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  1. #1

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    What are the musical advantages a clean tone jazz guitarist has over a jazz pianist? What comes to my mind is the ability to bend notes.
    Next, I think of instrument portability; then you can easily correct the tuning and you get to play your own personal instrument every time. Pianists are often subjected to terrible instruments with stiff actions, and have no control over the tuning.
    What are some other musical advantages? I can Think of lots of advantages that the jazz pianist has but I can’t think of many advantages that jazz guitar has. I started as a jazz guitarist half a century ago but quickly switched to piano believing it offered less limitations. I love listening to jazz guitar but I prefer working on piano more. I see lots of gigs for solo piano but not much for a solo guitar. It just can’t produce as many parts or notes all at once. Solo piano can almost be like having a whole orchestra at your command, it’s like a one-man band.


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2
    dbl post

  4. #3

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    Also guitar can bring percussion in drumless settings with the advantage over drums of having another melodic solo voice.

    of course it quite often did that with a piano; most of the early piano trios seemed to have used guitar not drums.

  5. #4
    Christian also wrote in the other thread this:

    I think with the guitar it’s not so much the advantages as things that work with the instrument. The piano will always dominate in terms of sheer flexibility of harmony, but the guitar does some things that are very, well, guitary for want of a better word, open strings, fingerpicking patterns (especially re-enterent ones), harmonics, strumming, different tone colours and types of right hand attack, and so on and so forth. This is the type of stuff you’ll hear guitarists doing a lot in contemporary jazz bands.

    To my ears the guitarists that have done best with harmony for jazz are those that use the guitar to these natural proclivities and make it work within jazz, rather than sounding like a mediocre jazz pianist (and it takes a lot of application to sound like even a mediocre jazz pianist on guitar - just think of the time it takes to map where the flipping notes are.)

    Jim Hall was wise to this ...

    Peter has certainly achieved this, while also being heavily influenced by Monk in particular. There is quite a guitaristic aspect of Monk, interestingly.

    So I think a guitarist has to embrace their own instrument a bit; and stop trying to always make it a piano. Unless you are Pasquale Grasso of course haha.

    and yea having a degree of control over your instrument is most certainly a plus over the piano, especially when you consider all the sonic options a guitar gives you in terms of pedals etc. But portability has always been the instruments ace in the hole.””

  6. #5

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    Musically the piano has a lot of advantages.

    The musical advantage of guitar is all the articulations a guitarist can do... slides, bends, hammer-ons, pull-offs, scraps, muting, snapping, harmonics, tone differences of flesh vs. pick, tone differences of where on the string you pick, strumming, vibrato, and I'm sure I'm forgetting some.

    Price and portability also goes to the guitar.

  7. #6

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    This is kind of a bandleader/fixer call. Their preferences.

    (I would also argue that to my ears a guitar is tonally preferable to an electronic piano, so guitar might be a better shout for gigs where there is no piano, but I know many who book gigs don’t see it that way lol.)

    Anyhoo, that aside, it’s really up to the guitarist, in my opinion, to make a case for the instrument in their playing.

    Often a band leader for a contemporary group will have reference points for the guitar too; quite often non-jazz ones haha.

  8. #7
    I agree a jazz guitar which is analog, sounds nicer than any “digital” piano. The only keyboard that comes close is the Fender Rhodes electric piano which does an excellent job in a small jazz ensemble when well amplified. But guitar is still far more expressive in terms of inflection than a Fender Rhodes.

  9. #8

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    I think piano is an extremely limited instrument compared to an orchestra. So I don't find it to be at all like an orchestra, not even a 4 piece band nor even just a guitar and a bass.

    Moreover a single instrument where every note has the same essential timber never sounds as interesting as multiple different instruments. After a short time, solo instruments start giving me ear fatigue, lol.

    In order for a solo concert to sound interesting, something in the composition or the performance must transcend the inherent limitation of a monotone source.

    I think, guitar can approximate homophony of a piano well. Where it'll always fall short is the polyphony.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 05-02-2021 at 04:46 PM.

  10. #9

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    There is also another disadvantage faced by pianists, which is the tendency to play too damn much- because they can easily do so, covering the bass/chords/melody and setting the rhythm/groove.

    There's an interview with Sonny Rollins (I believe- might be Art Farmer) where he talks about preferring to have a guitarist in the band because the guitarist leaves space in which to play whereas a piano tends to dominate.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop
    I agree a jazz guitar which is analog, sounds nicer than any “digital” piano. The only keyboard that comes close is the Fender Rhodes electric piano which does an excellent job in a small jazz ensemble when well amplified. But guitar is still far more expressive in terms of inflection than a Fender Rhodes.
    I do love a Rhodes! Also very easy to play with for a guitar.

  12. #11

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    The obvious advantage of a guitar over a piano is that one person can carry it wherever they want to go, and have it available.

  13. #12

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    Transposing: advantage guitar.

  14. #13

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    Emotional expression: advantage guitar (even without overdrive)

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I do love a Rhodes! Also very easy to play with for a guitar.
    The one I played with in a band was kinda muddy in the mid and lower register. Guitar+Rhodes+Conga was a recipe for a headache, though the audience didn't seem to think so from what I saw.

  16. #15

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    There is something about touching the vibrating strings directly with your fingers that is satisfying. Piano feels kind of like a toy in that you push buttons and sounds happen. The portability and affordability of a guitar is really nice too.

  17. #16

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    Ultimatedly I think guitar has more advantages but I think one has got to forfeit their own life to play that well

  18. #17
    A similar thread appeared in 2012 with over 30 posts.
    Plenty of piano envy:Jazz Guitar vs Jazz Piano

  19. #18
    The piano is like a full band:

  20. #19
    Two hands playing separate roles:

  21. #20
    I can’t imagine transporting this concept onto the guitar.

  22. #21
    A very hip tour of various blues piano styles, one man band style!

  23. #22

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    Advantages I like of the guitar are the symmetry makes scale and chord shapes the same for any root. I also like that guitar is more versatile, you can rock out or play jazz, or play classical. Piano is more locked into art music imo. People will bring up people rocking out boogie woogie, but that doesn't really do it for me. On piano I love being able to craft your entire harmony. With guitar you'd have to work out new harmonies for days before being able to perform them. On piano, you can just make up whatever you want on the spot. It's also easier to do counterpoint on piano and have a bassline, or accompaniment that grooves and a melody part. Edit: I forgot to mention that on organ you can theoretically have 3 parts going at once if you can hack it: foot bass, left hand, and right hand lol! Hurts your brain but is epic.
    Last edited by Clint 55; 05-03-2021 at 01:25 AM.

  24. #23

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    You can’t take a piano to the beach.

    Piano or Guitar, which has more advantages?-1e01526c-4b13-4734-9aac-427aae11935d-jpeg

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop
    A very hip tour of various blues piano styles, one man band style!

    any guitarists you particularly like for their harmony, comping etc?

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop
    The piano is like a full band:

    This doesn't sound like a full band at all. Maybe very poor man's band. Music is more than just quantity of notes.

    You can't get the sonarity and arrangement possibilities of a full band with a piano. Nevermind the interaction between the band members, individual personalities etc.