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  1. #1

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    Just wondering. Listening this morning to lots of Kenny Burrell and Wes and some C.Christian and all awash in clarity and brightness. Where did 'mud' come from in the first place. Just wondering.

    David

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    The terms thrown about "thunk" and "mud" are not talking about the same thing, for starters.

    "Thunk" is more of the Freddie Green thing- 4-on-the-bar, when the acoustic guitar was a strictly a rhythm instrument, almost percussive.

    "Mud"... I assume you mean the sometimes-imo-overly-warm tones thought of as "jazz tone"? We have whole threads here discussing that LOL. I really don't know how that became a "thing"... I love Johnny Smith, CC, Kenny Burrell, and don't hear any of their tones as "mud".

    It's like with distortion: in the early days, it came from the amp, and there wasn't alot of it. Then people made pedals to get more of it. Then it turned into more gain. and MORE gain... as if "more is better". I think that's what happened with the jazz "mud" thing... older players had warm tones, and newbies started turning down their treble and tone controls, and things just got out of hand LOL.

  4. #3

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    i think i coined it originally in these forums.

  5. #4

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    From Old German...denken...

    Think...

    Thank...

    Thunk...

    “I’ve thunk you all many times for the wonderful entertainment you provide on this forum.”

  6. #5

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    Well, thunk is not mud, and it's not the Freddie Green thing either, which is clearly "chunk."



    I also don't think that many jazz players actually play with that dark of a tone. It's a misconception among people who don't actually listen to much jazz. I mean, name other big names in jazz other than current Pat Metheny and some Jim Hall that really use a super dark tone? It's like nobody.

    As for thunk, it's a very specific electric guitar sound, quick attack and decay, woody, but not acoustic (if that makes any sense) and it's very closely associated with the sound of a laminate Gibson guitar strung up with heavy flatwound strings. Think Joe Pass on "Joy Spring," or the "Swinging Guitar of Tal Farlow." It's on the darker side of things, but it's still very crisp and articulate....no mud.

  7. #6

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    I think the answer would be: Gibson.

  8. #7

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  9. #8

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    Thunk is what I should have done...

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    Well, thunk is not mud, and it's not the Freddie Green thing either, which is clearly "chunk."



    I also don't think that many jazz players actually play with that dark of a tone. It's a misconception among people who don't actually listen to much jazz. I mean, name other big names in jazz other than current Pat Metheny and some Jim Hall that really use a super dark tone? It's like nobody.

    Pat Martino?


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  11. #10

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    OP seems to be asking about mud more than "thunk" (which is not necessarily muddy). I think the contemporary reverb-washed, straight 8ths feeling, modally reharmonized, humbucker-playing, "modern" scene of guitarists can be muddy. A lot of the time I don't think muddy tones are desired. They seem to be the outcome of poor recording techniques serving the ambition to achieve a certain greater ambience. Too much reverb on the guitar, tone too muted. Some try to remedy this by close micing the guitar for acoustic presence, but the result of that technique to blend acoustic and electric results in a thin tone, like the infamous Joe Pass Virtuouso recordings.
    I think the clear and acoustic-electric tone was achieved MUCH more successfully by the techniques and tools in studios in the 1940s. A monophonic source that captures acoustic and electric simultaneously (e.g. those old RCA ribbon mics) does not have the awkward issues that you get with 2 condensor/dynamic mics mixed in stereo or summed to mono. Just listen to any recordings of Charlie Christian or Oscar Moore for proof. You cannot beat that tone (which I prefer to later "thunk" sound of plywood, and MUCH prefer to the current sound of excessive ambience).

    Last edited by omphalopsychos; 04-30-2021 at 11:47 AM.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    Well, thunk is not mud, and it's not the Freddie Green thing either, which is clearly "chunk."



    I also don't think that many jazz players actually play with that dark of a tone. It's a misconception among people who don't actually listen to much jazz. I mean, name other big names in jazz other than current Pat Metheny and some Jim Hall that really use a super dark tone? It's like nobody.

    As for thunk, it's a very specific electric guitar sound, quick attack and decay, woody, but not acoustic (if that makes any sense) and it's very closely associated with the sound of a laminate Gibson guitar strung up with heavy flatwound strings. Think Joe Pass on "Joy Spring," or the "Swinging Guitar of Tal Farlow." It's on the darker side of things, but it's still very crisp and articulate....no mud.
    Absolutely. People forget that any individual voice in an ensemble is heard in the context of all the other voices, and on recordings, this goes double. The producer or sound man or whomever is responsible for the sound in the room or the sound on the recording will decide whether they will favor the top-end nuance of your tone, or the sizzle of the cymbals. Guess which it will be.
    That's why many an earnest guitar player works to get their perfect tone in the practice room only to discover that it is a whole different ball game on stage or in the studio.
    "Thunk" is one solution to the "where'd my guitar go?" problem.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by jzucker
    i think i coined it originally in these forums.
    THUNK you very much Jack for reminding us - we are eternally grateful

  14. #13

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    I've always associated "thunk" with a percussive sound that has rapid decay and not a lot of highs.

  15. #14

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    Never heard the term thunk before I became a fan of this forum. That says more about me than the forum.

    Been mostly playing flattops since the shutdowns. Now that I have a solid koa with its flat frequency response my spruce rosewood sometimes sounds a bit muddy when I dig in - too many confused sympathetic resonances in the bass.

  16. #15

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    I believe Jack Zucker did coin that term here on the forum (as he claims). I have never heard it before in reference to guitar tone.

    It is a good term. and we seem to have adopted it. Who wood have thunk it?

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    I believe Jack Zucker did coin that term here on the forum (as he claims). I have never heard it before in reference to guitar tone.

    It is a good term. and we seem to have adopted it. Who wood have thunk it?
    Ply wood have.

  18. #17

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    OK, my sloppy inclusion of 'mud' has clearly - muddied the waters. I retract that part.

    Shameful.

    B.Katt

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by xavierbarcelo
    Pat Martino?


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
    Agreed.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by jzucker
    i think i coined it originally in these forums.
    Jack was at least the first person I saw use the term for guitar tone although, not being omniscient, I don't know if he really invented it. But I knew immediately what he meant, to my ears the exemplar of that being Tal Farlow in the 50s (e.g., "The Swinging Guitar of Tal Farlow"). Jack was referring to classic Joe Pass tone ("Intercontinental," etc.).

  21. #20

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    Thunk. Because sustain is for kids.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Thunk. Because sustain is for kids.
    Ha! Good one!

  23. #22

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    Maybe I'm still in the woods on what thunk stands for. They say L-5 doesn't, ES-175 does. From this I take it's an amplified archtop thing, more present in laminate guitars. Even so, let's not forget that the electric guitar is the start of a signal chain ending with the speaker. In between you have - at least - a preamp and a power amp. In my experience, having built over 300 guitar and bass cabs, the speaker and, especially, its enclosure, play a role here. The acoustic suspension present in reflex/ported/vented cabs, as opposed to open-back, enhances the thunk thing. Maybe I'm talking of a different thunk variant, even species. Regarding closed cabs, I wouldn't know. No experience for the simple fact that they are heavy, lose speaker efficiency and are more directional than the other varieties.

  24. #23

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    I really don't think it's that complicated. Thunk is a rhythm acoustic guitar, playing chords, in a rhythmic fashion, with a percussive attack. That's how you were heard in ensembles and big bands back in the days before amplification, and the style continued over into the amplification age. Charlie Christian and Freddie Green both thunk. But then, upright bass players do too.

    When I think of thunk, I don't think of the rhythm/chordal work of Johnny Smith or Kenny Burrell. It's generally older than that. Forum member Johnathan Stout could school us all on thunk.

  25. #24

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    We used to talk about ‘the dull thud’ in my swing band. It was the height of the rhythm section aesthetic believe it or not.

  26. #25

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    For the very dullest of thuds modern instruments rarely suffice. From drumheads to bass strings everything is way too resonant. Who would want to play four to the four on a modern bass drum?

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    For the very dullest of thuds modern instruments rarely suffice. From drumheads to bass strings everything is way too resonant. Who would want to play four to the four on a modern bass drum?
    I remember reading an interview, when Brian Setzer first started his big band, he kept telling the drummer he needed to ditch his standard rock snare and get a... I forget what he called it, but it's doesn't "snap", it "thuds". And his drummer didn't think it was necessary. After the first few rehearsals, the drummer changed his snare, and agreed for that music, it's the way to go.

  28. #27

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    I hear more of what I'll call a "thud" in a 175 compared to an L5.

    As far as dark goes, if you listen to older jazz the guitar tones don't sound dark.

    But, if you listen to a lot of country Tele sounds and then return to older jazz, it will sound dark -- by comparison.

    I do sometimes hear overly "dark" sounds from archtops in live bands. I think it's because the player is hearing a brighter sound than the audience. Apparently, an easy mistake to make with an archtop

  29. #28

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    I actually the opposite problem is more common - treble frequencies diffract less so they are more directional. If you are 'off beam' you might miss how trebly your amp is.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I actually the opposite problem is more common - treble frequencies diffract less so they are more directional. If you are 'off beam' you might miss how trebly your amp is.
    Many times, when I hear somebody playing an archtop in a group, the guitar sound overemphasizes low frequencies and sounds muddy.

    I'm assuming that the player is not hearing the same thing I'm hearing.

    What you say about directionality is right, but lower frequencies may predominate in the audience because of distance, dispersion and absorption, in the unlikely event that I know what I'm talking about.

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I actually the opposite problem is more common - treble frequencies diffract less so they are more directional. If you are 'off beam' you might miss how trebly your amp is.
    This is why I made the switch back to 10" speakers. The volume as well as tone are more uniform throughout the room.

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by ruger9
    Forum member Johnathan Stout could school us all on thunk.
    Um I don't represent Stout or anything, but I think he's gonna laugh when he reads this.

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I actually the opposite problem is more common - treble frequencies diffract less so they are more directional. If you are 'off beam' you might miss how trebly your amp is.
    That's why I keep banging on the "amp as a personal monitor" drum. But the of course, if there is no front-of-house system, then maximum dispersal strategies come into play, viz - tilting your open-back amp toward the ceiling, if it is low; multiple amps (I always carried a spare - why not use it?) if not. Remember the angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection holds true to a useful degree in acoustics as well as billiards.

    Where there is a will, and some wit, there is a way. No system is perfect; we must deal with the imperfect.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara
    Jack was at least the first person I saw use the term for guitar tone although, not being omniscient, I don't know if he really invented it. But I knew immediately what he meant, to my ears the exemplar of that being Tal Farlow in the 50s (e.g., "The Swinging Guitar of Tal Farlow"). Jack was referring to classic Joe Pass tone ("Intercontinental," etc.).
    I've been wracking my brain and in fact, i don't think I ever hear the word, even though I listened to jazz and played archtops for 25 years, until I was on this forum and indeed, it was Jack Zucker whom I first heard use the term. I too, knew what it was almost from the moment I heard it. Yep. Joe Pass on "Joy Spring," Tal Farlow on "Swinging guitar," and several other recordings notably using laminated guitars. Not a matter of EQ, but underlying dynamics. I tend to think of it as a dry tone, not very "stringy," a little compressed maybe (or quick attack/decay). But also it just has a feeling of thickness or weight without being muddy.

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by xavierbarcelo
    Pat Martino?


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
    Definitely Martino

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    I've been wracking my brain and in fact, i don't think I ever hear the word, even though I listened to jazz and played archtops for 25 years, until I was on this forum and indeed, it was Jack Zucker whom I first heard use the term. I too, knew what it was almost from the moment I heard it. Yep. Joe Pass on "Joy Spring," Tal Farlow on "Swinging guitar," and several other recordings notably using laminated guitars. Not a matter of EQ, but underlying dynamics. I tend to think of it as a dry tone, not very "stringy," a little compressed maybe (or quick attack/decay). But also it just has a feeling of thickness or weight without being muddy.

    big yes to the above. carved tops are made that way for a reason. the longer scale produces more overtones as well.

    that sound is my preference, especially for solo/chord melody work. but sometimes i hear single note lines on the 175 and think - man that sounds really good.

  37. #36

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    It's a Jack Zucker original, and it filled a void in our lexicon. Thanks, Jack!

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by Donplaysguitar
    big yes to the above. carved tops are made that way for a reason. the longer scale produces more overtones as well.

    that sound is my preference, especially for solo/chord melody work. but sometimes i hear single note lines on the 175 and think - man that sounds really good.
    \

    I also love them both. I tend to say "thunk" is the great sound that is not an L5ces sound, and the L5ces sound is an example of great sound that isn't "thunk." Love 'em both.

    I tend to think of a nice electric L5ces sound as being a little bit "reedy."

  39. #38

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    Hopefully Jack will be along shortly to definitively straighten this out, but I too believe FG style 4 on 4 floor is chunk, not thunk.

    Thunk is more correctly used to describe a smokin' single note soloing style which is satisfyingly deadened without a trace of mud.

    It's also interesting to note that one of the most Thunkadelphic sounds on earth came to us by way of Philadelphia through a combination of string gauges like bridge cabling and a very large carved Gibson with no traces of plywood, tightly stuffed with a combination of heavy foam rubber and spent plutonium... or something :-)

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by ruger9
    I really don't think it's that complicated. Thunk is a rhythm acoustic guitar, playing chords, in a rhythmic fashion, with a percussive attack. That's how you were heard in ensembles and big bands back in the days before amplification, and the style continued over into the amplification age. Charlie Christian and Freddie Green both thunk. But then, upright bass players do too.

    When I think of thunk, I don't think of the rhythm/chordal work of Johnny Smith or Kenny Burrell. It's generally older than that. Forum member Johnathan Stout could school us all on thunk.
    We seem to have a failure to agree on terminology. You are describing what most of us call "chunk," as in "chunking out the rhythm." "Thunk" on the other hand, is the sound of flatwound strings on a laminate bodied guitar. "Thunk" is not a term I have ever heard used to describe what you're describing.

  41. #40

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    The thunk sound is just a boxy sound, a harder boxier sound.

    Carved tops are more alive sounding - and more prone to feedback?

    you sound experts and luthiers can ‘splain all that.

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by blackcat
    Just wondering. Listening this morning to lots of Kenny Burrell and Wes and some C.Christian and all awash in clarity and brightness. Where did 'mud' come from in the first place. Just wondering.
    Mud? Thunk? I feel like a spare pick at a pickle convention.



  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by Donplaysguitar
    The thunk sound is just a boxy sound, a harder boxier sound.

    Carved tops are more alive sounding - and more prone to feedback?

    you sound experts and luthiers can ‘splain all that.
    Oh yeah, that one's THOINK.

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky
    Oh yeah, that one's THOINK.
    No, you’re thinking of PRONK:


  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    Many times, when I hear somebody playing an archtop in a group, the guitar sound overemphasizes low frequencies and sounds muddy.

    I'm assuming that the player is not hearing the same thing I'm hearing.

    What you say about directionality is right, but lower frequencies may predominate in the audience because of distance, dispersion and absorption, in the unlikely event that I know what I'm talking about.
    Some people do think the way to get a jazz guitar tone is to roll off all the treble

    OTOH archtops often sound quite trebly and if you are hearing both the acoustic and amplified tone you might end up dialling in too dark a tone, sure.

    It’s good to have a loop pedal if only for that reason. Loop some playing and then listen to it around the room (Scott Henderson does this apparently.)

  46. #45

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    To the OP: Thunk is not a concept. Thunk is a lifestyle.

  47. #46

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    Who came up with concept of 'Thunk'?-tshirt-jpg

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    To the OP: Thunk is not a concept. Thunk is a lifestyle.
    Cher Christian,

    Obviously, I need to get a life. Or maybe just a T shirt perhaps?

    Musicalement,

    David

  49. #48

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    Who's going to tell Kurt Rosenwinkel then?

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    Who wood have thunk it?
    Ah, you beat me to that one.

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by blackcat
    Who's going to tell Kurt Rosenwinkel then?
    who?