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  1. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by Donplaysguitar
    Always thought that Metheny sounded at his best on this despite the relative simplicity, or is it because of it? (that's another topic).

    I do love that recording and the guitar (and reverb) are gorgeous. But that is certainly not "The Metheny sound". I would have no chance guessing that was Metheny from the sound alone.

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  3. #52

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    Guitarists' touch gives them an individual sound, but the majority of the tone is still made up from the gear. I'll give you a hello kitty strat with only a bridge hum and lets see you make it sound like an archtop rig lmao.

  4. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clint 55
    Guitarists' touch gives them an individual sound, but the majority of the tone is still made up from the gear. I'll give you a hello kitty strat with only a bridge hum and lets see you make it sound like an archtop rig lmao.
    You can make it sound very close to a hello kitty hollowbody with the same bridge humbucker.

  5. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    I do love that recording and the guitar (and reverb) are gorgeous. But that is certainly not "The Metheny sound". I would have no chance guessing that was Metheny from the sound alone.
    Lol, well the "Metheny sound" as you say is a very different kind of thing indeed. It's very electric of course and very unique.


    As far as identity goes, I'll bet if you heard that recording blindfolded and were given a short list of jazz guitarist player names to guess from, you might surprise yourself.

  6. #55

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    Not with a 6' 10 watt solid state practice amp.

  7. #56

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    Tone. Enough said.

    Why do jazz guitarists like to play hollow-body guitars?-952dec35-4141-4431-b59f-bfb46e4ef111-jpeg

  8. #57

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    Congratulations and thanks to Kris for initiating a thread that advances faster than anything I recall. On the subject matter, I think everything of the essence has been said but here's my summary: 1) Tradition and looks. It was probably in 1959 when I was old enough to take the tram from a suburb to downtown Helsinki's music stores. I fell in love with the only electric guitars then available: Gibson ES-175 and some Levin archtops. Could afford a basic Landola "orchestra guitar", real plywood rather than euphemistic laminate. In 1962, Jimmy Giuffre came to town with his trio. I hoped to see and hear Jim Hall, but there was a substitute playing a non-cutaway Gibson. What a disappointment! (The playing was fine, and I have tried to find out who the substitute was.) 2) Short sustain, barking tone. 3) Feeling of a live thing on your lap.

    Despite the above, and a harem of laminated archtops which I prefer over carved treasures, I have always had a soft spot for semi-hollows, occasionally gigging with an Epi Casino Coupe. Solid-bodies (cheap LP style, Strat-style and Tele-style 12-string) are for cab testing only. The next generation considers semis as redundant and archtops as an anachronism.

    Edit: Reason 4) I do a lot of classic swing comping, and love the blend of electric and percussive acoustic sound.
    Last edited by Gitterbug; 10-15-2021 at 11:22 AM.

  9. #58

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    Don't think it's image really. If jazz players that have influenced us all over the years had found that Fender products were a better platform to deliver their music, that's what the greats from the 50's and 60's would have used. Then high end tele's would represent 'image' for those that care about such things.

    For me it's the sound envelope. Flat top acoustics have too much overtone content and sustain and are fairly unwieldy in a combo setting with feedback and sound dispersion. Solid bodies have a (comparatively) 2 dimensional sound with all day sustain. Good if you want to emulate a horn. An archtop, on the other hand, has a fast attack and a quick decay while the amount of overtone content and 'acoustic' sound depends on design and construction and is somewhat manageable to taste and performance constraints. For me I like the trend towards more complex acoustic tones. Like a bit less harpsichord and a little more piano while not moving fully into flat top territory.

    There is a 'form follows function' for using archtops in jazz. Not that I mind the elegance of an archtop. Not so much for image but just because I like nice things.

  10. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by kris
    I often ask myself what guitarists expect from new arch-top models ...?
    There is a large group of guitar builders and they seem to be looking for a new sound quality...?
    Everything has to evolve. People need to innovate.

  11. #60

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    Some great discussion going on here!
    I saw a TV interview last night with a little know guitarist called Tom Morello. Ahem. The message went way deeper than the tv journo was expecting. He described that as a guitarist at a certain skill level a performer becomes a musician or a artist. The difference being an artist finding his unique voice and applying that to music in his unique way.
    he went on to say for 10 years he became incredibly technically proficient as a musician, following his idols like Eddie, Jimi, Angus Young. It was not until he spent a few years trying to emulate sounds with his guitar that he developed artistic voices. He tried helicopters, elephants, birds, machine guns. At the end he sounded nothing like those sounds- but he sounded nothing like Eddie, Jimi or Angus or anyone else.
    Point being, he sounds uniquely like Tom Morello. No matter what guitar he is playing.

  12. #61

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    Many in this thread have mentioned something along the lines of - tone is in the fingers…
    Pat sounds like Pat
    Jim sounds like Jim
    Joe sounds like Joe
    irrespective of the instrument they play. And I’d agree
    But only because they have developed their unique artistic voice.
    they guitar they hold provides them the tactile feedback to feel and hear their voice as they play. And can respond to that. The instrument provides them a conduit to express their voice to the limitations the instrument provides in its intrinsic design.

    why hollowbodies? That tactile feedback for expressing jazz has to have something to do with it. Knowing the likelihood of unrequested feedback in a loud band setting, their must be something more than looks alone. But yes tradition and peer opinion would play a part for sure.

  13. #62

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArchtopHeaven
    Everything has to evolve. People need to innovate.
    The Johnny Smith model was innovative, and it's modern day descendants continue the evolution.

    And... everything is relative. If it ain't broke don't fix it, and evolution can progress very slowly.

  14. #63

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    Tone is in the fingers if you're comparing different players on the same or similar instruments. If you change the gear increasingly, then the gear will prove to have more of an effect.

  15. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by EastwoodMike
    Many in this thread have mentioned something along the lines of - tone is in the fingers…
    Pat sounds like Pat
    Jim sounds like Jim
    ....
    If Coltrane were noodling on a clarinet, it would sound like Coltrane on clarinet. Not what comes to mind as his quintessential sound. When you hear Django on an L5 or Joe Pass on a Jazzmaster, you may recognize their phrasing and note choices but you will also notice that the guitar tone is different and not their signature sound.

    Gear still matters and guitar types sound quite different from one another regardless who is at the helm.

  16. #65

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    Quote Originally Posted by Donplaysguitar
    The Johnny Smith model was innovative, and it's modern day descendants continue the evolution.

    And... everything is relative. If it ain't broke don't fix it, and evolution can progress very slowly.
    Which Johnny Smith model?

  17. #66

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    You can mimic the sound of Wes by playing with a thumb.
    You can mimic the sound of Benson by putting lighter stings on your guitar
    You can mimic the sound of Tal Farlow by putting really heavy string on your guitar
    You can mimic the sound of etc..

    The outcome of sound and style is multi varied. There is not one reason why something happens. Joe Pass's sound throughout his career is all over the place. You can hear the difference between Wes playing an ES-175 and an L5.
    Pat Martino's sound changes drastically from time to time but making out a Pat Martino line, regardless what guitar he's playing, is relatively easy.

  18. #67

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArchtopHeaven
    Which Johnny Smith model?
    Let's go with:
    • 17" by 3"
    • 25" scale length
    • 1 12/16" nut width
    • Floating humbucker pickup
    • relatively thinner top (as compared to an L5)
    • X braced


    This is what has stuck with modern luthiers.

  19. #68

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArchtopHeaven
    Everything has to evolve. People need to innovate.
    Well I like the idea of progress but I'm not so keen on change for the sake of it. If you've ever been to Birmingham where I live then maybe you will agree that the constant reinvention of the place rarely makes it any better. Good to try stuff out I guess, but if it is not an improvement on what came before then there is no shame in turning back.

  20. #69

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    When chasing a tone certain guitars have sonic signatures to them. In Jazz mainstream the Gibson L-5CES , ES-175 we’re the standard sounds and instruments used on many records.
    Just as in rock the Les Paul, Stratocaster are the main platforms.

  21. #70

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spook410
    If Coltrane were noodling on a clarinet, it would sound like Coltrane on clarinet. Not what comes to mind as his quintessential sound. When you hear Django on an L5 or Joe Pass on a Jazzmaster, you may recognize their phrasing and note choices but you will also notice that the guitar tone is different and not their signature sound.

    Gear still matters and guitar types sound quite different from one another regardless who is at the helm.
    Agree- Gear alone will not hide the identity of the player.

    How often do we read some one ask on a forum "I bought the gear, the guitar, the amp the pedal to sound like [insert name here] and I just sounded like me- why??"

    At a point it becomes more obvious. If you are used to James Hetfield on his Jackson and he picks up an L5 then yes. Phrasing and Note choices will be Hetfield and all that Metallicanic harmonic craziness. Tone will be way off the mark. Metal will revolt. Hetfield's skill alone cannot force that L5 to sound like his Jackson. The fundamental construction prohibits this. (Sorry James, perhaps you can but I have my doubts- nothing personal)

    I still believe though that sometimes the equipment is close enough in design and construction that an artist's voice is enough to mask equipment differences.

    Many times we read that Wes recorded on a range of Gibsons on different albums while others thought he was only playing one type of guitar. I did until I joined this forum and then learnt a whole heap was played on an ES175. It all sounded to me like Wes and his tone.
    How many times have people thought Stairway to Heaven's recorded solo was on a Les Paul when it was a Tele all along? It all sounded like Jimmy Page and his tone to the listening audience. Gear alone does not dictate a tone, but is a big part of how close you can get to a tone.

    I guess though the OP is looking more towards why one type of guitar (Hollow) and not a completely different type of guitar.

    To me it seems a question of tactile feedback (not uncontrolled feedback). I keep thinking the Physical objects that interact to make music- Skin, Pick, Strings, bridge, wood, cable, pedal, amp, etc ecte etc are all an EQ filtered responses against an impulse. The impulse being your muscles driven by your brain. Phrasing, harmony and Dynamic range being dictated by a musician/artists ears, intuition and feedback in the moment.
    You can't buy Phrasing, harmonic choices or dynamic range. That is what separates us and makes "our sound".

    That big filter chain will dictate how close to "that intended sound in your mind" you will get. It does not give you that sound alone though. The filter chain still needs the impulse in order to provide a tonal response. Add the impulse and the filter response together and we get the sound. The feedback of that response dictates how the artist could vary or maintain that tonal response? With no feedback it must feel like playing without hearing yourself. You would not know if you are in time, in tune, too loud or quiet, trebly etc.

    Having a hollow cavity against your chest is one way to get this feedback. Wind flapping your trousers from a Marshall stack is another type.

    I suspect Jazz guitarists that play ballads, swing, bebop and more traditional forms gravitate to hollow bodies for this reason. That tactile feedback, and being able to hear yourself amplified and perhaps acoustically at the same time.
    Jazz guitarists that play fusion gravitate to their guitars for other reasons. Fret access, feedback control, sustain....

    Lot to digest there I appreciate, but it feels good to dump some thoughts down for consideration.

    M

  22. #71

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    Quote Originally Posted by Donplaysguitar
    Let's go with:
    • 17" by 3"
    • 25" scale length
    • 1 12/16" nut width
    • Floating humbucker pickup
    • relatively thinner top (as compared to an L5)
    • X braced


    This is what has stuck with modern luthiers.
    What has not stuck is the unique neck attachment specified by Johnny Smith. The fingerboard sits on the top and the neck block goes (I think all the way) to the end of it. In many ways that is the key to the tone of that instrument, creating an upper register that remains solid and lively and also increasing sustain. There is some slight cost in terms of acoustic resonance because the neck block is larger.

    Interestingly, except for the neck block itself and the new mini humbucker none of those features were unique to the Gibson Johnny Smith design, but no other guitar that I am aware of had put them all together.

    As for why we play them, I think it's because they "look" like jazz and I feel a little different playing one of those versus one of my Teles, Strat, etc. Maybe that makes me play differently. However, I have found that my 17 inch archtop is just not a practical instrument for gigging, as much as I love the sound and feel of it; my GB10 works well but even there the feedback problem is present.

  23. #72

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    Quote Originally Posted by kris;[URL="tel:1151887"
    1151887[/URL]]not all of them...
    but mine do

    I took a different path to archtops, since we're sharing. Nothing to do with tradition, really; more like reverse engineering. I came up playing solid bodies with heavy strings and low tunings. Then I eventually got an acoustic guitar, which was a game changer for me, especially since my preferred low tunings and heavy strings still worked on them.

    Then I worked out that they made electric guitars with air in them, too. Holes and everything. And since I hated the sound of piezo acoustic pickups, I figured I should investigate the whole hollowbody thing. A few semis kinda did it but not really, until I found one I truly loved. Then I just kept going bigger and hollow-er from there, and here we are.

  24. #73

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    The best sounds for jazz comping that I've heard have been from archtops. That's a good reason to play one.

    They are traditional and a lot of influential musicians played them. If you want that sound, it may be reasonable to go for similar gear. That said, I don't think it's usually so obvious on a recording that it's an archtop, playing single notes, and not something else.

    Archtops don't sustain as much as some other types. Bug or feature? Depends on your style of play.

    Some people like the sensation of a full archtop vibrating.

    All that said, I don't play one. I hate feedback. I need sustain. They feel oversize to me when I hold them.

  25. #74

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    The greats wore plaid sports coats. Nobody wore a hat on stage.

  26. #75

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    I did not expect this discussion to be so interesting.