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  1. #1

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    I own a Epiphone Sheraton II with D‘Addario Jazz Strings and a Boss Katana 50 MkII as Amp.

    How do I get the smooth Jazz Sound?

    Which Amp settings are good?

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Hi YanisD!

    From my perspective, there are a few things you might try.

    1] As we learn, we listen to recordings and part of what we are interested in is the tone of the guitar on the recording. But since recordings may include other instruments, especially bass, it is easy to develop a sense of the proper tone of the guitar as having a deeper low response than it actually does alone. It may be going in the wrong direction to add bass to smooth the tone of the guitar; consider reducing it.

    2] It is popular now to use a very thick pick, as much as 2-3mm. George Benson uses an ordinary "medium" pick (about .78-.82mm). The classic jazz box tone sounds fairly tight because of the use of thick strings that maintain a steady pitch when picked. If you use lighter strings, try picking with a lighter touch to hear if you can keep that big string tight sound.

    3] Personally, I get the best jazz tone by doing the opposite of what is recommended in the general guitar world... but the things that seem to make the most difference to me are using the low gain input of the amp (-6dB, input #2 on Fender Amps), maxing the midrange and minimizing the bass and treble of the amp's tone stack, using an ordinary pick, and most important - listening to everything I play as I play it. The ear hears the differences made by the hands and eventually teaches the hands how to play in the way the ear wants to hear it... this happens all by itself if you just truly listen, but not over night.

  4. #3

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    The mid knob is a key for guitar tone. The frequencies produced by a guitar live largely in the midrange. Start with all EQ knobs flat, usually at 12 o'clock, and turn the mid knob up or down just a little bit to get your tone. A little seasoning goes a long way. More mid fattens the tone, less mid brings out the acoustic nature of the guitar.

  5. #4

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    My advice with solid state amps is use a clean channel, turn the gain down, turn the master volume up about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way, set the guitar volume at about 7, and bring up the gain to the desired overall volume. Tweak the tone knobs to find a sound you like; I prefer the treble cut some, the mids more pronounced and the bass also more pronounced (I don't know the Katana tone stack, so I can't give you specifics). I prefer the tone knob on the guitar set at 5-8 usually and to control the highs more from the amp.

    "Smooth jazz" often has some saturation or distortion in it.

  6. #5

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    It's hard to give suggestions, since amps and guitars vary so much, and the way you pick and string gauges matter a lot. For me, on classic Fender amps I start with the Mid all the way up and the bass and treble at zero, then play and adjust. If you play with a bass player and a drummer who will be riding a cymbal a lot (jazz drummer) you need a lot less low and high than you think when you are just playing alone - you'll want to sit right in the middle.

    Solid state amps are usually more evenly balanced - I put everything at 12 o'clock and then add mids/reduce bass to taste.

    It's a starting point, you'll have to get close and then compare your sound to the models you're striving for.

  7. #6

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    Try searching for other threads on this forum; the topic of good jazz guitar tone has been debated extensively. But, yeah, do what the other guys said: master vol up, gain down, neck pickup, heavy strings (a lot of folks like flatwounds, but that's not a requirement; Jonathan Kreisberg uses roundwounds, and his jazz tone is as legit as it gets IMO), and as pauln said, listen and adjust. After all the basics are checked off, a good deal of tone comes from the connection between your hands and your ears.

    Many players will also roll off treble on the guitar just a bit. This is highly subjective, and probably guitar-specific. Certain (many?) Gibsons (and Epis, by extension) have a "sweet spot" when the treble control on the neck pickup is less than 10 to reduce a bit of harsh treble but not so far down as to get muddy. This is something Kreisberg advocates AGAINST. He runs his vol and tone wide open at the guitar (an early '70s 175? I don't remember the year), and does all the signal-shaping at the amp.

  8. #7

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    That amp is very bright. Don’t be afraid to use knob settings that may seem extreme. Start with clean setting, gain around 10 o’clock, master to taste, mid at noon, bass and treble knobs all the way down. How does it sound? It may sound great just like this. If not, increase bass until you really start to notice the low end “bloom”, then back it down a bit. Repeat for treble. Fine tune master to control output level suitable for your room. In home practice situation I prefer the amp to be just a bit louder than the acoustic sound of my guitar.

  9. #8
    Thank you for your answers! I have also an other sound issue. My 1. string sounds very metallic and my 2. also a little bit. But the other strings are fine. What could be the problem?

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by YanisD
    Thank you for your answers! I have also an other sound issue. My 1. string sounds very metallic and my 2. also a little bit. But the other strings are fine. What could be the problem?
    That could be any number of things: picking technique, pick thickness, pickup height relative to treble strings, etc.

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr
    That could be any number of things: picking technique, pick thickness, pickup height relative to treble strings, etc.
    So the pickup could be to close? I‘ve put it more away than as it was in stock. But I will definetly work on my picking technique and I‘ll buy a Dunlop Jazz III.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by YanisD
    Thank you for your answers! I have also an other sound issue. My 1. string sounds very metallic and my 2. also a little bit. But the other strings are fine. What could be the problem?
    If you mean the plain E and B strings, lots of players I know, including me, replace those with one gauge higher, so you don’t get that plinky slapping sound. For instance, if your set is 12-15-24w-32–44-54, swap the 12 and 15 for a 13 and 16.

    You mention you are using D’Addario “Jazz” strings. I know many people swear by D’Addarios but I think their strings sound harsh and metallic in general and don’t feel good under the fingers. I have tried many strings and for electric and I would recommend Pyramid Nickel or Monel, John Pearse Nickel, or GHS Nickel.

    Pyramid Pure Nickel Classics Electric Guitar Strings Traditional 12-54

    Pyramid Monel Classics Electric Guitar Special 11-48

    John Pearse 2900 Nickel Wound Jazz Electric Guitar Strings 13-56

    GHS 1400 Nickel Wrap Electric Guitar Strings with Wound 3rd 12-54

    I’m not recommending this particular vendor or gauges - but it gives you an idea.

    I have to say in favor of D’Addario that it’s always easy to get singles in pretty much any gauge. I would say GHS is pretty close in availability.
    Last edited by bengruven; 03-23-2020 at 07:44 PM.

  13. #12

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    I don't think your equipment is the issue. You should be able to get a "smooth" jazz sound with that setup. As others have said, play with the tone controls, experiment with picks. Also, experiment with a softer attack at different angles. Try rolling some treble off on the guitar. I almost never have that tone pot wide open. Try getting a smooth sound unplugged. If you can't get it unplugged you won't get it plugged in.

    Trial and error. That's pretty much the process for everyone. Good luck in your journey.

  14. #13

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    Regarding your first string issue, there are a couple things you could try.

    * Try lowering the pickup, or the pickup screw under that string

    * Try bumping up that string gauge another thousandth. If you're using an .011 a .012 might solve your problem.

    * Try a lighter touch with the pick, or a different angle.

    * Try raising the bridge slightly


    Good luck.

  15. #14

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    In my experience, the pick makes a huge difference. Different thicknesses, different materials, all are involved. Some of the smoothest sounding picks I've used are some I made from CDs. I just stacked some old obsolete CDs, clamped them tightly, put a pick I liked on top and traced it, then cut out the shape with a jeweler's saw, then smoothed the edges. Those picks gave what I now think was a too-soft tone, and I no longer use them. I prefer thick Delrin picks, or Blue Chip picks. But it's a very subjective choice, and all I can say for sure is that picks make a big difference in tone. It's also important to get a very round, very smooth bevel if you want a smooth tone, the more worn the better. To get this quickly, I run the pick across some short-nap carpet very quickly, a number of times. That gives a good polish.

  16. #15
    To a certain degree it comes down to developing a touch that can get you that sound. I have a lot of different guitars and for me when I was learning how to sound like the players I liked I would try to copy them or transcribe their solos. But as far as tone goes I use flat wound d'addario chromes with a 14 on top and a 56 in the bass and I use a solid body or semi hollow guitar. I typically prefer solid. I also like to use a small tube amp (I use a bugera V5 5 watt) to get a nice warm clean sound. But I would experiment because what works for some doesn't work for all. Here is an example of my playing below:


  17. #16

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    What amps and pedal combinations do you recommend for a smooth jazz/funk tone?

  18. #17

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    I use a Fender Vibrolux - great sound, 35 watts so it can have some headroom and works well with pedals. I like a pretty clean amp and any real diet from my Keeley D&M drive for grittier blues - half drive and half boost and you can switch which comes first.

  19. #18

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    Smooth jazz/funk??? Well, you gotta have a chorus and a compressor.

  20. #19

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    I doubt we play too smooth, but we sure play funky jazz. My main amp is a Fender "Custom" Vibrolux Reverb. I didn't choose it for the current band but it seems to work well. No pedals so far but my organ player tries to convince me to use a wah.

  21. #20

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    I have a fender Champion 40, i set the voicing to blackface and my guitar does the rest. No pedals needed at this time.

  22. #21

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    Charvel
    TS-9
    Jcm800

    sorted

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by jumpnblues
    What amps and pedal combinations are you using?
    Compression - boss cs3 or mxr.

    Envelope filter - Obama wah or boss aw2

    Wah - stanadard Vox or Morley

    Flanger - boss bf3

    Phase - mxr 90

    Maybe a fUZZ or distortion.


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  24. #23

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    Rare for me to play n this style these days, but.... it would be


    • 2008 Custom Shop 1961 NOS stratocaster (or maybe my 1986 Charvel Model 4)
    • Keeley Compressor for all that "squash"
    • Moreley M2 Wah-Volume
    • MXR 6 band EQ with the mids strongly sccopped and the highs accentuated
    • For creamy solos with sustain I may add the rams head big muff Pi
    • I'm using my ToneMaster Deluxe Reverb for every thing now - for funk I push the attenuater up higher to get massive clean headroom


    Think I'm going to give this all another go later in the day......

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by dlew919
    Compression - boss cs3 or mxr.

    Envelope filter - Obama wah or boss aw2

    Wah - stanadard Vox or Morley

    Flanger - boss bf3

    Phase - mxr 90

    Maybe a fUZZ or distortion.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Through a blues junior set very clean. Telecaster or gretsch.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  26. #25

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    If you look at early funk they’re playing Gibson L5s. And other jazz boxes. Or strats and teles.


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  27. #26

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    Just for the record I don't play any of the genres I mentioned except for some occasional traditional and jump blues. Right now I'm concentrating mostly on straight jazz...mostly small combo and some big band (Sinatra, Fitzgerald, Basie, etc.). I occasionally listen to bands like The Crusaders, George Duke, Tower Of Power and some "fusion". I play mostly straight swing and bop. Currently concentrating on chord melody playing.

    I was really into "fusion" in the '70s and '80s and I have to admit I still have some of it floating around in what little brain I have left. That's why I'm asking about pedals and amps. Especially boost/OD pedals.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by jumpnblues
    Just for the record I don't play any of the genres I mentioned except for some occasional traditional and jump blues. Right now I'm concentrating mostly on straight jazz...mostly small combo and some big band (Sinatra, Fitzgerald, Basie, etc.). I occasionally listen to bands like The Crusaders, George Duke, Tower Of Power and some "fusion". I play mostly straight swing and bop. Currently concentrating on chord melody playing.

    I was really into "fusion" in the '70s and '80s and I have to admit I still have some of it floating around in what little brain I have left. That's why I'm asking about pedals and amps. Especially boost/OD pedals.
    Amps: Any amp with sufficient clean headroom for your room. A 5 watt Champ type amp is fine for home or studio. For larger venues simply increase the amp wattage (Princeton, Deluxe Reverb, Vibrolux, Twin, etc.) based on the room size. Pick your favorite amp builder. I used Fender due to their popularity. Everyone has their favorite, but many on this forum are in love with Princetons. I own three variants, so I guess that includes me in that love affair.

    As for pedals, my favorites for fusion, smooth jazz or RnB are (in no particular order) the following: Rat, Zendrive or Tube Screamer. The pedal used mostly depends on how it reacts to the amp and guitar being used. Also, some add a bit of midrange, and others are flat. All boost the front end of your amp.

    Everyone hears things differently, so use whatever amp/pedal combination makes you happy.