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  1. #1

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    (I bought a guitar! See this post: New guitar recommendation )

    Hey folks, I'm new here so be gentle.

    I am a classical guitar player who has always liked to play jazz but never actually owned a "jazz" guitar. I minored in jazz guitar in college but that was 30 years ago. I just turned 50 last fall.

    I am mostly an improviser, but I did play in a big band for some years (but that was over 20 years ago) so I have some rhythm experience.

    My electric guitars are a 1996 Fender Stratocaster Plus, a 1994 Ernie Ball Music Man Silhouette, and a 1988 Ibanez 540S. I use them all for all kinds of playing (apart from classical and acoustic obviously).

    Here is an example of my jazz playing, it is an improvisation over chord progressions I wrote:


    In the example above I actually play the Ibanez which is a true shred machine. My style is an eclectic mix of whatever I fancy at the time, some sort of mix of fusion/pop/rock and even electronica.

    I am looking to buy a more jazz-oriented guitar, mostly because I want to spend more time on brushing up my jazz chops. I'm not looking for a "full size" hollowbody. I would like a slim hollowbody or semi-hollow which has a standard C-style (ie, not "fat wide") neck.

    I live in Oslo, Norway, and the city has been closed for 6 months. Shops are opening back up so I am considering checkout out the guitar shops, but they don't carry any of these guitars as far as I can tell:

    1) Ibanez JSM10 - need to by new
    2) PRS SE HollowBody II (non-piezo) - there is a used 2019 model in a nearby town for about 25% off new price
    3) Ibanez AS93 - costs about half of the JSM10

    The AS153 is also an option. The JSM10 is 40% more expensive here in Norway than the AS153, and as far as I can tell they are almost the same guitar.

    I would love to hear opinions and recommendations.
    Last edited by kovacs; 05-13-2021 at 12:26 PM.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Any of those would probably be fantastic. I would probably be inclined to upgrade to the AS153 if the price is close enough. Another option would be one of my favorite guitars, the Ibanez GB10 which might be a very expensive proposition there, I don't know. Here on the used market they are often priced very well.

    I have played one PRS Hollowbody and I didn't particularly care for it mainly due to the small size of the body compared to a 17 inch arch top (but then I really like the GB10 so go figure. I found it just sat kind of oddly on my lap). It played well and sounded nice, however. Everyone is different in that regard, so my experience is not guidance.

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by kovacs
    Hey folks, I'm new here so be gentle.

    I am a classical guitar player who has always liked to play jazz but never actually owned a "jazz" guitar. I minored in jazz guitar in college but that was 30 years ago. I just turned 50 last fall.

    I am mostly an improviser, but I did play in a big band for some years (but that was over 20 years ago) so I have some rhythm experience.

    My electric guitars are a 1996 Fender Stratocaster Plus, a 1994 Ernie Ball Music Man Silhouette, and a 1988 Ibanez 540S. I use them all for all kinds of playing (apart from classical and acoustic obviously).

    Here is an example of my jazz playing, it is an improvisation over chord progressions I wrote:


    In the example above I actually play the Ibanez which is a true shred machine. My style is an eclectic mix of whatever I fancy at the time, some sort of mix of fusion/pop/rock and even electronica.

    I am looking to buy a more jazz-oriented guitar, mostly because I want to spend more time on brushing up my jazz chops. I'm not looking for a "full size" hollowbody. I would like a slim hollowbody or semi-hollow which has a standard C-style (ie, not "fat wide") neck.

    I live in Oslo, Norway, and the city has been closed for 6 months. Shops are opening back up so I am considering checkout out the guitar shops, but they don't carry any of these guitars as far as I can tell:

    1) Ibanez JSM10 - need to by new
    2) PRS SE HollowBody II (non-piezo) - there is a used 2019 model in a nearby town for about 25% off new price
    3) Ibanez AS93 - costs about half of the JSM10

    The AS153 is also an option. The JSM10 is 40% more expensive here in Norway than the AS153, and as far as I can tell they are almost the same guitar.

    I would love to hear opinions and recommendations.
    Nice playing!

  5. #4

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    What first comes to mind : you can play jazz on any guitar that plays well. If you could be more specific by naming a few recordings/artists who's sound is inspiring you, that would help in pointing you in a direction. Fact is : you don't need a hollow (semi or full hollow) guitar to get a fat + round, smokey sound. I play lots of jazz gigs with my Telecaster, strung with normal 0.11 round wound strings ...

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74
    Nice playing!
    Thank you!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by gitman
    What first comes to mind : you can play jazz on any guitar that plays well. If you could be more specific by naming a few recordings/artists who's sound is inspiring you, that would help in pointing you in a direction. Fact is : you don't need a hollow (semi or full hollow) guitar to get a fat + round, smokey sound. I play lots of jazz gigs with my Telecaster, strung with normal 0.11 round wound strings ...
    You are right of course @gitman. But all my current electrics are strat types so I was looking to find a good complement.

    Some albums that brought me into jazz and fusion back in the early 1990s:

    Lee Ritenour, Stolen Moments
    Pat Metheny, Question and Answer
    John Scofield, Time on my hands
    Chick Corea Akoustic Band, Alive
    Chick Corea Elektric Band, Inside Out

    After that...too many to mention I listen to lots of different things. Mike Stern comes to mind (which matches your Tele suggestion ).

    I like to experiment with various sounds and styles, here is an older example:


    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara
    Any of those would probably be fantastic. I would probably be inclined to upgrade to the AS153 if the price is close enough. Another option would be one of my favorite guitars, the Ibanez GB10 which might be a very expensive proposition there, I don't know. Here on the used market they are often priced very well.

    I have played one PRS Hollowbody and I didn't particularly care for it mainly due to the small size of the body compared to a 17 inch arch top (but then I really like the GB10 so go figure. I found it just sat kind of oddly on my lap). It played well and sounded nice, however. Everyone is different in that regard, so my experience is not guidance.
    The GB10 is a bit deep-bodied for me, and it would cost 3,5 times the AS153.

    But would you rather go for the AS153 over the JSM10?

    I do wonder whether I should look for smaller-bodied hollows like the PRS Zach Myers.

    If there are recommendations in the $1000-$2000 range I might be able to stretch my budget.

  7. #6

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    Offspeed pitch here, but I have a classical backgound but have been playing mostly jazz for many years, and I just picked up a Gretsch Streamliner that is really versatile for bebop, progressive jazz, fusion, rockabilly and even hard rock. It's the most interesting guitar I've owned from the tonal perspective, and it's very comfortable to play. Mine has a Bigsby, but there are stop-tailpiece models as well. Just a thought, priced under $1000.

  8. #7

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    if you are used to playing a strat but don't have a tele in the arsenal,
    that would be a great way to go. I'd look for one with the traditional lipstick neck pickup.
    They sound great for jazz & they sound way different from a strat. Even a cheap one can be great.

    Otherwise, I'd have to vote for a ES-175. Great sound IMO.
    I've tried many 335 style guitars & never found one I loved.

  9. #8

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    Hofner Jazzica custom might be in that price range. They're ergonomically shaped, very comfortable to play, and reasonably priced.

    Example:
    Hofner Jazzica Custom Archtop | eBay

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by kovacs
    Thank you!!!



    You are right of course @gitman. But all my current electrics are strat types so I was looking to find a good complement.

    Some albums that brought me into jazz and fusion back in the early 1990s:

    Lee Ritenour, Stolen Moments
    Pat Metheny, Question and Answer
    John Scofield, Time on my hands
    Chick Corea Akoustic Band, Alive
    Chick Corea Elektric Band, Inside Out

    After that...too many to mention I listen to lots of different things. Mike Stern comes to mind (which matches your Tele suggestion ).

    I like to experiment with various sounds and styles, here is an older example:




    The GB10 is a bit deep-bodied for me, and it would cost 3,5 times the AS153.

    But would you rather go for the AS153 over the JSM10?

    I do wonder whether I should look for smaller-bodied hollows like the PRS Zach Myers.

    If there are recommendations in the $1000-$2000 range I might be able to stretch my budget.
    Semi-hollows in the $1000-$2000 range or a little more? That's encompasses pretty much every one on the market outside of new Gibsons and MIJ Ibanezes. My first recommendation would be to search for threads on the subject of semi-hollows here. There are many, including many detailed hands on reviews. I would also suggest considering buying used online, which opens you up to some used Gibsons, MIJ Ibanezes, and US-made Guilds.

    If it has to be new, take a look at D'Angelico EX-DC or Guild Starfire IV. I haven't played either the JSM10 or the AS153 so can't say which I would prefer. On paper, the only difference is the wood the neck is made from (not a big contributor to either sound or playability IME) and the headstock. I prefer the appearance of the JSM headstock, so I'd go for that. I tried an AS93 once a long time ago. I remember liking it less than the others I tried at the time, but not in an real detail.

  11. #10

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    Try a ES175-style guitar and see what you think.

  12. #11

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    Bill Comins makes a semi-hollow GC-1 series that is in your price range and may be worth taking a look at.

  13. #12

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    I'll second the advice on a Bill Comins semi or fully hollow! Also Eastman makes some great choices as well.

  14. #13

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    Thanks for many good suggestions.

    There is currently 1 Gibson ES-175 available used in Norway, it’s an original 1961 at $11,000 usd. There is also an 1976 Ibanez 2355 at $2,100.

    Comins guitars do not seem to be available here. Nor do Höfner Jazzica guitars.

    I have found a used Gretsch Streamliner G2420 with case for $485. (Not far from my house)

    There are some D’Angelico and Guilds, but as far as I can tell they are all low budget versions.

    There are some used Ibanez guitars: an as93am at $750 and an am93me at $580.

    I have found a single new AS153 in a store but it’s only online so I have to buy unseen (but there would be a 14 day open return policy due to EU laws). It’s $1200.

    Ibanez JSM10 is in a single store downtown at $1700 (they have 1), otherwise it’s sold out all over the place.

    I can get a new PRS SE Zach Myers (2021 Myers Blue) for $1200.

    A new PRS Hollowbody II is $1500. There is a used one available for $1100.

    I have not checked stores for Telecasters, would a Player be ok (I believe they are built in Mexico).

    (All these prices are Norwegian Krone converted to USD, including VAT).

  15. #14

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    The OP wrote that the GB10 is already a bit too deep so a full hollowbody like the ES175 (and it's cousins) would be even more unfitting.
    The semi-hollow designs by PRS that I have played did not possess a truly unique sound - the "best" one I've owned for about 4 years was a
    PRS McCarty hollowbody that was nice and light, small, had a quick attack and a sweet tone but it didn't have the depth of tone like my ES-345, that
    rotund bloom was absent.
    I'd look into the ES-330 type, the thin hollowbody designs without any blocks inside the body - the Guild Starfire III also comes to mind.

    The major problem we all have in Europe is that most stores only carry a very small sampling of these types of guitars, if any at all. I live in Germany and as far as I know the chances of finding one of these here is greater than in any other european country.

  16. #15

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    How about a DAngelico SS? I owned one and it’s a great bang for the buck. Dead straight neck and fabulous fret work.

  17. #16

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    Great jazz has been played on every kind of guitar.

    For me, the ergonomics of the instrument is paramount. First, do I like the size, shape and feel of the neck? Second, is the body comfortable to hold? Does it balance properly? These are all things you can't easily change.

    Next, does it sustain the way I want it to? Archtops and solid bodies sustain differently. This is asking, will this guitar make *my* music?

    Next, does the high end ring out clearly and with a full sound, or is it tinny? You'd think this would be a matter of setup, but that hasn't been my experience.

    Then, you get to sound. That's complicated too, because there are some characteristics of sound that are pretty easy to change and others that aren't.

    A complicating factor is that, no matter how you feel about these issues, your feelings are subject to change over time as you grow as a player.

    So, I never know how to advise somebody on what guitar to get. How can I know what will feel right in somebody else's hand?

    My best advice is to get a 30 day return privilege.

    I could add this. Certain brands are consistently of good quality. I don't have experience with many of them, but I have experience with several Yamaha products and I think all of them were good value. I often gigged (pre covid) with the cheapest electric guitar Yamaha makes, the Pacific 012 Strat type (mine has replacement tuners and a Lil 59 at the neck). Playability is excellent for those that like the feel and sound is fair to good. I have a Yamaha acoustic, an electric piano and an amp, all of good quality.
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 05-10-2021 at 05:14 PM.

  18. #17

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    If you like the look of the Ibanez 2355, then look elsewhere in Europe - good quality ones can usually be found advertised at around 1.500€ asking price........ If you like the semi-hollow route the Ibanez AS200, historical predecessor to the JSM, can be foound around 2.000€ - I paid 1.700€ for my 1980 model a few years ago.

  19. #18

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    Godin make good guitars.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick
    Godin make good guitars.
    Godin Montreal Premiere Sunburst – Thomann UK
    Attached Images Attached Images New guitar recommendation-bildschirmfoto-2021-05-10-um-23-57-20-png 

  21. #20

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    I did own a Godin Grand Concert ACS classical guitar but sold it because it got little use (I mainly used it for controlling MIDI devices). But yeah, build quality was marvellous.

    Has any of you tried the Hagstrom Alvar?
    Alvar by Hagstrom Guitars of Sweden

    Hagstrom Alvar Black – Thomann UK



    It's like a mini Hagstrom Viking and the body size is very interesting to me. A store downtown has them in stock so I may go and try them out soon.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by kovacs
    I did own a Godin Grand Concert ACS classical guitar but sold it because it got little use (I mainly used it for controlling MIDI devices). But yeah, build quality was marvellous.

    Has any of you tried the Hagstrom Alvar?
    Alvar by Hagstrom Guitars of Sweden


    It's like a mini Hagstrom Viking and the body size is very interesting to me. A store downtown has them in stock so I may go and try them out soon.
    I've just tried the Viking and it was really nice. By all means try the Alvar if you have the opportunity.

    I agree that you would probably sound great with a tele or 335 type guitar, but I also really like ES175 for myself, so it's hard to not recommend it
    It is better suited for slightly less modern jazz so maybe it wouldn't be your main guitar, so perhaps the Gibson price is a bit too steep for a non-main guitar, but there are for instance Ibanez and Epiphone. The Ibanez PM2 hasn't been mentioned and could be an option.

  23. #22

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    +1 on Godin. They make great guitars. You don't see them very often where I live.

    On the topic of Ibanez, I've had a few. I like their full size hollowbody better than the semihollow. They all played great -- good necks, but I found myself tinkering around with pickup changes & never did get them to make the sound I wanted.

    On the topic of telecasters, I've had 4. My first was a $120 blemished Squier Affinity -- cheapest of the cheap. I hot rodded it & stupidly sold it. I now have a nice made in USA tele standard, but it doesn't get much play because I much prefer the shorter Gibson scale. But I still keep hoping that my first telecaster will show up for sale again on Craigslist.

    If telecasters are part of your consideration, I wouldn't worry too much about how cheap they are or where they are made. The only tele I didn't like was their semihollow tele reissue -- wonky neck joint & terrible pickups IMO.

  24. #23

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    I got to spend two hours at the LGS and I tried at least 10 guitars of various kinds.

    It seems I need to rethink my avoidance of big bodied guitars.

    I surprised myself when the most comfortable guitar was the Eastman AR805CE. I never thought I would enjoy such a large jazz guitar. Music just fell out of it. But it’s $3000. Wonderful neck, amazing sound. Only one pickup. China built. I have seen other favorable reviews at these forums as well as the recommendations in this thread.

    I also tried the AR503CE which felt virtually identical at a more friendly price ($1700). The AR405E did not impress me, it felt dead.

    The other guitars which impressed me were:
    Ibanez AG85-BKF - surprisingly comfortable, big sound. It was not setup correctly, the first two strings buzzed in all positions, but I enjoyed it (and it was the cheapest of the lot today)
    PRS SE Hollowbody II - very playable, but I’m not sure I like the «form factor».
    Fender US Telecaster - not sure which version, around $2000, sounded fantastic. The neck was like a baseball bat though. My ‘94 Ernie Ball Silhouette is just like it.
    D’Angelico (not sure which model, around $800) - very playable, nice sound

    I was very surprised that these did not match my expectations:
    Ibanez JSM10 - a beautiful instrument, but somehow it did not respond to me that well. Felt a bit intimidating.
    Epiphone Rivera - nice sounds, but…no
    Epiphone ES-339 - fretboard felt like I was playing a toy, not sure what was up with that.
    Hagstrom Alvar - much smaller than I expected, felt a bit cheap, did not like the tuners.
    Gretsch 5420T - lots of bling, confusing knobs, did not work for me.
    Last edited by kovacs; 05-11-2021 at 02:37 PM.

  25. #24

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    There is a Gibson ES-135 Limited Edition reissue (I have asked about which year, probably 2000) a few hours away. I might go and check it out.

    Anything in particular to think about with these guitars?

  26. #25

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    So I accidentally happened upon a used Godin 5th Ave Kingpin in my city, went to check it out and bought it right away.

    It's a Godin 5th Ave. Kingpin P90 Cognac Burst. It came with a TRIC case.

    I paid $600 for the guitar with case, which is about half of what this combo would cost in the stores here.

    It needs a new set of strings but apart from that it is in very good shape, only a couple of very minor dings. I have no idea what year it is and can't seem to find a Godin serial number lookup anywhere.

    Anyway, here are some pics of it, and thanks to all who helped me out in this thread.

    My plan is to use this for now, while I set aside enough money to buy something more special in a year or so.

    New guitar recommendation-img_5943-jpgNew guitar recommendation-img_5942-jpgNew guitar recommendation-img_5941-jpgNew guitar recommendation-img_5940-jpgNew guitar recommendation-img_5939-jpgNew guitar recommendation-img_5937-jpgNew guitar recommendation-img_5938-jpg
    Last edited by kovacs; 05-13-2021 at 12:42 PM.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    Great jazz has been played on every kind of guitar.

    For me, the ergonomics of the instrument is paramount. First, do I like the size, shape and feel of the neck? Second, is the body comfortable to hold? Does it balance properly? These are all things you can't easily change.

    Next, does it sustain the way I want it to? Archtops and solid bodies sustain differently. This is asking, will this guitar make *my* music?

    Next, does the high end ring out clearly and with a full sound, or is it tinny? You'd think this would be a matter of setup, but that hasn't been my experience.

    Then, you get to sound. That's complicated too, because there are some characteristics of sound that are pretty easy to change and others that aren't.

    A complicating factor is that, no matter how you feel about these issues, your feelings are subject to change over time as you grow as a player.

    So, I never know how to advise somebody on what guitar to get. How can I know what will feel right in somebody else's hand?

    My best advice is to get a 30 day return privilege.

    I could add this. Certain brands are consistently of good quality. I don't have experience with many of them, but I have experience with several Yamaha products and I think all of them were good value. I often gigged (pre covid) with the cheapest electric guitar Yamaha makes, the Pacific 012 Strat type (mine has replacement tuners and a Lil 59 at the neck). Playability is excellent for those that like the feel and sound is fair to good. I have a Yamaha acoustic, an electric piano and an amp, all of good quality.

    Very well said, RP! Good advice here.
    Play live . . . Marinero