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  #31  
Old 09-09-2013, 06:45 PM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Yeah, jazz ain't a what, it's a how. (Bill Evans)

But 335's and such are great because they get some archtoppy and some solid body-y sounds.
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  #32  
Old 09-10-2013, 02:37 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Originally Posted by IndianaGeo View Post
On a similar topic... what guitar is most recommended for jazz playing and why? I often see a Gibson ES335 used. Why are these (and others) preferred?

IG
Depends on the sound you want. The classic "jazz guitar" was the big-body archtop, typical of the jazz sound from the 40s to the 60s - but that's only because - before pickups - archtops were the loudest kind of acoustic, capable of cutting through big bands (as rhythm instruments anyway). So when pickups were added, they'd be added to that type of guitar. From Charlie Christian's ES-150, other ES-models, up to the L5.
They created that classic big, warm mellow sound of that era, so it became a kind of tradition, and that type of guitar even came to be called (loosely) a "jazz guitar".

But Les Paul was playing jazz on the solid guitar he designed, from the early 50s. It was only people like Clapton and Page who turned it into the archetypal "rock guitar".

IOW, there's no such thing as a "jazz guitar", any more than there is a "rhythm guitar" or a "lead guitar". (Even a "rock guitar" can be almost anything.)

So I suggest listening to plenty of jazz players, find the sound(s) you like, and see what guitar(s) they use. (And tone can depend as much on pickups and strings as on the guitar.)
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  #33  
Old 09-10-2013, 07:05 AM
JanVigne JanVigne is offline
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Probably the worst webpage I've seen in awhile; http://dangelicoguitars.com/#StandardSeries


Makes any Gibson archtop play and sound like a Squier.
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  #34  
Old 09-10-2013, 08:15 AM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Yeah...no. Maybe a vintage D'Angelico...and then, still, no.
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  #35  
Old 09-10-2013, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
...But 335's and such are great because they get some archtoppy and some solid body-y sounds.
Hi Jeff...

I really love the sound Anthony Wilson gets when he backs Diana Krall. Smooth like silk. Goes really well with her smokey vocals...


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  #36  
Old 09-10-2013, 08:31 AM
JanVigne JanVigne is offline
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"Yeah...no. Maybe a vintage D'Angelico...and then, still, no."


"Goes really well with her smokey vocals"






Like a knife to my heart, guys, just twist it a little bit more.

A New Yorker and Blossom Dearie for me.
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  #37  
Old 09-10-2013, 10:18 AM
stevejazzx stevejazzx is offline
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Default Can Someone Help me Understand Jazz?

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I don't know if this will help or confuse you further or just bore you but here's an old blog post i wrote - warning: long!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Let me tell you a story.
I was 20 years old and had been taking classical guitar lessons for since I was 14. I was in a bar with some friends and the barman had put on a John Coltrane CD. JC was playing a solo over ‘My favourite things’ and it sounded so obtuse to us that a friend asked “you like Jazz don’t you? “Well can explain what all that noise is about?” I couldn’t. For me it wasn’t beautiful then, it was only confusing. Coltrane’s tenor sax was ripping up the floorboards between the chords, something was going on but I couldn’t tell what. You see classical guitar study, at the formative years at least, is largely diatonic. Also, it’s hard with a solo instrument play out of key in such a way that the boundaries between what is dissonant and what is diatonic become fudged. The bulk of 19th century guitar composers were all schooled very much in the Classical Viennese tradition and as a result were all largely tonal. Consequently I played sweet little guitar miniatures from the likes of Fernando Sor and Francisco Taregga. I had been trying to get into Jazz but couldn’t quite make the transition. One part of me felt like I should find it easier as I was supposed to be a musician but another part of me sensed that I was missing something. I mean Billy Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis were all great, those old blues/jazz crossover legends that became the first well known Jazz artists were what we’d probably describe today as easy listening rather than mean, straight ahead Jazz. It took Charlie Parker in the mid 40’s to mix things up a bit. From this point onwards Jazz would become, in part, progressively more difficult to listen to. But that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, it was simply evolving. By the time Miles Davis was laying down the backing tracks for Kind of Blue he already felt that there was degree of over complication creeping into Jazz. This accounts for the relative chordal simplicity of Kind of blue. Davis wanted to improvise, he didn’t to perform the kind of gymnastics that Parker had been up to a decade before and in some ways he felt inferior because fast bebop was out of his reach. By the time the 60’s had come jazz music was already accommodating some very avant garde sounds. Ornette Coleman was making his way towards a free jazz movement and consequently, if inadvertently yet albeit inevitably, towards increased sophistication and complexity. I’m still coming to terms with a lot of his music!

By the time I was 25 I had taken Django Reinhardt, Wes Montgomery and Pat Metheny under my belt; gravitating towards guitarists in order to simplify the process. The latter 2 would slowly ease me into understanding more modern Jazz and looking back I realize I caught a lucky break. Wes’s music was always beautiful even when it was complex. He had a way of handling music that transcended the fussiness of the Jazz ‘sound’ yet retained its purity. Again here was a very lyrical musician who felt he wasn’t good enough for heavier jazz. He turned down an offer to join Coltrane's band because again, he thought he wouldn’t have the necessary chops. For me the calculation was starting to get easier. I realised all that the stuff Wes wasn’t into was the kind of stuff other players were stuck in. But did this make all other players somehow ‘bad’? Not at all, it was just that I hadn’t reached that understanding yet, my ear was still slowly tuning in that complex sound. It never came naturally to me; everything was a slog but the point where I fell in love with Wes’s music was the point I knew I’d fallen in love in with Jazz as a whole. It was like they had purposefully given me the easy stuff to get me hooked...if Wes was cocaine then there was only the Heroin of Coltrane, Monk and Coleman to come. Metheny’s music threw a bit of curveball at me to be honest. He offered such a mixed bag of jazz fusion crossover that I would regularly forget that I was listening to a guitarist. He could go from a real jazz sound to a cheesy acoustic piece with soulful slash chords, you know those big major 11th’s and 13th’s the kind of sound you might hear in good pop music.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wn5Nri-HMnE

I went back to Coltrane again. I started listening to some random songs. Yeah something was clicking with me but I wasn’t sure exactly what. I was bit lost from time to time and some of it just sounded out of key, not outside playing but actually off key. I felt that I would just never get it; not like the anoraks’ who hung around the outside of jazz clubs in the 60’s and 70’s scatting and humming their favorite bits. Not like some of my jazz colleagues who I had recently started to pay the odd gig with. Not like the guys in jazz magazines (the real ones :-) who didn’t even play yet lived only for Jazz. I was resigned to taking a back seat in the world of Jazz appreciation. I felt somewhat defeated.
During the years until I hit 30 I had a real love hate relationship with Jazz because I had started to play it in earnest. I thought of myself as a reasonably accomplished musician but I had no idea how far I needed to go. During a long break in period of about 5 years I eventually got there. There were moments of awe from me as I witnessed my fellow musicians play complex heads for the first time just by following the sheet music, music they had never seen before that moment. After hitting every note cleanly and evenly from a difficult bop head the solo was easy, at this stage they were flying. For me however, soloing still presented great problems. I was very much stuck in a mode, excuse the pun. My early training on guitar was converting what had previously been good habits into bad habits and the shapes and phrases that were natural for me all needed to be forgotten. I had to really concentrate to get by when other guys could really play with the tune and still sound great. I guess they were just talented that way, I was never jealous as such only curious to reconcile my difficulty with their ease. A lot came down to ‘ear’. Have you ever heard anyone say ‘I play by ear’? Most of the time that means they don’t read music but in the case of bonefide jazzmen it simply meant that they ‘listened’. Listening for them was natural; it meant understanding everything that was happening in really comfortable way. The sounds went in and were immediately and without difficulty understood, analyzed and enjoyed.

Despite my inability to play at a very high level with these guys I was at least starting to hear more of what was going on. The bassline really resonated with me and told me where the song was during a long 32 bar solo I could hear still the opening phrasing echoing around there somewhere and somehow, even though the chordal motif was just repeating, the music was moving forward, it was getting to a head and all with me at the helm soloing. That’s an incredible experience and it makes you feel like you can really do something interesting.
I went back to Coltrane once more. I downloaded My Favourite Things, about six different versions of it. I listened.
It blew me away. What he was doing there was special, I finally understood. I could hear the drummer grooving, the bassist was moving and John was blowing ferociously all the sounds of a man with some longing in his bones. There it was this beautiful noise but not as before. Now really I could really understand when he was in key when is out, I could see where he going with certain phrases, if was leaning towards a bridge or signalling for one more round of chords to finish. I could hear the chords between chords the constant leading tone, the Mokesque chromaticism and those driving Parkeresque arpeggios. The notes, slightly out of tune, purposefully against the beat, syncopated yet always moving forward, following the progressions furiously with such intent and passion that I often wonder now how I ever heard it any differently.
Some things are worth the perseverance and this was definitely one of them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kotK9FNEYU
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  #38  
Old 09-10-2013, 11:09 AM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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"Yeah...no. Maybe a vintage D'Angelico...and then, still, no."


"Goes really well with her smokey vocals"






Like a knife to my heart, guys, just twist it a little bit more.

A New Yorker and Blossom Dearie for me.
Which is not to say the new reissue D'Angelicos aren't great guitars, they are. But they're not a handmade vintage John D masterpiece, either...but a Gibson is really just different than that, not inferior...granted if I had my choice I'd have a vinage D'Angelico, and a D'Aquisto (master and student who became a master himself)...but that's me.

I don't get why people rag on Gibson's archtops...sure, there are other companies, even private builders, that can build you an instrument every bit as good for less money...but I played an L5-CES a few months ago, and it lacked nothing in fit, finish, or tone. Wonderful guitar.

Personally, I love Heritage, because it's a small company made up of Gibson's "left behind" employees who put some really nice twists on classic designs and sell their guitars at very reasonable prices...

Last time I saw Wilson with Krall, he was playing a Gibson Byrdland, I think. Who knows...that guy has a guitar collection I'd like to get lost in for a bit. But he always has a good tone, no matter what he plays...
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  #39  
Old 09-10-2013, 11:14 AM
Hobo_King Hobo_King is offline
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This very much is what "Jazz is to me. I fully admit I am a very unschooled musician and play primarily by ear. I fell in love with Django's music and ultimatly all pre-WWII American music, blues, jug band, Trad. Hot jazz, hillbilly, what ever label you want to apply or bucket you want to try and segregate things to. It all was very much a melting pot with everyone influencing each other. Folk and dance music of it's day that was later disected and intelectualized. I never though I'd play jazz, eventually I just started learning songs I liked prior to 1940 and eventually it started to make more sense and became much easier and natural.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JanVigne View Post
How to understand "jazz"? Easy. If you play a C9, you're playing "jazz". Don't make this difficult on yourself. "Thinking" is the main reason so many people don't prefer classical or jazz music.





"Personally I recommend a historical perspective. That's the best way to make sense of the immensely complex picture jazz presents today.
Go back to Louis Armstrong, Django Reinhardt. Go back to the jazz standards of the 1920s and 30s and work your way forward."




I like historical perspectives. IMO you can't get you where you want to go until you understand where it was you started out. Unlike Jon I tend to think of the historical perspective of "jazz" as a branch on a very large tree which originally belonged to the people. It was found by Mr. Handy in a train station waiting room but it came from a place far removed from there. At the time it was called "blues" and it had the unique ability to replicate the human voice as it wailed in happiness and in sorrow. It was the expression of the human condition. And it was made to touch your soul in a way "Oh, Susanna" could not.

IMO you first need to understand jazz and blues were not separated into divisions, one which was seen as simple music and the other the "thinking man's" music. You should study the history of jazz as it progressed through Blind Lemon Jefferson who had influences of Hawaiian, French, Creole, Czech, Gospel, etc in his playing. He had heard each of these styles and his playing took from each bit and made it into his street music which earned him nickels and dimes on the boulevards of Dallas. After playing all day for meager tribute, he returned to his home across the tracks in Deep Ellum where blues and jazz first intermingled. They did so in the juke joints and bars and after hours clubs which served to take the troubles of the day away from those who frequented such establishments.

Back then the music was intended to be a simple device which got people up and on the dance floor where they could literally dance their troubles away. It was meant to be the mechanism which allowed the lower classes to forget their position in society. It was their music and it was what made them feel good. Early on, it was confined to the other side of the tracks and respectable folk wouldn't go near such places. The power of the music however made it irresistible to those vagabond, itinerant musicians of all stripes and colors. Feel good is what it was all about.

By the 1920's blues and jazz were one and the same and Ma Rainey and Louis Armstrong both played it and sang it and it was becoming the music of the free wheeling ragtimers. And it was still meant to get you out of your chair and away from your worries and to another place. Musicians were arrested for intermingling with another race. They were denied admittance to "respectable" businesses. That could only keep the music from growing for a short while. Music is, as all art intends, about challenging the accepted norms. Jazz and blues were no different and eventually they broke down color barriers and made their way into high brow clubs where the upper crust would dance and drink and do what other people do - just in better clothes.

The thing to never forget about jazz and blues is they are two sides of a coin and they were both about getting you to spend your money and dance the night away. They were played, three minutes at a go, at rent parties and fish fries. Walking down the street of a major metropolitan city, you would likely hear both pouring from the apartment windows.

Then Alan Lomax occurred.

That's when the intellectuals got hold of the two forms of the same music and made one into a music you sat and pondered. No longer was the music about what you felt, it was now about what you experienced. Jazz was no longer about taking your troubles way by getting you on your feet and dancing. It was about sitting alone in a room analyzing the structure of a performance. The Preservation Hall "Jazz" Band was just as much an anachronism as was the three minute 78 RPM lacquer.

That's when people began asking, "Can anyone explain jazz to me?"

Return it to its roots and you'll eventually see jazz for what it was. Then get up and make happy feet in your own room.

THAT, my friend, is "JAZZ"!
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  #40  
Old 09-10-2013, 11:33 AM
JanVigne JanVigne is offline
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Several times I've played the D'Angelico's at the local guitar shows. Maybe I'm a rube but, when I place one of their guitars in my lap, I feel as though I've put another level of drug in my system. IMO they feel better than any Gibson I picked up and they have a sound that is like the most mellow and complex wine I've tasted. No way I'm ever going to justify a $26k guitar but I always look for the opportunity to hold and play one at any show I attend.



I'm not about ragging on Gibson - not for their archtops at least, there's plenty of other things to be disgusted with when it comes to Henry and his Gibsons. I own a lowly somewhat older Epiphone Sheraton though I've not played electric in awhile. My friend who can't play a note loaned me his "Lucille" for quite a long while. I've played a Byrdland on more than one occasion. My first up close with a quality electric was a friend's '50's ES335 back in the early '60's. IMO not a one can compare to the D'Angelico's. But, that's me.


As to Krall, I don't get the appeal. It seems to be mostly male based.
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  #41  
Old 09-10-2013, 12:34 PM
IndianaGeo IndianaGeo is offline
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SteveJazzX, I did read every word. Thanks!

IG
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  #42  
Old 09-10-2013, 01:20 PM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JanVigne View Post
Several times I've played the D'Angelico's at the local guitar shows. Maybe I'm a rube but, when I place one of their guitars in my lap, I feel as though I've put another level of drug in my system. IMO they feel better than any Gibson I picked up and they have a sound that is like the most mellow and complex wine I've tasted. No way I'm ever going to justify a $26k guitar but I always look for the opportunity to hold and play one at any show I attend.



I'm not about ragging on Gibson - not for their archtops at least, there's plenty of other things to be disgusted with when it comes to Henry and his Gibsons. I own a lowly somewhat older Epiphone Sheraton though I've not played electric in awhile. My friend who can't play a note loaned me his "Lucille" for quite a long while. I've played a Byrdland on more than one occasion. My first up close with a quality electric was a friend's '50's ES335 back in the early '60's. IMO not a one can compare to the D'Angelico's. But, that's me.


As to Krall, I don't get the appeal. It seems to be mostly male based.
Jan, I'm confused...your link was to essentially the "current" D'Angelico website...are you talking about the recent run of reissues or the actual articles made by John?

Because if you're talking about the latter, then, yeah...that's about as good as it gets.

As for Krall, not for me either, but Wilson's playing is always enjoyable.
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  #43  
Old 09-10-2013, 02:46 PM
JanVigne JanVigne is offline
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Yeah, sorry, that website is not very good.

I've never held an original D'Angelico. The first time I stopped by their booth they had one on display but were guarding it carefully. Since I'm not really a jazz player there was no point in me even asking. I've read a bit about the various incarnations of apprentices and good as's but, honestly, I can't say what I was playing other than the name exists on the headstock. Probably the current line I would suppose. From what I understand there are a few of these builders who simply wouldn't have the time or the need to show their wares at a guitar show in Dallas of all places. Judging by what's in the auction at the big show each year, Dallas is more into $150k plus Gold Tops that can be hung on the wall as a trophy. Trophy wives, trophy cars, trophy geetars; it's what Dallas is known for.

What I have probably played is the current line up of their guitars. Here, the necks are IMO amazingly good. Absolutely nothing required to play well. This is what really sets them apart form the run of the mill $6k Gibson in my experience. The sound is just magical to my ears and the guitar just snuggles right up to you like you really, really need to make that application for a home equity loan.
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  #44  
Old 09-10-2013, 03:22 PM
JanVigne JanVigne is offline
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Jeff, please, don't tell me those are the junky D'Angelico's. If they are, what are the good one's like?
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  #45  
Old 09-10-2013, 03:57 PM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Jeff, please, don't tell me those are the junky D'Angelico's. If they are, what are the good one's like?
I don't know...if it was 26k it sure wasn't. But I think they had a small run of D's built in the US by master luthier Gene Baker...haven't seen one of those in person, they look great.

I've played one vintage D'Angelico...I can't even comment on it because I was scared to be holding it, I barely tickled it when playing... It sounded marvelous in the owners hands though. It was a thing of beauty, too...functional art of the highest level.

But shoot, the last run of Korean made Excels were darn good.
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