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  1. #1

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    Been listening to the Smooth Jazz channel on TV 's Music Choice channels lately. I really enjoy the guitarists they feature.

    Norman Brown, Nick Colionne, Chuck Loeb, Paul Jackson Jr, Nils, Brian Hughes especially.

    When they play their hollow body jazz boxes, I am curious what these guys use as amps???

    Sure their rigs are varied all over the place in this day and age, but what are some current amps that would help me get that bright and bouncy tone?

    I know GB uses Fenders, but what else is recommended? My Princeton Reverb is nice, but I don't get THAT sound.

    Any thoughts, besides "the hands" and strings?

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Likely pedals, rather than amps.

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by marcwhy View Post
    Likely pedals, rather than amps.
    Loeb endorsed a Roland Blues Cube Stage but he also used a lot of devices. He also used a laptop with plug-ins. I'm pretty sure there were times that he didn't use an actual amp at all with Foreplay.

    Here's the Roland


    And here he is with a Line 6 M13.

  5. #4

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    And here's Paul Jackson Jr from two years ago doing a demo for an amp he was endorsing: the Ms. Mittie by Kasha Pro. At around 1:35 he switches to his signature guitar and goes through a second clean channel and gets a really classic PJjr. tone.

    Last edited by Jim Soloway; 06-28-2020 at 04:39 PM.

  6. #5

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    Trying to reproduce studio sound live is always tricky, even for the original artists.

  7. #6

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    couple of dumble overdrive specials..ala early smooth jazzer- larry carlton

    Smooth Jazz Amps-4a51eb8b77dd23afd34abf9a956876c5-jpg

    cheers

  8. #7

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    Getting the clean, sustaining and "juicy" sound on a live stage means that you need an amp that has a bit of power and high headroom. On the stages around the world you see for instance a lot of Roland Stereo Chorus amps, mostly rented, and the players use their pedalboards to get their signature sounds. They don't so much rely on the amp tone like when you want a special overdrive characteristic. The guy who played on "Live from Darryls House" began using Line6 modelers along with 2 powered monitors, before that he had several amps and a big pedalboard. AXEFEX, Helix, Kemper - all these units plugged into a powered speaker will get you there.
    For the gigs where I need that type of sound I usually take my EVANS RE200 combo with my HELIX plugged into the FX-loop return so I have a 200 watt monitor and all the preamps and FX I could ever want, at any volume ! You'd also need to learn how to use a compressor (+where to put in the signal chain...) and some clever EQ-ing .....
    For small money you could go for a used Polytone/Roland Cube etc. and a BOSS/Line6 Multi-FX pedal. MANY options out there ....

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by gitman View Post
    Getting the clean, sustaining and "juicy" sound on a live stage means that you need an amp that has a bit of power and high headroom. On the stages around the world you see for instance a lot of Roland Stereo Chorus amps, mostly rented, and the players use their pedalboards to get their signature sounds. They don't so much rely on the amp tone like when you want a special overdrive characteristic. The guy who played on "Live from Darryls House" began using Line6 modelers along with 2 powered monitors, before that he had several amps and a big pedalboard. AXEFEX, Helix, Kemper - all these units plugged into a powered speaker will get you there.
    For the gigs where I need that type of sound I usually take my EVANS RE200 combo with my HELIX plugged into the FX-loop return so I have a 200 watt monitor and all the preamps and FX I could ever want, at any volume ! You'd also need to learn how to use a compressor (+where to put in the signal chain...) and some clever EQ-ing .....
    For small money you could go for a used Polytone/Roland Cube etc. and a BOSS/Line6 Multi-FX pedal. MANY options out there ....
    Roland Stereo Chorus - I haven't seen one of those for a long while. Perhaps not so popular in my neck of the woods. I remember them having quite a bit of hiss.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep View Post
    Roland Stereo Chorus - I haven't seen one of those for a long while. Perhaps not so popular in my neck of the woods. I remember them having quite a bit of hiss.
    The rental services still have them and they never break down ! The hiss is negligeable on a loud stage .....

  11. #10

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    The Princeton Reverb should be great. Maybe change the baffle to 12" speaker, but first I would add an EQ pedal to your signal chain... cheapest (other than different picks) and easiest way to tweak your sound. Also, the tones we hear on the recordings are almost always professionally tweaked (limiters, compressors, studio grade EQs, subtle effects), which will make it impossible to replicate the sound through an amp at home... but the challenge is mighty fun.

    Smooth Jazz Amps-eq-jpeg


    As fans of jazz and guitar playing, we also have to be honest that for most of us (definitely for me) no amount of gear in the world will make my tone sound like the pros since their tone has a lot to do with their touch and phrasing.

  12. #11

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    +++ on the EQ pedal and on a PR with a 12”, the right 12 makes it a fine jazz amp. Swap out the first 12AX7 for something with less gain and it becomes even sweeter. Course a lot changes once you start talking about a gigging rig but I didn’t get the impression that was where the OP was headed.

    Don’t minimize the effect string brands and especially string size have on tone. Most of the classic crew, Tal, Wes, Barney used heavy flats with 18s for E. You can’t create the Barney sound without them. Not a lot of folks of current age go down that road. You can be sure they cats you listed have discovered some combination of elements to get their sound, on top of which is stacked all the studio magic mentioned above.

    I guess my point is the tonal chain from fingers to end sound has a lot of variables and its good to not overlook any.

    ”you know it just ain’t easy” Ringo said)

    keep tryin’
    d

  13. #12

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    Smooth jazz tone can be done on anything, to my ears, any clean solid state amp with a hollowbody should get you there, the sound they use sort of lacks character as far as the amp goes... which is good news, because you can do it on the cheap, it's all about the playing, not the amp... I'm not a fan of that stuff for the most part, but I recently got a Mesa .50 caliber, and that thing kills at that sound and it's super cheap with tons of headroom, or a JC120, Evans, Henriksen... a modeler would work great too

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzkritter View Post
    ”you know it just ain’t easy” Ringo said)
    Just ain't easy = Allman Bros
    You know it don't come easy = Ringo
    Sorry to be such a stickler. Ain't easy ;-)

  15. #14

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    That’s OK onewatt perhaps you’ve saved me from embarrassing myself in the future.
    Me embarrassing myself, is unfortunately quite easy.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzkritter View Post
    That’s OK onewatt perhaps you’ve saved me from embarrassing myself in the future.
    Me embarrassing myself, is unfortunately quite easy.
    Hey, I hear you. Gotta pay your dues if you wanna sing the blues.

  17. #16

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  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzkritter View Post

    Don’t minimize the effect string brands and especially string size have on tone. Most of the classic crew, Tal, Wes, Barney used heavy flats with 18s for E.
    Pat Martino uses GHS Martino Set: 16-18-36w-48-56.

  19. #18

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    Hi Doug...
    I still have the paper In my case with 15 -20 written on it from my first lesson with Tal.
    He put those on top of a set of D’Addario chrome heavy.
    i used too also but after after a really stupid (my fault) bike accident My wrists top out at 14 only on a 24” scale.
    But the sound of those heavier strings is incredible. Also found that the resistance of the heavier string made it easier to form crazy stretching chords with thumb over. They tend not to slide around a lot at that size.
    dave

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic View Post
    couple of dumble overdrive specials..ala early smooth jazzer- larry carlton

    Smooth Jazz Amps-4a51eb8b77dd23afd34abf9a956876c5-jpg

    cheers
    ^^^^ Officially jealous :-)

    Not a Dumble, not smooth, but all about Larry and his '69 335 through a vintage tweed Fender Deluxe:



    I had to get that one in there because when people characterize Larry as a "smooth jazz guitarist", it's ignoring the rest of his storied career in rock, pop and blues as one of LA's top session players.

    Here's another one from the eponymous LC album:



    And, of course, we can't quote famous Larry solos without Kid C:


  21. #20

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    To my ears the signature of snooth-jazz guitar is clean and singing sustain. Though compressors are noted for giving that, the attack generally goes against what I hear and like about SJ guitar. I'd rather go with super-clean, high-headroom stuff and ride the guitar's volume. I don't know who played the guitar on this, but to my ears it epitomizes smooth-jazz guitar. I can hear compression on it but I think it's more have the amp loud and the guitar-volume lowered. Probably solid-state?


    Whoever it is, I think he does a great job of playing melodically.

    If I were trying for this I'd grab a JC-120 and start working the knobs. Put a good pedal in for the grittier parts and you're golden, I think.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by starjasmine View Post
    ^^^^ Officially jealous :-)

    Not a Dumble, not smooth, but all about Larry and his '69 335 through a vintage tweed Fender Deluxe:

    And, of course, we can't quote famous Larry solos without Kid C:

    If you go back to the 70s and 80s, that Kid C tone was the smooth jazz sound. Larry Carlton, Robben Ford and Lee Ritenour. They all used some overdrive type of sounds. Lee Ritenour, used a Fender Twin and a Mesa Boogie with channel switching. That's the tone I grew up listening to and still my favorite tone. Back in the day when the smooth jazz stations played Chick Corea and Weather Report etc.

  23. #22

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    You can’t go wrong with a Twin Reverb for smooth jazz (I know, ‘cause I’ve got one). Might wanna lower treble and max out the mids. Maybe one of those new solid state Twins to keep it light?

    Hey, every amp-topic needs a Twin Reverb advised, right? (But I’m serious, Twin is ideal for smooth jazz!)

  24. #23

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    Have you considered a Quilter? You can get the heads used for a good price. I went with the Interblock 45 and an organ donor cab (as in it is a pair of 1958 Cleveland 12” alnico drivers Out of a vintage organ that was being thrown away... kept them in the original baffle with the original grille cloth and built a lightweight pine box around them). Total cost is under $300 for the amp and the pine boards, and sounds pretty good to me.

    My first organ donor cab is a 1x12 with a ceramic Celestion out of a vintage Conn organ. I built that with a 15° angle on the front to project the sound up. Weighs under 15 lbs!

  25. #24

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    Here's an amp covered in suede, that probably feels as smooth as it gets.

    Smooth Jazz Amps-smooth-amp-jpg

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by starjasmine View Post

    Here's another one from the eponymous LC album:


    Just some trivia: several cuts on the album were Larry's "takes" on other tunes.

    "Room 335" was based on SD's "Peg" ; "Don't Give it Up" was based on Jeff Beck's "Freeway Jam" ; "It was Only Yesterday " was based on Beck's "Cause We've Ended as Lovers." LC was at one point a huge Beck fan.

    Probably more information than anybody really needs to know
    Last edited by Woody Sound; 07-02-2020 at 10:25 AM.

  27. #26

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    And a later recording of Carlton and Ritenour. Carlton's tone is great on this. Probably playing a Dumble?


  28. #27

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    I was looking for that type of tone a few years ago. I built these two popular amplifier circuits that have a "Jazz" switch to try to get that sound. Here is one example.

    Smooth Jazz Amps-screen-shot-2020-07-03-11-42-21-am-jpg

    Last edited by icr; 07-03-2020 at 11:46 AM.