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  1. #1

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    Is it down to economy, practicality or aesthetic? I've always assumed that the increasing use in the last couple of decades of Fender style guitars, especially teles but also strats, was down to aesthetic choice: I assumed that the younger players in particular were going for that kind of sound, influenced by Frisell, Bro, etc. Besides, a tele or strat is virtually indistructible, which I'm sure is practical for the touring musician. Then I read in one of the Gibson threads, that they, and other archtop makers may have priced themselves out of the market for a lot of working musicians. I'd never considered the economic angle, which may mean that I'm slow on the uptake.

    So, to what extend do ýou think the upshot in use of Fender style instruments is down to aesthetic choice and how much of it is down to economic forces? If a tele and L-5 cost the same (I wish) would the latter reign supreme, or are people simply going for different sounds these days.

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  3. #2

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    Practical reasons. I used to use a solid carved archtop and always had trouble with feedback howls. Switched to a telecaster and called it a day. Lately I'm getting into archtops again though – laminated this time.

  4. #3

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    I think players like mike stern Bill frisell, Tim Lerch showed that the far more versatile pickups could be used in jazz. It’s also cheaper to get a decent arrat or Tele thanan archtop and the technical issues such as less feedback.also help.

    Which I guess is what you said but I think you’re right.


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  5. #4

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    The concurrent rise of the pedalboard might be a factor. Frisell plays many guitars and steps on many pedals, as do many others. A big old expensive archtop is perhaps not much of an advantage when its signal is being modified by a host of pedals.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Average Joe View Post
    Is it down to economy, practicality or aesthetic? ...
    So, to what extend do ýou think the upshot in use of Fender style instruments is down to aesthetic choice and how much of it is down to economic forces? If a tele and L-5 cost the same (I wish) would the latter reign supreme, or are people simply going for different sounds these days.
    "It depends."

    F-style guitars (from Esquire to boutique builders) range from $300 - 7,000+, and archtops from $300 - 20,000 (and beyond) USD. In both markets, you can get something nice and giggable at the $1000 range, and very nice at the +/- $3000 range, so the economics are a minor consideration for a player, IMO. Take a look at the very long "tele" thread at the top of this "Guitar/amp" section -- it's definitely a sexy instrument that people like, and there are countless examples of its versatility, including getting a "jazz" sound that's pleasant to the ears.

    Besides archtops (and many jazz guitarists!) being "traditional," I think ultimately it comes down to personal taste -- "What do you like?"

  7. #6

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    I couldn't say if more contemporary players are choosing solidbodies. I would guess that's true for less traditional styles, people that aren't trying to sound like Wes.

    I've done a bunch of recording lately with my laminate archtops, and cheap Tele copy, just solo, with same tune, same amp & settings. The comparisions are remarkably similar, but the archtop sounds a little more acoustic, partly because the mic was picking up the guitar as well as the amp. Playing with a group at higher volume, that would disappear.

    With that in mind, I've shopped a bunch of Tele's and Jazzmasters lately, mexican, US, cheaper ones and top of range. They don't all sound good for jazz, sometimes the cheap copies like mine sound better!

    Playability is another issue. A lot of the new Fenders have tall, jumbo frets, that you don't see on archtops, and I don't like, not to mention the different necks shapes.

    I think I'm going to pull the trigger on an Original 60's Jazzmaster. not only does it have the sound, but it's very comfortable with the offset body and bound neck. But it's $2,000, more expensive than most laminate Asian-made archtops, but still cheaper than than a "good" US archtop.

  8. #7

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    I think the huge uptick in teles the past few years has been because of Julian Lage. No, he was nowhere near the first one to do it but I think a lot of young players look up to him.

  9. #8

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    We have tickets to see Bill Frisell AND Julian Lage perform together at the MiM here in Phoenix December 15. I foresee a Tele for Christmas.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by drbhrb View Post
    I think the huge uptick in teles the past few years has been because of Julian Lage. No, he was nowhere near the first one to do it but I think a lot of young players look up to him.
    I feel like teles have been pretty popular with jazzers for a bit longer back...or maybe that's just because I've been playing one for years.

    Frisell would certainly be an influence here, or anyone into Bickert. Of course, I starting playing a tele for jazz because I was already playing a tele when I got into jazz
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

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

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  11. #10

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    Any recommendations for a cheap tele..stock pickup? .still keeping the monarch

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    I feel like teles have been pretty popular with jazzers for a bit longer back...or maybe that's just because I've been playing one for years.

    Frisell would certainly be an influence here, or anyone into Bickert. Of course, I starting playing a tele for jazz because I was already playing a tele when I got into jazz
    For sure. But 10 years ago I don't think half of the guitarists at jam sessions were showing up with Teles. Then Arclight came out, and suddenly they were everywhere (at least in my area)

  13. #12

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    A Lollar Charlie Christian on a Telecaster is an excellent idea I think. I don't remember who does a demo but it was great sounding.

  14. #13

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    It used to be Jazz Guitarists never cared that much about gear at all. Tools were just that so long as they did the job and were of high quality.
    Gibson ES-175 was an inexpensive alter alternative to to the carved tops Gibson were famous for.
    It became the sonic signature for most Jazz Guitarists. And being on so many recordings influenced younger players as well

    Most L.A. recording guitarists back in the 1950's and 1960s had both a Tele and a 175 to cover anything they might encounter.From Jazz,Pop,to Rock and Roll.
    Bob Bain (Peter Gunn) had a humbucker in the neck position of an old Tele and a Bigsby. That way it would cover almost anything.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tatayoyo View Post
    A Lollar Charlie Christian on a Telecaster is an excellent idea I think. I don't remember who does a demo but it was great sounding.
    Tim Lerch for one.

  16. #15

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    Yes, Tim Lerch.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by JGinNJ View Post
    Playability is another issue. A lot of the new Fenders have tall, jumbo frets, that you don't see on archtops, and I don't like, not to mention the different necks shapes.
    +1.

    This is actually another advantage to Teles. There are lots of aftermarket suppliers, like Warmoth, that sell custom necks.

    Want one with an ebony fretboard, block inlay, 1 3/4" nut, fat contour, 12" radius, and vintage-size stainless steel frets? No problem. Then hold on to the old neck if you ever want to resell.
    Build bridges, not walls.

  18. #17

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    Once, a long time ago, way before Julian Lage, a player named Ed Bickert was one of the first to use a Tele to play jazz. Because he stayed in Toronto, he wasn't that well known. Now a days, another Torontonian, Lorne Lofesky carrys on the tradition by using an Ibanez Strat style guitar (as well as a Fender Strat) and fingerpicking.

    Listen to both of them on Youtube and tell me they don't get a really nice jazz tone. BTW-Lofesky even played with Oscar Peterson-hardly an avante guardist!

    ed bickert - YouTube

    lorne lofsky - YouTube


    Doug

  19. #18

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    Ed Bickert is the best. "Pure Desmond" might be my favorite recorded jazz guitar playing

  20. #19

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    It used to be Jazz Guitarists never cared that much about gear at all.

    Not too sure about that one..jads57.

    Have to admit I've been a guitar snob for far too long. I wouldn't even look (read listen) at a guy with a sold body...figured he was going for another sound.

    So the L-4 recently has started to become a kind of "truck". I can't play the action, call it A-G-E, won't take lighter gage strings and I'm tempted to do things to it but I'm not screwing with a $3,000 vintage instrument, besides you can't "get under the hood".

    So I've defaulted to the noodling on the junkyard dog strat ($75 at a garage sale) and oddly enough my local luthier says he can bring it around with flat wounds pickups etc.

    So after hearing that vid above and watching Chris at Things From Barry Harris with his arsenal..I've got new life.
    If you can distinguish between rehearsing and practicing...you're better than half way there!

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by voxsss View Post
    Any recommendations for a cheap tele..stock pickup? .still keeping the monarch
    My current fav Tele neck pup for jazz is the Fender Tex-Mex. Roll the volume and/or tone down a touch to remove a bit of the highest frequencies and you're set

    Also of note is the older ceramic Tele pups. They're built like a p90, 2 magnets on the bottom and steel poles. For more coin and a much more refined sound -- as well as more coin! -- the Fralin Steel Pole tele pups are pretty magnificent.

  22. #21

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    tim lerchs mentor the great ted greene..many years ago



    all the jazz guys that turned to sessions like bob bain, tommy tedesco, barney kessel etc..used teles back in the early 60's

    lots of the 70's nyc fusion players as well

    teles have been around jazz for decades..nothin new


    cheers

  23. #22

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    No ebony fretboard, no "perloid crown head insert", no 8 1/2 body, no "volute", no floating bridge, no enormous gold plated imperial tuners, no sunken top !!!
    Is telecaster really a guitar ??

  24. #23

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    Western Swing was/is a genre of jazz played by musicians from the rural Southwest. Leo Fender invented the Telecaster and Stratocaster for those guys, so both of those guitars started out as jazz guitars and it is good to see mainstream jazz guitarists coming around to their utility in bigger numbers today.

    The Les Paul was also invented for jazz.

    I have used both a Les Paul and a Stratocaster (with flatwounds) as jazz guitars for over 40 years. While I prefer the tone of an archtop ( a bit of acoustic "crunch" goes a long way when playing old school 4 to the bar rhythm), I appreciate the utility of the solid body guitars.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Average Joe View Post
    Is it down to economy, practicality or aesthetic? I've always assumed that the increasing use in the last couple of decades of Fender style guitars, especially teles but also strats, was down to aesthetic choice: I assumed that the younger players in particular were going for that kind of sound, influenced by Frisell, Bro, etc. Besides, a tele or strat is virtually indistructible, which I'm sure is practical for the touring musician. Then I read in one of the Gibson threads, that they, and other archtop makers may have priced themselves out of the market for a lot of working musicians. I'd never considered the economic angle, which may mean that I'm slow on the uptake.

    So, to what extend do ýou think the upshot in use of Fender style instruments is down to aesthetic choice and how much of it is down to economic forces? If a tele and L-5 cost the same (I wish) would the latter reign supreme, or are people simply going for different sounds these days.
    Gibson may have priced themselves out of the market for a lot of people, but the archtop business as a whole is remarkably affordable. There are so many really good guitars on the market from brands like Ibanez, Godin, Epiphone, Eastman, etc., at a small fraction of the cost of a Gibson that I don't think people are buying Strats and Teles because they're locked out of the archtop market. Among the players I know, there's a little bit of everything based on individual needs and preferences, and that has been the case for as long as I can remember.

    John

  26. #25

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    Me, 1967:

    The rise of telecasters and stratocasters in jazz-mellotones-2-jpg

    Sometimes you have to play what you have with you.

    Danny W.

  27. #26

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    Danny W you are my hero! What a Cool looking gig that must have been.

  28. #27

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    A tele is affordable, bulletproof, cormfortable to play, wide choice of sounds, it is a supreme jazz guitar. I think the jazz/archtop stage image had a bit to do with it not being used as much for a long time. And, as totally awesome as that tele neck pup sounds, a busy musician that plays a wide variety of different locations often is guaranteed to deal with hum often enough to annoy. Humbuckers are a factor for active gigging/working musicians, make no doubt about it.

  29. #28

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    I think it's just a practical choice that may be slightly influenced by culture. Most guitars sound decent for jazz, as I think that the phrase "jazz guitar" means virtually nothing in terms of sound - Sco and Metheny are both jazz guitarists, as are Frisell and Wes. I don't think any of those sound similar at all, but they all go under the same umbrella.
    I guess a Tele is proven now to be a reliable guitar for many different occasions. It's the 501 all over again!

    I had a great Tele that I sold when the neck pickup broke. I never liked playing jazz with it though, because I think a good Tele jazz sound needs a rolled-down tone pot (or a 'bucker!), and I like to run mine wide-open. Guess that's why I use an ES with humbuckers
    My favorite tele sound is at 2:18 here, but that's a modded tele with a humbucker afaik:

  30. #29

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    I have found the perfect jazz guitar and it is the Godin A6

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    I have found the perfect jazz guitar and it is the Godin A6

    Time to delete your Telecaster love thread?

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov View Post
    Time to delete your Telecaster love thread?
    Telecaster is best all round still. Although the A6 passes the ‘but will it Django?’ test better.

    No bridge pickup on the Godin....

  33. #32

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    Also the A6 like the tele has a respectable 25.5” scale length. I’m wondering if I stick Argentines on it....

    I’d do that with a tele but I can’t adjust the pole pieces....

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Also the A6 like the tele has a respectable 25.5” scale length. I’m wondering if I stick Argentines on it....

    I’d do that with a tele but I can’t adjust the pole pieces....
    Time for a Seymour Duncan Li'l '59. Word.
    Best regards, k

  35. #34

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    If there is such thing as a "standard guitar sound", the flamenco guitar is the closest, no-rosewood Tele comes second. Then come all the other delicious deviations. I mean, in our common imagination the guitar is supposed to sound bright in a very specific way. So maybe people tend to start missing that if binging on something fatter/softer/mellower for too long?

  36. #35

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    The sound of jazz guitar is historically and aesthetically characteristic of the sound of archtops, but I taught myself how to play jazz on my Strat. Aesthetic choice meaning "that kind of sound" would assume a sound different than an archtop, but for many of us the beauty of a solid body guitar is that it may be played to sound like jazz, that sound just incidentally the sound of a jazz archtop.

    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  37. #36

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    I prefer: A radius of at least 12 to 20, Jumbo fret wire, 1 pickup (humbucker), Single cut, Locking tuners, Flats. OTS telecasters have to be modified to meet all those preferences. I have an OTS tele but it is rarely used. Out of the box, my Holdsworth Fatboy is just about perfect. But my South Korean Aria FA-71 gets played the most.
    Last edited by geogio; 10-08-2019 at 06:11 AM.

  38. #37

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    Oscar Moore and his Telecaster (1951)

    https://amodernist.blogspot.com/2012...nder-1951.html
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  39. #38

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    I view current the popularity as a couple different factors:

    - Every fulltime jazz musician these days flies, a lot, and solid bodies are often just easier to manage and less risky to travel with than archtops.
    - For me, Julian Lage was a factor in finally pulling the trigger on a tele. Obviously there's a long history here, Bickert, Frisell, etc.
    - In a lot of very current jazz music I hear, the role of the guitar is much bigger than the traditional archtop sound subbing for a piano. People like Nir Felder, Brandon Seabrook, etc. Oftentimes a tele is more versatile here, you can get a very good jazz sound and also many others. Also young jazz musicians listen to snarky puppy and vulfpeck and they are playing solid bodies most of the time. these bands also tour like hell and so it goes back to pragmatism too.

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by geogio View Post
    I prefer: A radius of at least 12 to 20, Jumbo fret wire, 1 pickup (humbucker), Single cut, Locking tuners, Flats.
    The old Strat Plus guitars are all that if you interpret the Lace Sensors as having a more humbucker than single coil tone and response. They never sound shrill, thin, tinny, or piercing; always fat and smooth with depth, and a nice "Jazz thump" because the Laces slightly compress when played more firmly.The early ones that use the Wilkinson Roller Nut have an additional feature; the rollers each have a pair of needle bearings, but all of those share the same axis. This means that the strings as they exit the roller nut to the fingerboard are all the same height, in the same plane, and this is maintained up through about the fifth to seventh fret, depending on how much curvature you set the saddle heights... get it? This makes any playing of chords down in the lowest positions feel more like a classical guitar (which also has the strings entering the fingerboard in a flat plane), but the higher up the neck you choose to position yourself, the more string radius is influenced by the saddle heights' curve... really very nice for overall feel and play-ability... gives more room for fat fingers in the lower positions when you want to include undamped open strings in your chords. However, the old style roller nut is enclosed, so 46-11 string gauge is about a big a set as will work, but there are some flat sets that meet that spec.
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  41. #40

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    The moment you face an airplane flight an archtop becomes problematic, especially in recent years. I'd think that plays a role in recording/touring musicians choices.

  42. #41

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    Hum, quotation is not working. Regarding the hum of the Tele single coil pick up: I have replaced all of mine with single coil sized humbucker's and I'm quite happy. The Dimarzio Area T is an excellent pick up; currently I have Bill Lawrence Wilde L280TN pickups in my Teles and they're really fantastic. Both fit into the Telecaster body and pick guard without modifications and work fine with either 250K or 500K pots.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  43. #42

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    I think Nir Felder plays a Mexican Strat. Obviously hasn't felt much need to change it.

  44. #43

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    ‘Reply with quote’ still not working on my iPad/Safari. To the various answers to the OP’s question I would add this one: over-loud drummers.

  45. #44

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    What's the best cheap off the shelf tele for jazz ?

    id like a rosewood board and a humbucker ideally
    It's got to be really cheap ideally

    ideally speaking ....

  46. #45

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    Get a squier classic vibe.


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  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr quick View Post
    I think it's just a practical choice that may be slightly influenced by culture. Most guitars sound decent for jazz, as I think that the phrase "jazz guitar" means virtually nothing in terms of sound - Sco and Metheny are both jazz guitarists, as are Frisell and Wes. I don't think any of those sound similar at all, but they all go under the same umbrella. I guess a Tele is proven now to be a reliable guitar for many different occasions. It's the 501 all over again! I had a great Tele that I sold when the neck pickup broke. I never liked playing jazz with it though, because I think a good Tele jazz sound needs a rolled-down tone pot (or a 'bucker!), and I like to run mine wide-open. Guess that's why I use an ES with humbuckers My favorite tele sound is at 2:18 here, but that's a modded tele with a humbucker afaik:
    What do you think the second solo is?

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by pingu View Post
    What's the best cheap off the shelf tele for jazz ?

    id like a rosewood board and a humbucker ideally
    It's got to be really cheap ideally

    ideally speaking ....
    I like single coils, but if I was in your shoes, I'd find a Tele (Mexican?) that was routed for a neck HB and swap in one I liked. That said, I don't know what Tele that would be
    Build bridges, not walls.

  49. #48

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    When I read the title I was thinking jazz on a strat or tele has been around for a long time... Ed Bickert of course. But I was thinking of a Don Mock instructional video from sometime in maybe the 80's or earlier.



    Les Paul too

    B+
    Frank (aka fep)