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  1. #1

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    I am looking to add a jazz box to my ever growing stable of guitars for a bit of fun. The Epiphone Joe Pass Emperor Pro and Ibanez AF95 are the two that have most caught my eye but i will have to buy online as there are no guitar stores local and with the current quarantines still in place i dont really want the hastle of going to one any way. I am curious to know what people think of these. I am open to suggestions but i will be buying from sam ash and don't want to go over $800 (preferably with a case).

    I am not a jazzer per se but have begun dabbling more in it and have always loved the big hollow body boxes so it wont be used strictly for jazz. I mostly play rock, blues, and older country music.

    Thoughts on the Epihone:

    • I have had great luck with Epis and currently have 2 i refuse to part with (dot and 1960 V3 Les paul)
    • I love the look in vintage natural
    • The slightly smaller body may feel more familiar to my solid bodys
    • Epiphone probuckers are typically pretty decent stock pickups

    Epiphone Joe pass Pro vs Ibanez AF95-epiphone-joe-pass-emperor-pro-jpg

    Thoughts on the Ibanez:

    • Go big or go home?
    • I prefer ebony fretboards to rosewood and its substitutes
    • I have owned ibanez shredders previously and have usally found them to be well built but lacking "personality"

    Epiphone Joe pass Pro vs Ibanez AF95-ibanez-af95-jpg


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

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    I won’t comment on the Ibanez, since I’ve never owned one, but they are generally good guitars even the cheap ones.

    I loved my Joe Pass. Fit and finish were excellent—mine was made by Samick in the 90’s. I did replace the pickups with Stew Mac Parsons Street HBs, but the Epi Classic 57’s weren’t bad.

    If you can get a vintage one made by Samick (Korea) that would be awesome. I think the last 5 years or so the quality control has been very good, so I think a new one would be a good bet, as well.

  4. #3

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    They’re both great options. The new JPs (JP Emperor II Pro) are really well made and surprisingly resonant. The AF95 is equal is its build quality. Having had both, my opinion is the pickups are better on the JP. The JP has big frets (tall and fat). They can be off putting. I like the frets in the Ibanez better. It’s really a toss-up. I don’t think you can go wrong either way.


  5. #4
    Thank you for the replys guys. Wife and i were going stir crazy so we decided to take an adventure and drive to atlanta to audition these in person. Unfortunately they only had an af10v to compare and i just didnt dig it. I did find a really nice gretsch but sign me up for one more epiphone lol. The joe pass needs some setup tweaks but i liked the overall feel and sound. Also i found it to be very lively when played acoustic so its multi functional lol.

    Also i must say it seems better suited for the chord melody of fly me to the moon that i have been working on than my jackson dinky lol

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  6. #5

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    My Joe Pass in natural was a much lighter stain on the spruce top, though it had darkened a bit over time. Mine also came with the (in)famous Joe signature on the pickguard, which I kept in the case cause I thought it was kind of cool, though I changed the pickguard and knobs to rosewood.

    Epiphone Joe pass Pro vs Ibanez AF95-01a93e72-7eb2-4515-a18d-dafc3e489194-jpeg

  7. #6
    This one is "vintage natural"...its a bit over the top on the darkening for the effect but I like it.

  8. #7

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    I Love my Ibanez 105NT stringed with TI Swing 012. Through a DVMark Little Jazz is jazz tone heaven for 700€ (second hand guitar).
    Attached Images Attached Images Epiphone Joe pass Pro vs Ibanez AF95-img_20200427_171604-jpg 

  9. #8

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    Had an Orange Ibanez AF75 but sold it off. Did find an early 90's MIK Samick Epiphone Joe Pass and love the guitar. The quality of the instrument is great and it's fun to play. I don't care for the pickups though. I'm trying to decide on replaceing them with A2 or A5 magnet, '57 vs '59 style pickups.

    My baby....

  10. #9

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    I put Stew Mac Parsons Street Alnico 2’s in mine. I thought it was a good upgrade.

    The Epi Classic 57’s are not bad, just not as well-defined, i.e., kind of muddy. I put one of these in another guitar I have just for kicks.

  11. #10
    I thought I would give a follow up now that I have had the guitar for a little over 2 months and feel the honeymoon phase is over. I am still dialing in everything but overall I am very happy with my Joe Pass. I find the acoustic tone to be very pleasant and play it almost as much that way as I do plugged in. I did use this as an excuse to try flat wound strings as well and have to say i love them, very comfortable and easy playing even though I went quite a bit heavier than I use for my round wound sets (12s vs 10s usually).

    The neck pickup is very sweet and warm, whereas the bridge is very bright and cutting. I was pleased that while the probuckers are based on the burstbuckers (which i have in an lp) they are sonically different enough so as to not be redundant. I dont find it to be as pleasing on a dirty tone but that may be because of the string choice. Also after some tinkering the action is very nice and it is a joy to play.

    The guitar has really made me dive deeper into jazz and I am currently considering adding another jazz box to the stable. The next one I am looking for will probably be something in the 16-17" category with a cut away and a single neck p90. With that said the eastman AR371CE has really caught my eye as well so who knows. The Joe Pass has me honestly considering thinning out most of the herd and focusing primarily on Jazz styles as that seems to come more naturally to me than anything else.

    So in conclusion if you are like I was two months ago and looking for a starter Jazz box beware of buying a Joe Pass as it is really quite addicting and you may start to loose the taste for other styles of guitar lol. 2 thumbs way up.

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  12. #11
    Congrats! It's a beauty! I almost snagged an older used one a couple of weeks ago at my local guitar consignment shop but I was a day late.