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  1. #1

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    Hi

    I'm relatively new to the forum but seeking some general advice - been playing mostly acoustic and nylon string guitar (and banjo) playing folk style really but finally got the electric itch about two years ago. Long term I'd love to play some jazz and certainly love the warm clean sound of plugged in jazz guitars. in the end i picked up a Fender Mex Jaguar as i liked the scale length and body contour for sitting down and in the last year replaced neck pickup with a more vintage wound (less hot) option. There is no excuse for not getting a nice sound from the guitar - i keep the tone back a little and play clean but not always feel "in control" of the sound.

    I have always played with fingers and not a plectrum and don't want to change that now but was wondering if I am struggling with the solid body response or just against the general magnetic pickup of an electric guitar. With this bloody pandemic it's nigh impossible to try other guitars but would a hollow-body or archtop with it's airy semi-acoustic nature - vibrating top etc be more what i'm used to from acoustics and easier to manage the plugged in sound?

    Just wondering if anyone has come from similar background and if I should persist with the solid body or would I benefit more from a typical hollowbody or archtop?

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Can you expand on what you mean by not being "in control" of the sound? Is it the dynamics? Archtops are more dynamic than solid bodies in my experience.

    If your amp has small diameter speaker, that might explain the very dynamic response. Small speakers can get explosive. Bigger speakers are slower.

    The other cause might be your right hand technique. Fenders generally are more forgiving for the heavy right hand than other guitar designs. At least that snappy attack combined with single coils is desired in many styles associated with Fender (funk, country, Southern blues etc).

    Compared to the steel string acoustics, electric guitars are more accommodating for lighter touch. You can let the pickups and the amp do the work. If you use a light touch, dynamics will be more available to you as a form of expression.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 03-03-2021 at 08:28 PM.

  4. #3

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    Tal 175, thanks for the response. I've had little recent experience with other electrics -i tried a tele when i bought the jag because in the shop they said most acoustic players pick teles. It didn't feel right for at the time for me or as comfortable as the jag. I have an 8" speaker valve combo amp as well as a 6.5" ZT lunchbox.

    You make a good point -My control feel may very well be right hand technique and me trying to play it too much like an acoustic. I don't tend to mute strings. Perhaps less is more and a lighter touch and let the magnetics and speaker do the work...

  5. #4

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    This may not apply to you, but I raise the point anyway....
    One thing that many people find when moving from acoustic to electric is that an amplied guitar is much more "unforgiving". The slightest errors or unintended touches will be picked up and amplified. A common solution is to learn to play much more gently and let the pickups do the work - unless you are deliberately looking to "ride" the dynamic response of your pickups to get more or less "hair" or breakup.

  6. #5

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    Also it sounds like both of your amps have small speakers. Small speakers react very quickly, accentuating the right hand attack. Is the 8" valve one a Champ clone? Champ's are particularly dynamic amps.

  7. #6

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    @Ray175 - no i agree that maybe i need to "listen" better to what's coming back at me from the amp and take a gentle approach

  8. #7

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    @Tal_175

    it's is a Champ style - a Laney Cub8.

  9. #8

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    If you are at all jazz-oriented (and who isn't around these parts?), you will probably want to get a hollow-body archtop at some point. Far be it from me to talk you out of it!

    JMO this comes up a lot on this forum but consider one of the Godin 5th Avenues. IMO they come the closest to the nylon fingerstyle experience in a steel string guitar.

    OTOH, a lot of people get a good sound from their solids. Nothing wrong with the Jaguar--very similar to the Jazzmaster. As we all know, Joe Pass started out on a Jaguar!

    You might try playing around with different strings--try flats for instance, maybe a slightly higher gauge. Would be nice if you could try a different amp as well. Maybe a "flatter" amp like an acoustic amp (I have a Fishman Artist) would give you the sound and feel you need.

  10. #9

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    Ha! I always thought i'd get a 5th avenue if i bought electric and already have a seagull acoustic so i'm sold on their price vs quality. The Godins are however, difficult to even try out where i am and didnt want an online blind purchase when getting an electric but they are on my radar if i switch. I don't have space or funds for both...

    In meantime i have flats ordered in 11's having finally solved the pesky jaguar bridge rattle so i'll follow this path and check my technique. Thanks for all the advice

  11. #10

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    You can have a lighter right hand attack with an electric and let the amp adjustment supply the desired volume. If you haven't already, experiment with that.

  12. #11

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    Amp with a master volume really helps tame things. Fender style circuits have a lot of gain change in the first part of rotation making them very sensitive to small movements. Dialing back the guitar volume works too.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barra
    Hi

    I'm relatively new to the forum but seeking some general advice - been playing mostly acoustic and nylon string guitar (and banjo) playing folk style really but finally got the electric itch about two years ago. Long term I'd love to play some jazz and certainly love the warm clean sound of plugged in jazz guitars. in the end i picked up a Fender Mex Jaguar as i liked the scale length and body contour for sitting down and in the last year replaced neck pickup with a more vintage wound (less hot) option. There is no excuse for not getting a nice sound from the guitar - i keep the tone back a little and play clean but not always feel "in control" of the sound.

    I have always played with fingers and not a plectrum and don't want to change that now but was wondering if I am struggling with the solid body response or just against the general magnetic pickup of an electric guitar. With this bloody pandemic it's nigh impossible to try other guitars but would a hollow-body or archtop with it's airy semi-acoustic nature - vibrating top etc be more what i'm used to from acoustics and easier to manage the plugged in sound?

    Just wondering if anyone has come from similar background and if I should persist with the solid body or would I benefit more from a typical hollowbody or archtop?
    Jaguars are wonderful instruments - I have a '64. As has been stated, electrics respond instantly and a lighter touch may be the ticket for you. Champ-type amps can be very dynamic. Perhaps a little light compression might be useful. Good luck!

    Or, if you just want to try an archtop, go for it!
    Last edited by citizenk74; 03-10-2021 at 04:35 PM.

  14. #13

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    If you haven't checked him out already, go to YouTube and search for Ed Bickert who got an amazing tone playing jazz on the Telecaster. In my experience, a light touch on a solid body guitar yields the best results- far lighter than is often needed for an acoustic instrument. Let the amp do the work.

  15. #14

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    I think a hotter pickup actually works better for jazz. You just need to roll the volume back on it. Pickup height makes a difference also, as distance from the strings affects both volume and tone. It's absolutely possible to play jazz on any guitar, one just has to understand the assets and limitations of the guitar in hand.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74
    Jaguars are wonderful instruments - I have a '46.
    That is a rare Fender Jaguar for sure!

    Threads like this always give me an excuse to post these, just to illustrate how versatile a guitar it is:

    1967:
    Advice on electric guitar solid v hollow - Stick or Twist-mellotones-2-jpg

    1970:
    Advice on electric guitar solid v hollow - Stick or Twist-now-then-13a-jpg

    My Jaguar wasn't as old as yours, it was a '65, bought new.

    Danny W.

  17. #16

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    I'm surprised no one has said this - a Jaguar has a 24" scale, which gives it a substantially different feel from other guitars due to the lower string tension. This "lack of control" the OP cites may stem from that - picking with the same force used with an acoustic guitar or classical with a longer scale length will yield different tone and dynamics.
    Maybe try going up a string gauge to get the feel closer to what you're used to on your other guitars?

    To your original question of whether a semi-hollow or archtop will solve this for you, unfortunately, I think you can only answer this for yourself by trial and error.

    John

  18. #17

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    thanks all - -very helpful comments - i don't want to be hiding poor technique, lack of skill etc behind my gear -a bad workman blames his tools. I surprised myself when i was drawn to the Jag after picking it up - it was as much the comfort and because of the scale length - or more so distance from head to body - as i found the left arm reach more like that on my classical flamenco and similar to my acoustic (parlour size 630mm scale). Both - particularly the parlour have a very focused sound and maybe i'm just too used to that compared to a jangly fender! I suppose I was really wondering while currently unable to play any other guitar - if an archtop was any different in feel when playing plugged - i.e is it even slightly more like a plugged in acoustic/nylon with a piezo or passive pickup in how it feels and responds? i'm kind of rambling now - I enjoy the Jag and have made improvements to the set up while always still wondering did i make the right choice to begin with...in the meantime i will try some suggestions here and above all I need PRACTICE!

  19. #18

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    Well, an archtop is physically larger like an acoustic, so that changes the feel of playing it substantially. Unless you have a Byrdland, with its very short scale, the longer scale of the archtop whether 24 3/4" or 25 1/2" will change how it feels. Flatwound strings should change the jangly sound quite a bit; heavier strings will emphasize the fundamental more and the overtones less. Rolling the volume back to 7-8 on the guitar will bleed off some highs. Compensate with the amp if needed. Adjust the tone to taste (Lenny Breau vs. Ed Bickert, for example). Or some other guy playing jazz on a solidbody:





    He's not bad!