Quintessential Jazz Amps

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by johmica, Jun 16, 2021.

  1. timbgtr

    timbgtr Tele-Meister

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    I have one agree that these are great jazz amps, but they are terrible for anything else, if that matters to you. Like playing through a stereo.
     
  2. SimonBaja

    SimonBaja TDPRI Member

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    Congratulations on your 503. I've had one of them - very nice. More Benedettoey than Gibsoney in tone I thought.

    It's got a solid top, so more potential for feedback at high volumes with a tube amp than with a solid state amp. .. something to do with the additional harmonics a tube amp produces apparently... I certainly noticed that tendancy to boominess if not feedback with my 503 through a Blues Junior (12“).

    The majority of classic jazz amps have been listed above, but I also hear a lot of love in jazz forums for DV Mark amps and Quilter amps. A decade or two ago, big names were playing though Raezers Edge cabs with Acoustic Image Clarus heads, but less so nowadays it seems. The Princeton is considered a great size and tone for jazz. I got a pretty good clean tone out of a Katana 100 MKII recently, but couldn't dial out a sterile/bright/treble sheen however much I tried, and went back to an old HH Studio 60 solid state mosfet amp from the 80's.

    As a rule with archtops, the bigger the speaker, the bigger the bass. So, if it were me, I'd be looking at something with a 10" speaker for your 503, but that's just me.

    Few jazzers have a roadie, so usually look for portability, and I think that influences popular choices too.

    I'm also searching for the dream jazz amp to use with my 1976 Aria L5 copy. I've researched lots and ultimately just ordered a new Mambo 10" amp. They're in Princeton /Quilter /Hendriksson territory in terms of price, so not cheap, but well regarded by players who have them and I think worth a look. Quite a long wait for them at the moment because made in UK up near Manchester and there are import delays on components thanks to Brexit.

    Whatever way you head, enjoy the journey!
     
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  3. RobbieAG

    RobbieAG TDPRI Member

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    Any amp that has good clean tones can be used. No need for a specifically "jazz" amp. I have a Roland Cube 60 and a Mesa Boogie Mark IIB. Both work great. Most Fender tube amps would work great too.
     
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  4. Zoot Zoot

    Zoot Zoot TDPRI Member

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    The Fender "The Twin" can be picked up these days at a bargain price as it never had the popularity of other Fender models, but the clean channel is one of the best I've ever heard/played from any amp.
     
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  5. tombob

    tombob Tele-Holic

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    I heard jazz guitarist playing through a Peavey Nashville 400 that was surprisingly great sounding. The 15” Back Widow speaker really worked for jazz. It really had that dark without getting muddy tone that many jazz players want.
    Personally I love the clean tone of a high power tweed twin, tweeds don’t get enough credit for their warm, thick clean tone. Another one of my favorite clean sounds is a JTM45 through a cab with either EVMs or JBLs in it. I bet one through a old Showman 1x15 cab would be great for Jazz.
     
  6. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Afflicted

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    Was lurking and observing on this thread and was just about to say.. it seems one of the important characteristics of a 'good' jazz amp is tied strongly to the choice of speaker. Big, 'even sounding' (not spiky mids, highs), powerful speakers that can give ample clean headroom seem to be a key component in the better amps. With some amps, the EQ can even out / 'dial out' any harshness that might exist, but some just work better than others. A big fan of JBL, EMVs, and similar here too.
     
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  7. Arfage

    Arfage Tele-Meister

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    The older guys they used to interview in Guitar Player Magazine were using Polytone (often the Brute) Twins and Supers - they liked more clean power than a deluxe. And oh yes, The JC-120 showed up a lot.
     
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  8. Bartholomew3

    Bartholomew3 Friend of Leo's

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    I've seen these "Key-Club amps in various New York studios back in the Sixties - great idea, a lot of them were Fender rather than Ampeg. Studio player on our sessions walked in and unlocked the amp with a key. I think the key was an on/off switch but no key = no power. Also the story about slashing speakers in a couple of places with a razor blade to get fuzz-tones is 100% true.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2021
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  9. larsjm

    larsjm TDPRI Member

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    Gibson GA-40.
    Thankfully they're cheap and easy to come by.
     
  10. yamatele

    yamatele TDPRI Member

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    1) The legendary jazz recordings engineered by Rudy Van Gelder in his studio all utilized his tweed deluxe.
    2) The late GREAT Joe Pass told me that the only reason that he used a Polytone was that it fit under the seat on the plane.
    3) Jimmy Bruno told me he records with a BF Fender Twin, same amp as I saw Tal Farlow use live in a club but that may be because it was a rental which was the amp du jour in contract riders.
     
  11. 62t100d

    62t100d TDPRI Member

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    First, define "jazz". Second, define "Jazz tone". Third, solid top or laminate?

    I use multiple guitars depending on gigs, some archtop, some solid, and after a lifetime of playing I'm currently favoring a Fender Mustang III—out of production, but very versatile and tweakable.
    I have it set up with banks of patches for the different guitars, some clean, some with effects, enabling me to switch sounds for different styles of jazz (swing, bossa, fusion, acoustic, etc.) all or any of which may be called for in the course of a gig. You have choices of cab simulation or can run it vanilla through its own speaker cab.
    Also, it's not too heavy, and will handle everything from an acoustic whisper to high energy hurricane!

    Its software is no longer supported by Fender, but there's a very good app called "Remuda" for Android, which I run on a cheap Kindle Fire, leaving my iPad free for iGigBook, etc.
     
  12. SelfGoverning

    SelfGoverning TDPRI Member

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    I'm a fan of tweed amps for jazz but for several years used a Princeton. My current go to amp is a Victoria Vicky Verb, plenty loud enough for small venue but needs to be mic'd in larger halls.
     
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  13. BlueGillGreg

    BlueGillGreg Tele-Meister

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    I like my PolyTone MiniBrute IV.
     
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  14. BelairPlayer

    BelairPlayer Tele-Afflicted

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    I think jazz players, real working jazz players, are holding all the Roland Cube amps that I never see turning up on Craigs List. Not the little practice combos, but the bigger ones.
     
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  15. BlueGillGreg

    BlueGillGreg Tele-Meister

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    I used one in schools for 15 years and it's recently gone haywire: only makes a loud, screaming sound. More than I can troubleshoot, and not an emergency, so it'll wait. When it went wrong, it went very very wrong.
     
  16. teleforumnoob

    teleforumnoob Friend of Leo's

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    Back in the day Polytone was the ticket. Hugely popular with jazzers but also electrified acoustic guys.
    The New Grass Revival's backline was Polytone.

    Nowadays there's plenty of powerful but compact and clean solid state amps like Clarus, MV Mark, and Quilter.

    Me, I'll take my Carr Rambler any day over those. (If I could play jazz that is)
     
  17. FenderLover

    FenderLover Poster Extraordinaire

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    Jim Hall - Gibson GA-50. There's a jazz amp.
     
  18. Dik Ellis

    Dik Ellis Tele-Meister

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    The Twin was the choice of some of the best : Benson, Montgomery, Burrell, ect.
     
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  19. kjatexas

    kjatexas Tele-Meister

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  20. dogrocketp

    dogrocketp TDPRI Member

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    I played for 20 years with a Tech 21 Trademark 60. Once you figure out the non-intuitive controls, it’ll do basically anything in any genre. The last 6 years it’s been my go-to for the blues. The inputs on the back have to be kept clean, and you need to have the foot pedal ALWAYS plugged in whether or not you use it.
     
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