how utterly drop-dead gorgeous your typical L4ces is? All those L5 appointments on that smaller body just make it so... how you say it... sexy?

    Obviously there are differences in degree... we're talking Epiphones vs. Gibsons, but still...
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  45. #44

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    No they can't but if you can't hear the diff that's fine. Dutchbopper and I can though.

    It's all subjective. And let's hear that clip of your L4 sounding like Joe Pass' 175!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis D View Post
    Sure they can -- just start the L-4 with the tone knob at zero, then turn it clockwise 'til the sound is barely audible, then back it down 1/16 of an inch. And while I didn't say an L-5 could sound like a 175, I'm guessing using this method, you could probably get close, but who'd want to ?

    .....and Jim Hall's 175 which was either a 175 or was at times a 175 with an ebony f/b, or maybe an L-4, with something maybe done at Gibson............but he liked that sound and that's all he wanted, so ok...... I'm just saying if that's all the sound you'll ever want, then that's the one to buy.......but an L-4 gives you more options --again for basically the same money......


    ...but to call Pat Metheny's as an example of a 175- -with all his on-stage gear, etc etc ?

    ......talk about misinformation......
    Last edited by agentsmith; 01-21-2017 at 07:55 PM.

  46. #45

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    Joy Spring is a wonderful tone but the amp he used and the setting he was in probably had more to do with the tone.
    Listen to his 1973 Concord live recordings with Herb Ellis on his same 175 and his sound was not all that great.
    I saw JP at least 30 times live and his sound was always all over the map.

    Now for great L5 tone.....Listen to Mark Whitfield on his True Blue and 7th Ave.Stroll recordings.
    Frankly I love the tone of all Gibson archtops. L5, L4, S400, TF, 175, Byrdland, JS, LeGrand, all winners to me.
    I don't think our new member can make a wrong call on the 4 Gibson models he is considering.
    Best of luck with whatever Gibson you decide to get.

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k View Post
    Joy Spring is a wonderful tone but the amp he used and the setting he was in probably had more to do with the tone.
    Listen to his 1973 Concord live recordings with Herb Ellis on his same 175 and his sound was not all that great.
    I saw JP at least 30 times live and his sound was always all over the map.

    Now for great L5 tone.....Listen to Mark Whitfield on his True Blue and 7th Ave.Stroll recordings.
    Frankly I love the tone of all Gibson archtops. L5, L4, S400, TF, 175, Byrdland, JS, LeGrand, all winners to me.
    I don't think our new member can make a wrong call on the 4 Gibson models he is considering.
    Best of luck with whatever Gibson you decide to get.

    " And now for something a helluva lot more important - - "

    How are you Vinny ? Are you home ?

    Hope you're doing a lot better !!

    Take care and don't let it get you !

    All the best !

    Dennis

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k View Post
    Joy Spring is a wonderful tone but the amp he used and the setting he was in probably had more to do with the tone.
    Listen to his 1973 Concord live recordings with Herb Ellis on his same 175 and his sound was not all that great.
    I saw JP at least 30 times live and his sound was always all over the map.

    Now for great L5 tone.....Listen to Mark Whitfield on his True Blue and 7th Ave.Stroll recordings.
    Frankly I love the tone of all Gibson archtops. L5, L4, S400, TF, 175, Byrdland, JS, LeGrand, all winners to me.
    I don't think our new member can make a wrong call on the 4 Gibson models he is considering.
    Best of luck with whatever Gibson you decide to get.
    Yup ... it's hard to go wrong with any of those choices .....

    Someday maybe I'll add a Tal to complete my Gibson collection ...

    I'm not that interested in the 775 ... but they are nice guitars and you may find it the best of the lot if you can compare the actual individual guitars before you buy

  49. #48

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    It is best to play as many of them as you can get your hands on but if you can't, consider what feels comfortable to you.

    I like the 15" to 16" size as I grow older. So, that leaves the TF out. Much as I like Joe Pass and Jim Hall and Herb Ellis and Kenny Burrell and some of Pat Metheny and the other cool cats who played the ES-175 I don't like the ES-175 tone all that much. It is the classic jazz sound heard on many records but it is not a sound I like. It lacks a certain complexity. But it is the jazz sound. My goal: I want to play like Joe Pass, not sound like Joe Pass. The sound I like is that of a carved solid wood top, be it spruce, cedar or redwood. I found out that I am not really into laminate maple tops and looking at my little collection I find only 3 laminate Gibsons; a '53-'54 ES-150, a 2006 ES-175SP P90, a 2002 ES-5N.

    That really leaves the L-4CES, in mahogany, preferably. I betcha that if someone had given Joe Pass an L-4CES when he walked out of Synanon, that would be the jazz guitar today. Way back when, the L4CES was a true custom order. Few were made and only to order; it was brought back to the catalogue in 1986.

    That said, a good ES-175 has that unmistakeable dry rotund thunk with little sustain to the attack of the notes that is the classic jazz tone. Hearing a good ES-175 brings instant relief; it is like going back to mom's cooking after a lifetime of eating out at the city's best restaurants. It is the familiar old flannel shirt. It is the voice of one's first real girlfriend.

    Caveat: I am not too sure if it is the laminate construction or the material. I have found laminated spruce tops somewhat more pleasing to me auld ears than laminated maple. Never heard a solid carved maple top that I liked; they are worse than laminated maple tops.

    George Benson has played spruce top guitars much of the time. His fave git was the Gibson Johnny Smith, I believe.
    Last edited by Jabberwocky; 01-22-2017 at 02:02 AM.

  50. #49

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    Hi Vinny, glad you're back. Hope all is well. I disagree that joy spring has more to do with the tone. I have owned dozens of amps, about a dozen L5s and probably a dozen 175s. I have run the guitars through the same amps in many cases and no way does an L5 ever sound like a 175. The amp shapes the basic tone but the basic tone of those 2 "devices" is so different that no amount of rolling off the tone control will get you that sound. A 175 just has a characteristic thunk that is not present on a carved top instrument. The closest I have heard is my '63 kessel but none of the other dozens of carved top instruments I've owned can come close to the 175 tone.

    And yes, don't forget I studied with Joe Pass so I know something about his tone. His tone with herb ellis was poor, agreed. But it was because he (and herb) struck a deal with Polytone and both were tired of schlepping around heavy amps. Joe told me in the late '70s that he'd rather sit in his living room drinking wine than shedding jazz guitar so that was where his head was at at that particular point in time. However, in the Joy Spring days, he was getting "the tone" in spades.

    And most good 175s are in that same ballpark. By the way, the polytone was capable of getting a really sweet jazz tone. It was plagued by a very inexpensive and light speaker. If you run a polytone through a JBL , you will get a delicious sound but you'll lose volume due to the speaker impedance difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k View Post
    Joy Spring is a wonderful tone but the amp he used and the setting he was in probably had more to do with the tone.
    Listen to his 1973 Concord live recordings with Herb Ellis on his same 175 and his sound was not all that great.
    I saw JP at least 30 times live and his sound was always all over the map.

    Now for great L5 tone.....Listen to Mark Whitfield on his True Blue and 7th Ave.Stroll recordings.
    Frankly I love the tone of all Gibson archtops. L5, L4, S400, TF, 175, Byrdland, JS, LeGrand, all winners to me.
    I don't think our new member can make a wrong call on the 4 Gibson models he is considering.
    Best of luck with whatever Gibson you decide to get.

  51. #50

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    The OP asked 'which to buy', and an L-5 was not mentioned.....

    ..my intent was just to help someone......I'm pretty sure an L-5 prospect / buyer is not even considering a 175....

    ....so again, if a 175 is on your radar and the L-4 is also one you're going to consider, good !...I just believe the L-4 will give you more sound and tone options down the road, in case you ever tire of however that particular 175 sounds.....and will give it to you for the same money.....

    ...and unlike comments here about 175's, I'm real sure I've never heard anyone say about an L-4 : " I've played a lot of them, and a lot of them are duds ", or " It took me years and trying out dozens to find a good one . "



    ...MHO.....