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Favorite jazz guitar tone?

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by rontalsaurus, May 10, 2006.

  1. rontalsaurus


    Aug 19, 2002
    I've come to appreciate tone of specific jazz guitarists more and more...and the influence it has on the overall quality of their music.

    Certain people have developed very unique tones that are unmistakenly their own. For me, the ones that really stand out are:
    Pat Martino--thick, almost rubbery quality. very bass heavy, very little treble presence.
    Pat Metheney--smooooooooth. buttery. lots of reverb and sustain and a very even, almost glassy sheen.
    John Scofield--a little dirty, always a little bit of flange (kind of irks me sometimes). almost crunchy in ways.
    John McLaughlin--thin, piercing midrange with a touch of chorus (?) and reverb. Very strong attack that allows him to get definitioninto those blisteringly fast runs.
    Grant Green--Staccatto yet somewhat fat at the same time. Very strong attack and present midrange and treble, just the smooth side of twang, with a touch of reverb.

    What are some others? Favorites?

    note: I realize trying to use words to describe tone is like dancing about architecture.
  2. pat metheny has my favorite jazz guitar tone,
    Joe Pass has good tone as well :)
    Bill Frisell has a cool tone
  3. Bill Frisell. His tone reminds me of a pedal steel. Lots of volume pedal work with nice chords.
  4. tkozal


    Feb 16, 2006
    New York City
    McLaughlins tone NOW is what you describe, it didn't used to be that way.

    I bought the Dexter Gordon Proper box, and it has about 90 minutes of the Elks Club jam sessions. Barney Kessel is the guitarist. He has to crank his poor little amp up so much, it starts to saturate and distort, radical for its time, but a great, great tone from a great player.
  5. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY

    Frissell has amazing touch and tone.
  6. McLaughlin's tone, and indeed his whole performance, on the early Mahavishnu Orchestra albums is nothing short of remarkable.
    One of the few guitarists to ever make me think, "I'd love to play like that!" ( alongside Howe, Blackmore and May).
  7. flatwoundfender


    Feb 24, 2005
    Wes Montgomery - It's got balls and he's killer
    Grant Green - I like his later funkier stuff, for the straight jazz it was kind of empty when set next to Montgomery's
    Mel Brown - Has a lot of blues in (as he played a lot of blues also)
    Django - He was a killer guitarist with killer sound.
  8. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY
    +1 to Pat Martino.

    P.S. I hate John Scofield.
  9. Wes Montgomery, Larry Coryell, Al Dimeola and Larry Carlton.

    And I agree with flatwounder on Mel Brown for blues/jazz - he is a local hero; our band played at a benefit for him a few years ago.
  10. steveb98

    steveb98 [acct disabled - multiple aliases]

    Mar 15, 2006
    Venice, CA
    Wes Montgomery
    Howard Roberts
    Pat Martino
    Norman Brown - I know he's gone smooth, but still has a hell of a tone.
    Ted Greene
    Bill Frizell - for constantly coming up will new sounds in jazz guitar
    Chet Atkins - Some might think of him as Jazz, but he played it all
  11. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    I have heard most of the above, and they are all great!

    I would add John Abercrombie to the list, though sometimes it seems he goes for a more non-traditional sound.
  12. Brad Maestas

    Brad Maestas Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2003
    Oakland, CA
    +1000 for Bill! Just saw him at the Livingroom last week. I try to see him as much as possible. I'm a nut for his playing but you should see my roommate! He likes him so much it's annoying.

    Ben Monder - the guy is a freak, period.
    Steve Cardenas - met him when we both lived in KC, lovely tone
    Allan Holdsworth - mastered the legato touch, amazing chordal work
    Tim Miller - plays a Klein, mixes acoustic and electric sounds
    David Torn - people often mistake him for Frisell, crazy ideas

  13. But Scofield can make that minor 2nd work with anything.
  14. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Pat Martino...he lived behind me back when I lived in Philly(too bad I was only 6-8 years old).

    Steve Khan-
    Albums like Crossings, Let's Call This, Headline, Got My Mental.
  15. Jimmy Raney
    Jim Hall
    Wes Montgomery
    Bill Frisell

    There are tons more, but these are some of my faves.

    To me, it's not really about some idealized single Jazz Tone. It's more about having a tone that's personal to you and expressive of what you want to say. From that point of view, even some "ugly" tones can be beautiful.
  16. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    I'm not over Schofields playing, sometimes his intervals are a little to large, but his tone is excellent. As far as straight ahead jazz playing Kenny Burrell is hard to beat, he has one of the warmest sounds I've ever heard. As far as fusion Larry Carltons 335 sound still sets the standard. But for combination of tone and chops I'll go with Pat Metheny, the most melodic gutiarist ever.
  17. markjazzbassist

    markjazzbassist Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    metheny gets my vote

    i am also a big fan of his playing and songwriting abilities. he is one of the best, ever.

    in honor of this thread ill put some on in my itunes. The self-titled pat metheny group album, ooooooooooweeeeeee
  18. Pat Metheny, especially when he slows down and let's the semi-hollow electric guitar ring. Beautiful!

    Also, I saw Pat last November and he opened the show by playing solo on a harp guitar. The combination of the low bass notes with the masterful hammer-on chords sent chills through me. Ain't good music great? :)

    Paul Mac
  19. tkozal


    Feb 16, 2006
    New York City
    theres a great bit in the Miles autobio about how behind the beat Scofiled is...Miles was just amazed....
  20. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Pick up any post-Police Andy Summers album. You'll find them in the "Jazz" section of your local store. Best jazz guitar tone I've ever heard, and the best playing as well. I'm a big fan of Scofield also, and Tal Farlow always has great tone.

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