Picking the Right Jazz Guitar

As an amateur Jazz guitar player, I am often asked about the best guitar to buy for playing Jazz.  That is a question I have wrestled with often, and the answer has come to cost me a lot of money and sweat, but I do feel prepared today to answer that inquiry for you in full.

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Sadowsky Jimmy Bruno Signature Polished Roundwound Strings Review

Other than the guitar, the most important factor in creating a great Jazz guitar sound are the strings you wind up tuning on your box.  I have reviewed many guitar string sets here on Boles Blues in order to find the best match for the style of music I want to play.

I have been partial to the Thomastik-Infeld strings because they last forever, but with the acquisition of my new Sadowsky Jimmy Bruno Jazz guitar, I had another set of strings to try —  The Sadowsky Jimmy Bruno Signature Set 13-52 — and here’s what I initially said about setting up my Gibson L5 with the new Sadowsky Bruno Strings:

When I picked up my Sadowsky Bruno today to play it — the guitar had morphed into a deeper, richer, tone and the playability was just a bit keener. Was the guitar getting acclimated, or was I bending my ability to better match its setup? The guitar is already starting to come into tone and I’ve only had it since Friday.

Now my new 1998 L5 sits there gently weeping at me. I picked it up for the first time today — to install Sadowsky “Jimmy Bruno Set” 13s on it! I will report back in a week or so in a new strings review!

I’ve been playing the new Sadowsky Bruno strings on my Bruno Jazz guitar and on my Gibson L5 archtop for a week and the sound is just grand.  The strings stay in tune and, like the Thomastik-Infeld strings, they grow warmer and richer the longer you play them!

Continue reading → Sadowsky Jimmy Bruno Signature Polished Roundwound Strings Review

Why the Bass Player is the Second Most Important Player in a Band

I was told many years ago by an orchestra leader in New York City that the most important part of any band or orchestra is the drummer.  “The drummer,” he said, “is the steam in the engine.  It is the drummer who sets the beat and everything else flows from that rhythm.  Without a good drummer, you have no direction, no impulse leading you forward.”

The lesson I took away from that conversation is that the beat the drummer sets is what forces everyone into the same context.  Without that anticipatory thump, everyone else makes their own time, and you end up with chaos.

A few years ago, I remember something Late Night with David Letterman Sadowsky bassist Will Lee said in an interview about how having a bad drummer can sink a session, and how he then has to step up as the bassist and take over the role of the drummer.

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The Jimmy Bruno Guitar Workshop Review

Jimmy Bruno is one of the premier, living, Jazz guitarists of our time.  His playing style is immediately recognizable.  He has a signature guitar built by luthier Roger Sadowsky you can buy.  He’s the boss man.  He’s a top teacher.  You can now study Jazz guitar with him online at the Jimmy Bruno Guitar Workshop.

Continue reading → The Jimmy Bruno Guitar Workshop Review