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  1. #1

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    I’m looking to buy a guitar with a decent jazz sound, at around US$500. Had a keen eye for a beaut Yamaha AEX520 but haven’t seen any demo on YouTube that gives any confidence. Then there’s a PRS 22 custom hollow body on reverb (under 500) and I saw a demo of it through a Peavy Vyper(cheap!) and all that air around the notes especially the lower ones sounds so sweet! Drives me mad because I was really out for a classic shape with binding but I cannot get over the sound quality. Any advice?


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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Check out Ibanez - good quality at reasonable prices within your range.

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eck
    I’m looking to buy a guitar with a decent jazz sound, at around US$500. Had a keen eye for a beaut Yamaha AEX520 but haven’t seen any demo on YouTube that gives any confidence. Then there’s a PRS 22 custom hollow body on reverb (under 500) and I saw a demo of it through a Peavy Vyper(cheap!) and all that air around the notes especially the lower ones sounds so sweet! Drives me mad because I was really out for a classic shape with binding but I cannot get over the sound quality. Any advice?


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    I would not necessarily consider a PRS a jazz machine, but that sounds like a great deal! And the concept of traditional jazz guitars is getting blurred these days.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by TOMMO;[URL="[URL
    tel:1079079[/URL]"]1079079[/URL]]Check out Ibanez - good quality at reasonable prices within your range.
    agreed if you want to go for a trad style
    jazz box
    and if you get one of the artcores with ceremic magnet pickups ,
    possibly budget in swapping the neck pu for something decent and you’ll be good to
    go

  6. #5

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    Get a used or even new Epi Joe Pass.
    in this price range it is unbeatable

  7. #6

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    As Pingu said, a decent neck pickup in an Artcore makes a great jazz guitar.
    I splurged and put Lindy Fralin Modern PAFs in mine and the sound/playability are wonderful. IMHO)
    Artcores go 3-400$ on Reverb or eB, 150-180 for a great pickup. Not bad at all.
    You will find very little quality variance in the Ibanez non MIJs.
    Look up the current Af95fm I think it’s retailing new around 650, it’s a very good guitar. Ok, at least mine is.
    good luck
    d

  8. #7

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    Don't you mean a prs SE hollow body?

  9. #8

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    Look for a used Godin 5th Avenue Kingpin. They're are several on Reverb.com right now and they typically sell for under $500.

    John

  10. #9

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    As usual, the advice is all over the charts - and with merit. Of my two budget-friendly archtops, I prefer an Ibanez AFJ-91 over the Godin 5th Ave for most assignments. Its non-Japanese Super 58 pickup is decent to say the least, while I find the Kingpin P-90 noisy and too shrill at the treble end. However, Godin is fine for traditional swing comping, as you get enough volume from an electric-acoustic voice combination, to be felt rather than just heard. In the big picture, there are only good to excellent guitars on the market today, so it's hard to go all wrong. Choosing is more challenging than getting used to what you eventually settle for. And don't expect the next guitar to bring permanent relief to GAS.

  11. #10

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    The PRS SEs that I have seen in the wild are excellent guitars; this from a guy who has had three PRS CU24s. I've had several Ibanez Artcores and they are excellent values and great platforms for mods - though I never personally felt the need. If you can find an Epiphone ES-175 you would be very fortunate. Every Yamaha product I have experienced was of excellent quality regardless of its price bracket. You've got a lot of options.

  12. #11

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    Ibanez - good value. Many of their instruments stack up against others costing a lot more.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel_A
    Don't you mean a prs SE hollow body?
    Yes. I listened to this
    and have never heard such airy sound on a guitar of twice the price. They’re very well built but I’ll have to check in the shop how I go with a ‘wide,fat’ neck. Still haven’t heard such sound from an Ibanez, Hofner, Epi, Yamaha. Only the Godin Semi-Hollow and that is even worse looking than the PRS. Have I just not found the right demo on YouTube? Even the Gibson ES235, a real looker, doesn’t have it..

    Agony of choosing. I’ll definitely look at Ibanez more seriously. I had hoped for thin single cutaway but I better go to the shop or a friend and understand my physical fit.


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  14. #13

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    Thanks for all the comments.
    I've learned a few things:
    - I should find out what sort of neck, scale and fretboard suits my playing before I buy.
    - Then I can sit and wait till something that suits comes along for the right price. Theres a PRS Zach Meyers in the shop fr a great price but still 50% over my budget for now.
    - I should see some pickups and some guitars to increase my budget.
    - Once I decided I was ready for a new guitar I got GAS. Often induced by lack of playing due to muscle issues....

  15. #14

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    Hi man,
    First .....enjoy the process !

    theoretically there's so many factors to get right ..... for you
    hollow , semi , solid , scale length , pickups
    then setup , strings , action , the Amp
    let alone the aesthetics

    But forget all that and try out guitars
    maybe start with a guitar like your hero plays ....
    But then just play a few different kinda guitars ....
    one day you'll just play one that's right
    then buy that one ....

    ps
    that Prs Zach does look pretty tho

  16. #15

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    Buy with your ears and your fingers, not your eyes. The notion of a "jazz" guitar is far less staid than it used to be.

  17. #16

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    Just quite impressed with that Zach Meyers guitar. Never heard of Zach Meyers or his band.
    Now I’m gonna figure out if I should get a 24.75, 25 or 25.5” scale. What I like about 25.5 is less fretbuzz with same action - but is that correct? I still remember the Gibson Blueshawk I once tried in a pawnshop in Vegas and couldn’t buy. But my taste has changed although my fingers probably do the same, with 49 years of piano playing.


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  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eck
    ... What I like about 25.5 is less fretbuzz with same action - but is that correct ? ...
    From what I've read, this is in theory true with all else equal and light strings. But in practice, it's inconsequential. Action height, fret levelness and condition, neck relief, fingerboard radius (when you bend), and how you play are the factors that matter. Assuming an un-warped neck, good frets and neck, and a good set-up, either can be made to play buzz-free (within the limits of one's technique and the physics of string/fret contact).

    John
    Last edited by John A.; 12-02-2020 at 11:40 AM.

  19. #18

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    ^^^^ what JohnA says.....FWIW I’ve got 40+ years going back and forth between 25/24” necks. Never noticed any fret buzz unique to a 24. Now that’s with heavy flats, 13 or. 14 sets, so perhaps with a light set you might get some buzz going to a short scale. But the difference in scale is very slight relative to the neck length. Any buzz should be solvable via good set up and fret leveling. (My 24 is 2.5MM top and bottom at the 12th.)
    good luck!
    d

    Reading about music and instruments is like reading about sex. Best learned experientially.

  20. #19

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    I must have been getting the wrong idea from feeling so good with an Aria strat and remembering how good that little Blueshawk felt.


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  21. #20

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    I bought a PRS Zach Myers. Scale even shorter at 24.5”. Neck wide and fat and extremely comfortable. My not so good playing went instantly up to not so bad playing. Not sure if I can believe my ears on the richness of tone. I’ll have to put real strings on it though. I think it’s loaded with 9s and the highs are scratching my eardrums. However when I turn the tone down the sound stays clear and doesn’t get awfully muddy like on my LP junior with Kent Armstrong stealth P90s. Maybe I should change the electronics n that one, it’s had scratchy pots which was ‘fixed’ with spray. It’s also lived in the tropics for 15 years.


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  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eck
    I bought a PRS Zach Myers. Scale even shorter at 24.5”. Neck wide and fat and extremely comfortable. My not so good playing went instantly up to not so bad playing. Not sure if I can believe my ears on the richness of tone. I’ll have to put real strings on it though. I think it’s loaded with 9s and the highs are scratching my eardrums. However when I turn the tone down the sound stays clear and doesn’t get awfully muddy like on my LP junior with Kent Armstrong stealth P90s. Maybe I should change the electronics n that one, it’s had scratchy pots which was ‘fixed’ with spray. It’s also lived in the tropics for 15 years.


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    I have a PRS Starla .. one of the older ones from the core series.

    It has the 24.5 scale too .. I kinda like that scale .. prefer it with 10s as 9s are just slightly to wobbly to my touch .. but yeah .. under rated scale for sure

  23. #22

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    A big surprise to me is wide and fat neck. I love it.


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  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eck
    A big surprise to me is wide and fat neck. I love it.


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    PRS necks, like other aspects of the instrument, are generally superb. IMHO.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74
    PRS necks, like other aspects of the instrument, are generally superb. IMHO.
    To compare: my Les Paul DC Junior had a bulge in the fretboard around 9th fret!


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  26. #25

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    You might consider the idea that one aspect of “good value” in a jazz guitar is the flexibility to use that guitar for other music. If I could only have one guitar because of economics or space, it would be a Telecaster or maybe a Stratocaster. Indeed, at one point in my life when I had a major economic reset, the only guitar I owned was a blonde Squier Tele and that guitar got me through two years of jazz, wedding, Top 40 and country gigs until I got back on my financial feet - and then I bought a black Fender Tele and that guitar almost solely served me for another 5 years.

    Besides the economics, a durable inexpensive solidbody guitar eliminates so many logistical problems for jazz gigs - feedback, bulkiness, worrying about your nice fragile archtop sitting on a stand onstage while you go for a pee, etc.

    A nice Tele can be a “good value” jazz guitar and more.

    Squier Classic Vibe 60's Telecaster Custom - 3-Tone Sunburst | Sweetwater

    Good value jazz guitar?-20153291-0aa6-4fef-b60b-25434432a484-jpeg

  27. #26

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    I got an Ibanez AS120 that is just great for $400 a few months ago, very very good guitar, and I've owned 335s etc... this is a great guitar

  28. #27

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    I'll add some thoughts.

    Great jazz has been played on every type of guitar.

    The ergonomics have to work. But, it's hard to tell, even trying out a guitar in a store, how you're going to feel about it in a few months. You can get used to things that seem awkward at first -- and the reverse.

    That said, it has to be a prime consideration, because you can't change neck size/shape and scale length without major surgery on the guitar.

    There's a certain amount of magic involved. If you have your heart set on an archtop, you probably won't be truly satisfied with anything else.

    I've played a lot of jazz gigs with the cheapest Yamaha Pacifica strat copy (the 012) and nobody ever complained. That said, I usually play a Comins GCS-1. Frankly, I prefer the neck on the Yamaha (that's partially because of arthritis), but the Comins sounds better.
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 12-17-2020 at 11:29 PM.

  29. #28

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    So yes I saw a Yamaha Pacifica Telecaster second hand and they are pretty great... instant GAS. But the fat wide neck is something I don’t want to live without in the foreseeable future!


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  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    I've been looking, but I've never actually seen one in person. I didn't realize the necks were wide and fat. I wonder if that's true of all the models, assuming there is more than one.
    Sorry I was just not clear, I forgot what neck those Yamaha’s have.


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  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    I've been looking, but I've never actually seen one in person. I didn't realize the necks were wide and fat. I wonder if that's true of all the models, assuming there is more than one.

    The Yamaha's aren't wide and fat

  32. #31

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    I LOVE a good cheap archtop. Something with potential at an absurd price. I had a great Epi 175 (non Premium) that turned into a very sweet player after a total rewire and a pu swap to a Parsons Street HB. Probably had less than $500 all in. There was a JZ4 in nearly mint condition on CL REALLY close by yesterday for $275 and the seller mentioned being open to negotiations. I slept on it and regrettably missed out. It’s gone now and I can’t help feeling I could’ve scooped it for $200 and put a rhythm chief on it for a super low budget box

  33. #32

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    This isn't necessarily a contribution but, for fun, I counted the Ibanez archtop and thinline guitars on the pages of their Finnish importer, Levytukku. A mere 45 versions! Globally, there's probably more. I can't think of a more committed manufacturer. With a more condensed product offering and clearer nomenclature, they might well discover that "less is more."

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gitterbug
    and clearer nomenclature

    Haha .. That made me smile. It's not that you're not right, but Ibanez momenclature .. The Ibanez RGR652AHBF anyone?


    But agreed .. It's heartwarming to see a manufacturer so committed to archtops and semi-hollow guitars.