Jazz Guitar Amps
Getting That Jazz Guitar Sound from your Amplifier
This is an article written by Adrian Martin which will help with those of you who are wanting to get that pure
or maybe not so pure jazz guitar sound. Read on....
The word Jazz often evokes a darkly light Smokey club with musicians expertly improvising against seemingly
complex chord progressions. Featuring passionate tone – getting that jazz sound can be a complex process – in this
article we’ll address what you’ll need to get a great jazz guitar sound.
A Jazz Guitar
Getting the right guitar for a jazz sound used to be expensive. Jazz masters such as Wes Montgomery and Joe Pass
may have played expensive Gibson Semi’s but these days there are a variety of entry level guitars that are suitable
for getting a jazz tone.
For an authentic jazz tone, you should have a semi-acoustic hollow body electric guitar. Models such as the
Gibson ES-175 or the Gretch Tennessean can run into thousands of dollars but there are also excellent entry models
such as Ibanez Artcore line of guitars. Guitar manufacturers such as Yamaha or Guild also make entry level
semi-acoustics similar to the more expensive Gibson 335. There are also numerous Epiphone hollowbody guitars that
will also be suitable and come from the Gibson stable. Explore your local music store and try out what they look
for something that is comfortable to play and can produce a tight clean tone with plenty of sustain.
Hollow body guitars will provide a suitable mellow tone and most will be fitted with two humbucker pickups
allowing you to vary your sound accordingly. Most guitars will be fitted with tone controls. Practice rolling the
treble off your tone and experimenting – Jazz guitarists often play with a less trebly sound as it produces a rich
mellow resonance that is suitable for the style.
A Jazz Guitar Amplifier
Whilst it could be said that there is "no jazz amp" there are a number of considerations for the jazz guitarist
when selecting an amplifier. Firstly it is important to determine the playing style and sound that you wish to
attain. Traditional jazz guitarists often choose amps that can produce a clean sound which compliment acoustic
archtop guitars. For this sound solid state amps produce a nice clean tone. For a more distorted sound a tube amp
may be more applicable. There are many popular amps that are used by Jazz guitarists for example – try
experimenting with a Fender Pro or a Polytone Another requirement may be on board effects this may range from
simple reverb to an overdrive channel – again this will depend on the style your trying to achieve.
Traditional Jazz may only require a hint of reverb but many modern jazz guitarists apply a range of effects from
Chorus, Overdrive through to delay. There are many effects units available from single stomp boxes to complex
digital "modeling" devices such as the Line 6 Pod. When choosing effects ensure they compliment your playing style
and that you retain that "clarity" in your tone. Too many effects often muddy the sound and do not produce a
In summary there are primarily 3 things that you should investigate when trying to get a jazz tone. Ultimately
you should also listen to a wide range of jazz greats – listen closely to their sounds and try to emulate them.
Ultimately when you have done this a few times they will begin to merge and you will begin to develop your own tone
that will sound equally brilliant!
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