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  1. #1

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    So you got a full body Jazz box, but can't get that nice Jazz sound, even when you play with no pick like Wes. Thinking about buying a new amp, maybe a different guitar, or how about some different pick-ups? Thinking about having the BillM or Frommel mods done to your amp?

    I found picking further up the neck gives a better Jazz tone but is not comfortable and difficult.


    I was in this situation and tried a simple trick:

    Change out the 1st or second pre-amp tube from a 12AX7 (gain of 100) to a 12AU7 (30) or 12AT7 ( 60). lowering the pre-amp gain gives much smoother warm tones and makes the volume and tone controls less sensitive and therefore more controllable. I tried this on my Blues Jr and Hot Rod Deville, could not be happier.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    [or 5751's or 7025's]

  4. #3

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    I wouldn't go down to a 12AU7, too much noise floor. A 12AY7 is as low as I'd go. A 5751 can be a good choice as well.

    Another thing that can help is 250k pots in the guitar. Some humbuckers can actually be quite bright, and 250k can help pull the edge off without unbalancing the tone.

  5. #4

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    I use a 5751 in my Princeton Reverb clone. Couldn't be happier.

  6. #5

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    Step 1 - plug into a Polytone.


    Step 2 - play.

  7. #6

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    roll back guitar knobs

    cheers

  8. #7

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    On Fender amps with treble/bass controls, roll both to zero. With t/m/b/ controls, max mids, minimize t/b. Use input 2 in order to run the tubes a little hotter. On two-channel amps, use an A/B box to craft separate volume and tone envelopes for comping and soloing.

    Bonus tip: with a Deluxe Reverb you can route the reverb tank output to the normal channel to give tonal nuance to the reverberated signal. Fiddly, but nice.

    Not to mention the interactive possibilities of two pickups! My ES-175 lives in the both pups engaged, 3-7, 7-3 zone, depending on the room; dash or splash of reverb (on/off adding to the effect); good to go!
    Best regards, k

  9. #8

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    I also scored some of that post 1940's high tech gear with tone controls. So awesome!

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaymen View Post
    I found picking further up the neck gives a better Jazz tone but is not comfortable and difficult.
    Address this.

    Change your posture or strap or whatever so that being able to pull a variety of useful sounds from the gear you've got becomes easier and more comfortable.

    The goal is to have changes in volume and timbre become just as reflexive a part of your playing as changes in speed or harmonic complexity or any other aspect of the musician's pallet. More tools lets us make more music!
    "Don't worry about that. Everybody talks about finding your voice. Do your homework and your voice will find you." - Branford Marsalis

  11. #10

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    For the simplest trick that may help, I'd suggest:

    1. find the pick that gives you the best sound.

    2. angle it until the sound gets even better.

    I use a Golden Gate Mandolin pick. It sounds mellowest when I angle it, maybe 30 degrees (calling the usual position where you pick with the flat side of the pick zero degrees -- and calling picking with the edge of the pick pointing toward the floor 90 degrees). I don't always do it, because it isn't always that comfortable, but it does sound best that way.

  12. #11

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    Picking near the neck and angling the pick is how I do it.

  13. #12

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    Using a Fender amp, turn bass up to 7, treble to 4. Then use a TS type pedal with low to no gain to get more mids and tame the bass and highs. Gives you a better tone than turning bass and treble to 0. Also you can use the scooped tone (no TS) for comping then engage TS for solos. Very old and time tested formula for Blackface amps.

  14. #13

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    I said bass to 7, treble to 4 because I think that roughly puts the scoop where the mid hump is in must TS type pedals. Note as you increase/decrease bass and treble tone controls in BF amps, you are not just changing the bass and trebles. You are also moving where the scoop is between low mids to high mids. Also you are changing pre amp gain which affects the response of the amp.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaymen View Post
    I found picking further up the neck gives a better Jazz tone but is not comfortable and difficult.
    Do you anchor your wrist on the bridge?

  16. #15

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    I play on many diffrent parts of the neck from close to the bridge for a more sharp biteing sound all the way up on the neck to about the 13th fret for a more quite but mellow full sound. I guess I have learnd how to play with or with out an anchor point.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    For the simplest trick that may help, I'd suggest:

    1. find the pick that gives you the best sound.

    2. angle it until the sound gets even better.

    I use a Golden Gate Mandolin pick. It sounds mellowest when I angle it, maybe 30 degrees (calling the usual position where you pick with the flat side of the pick zero degrees -- and calling picking with the edge of the pick pointing toward the floor 90 degrees). I don't always do it, because it isn't always that comfortable, but it does sound best that way.
    A good starting point: Dunlop Jazz IIs in black. When I got my '06 Gibson ES-175, I tested the scores of picks I had in various shapes, sizes, and materials. When the dust settled, the black Jazz IIs were the clear winner. I went out and bought a gross.
    Best regards, k

  18. #17

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    I try not to let details like simple tone fixes get in the way of acquiring new gear.
    Hell is full of musical amateurs - George Bernard Shaw

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    Using a Fender amp, turn bass up to 7, treble to 4. Then use a TS type pedal with low to no gain to get more mids and tame the bass and highs. Gives you a better tone than turning bass and treble to 0. Also you can use the scooped tone (no TS) for comping then engage TS for solos. Very old and time tested formula for Blackface amps.
    Excuse my ignorance, but what is a TS pedal?

    Thanks

    Doug

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug B View Post
    Excuse my ignorance, but what is a TS pedal?

    Thanks

    Doug
    Yeah sorry, it stands for Tube Screamer pedal. Maybe it's not everybody's cup of tea but probably at least about one third of the overdrive/boost pedals in the market are TS variants. They have a built in EQ that either put a bit of a mid hump or cut bass and trebles. Basically they unscoop blackface Fender's when you want your lines to stand out. Fender scoop is great for rhythm playing, TS type pedals give you option the quickly get a tone that many prefer for solos.
    You can set the gain to zero if you want to keep it clean or put a little hair and compression in the tone by turning the gain up a bit.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    Yeah sorry, it stands for Tube Screamer pedal. Maybe it's not everybody's cup of tea but probably at least about one third of the overdrive/boost pedals in the market are TS variants. They have a built in EQ that either put a bit of a mid hump or cut bass and trebles. Basically they unscoop blackface Fender's when you want your lines to stand out. Fender scoop is great for rhythm playing, TS type pedals give you option the quickly get a tone that many prefer for solos.
    You can set the gain to zero if you want to keep it clean or put a little hair and compression in the tone by turning the gain up a bit.
    aH, OK, thanks.

  22. #21

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    I think the jazz sound is what we imagine when we think of jazz guitar in a non-specific way. When we listen to jazz guitarists with an open mind, we realise each has his or her own sound, or a sound at a particular time and place, or with a particular combination of guitar and amp.

    The search for the ideal tone is, I think, futile. It is an attempt to imitate something that is not really there, a generalisation, the mean of all possible sounds.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spook410 View Post
    I try not to let details like simple tone fixes get in the way of acquiring new gear.
    Amen, Spook! Just one more amp/guitar/effect/cable/book and I know I'll find my sound!!


  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick View Post
    I think the jazz sound is what we imagine when we think of jazz guitar in a non-specific way. When we listen to jazz guitarists with an open mind, we realise each has his or her own sound, or a sound at a particular time and place, or with a particular combination of guitar and amp.

    The search for the ideal tone is, I think, futile. It is an attempt to imitate something that is not really there, a generalisation, the mean of all possible sounds.
    How can I ever thank you enough! You just saved me a fortune...LOL

  25. #24

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    'Guitar dealers hate this man. Find out how he can save you thousands.'

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick View Post
    I think the jazz sound is what we imagine when we think of jazz guitar in a non-specific way. When we listen to jazz guitarists with an open mind, we realise each has his or her own sound, or a sound at a particular time and place, or with a particular combination of guitar and amp.

    The search for the ideal tone is, I think, futile. It is an attempt to imitate something that is not really there, a generalisation, the mean of all possible sounds.
    Players often love another player's sound -- and try to copy it. Nothing wrong with that. And I agree, you might not really want some kind of average of the players you like. Or, maybe you do -- you just want the ballpark.

    But, I think there is an ideal sound. It's the one that allows you to express your own style most completely. I think it's worth spending some time focusing on it. How much sustain? How much treble/bass/mids? How much grit? Reverb? Delay? Other? I'm convinced that there is benefit in thinking about what you want to convey in a solo and how you can craft a sound that will support it most strongly.

    For some, it's an archtop into a tube amp. Nobody sounded better than Wes.

    But, for others, it's all kinds of different approaches -- and the sound has to complement the rest of the approach. Wes' tone, supreme though it was, might not work for, say, Mike Stern or John Scofield.

  27. #26

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    You are probably right and I am probably odd. I have a guitar with a six-position selector and an amp with master volume and controls for mid, bright, boost, gain and presence. I change settings often. Others probably find one sound and stick with it.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick View Post
    You are probably right and I am probably odd. I have a guitar with a six-position selector and an amp with master volume and controls for mid, bright, boost, gain and presence. I change settings often. Others probably find one sound and stick with it.
    Variety is the spice of life! When gigging, I found the six-position VariTone on my ES-345 and the five pickup plus sweet-switch on/off combinations (10 in all) on my PRS Custom 24s in concert with reverb/tremolo settings provided a broad palette of tonal options for an equally wide selection of songs/genres. Wouldn't have it any other way.
    Best regards, k

  29. #28

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    My combo is an L6-S with a Princeton Reverb II. I have never had to buy a pedal.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick View Post
    My combo is an L6-S with a Princeton Reverb II. I have never had to buy a pedal.
    Slightly ot - When the L6S ads first hit the pages of Guitar Player back in the day, Mrs. k was of the opinion I should have one. I, chivalrous lad that I am, concurred. Unfortunately, I only ever encountered two of them in the wild. The first one was painted in a very off-putting shade of brown; and the second was being purchased by a co-worker (I set it up for him). I think the L6-S is a great design!
    Best regards, k

  31. #30

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    I found that I could get confused by the electronics.

    For example, at one point, I used a Boogie Mark III through a Yamaha FX box with an L5S and a volume pedal. The L5S was rewired -- Master volume, master tone and individual volumes.

    Let's count up the volume controls. Three on the guitar, the volume pedal, the output level of the Yamaha (and I won't count volume settings within the patches) and three volume controls on the Boogie. That's eight. And, the Boogie's volume was also sensitive to EQ settings.

    I could forget how things were set, or move a control by accident, and then then twirl everything to try to get back to the beginning.

    So, eventually, I settled on my current rig. Guitar volumes are always full up. Neck pickup only. I do use the tone knob. I always have my foot on the ME80 pedalboard volume and I set the amp at the beginning of the gig for the loudest I'll need and rarely touch it. The pedal board has 4 preset sounds and I mostly use two, clean and lead.

  32. #31

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    Roger is on the money, here. Set the amp volume at the level corresponding to the loudest sound you will need at the gig. Adjust your guitar volume/volume pedal back accordingly and work from there.

    In an earlier post, Roger mentioned paying careful attention to your pick and pick angle. Amen. If you want a clinic on this, watch/listen to virtually any of Roger's (rpguitar) YouTube videos. He gets fantastic tones from his archtops--particularly the fully acoustic ones--by use of his deliberate pick technique.

    He should give picking lessons!