Getting the jazz Guitar sound

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by sohala43, Nov 8, 2008.

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  1. sohala43

    sohala43 Guest


    I was wondering if someone could help me figure out how to get the thick lead guitar sound of jazz guitar that you hear on recorded music like smooth jazz songs.

    Can someone tell me what kind of gear I need to get that sound. Below is what I have but can't get the sound I want. Can someone advice me and let me know if I can use my gear. Thanks.

    I have a Ibanez RG series guitar, a POD 2.0 effect
    I don't have an amplifier and am using the POD and plugging into my computer.
    I am using also using a computer plug-in effect like Amplitude.

    I am not getting the thick sound, I am getting a thin sound and the notes are not that clear or defined.
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    OK, I recorded my fair share of jazz by some pretty big folks.

    I've never worked with the jazz guitarist that didn't have a guitar amplifier. So, you need a small guitar amplifier. If you can get a small tube amplifier, go for that. If all you can do is get a transistorized amplifier, listen for the one that has the smoothest tone. You don't want it to crunch out.

    Got the amplifier? Good. Now we can work on getting you that nice thick sound. I like to use my RCA 77 DX and/or my Beyer M-160 ribbon microphones into my API or Neve preamps. If I want to get really funny, I'll use one of my tube preamps? What does all this cost? Enough to make you toss your cookies all over your guitar. So, what can you do for $200??

    I have just the answer for you. One of those groovy Cascades Fathead's ribbon microphones and one of those nasty little ART $50 tube microphone preamp, with the depleted plate voltage. That's all you need.

    See? Wasn't that easy?
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  3. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    Jun 26, 2007
    The op also needs a semi hollow bodied guitar.
  4. BDM

    BDM Active Member

    Oct 23, 2008
    Mali, Africa
    and a thicker string guage...? a different pickup...? a magic pick...!!!
  5. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    Yeah, the suggestions above are great if you want to drop a lot of change. Might be worth it if you have Jim Hall's chops. But you should be able to do a lot better with the equipment you have. You want to use only the neck humbucker on your RG series. Roll off the treble. (I sold my Gibson ES335 because I could get much better jazz sounds with my Telecaster with Barden pickups. Solid body guitars can work just fine for jazz.)

    On the POD 2.0, I use either the Fender Blackface, the Matchless, or the Jazz Clean (Roland) models for Jazz. If you hook the POD to your computer and use the deep editing commands I think you can use both the compressor and the chorus. Just a touch of each. And none of these heavy metal smiley face eq curves. Keep it flat. Bump the low mids. Roll off highs if needed.

    Heavy gauge strings are a good idea. And if you want to try something really different go for a set of flatwounds.

    Good luck.
  6. BrianaW

    BrianaW Active Member

    Jan 10, 2008
    New York
    Is the RG HSH? I can get decent jazzy sounds by having a single coil in the middle position and lowering it as far into the body as it will go. Add some Chorus like Bob said. You might not like the drop in signal from having the coils so far from the strings, but it dips out the mid and makes the sound fuller.

    Just another idea that costs nothing... unless it's an HH config in which case I'd tap the neck humbucker (also free). From what I hear in jazz music (and this is just my opinion), they sound like single coil pickups lowered away from the strings... at least on the solid body fusion stuff.
  7. fmw

    fmw Guest

    I'm a jazz guitarist. My preferred instrument is the Fender Telecaster. Sure, I have a humbucked hollow body but the Telecaster has a smooth, wonderful tone on the neck pickup.

    Personally, I just plug straight into an analog input on the recording interface and then tweak things with plug-ins after tracking. My performance rig is actually a mixer driving a power amp and a pair of PA speakers so I guess a guitar amp isn't that important to me. Most of us jazz players aren't into gain, overdrive and distortion. We mostly just need amplification. I may add some reverb if the room doesn't have enough or perhaps a little chorus for blues tunes. My mixer has these effects and others. It's really pretty straight from the pickup to the amplfier most of the time.

    I'm not sure there are any rules - or at least rules that you can't break if you like.
  8. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    I've done my share of jazz guitar recording, including some BIG names, both live and in the studio. The factor that has been common to all the good players is that they have a signature sound, which is a product of their talent, their instrument, the way they play and their amplifier.

    Capturing this sound in each case has needed a mic on the amplifier, another mic for the acoustic sound from the instrument (archtop/semi-acoustic) and a DI feed from the pickup or the DI output from the amp. Blending the different sources at mixdown is the key to getting the recorded sound to be acceptable to the player. The mix process involves application of EQ, effects and, crucially, delays to phase up the different sources. It's a tricky task, and jazz guitarists can be a demanding bunch.

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