Megi's Jazz Odyssey - the return

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  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,868Member

    Megi said:

    Of course, he still has much to learn - he's breaking one of the rules of jazz by having a guitar with 24 frets, not to mention the tremolo. These young upstarts, honestly, what can you do? :D

    (

    LOL Very good points. I'm not sure that maple fingerboard is adding anything Django or Wes-like either.
    I think he can get away with it, thanks to his facial hair and French accent.
    Yes, the maple fingerboard, shocking stuff. That would be acceptable, but crucially only if it was a telecaster - the tele in fact being one of the very few solidbody guitar models acceptable for playing jazz in the first place. But yes, the beard and French accent do give him a natural advantage, also the glasses of course - so he does have some potential... :D
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 713Member
    I'll give him time. Sometimes kids can grow up and surprise you... ;-)
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,868Member

    I'll give him time. Sometimes kids can grow up and surprise you... ;-)

    lol :D
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,868Member
    Just a report in for the old diary thread - had a day trip in York yesterday, and as is my custom, I did the rounds of the city centre music shops. One new one to visit, which was RWB Music on Castlegate. This is a small shop, and unusually also combines with a business selling e-cigarette/vaping paraphernalia - and why not? :D Anyhow, I went in with my dad, who is getting on, and was glad to be offered a seat. I said I was just in for a quick look, not buying anything I'm afraid, nice-looking Eastman semi-acoustic you have in the window by the way. Before I know it, I'm shown to a comfortable seat, the Eastman is plugged into a nice Laney valve amp and handed to me to try. I had a pretty good play on it, and a fine guitar indeed. The owner also showed me a couple of Ibanez archtops he had in, since I'm into jazz (nice) - I'm sure I could have tried those at length too, but declined - we had a chat, and I explained I tend to favour semi-acoustic type things for the sustain and flexibility. But what a lovely shop anyhow, friendly, no pressure, an enthusiastic owner who knows his stuff, and amazingly well stocked for such a small space. All too rare in this world really.

    Also popped into MOR Music, just off Fossgate - has to be said also a nice place to go, and a friendly word from the girl behind the counter, if they had a guitar I was interested in, I'd certainly shop there (they didn't on this occasion :D ).

    Also also popped into Banks Music Room - in the electric guitar area, they can mainly be summed up by saying cart loads of Epiphone and Gibson guitars, all displayed prominently on one long wall. A great place to go if you want such a guitar, although there is something of a soul-less corporate feel about the place these days for me. They also have good stock of Fender/Squier, perhaps a few Gretsch things, whatever acoustics (didn't check the brands) and not much else. Friendly young assistants, I suppose fair enough, but for me a bit ho hum...

    Walked past Red Cow music, didn't go in - nice place for the acoustic, folk-oriented musician I'm sure, not really my thing tbh. It being away from the city centre, I didn't visit the huge Gear4Music warehouse/store, but will have to one day.

    :)
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,536Member, Moderator
    What a lovely day out. I tend to think that your personality is such that you bring out the best in shop owners and assistants. I hope your dad enjoyed it all.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,868Member
    Very kind of you Lester, thanks! My dad only made it with me to the first two shops (RWB and Banks) and then we split up so he could visit a book shop - but he did say he found it interesting, and like me he liked the sound from the Eastman semi-acoustic (a second-hand T186 model, in very good condition, advertised at £700). We did have a good day overall - I did the music shops in the morning, then went for a stroll around the city walls in the afternoon.
  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 830Member
    Nice to hear that York has a good buzz about the local music stores. I had the pleasure to do a one off visit of York in the summer so the Cathedral first day and the next morning the Railway museum. But in between we walked into the city and after dinner went into two bars doing live music on a Wednesday evening (one an open mic). Such a lovely atmosphere and great to see a live scene on a night different to a Friday/Saturday.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,868Member
    Cheers ES - yes indeed, I agree, a nice buzz in York with the music shops, and I'm sure the live music scene too. I must put the railway museum on my to do list for a future visit - haven't been since I was young. Still free to get in I understand, which is amazing.
  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,238Member
    Potentially dangerous to the wallet are these wanders round guitar shops when not intending to buy! But you obviously have good willpower. :smile:

    Red Cow would be dangerous territory for me. A fair range of decent makes in the low / mid budget area, but as with many places only Martins in the upper price bracket.

    I've noticed Richard being very enthusiastic about Eastmans (electric and acoustic) in recent videos and it seems like you share that enthusiasm for the one you tried.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 713Member
    There's a Gear4Music place you can look around? How cool.

    I didn't realise York was such a hotspot for guitar shops. I have family there so may thave to make a diversion at some point. I daren't try an Eastman though. I just know I'd need it!

  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,868Member

    There's a Gear4Music place you can look around? How cool.

    I didn't realise York was such a hotspot for guitar shops. I have family there so may thave to make a diversion at some point. I daren't try an Eastman though. I just know I'd need it!

    It was a nice guitar, although not nice enough to make me want to swap it for my Ibanez AS103. Some of the pricier Eastman semiacoustics have solid carved tops - I'd be interested to know what those are like.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,868Member
    FWIW, I don't know if it's worth travelling a long way or anything, but you can take a virtual tour of the G4M showroom here https://www.gear4music.com/information/showroom-information
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 713Member
    edited November 3
    Wow....


    I can’t close my mouth....


    Wow...
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,868Member
    Just ordered a floating, tab-mount Charlie Christian style pickup to fit to my Ibanez JP20 arch top geetar - after chatting with the business owner via email, I'm having a one done like the tuxedo version, but black on ivory instead of white. This should tie in better visually with the guitar's binding colour. One of these pickups anyhow:

    https://www.johnanthonyguitars.com/store/p333/store/c47/JAG_Pickups.html

    Partly down to the fact (as ever with me) that it should look cool, but I do hope it gives me something great-sounding and a bit different to what I already can get from my other guitars.

    I've been practicing quite a lot using the JP20 just acoustically lately, since I subscribed to the Barry Greene video lessons: http://www.barrygreene.com/

    £16.28 a month for access to all the videos, and he keeps adding new ones regularly - so at the moment it really is a lot like me having as many lessons as I might want/be able to handle, with a really inspiring, top-flight jazz guitarist. Plus I can work through them as many times as needed to get all the benefit. Some of the lessons do imply a fair bit of work/practice/homework on my own - he'll show you the principle, and then it's up to you to figure all the possibilities out and learn over the whole guitar neck. But that's fine - nothing worthwhile is ever acquired overnight, and it's not always practical to spoon feed every possible example. It's perfect for me anyhow - I do know quite a lot of jazz guitar chords, scales/arpeggios and general stuff, but this is really helping to put it all together much more effectively and get out of a few ruts.

  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,868Member
    Pickup just arrived - as calculated, it fits (just barely!) which is a relief. Can't wait to get this baby properly installed anyhow :)

    image
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,868Member
    Also, in case anyone is interested, this is where the pedal board is at the moment:

    image

    New FS7 footswitch on the right, which will change banks on the Boss MS-3. I have 3 drive pedals in the MS-3's loops, a Turbo RAT clone set on lowish gain, a DopeFX Black Lotus (a modified ZenDrive type) which is beautiful, and gives a glorious lead tone if pushed by the RAT clone, and a Zoo Drive, which gives a very natural kind of crunch/edge of breakup kind of tone (although it can do a lot more). Still have to get the FS7 installed properly. :)
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,536Member, Moderator
    Most pedalboards I see contain a few common pedals and a few personal ones. Yours, Megi, looks like a completely personal setup. From your description it sounds as though you have sound your pedal voice. Well done!
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,868Member
    Lester said:

    Most pedalboards I see contain a few common pedals and a few personal ones. Yours, Megi, looks like a completely personal setup. From your description it sounds as though you have sound your pedal voice. Well done!

    Thanks very much Lester - I suppose it is personal, and it has evolved over the past year or two. I started out, if honest, just putting something together that looked cool to me, but using it, and especially as a result of playing live with bands, various changes have happened from a practical point of view.

    So I think what I have now is much better focused on ease of use and doing the things I really need, although it can do pretty much any kind of sound. I shudder to think how many overdrive and distortion pedals I've tried also, but I can say the ones I now have are really excellent - the combination of the RAT type and Black Lotus especially.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 713Member
    That is a cool pedal board, no doubt. It must have taken a while to whittle away the chaff (?!) and fine tune it to what you need, versus what's just 'cool'.
    I like mixing metaphors. I mean, why not kill two birds in one bush?

    So is the Charlie Christian pickup really a guaranteed method of getting THAT sound and everything else is just a wannabe? How does it sound?
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,868Member

    That is a cool pedal board, no doubt. It must have taken a while to whittle away the chaff (?!) and fine tune it to what you need, versus what's just 'cool'.
    I like mixing metaphors. I mean, why not kill two birds in one bush?

    So is the Charlie Christian pickup really a guaranteed method of getting THAT sound and everything else is just a wannabe? How does it sound?

    Thanks Nick - I know we always say these things, but I really do think the pedal board has reached a state of equilibrium now and is unlikely to change very much in the foreseeable - although I will have to spend more time developing my preferred preset settings for patches on the Boss MS-3. But one good thing about that unit is it basically covers everything I could want, thus stopping me from buying any more individual effects.

    The CC pickup is amazing! - at least if you like your arch top jazz guitar tone. It's wonderfully warm and smooth, with that vintage kind of tone, and yet the clarity and note separation is fantastic too. It's turned my JP20 guitar from something that was never quite as good for jazz as some of my others, despite being a hollowbody arch top, into easily the one with the best sound for jazz. It was always a lovely guitar, let down by the stock pickup placement, and now that's fixed. The combination of the humbucker with the CC pickup is a distinct, and very nice sound in it's own right too.

    Anyhow - I've just this afternoon taken the guitar round to show to a friend who happens to be a very fine jazz guitarist indeed (a pro in fact) and he was equally taken with the pickup, and is planning to get one for his own Gibson arch top. And he kindly recorded a few examples with him playing the guitar, using the cc pickup on it's own, with the humbucker, and also the humbucker on it's own, which should be up on Youtube before too long - so I will post a link to that when it is. Actually I'll have to start a whole new thread as I took a few photos showing the progress of adding the pickup and how I did it, plus the final modified guitar. I've already done a few gigs with the guitar with a jazz band I play in, and it's just gorgeous, must stop going on... :D
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 713Member
    The MS-3 seems to be a very cool centre of the pedal board. What a brilliant idea. Tinkering with effects is always fun so I’m sure the time spent isn’t resented :smile:

    I was afraid the Charlie Christian pickup might be that good. I do like arch top jazz tone and thought I was happy with mine, but it does seem that without the c.c. I’m just missing something.

    Wow, can’t wait to hear your friend playing that guitar. Mind you, I’m sure you do a fine enough job!
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 713Member
    By the way, how does the c c compare to a P90 or an Alnico III humbucker?
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,868Member
    Nick, you're right, I should push my own playing more - although my pal is so good that whenever I go round, I tend to get a bit awed and reticent. John Anthony Guitars sell the CC models in a wide variety of versions, to fit most guitar types - strat, tele, P90 size (I think) and indeed humbucker sized. There are variations to spec in order to accomodate this, and obviously I can't speak for all of them.

    My friend is going for a humbucker size one for his own (lovely old 1949 if I have the date right) Gibson archtop - it was modded to take a neck humbucker before he got it, shocking in a way to cut a hole in an old Gibson archtop like that, but it does sound good. That said, and it sounds outrageous to say it, but we both thought he was getting a better sound, through the same amp, with my guitar and the new CC pickup. Still waiting for the new video to appear - but just so you can imagine the intimidation (unintended, he's a lovely chap) nature of his playing, this is was done fair few years ago...



    Re comparison to a P90, I wouldn't know exactly, never having had a guitar with a proper one. But I do suspect the floating pickup version I've got is a little more towards a P90 kind of tone than the original CC pickups, due to the coil being shallower and having to use 42 gauge wire like a P90 (original CC pickups had deep coils wound with 38 gauge wire). But I also suspect the sound from my pickup is somewhat clearer and less fat than a P90, while still being warm, and believe it does get a lot of the CC pickup sound at least - it can get quite an open kind of tone, especially if you back the guitar volume down a tad. The humbucker is not quite as full a sound (and it is a low wind design) and doesn't have the same kind of "vintage" breath-like responsiveness - this may be at least partly down to the CC being a single coil pickup perhaps. It's more of a modern kind of sound though, - on it's own a little edgy due to the pickup placement, but still pleasant and useable. Both pickups together does give a very effective blend of both pickup qualities, which is a real bonus to have. Very hard to describe tones though, so hope we will have the video soon. :)
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,868Member
    Cheers re the pedal board too btw - I know you've got quite a setup yourself, so appreciated. :)
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 713Member
    I know what you mean. I have a friend like that. I can't even tune a guitar when he's within a hundred miles.
    Wow, that is some sweet playing in that video. I see what you mean. Tell me he's 107 and I'll feel better too. The tone is just sublime and he seems to be so smooth and fluid.

    Your comparisons of the coils make sense, so I can imagine the CC being a bit P90 ish. I suppose the THING is that there is no one Jazz Tone. Christian would have been playing whatever Gibson could give him rather than choosing something, and that happens to be the tone that people are chasing. It's amazing how many guitarists (our heroes) play or played whatever happened to be in the shop window that particular day. We are so spoiled for choice that it's crippling. But when it comes to jazz tone, most pickups in the neck position will be representative or one famous player or another.
    I find it tough to get that woody, percussive almost acoustic-blended sound that I hear sometimes. I think some Wes recordings have that tone. Still, for me, a neck humbucker is pretty darned good, especially an alnico II which is what I'm using mostly (a Seymour Duncan '59 with an A2 magnet). And my Ricky 360, of course :)
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 713Member
    Thanks mate :)
    Megi said:

    Cheers re the pedal board too btw - I know you've got quite a setup yourself, so appreciated. :)

    :-)
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,868Member

    I know what you mean. I have a friend like that. I can't even tune a guitar when he's within a hundred miles.
    Wow, that is some sweet playing in that video. I see what you mean. Tell me he's 107 and I'll feel better too. The tone is just sublime and he seems to be so smooth and fluid.

    Your comparisons of the coils make sense, so I can imagine the CC being a bit P90 ish. I suppose the THING is that there is no one Jazz Tone. Christian would have been playing whatever Gibson could give him rather than choosing something, and that happens to be the tone that people are chasing. It's amazing how many guitarists (our heroes) play or played whatever happened to be in the shop window that particular day. We are so spoiled for choice that it's crippling. But when it comes to jazz tone, most pickups in the neck position will be representative or one famous player or another.
    I find it tough to get that woody, percussive almost acoustic-blended sound that I hear sometimes. I think some Wes recordings have that tone. Still, for me, a neck humbucker is pretty darned good, especially an alnico II which is what I'm using mostly (a Seymour Duncan '59 with an A2 magnet). And my Ricky 360, of course :)

    He is, I guess about 6/7/8 years older than me, something like that, so I at least have the comforting thought that I have a bit of time to catch up... lol! But I've known him for decades, and he was always good. And it is helpful to have people like that around in the end.

    Absolutely right, no one tone, of course not, and it's such an individual thing. And as is wearisomely repeated, but there's a great deal of truth in it, even if not the whole story - "tone is in the fingers". (Tip, if you want to be annoying on guitar forums, whenever anyone asks anything whatsoever about the virtues of any bit of kit, loftily remark that "tone is in the fingers" :D ).

    Wes sounded glorious with a humbucker on a Gibson L5, although he used other guitars earlier in his career - I'd love to have the spare dosh to find out what I'd sound like with something similar. I like alnico 2 and 3 for neck humbuckers - the 3 tends to have a little less body to the tone, and a bit more high frequency chime to it, to my ears. And you're right, it is tough to get that combined electric/acoustic kind of tone - the amp can make quite a difference as well with that sort of thing, and on the demo, I actually think the GHS Brite Flats ground-wound type strings are helping - they have a crisper, brighter tone than standard flat wounds. Some guitar models now have piezo pickups that can be blended in - doesn't particularly appeal to me somehow. And not that I always want the electric/acoustic tone anyhow - I do like a good electric jazz tone in fact. Anyhow, I waffle on as ever...


  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,868Member
    Realise I'm talking somewhat about the demos of my guitar which aren't posted on this thread, hope not confusing.
  • ReaGeorgeReaGeorge Posts: 98Member
    edited December 5
    Megi said:

    I've known him for decades, and he was always good. And it is helpful to have people like that around in the end.

    I think it's SO valuable to know and be able to play with people who are essentially better than you, something that so far I've felt laking in my life, not because I'm particularly good, more because I don't get out enough or have any friends :P

  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,868Member
    ReaGeorge said:

    Megi said:

    I've known him for decades, and he was always good. And it is helpful to have people like that around in the end.

    I think it's SO valuable to know and be able to play with people who are essentially better than you, something that so far I've felt laking in my life, not because I'm particularly good, more because I don't get out enough or have any friends :P

    Absolutely Rea - a good point, and bears repeating. Seeking out people who are better than us is hugely beneficial, and I do try to be humble, and appreciative and positive about the talents of others - people can be better than me in a variety of ways :D even if I do have some things down better than them sometimes. Too easy for us guitarists to get into that "gunslinger", "I'm better than him/her", competitive mode, and good to be open to learning from those with things to teach us, and not be afraid of putting oneself in the line of fire, so to speak. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, as they say.
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