Megi's Jazz Odyssey - the return

1171819202123»

Comments

  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,078Member, Moderator
    Hope the rehearsal went great and that you fitted in. Best of luck for Saturday.
  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 941Member
    Sounds like a fun gig Megi. One of the reasons I do dep stuff is to push myself. I lack any kind of formal musical training and the only lessons I ever had were from the woodwork teacher in the odd lunchtime session at school in the early 70s.
    As a consequence my style is very much my own but lots of bits stolen from the greats on who's shoulders we all stand.
    I like that you realise what you can do to improve and are doing something about it, I sometimes try and wing it a bit too much and my lack of formal training bounds me in as well as forces me to seek alternative or simplified parts.
    There is a youtube workshop of the late great Tommy Tedesco (the greatest most recorded guitarest you've never heard of) where he blatently admits to not playing the stuff he can't on the first or second run through, he even skips stuff on the real recording. But he says he always plays in time and if he misses a few notes out nobody (or hardly ever) notices or says anything.
    For anyone that wants to be inspired, this man has it. (it's a hour long so get a cup of tea and sit down).
    Let us know how the gig goes, I bet you do well.

  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,190Member
    edited October 2018
    Thanks Jocko - the rehearsal was good - "fitting in" is a good thing to think about, I was definitely trying to do that, and think I largely succeeded. The keyboard player is a superb musician, and very nice chap, and gave me a few useful pointers at times, which was appreciated.

    Tommy Tedesco is a name I do know - I remember him writing a column in Guitar Player magazine years ago (wish I'd paid more attention to that now), but he has a reputation as a man with amazing music sight-reading abilities. Still comforting if even he talks about missing out bits he can't immediately play though. Thanks for that link ES :)
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,190Member
    edited October 2018
    Out of interest, I took the black-burst Shine SIL-510 to the rehearsal (fitted with magnificent Ben Fletcher humbuckers that he only charged me £50 for the set ), plus my Polytone Minibrute amp. It sounded great - can do the jazz archtop-ish thing when needed, but it's versatile enough to also handle some of the more modern numbers, or funky kind of stuff, or whatever, also.

    I will be taking the same setup (plus a backup amp) on Saturday - the amp will be miked up though.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,190Member
    edited January 23
    Time to revive the jazz odyssey - I had a bit of a boys day out today, and went with a bassist friend to visit the big Gear4Music shop/warehouse on the outskirts of York. Anyhow - the guitar section has a pretty huge display area, which still only shows a fraction of their stock, but impressive all the same. The staff were also most helpful - I explained to a young chap that I was very unlikely to buy anything but he was still happy to fetch guitars from the warehouse, or get them down from the third row up high on the walls.

    So, I first tried out a couple of 5 string basses - a Yamaha TRBX305 and an Ibanez SR305 - both at around the 300 and a bit quid mark. I really thought I'd like the Ibanez more, but to my surprise much preferred the Yamaha, which seemed to have a nicer range of tones, and also the fingerboard wood was a nicer-looking dark rosewood. In fact, a very impressive, professional seeming instrument for not a huge amount of money.

    My friend then tried out a £2099 modern version Musicman Stingray 4 string bass, with a lovely baked maple, satin finish neck. This really was a beautiful instrument, immaculately finished, including the fretwork, and it sounded superb, with an active electronics circuit that made very effective use of the single pickup (I had a bit of a play on it also).

    I had really gone intending to look at basses, but being a guitarist at heart, I could not help asking to try a couple of those - an Ibanez AS83-STE semi-acoustic, in a very attractive metallic blue shade, and an Ibanez AFC95 jazz guitar, with floating pickups. The assistant sorted me out with a Boss Nextone modelling amp to use, set to a clean Fender Twin model.

    Anyhow, both these guitars are, imo, absolute belters. If I had £500 to spend on a jazz archtop, I'd find it near impossible to resist the AFC95 - it has a gorgeous, lively, woody classic archtop sound, and plays very easily indeed. And it looks terrific too. I'd have to back to back them, but I think it's quite possible I'd actually prefer it to my JP20 Joe Pass model archtop. Incredible value for money anyhow.

    But that said, I came to the conclusion that for my own taste I preferred the fuller, more sustaining tone from the AS83 semi-acoustic, even if it is a less of a traditional jazz guitar sound. In a way this is no surprise, as I've felt this way regarding what works for me in guitar tones for a while. But that consideration aside, the AS83 just seemed to me to be a really very good example of a semi-acoustic, with a great, warm, big kind of sound. Nice neck, very comfortable to use, and stunning, beautiful looks (pictures on the web don't quite do it justice). The frets a little rough at the ends, but I could sort this out myself no problem. I think the pickups, which are labelled as the classic Ibanez Super 58s, are probably excellent, and likely one reason it sounded so great. A fantastic thing anyhow, and again ridiculous value for money in my humble opinion - they can be had at the mo for under £500. As you may guess, I am in fact severely tempted to get one of these while the January sales are on, oh dear...
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,674Member, Moderator
    edited January 23
    Nice day out, it seems.

    There are plenty of good reviews of the AS83, here.

    And I am sure you get around, Megi as there is talk on jazzguitar.be about upgrading the pickups and a certain Meggy of Lincolnshire had a thing or two to say, here.

    I paid less that the price of a new AS83 for my secondhand AS153 which is so nice, and incidentally, has the same pickups as the AS83. I would have liked to suggest you look at other models in the range but if you have a guitar in your hands and it feels and sounds that good why on earth would I want to point you elsewhere?
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,190Member
    Lester said:

    Nice day out, it seems.

    There are plenty of good reviews of the AS83, here.

    And I am sure you get around, Megi as there is talk on jazzguitar.be about upgrading the pickups and a certain Meggy of Lincolnshire had a thing or two to say, here.

    I paid less that the price of a new AS83 for my secondhand AS153 which is so nice, and incidentally, has the same pickups as the AS83. I would have liked to suggest you look at other models in the range but if you have a guitar in your hands and it feels and sounds that good why on earth would I want to point you elsewhere?


    You're quite right Lester, I have indeed prattled on about similar guitars and pickups before on far too many occasions, the evidence is undeniable and strewn all over the internet, guilty as charged m'lud and all that. In my defense, or at least some mitigation, I believe it is only in the last year that Ibanez have been putting super 58 pickups in the AS83 model, and also they seem to often change the specs of their various models, and indeed change the factories they use to make them. So today's AS83 will be somewhat different to previous versions - it even has an ebony fingerboard, and is now made in Indonesia.

    But as you suggest, there is a certain value to having an instrument in one's hands and having the direct experience that it is really to one's taste. And I was really taken with the steel blue metallic finish - very pretty, and just a bit different, and call me daft but I've just like the idea of having a blue guitar (my favourite colour). Anyhow, I played the thing, and just felt a certain connection or pull, which is for me hard to ignore - but then I do know I already have more than enough guitars. I will mull it over I guess.

    Your AS153 I'm sure is a fantastic guitar, and for the money you paid a huge bargain, no argument there.
  • Derek_RDerek_R Posts: 1,700Member
    Interesting stuff, guys. I've been halfheartedly looking at these type of guitars recently, and there are a few in the Ibanez range that appeal. I think I'm a few years away, though. Wouldn't use one in anger enough to warrant it at the mo', but am starting to ponder anyway...
  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 941Member
    I love me a guitar safari (to use the Joe Bonamassa phrase). Last year I got involved with some guys on another forum and we met at PMT Cambridge where we spent the afternoon checking gear out. It was interesting how everyones needs, wants and taste was so varied and made the event quite entertaining. Plus talking guitars to guitar nuts is irrisistable. We then slunked off to an Indian restaurant for the evening and talked even more gear/music.
    Anyway Megi I sat here thinking maybe I should buy that blue guitar. Don't worry I wont steel it from under your nose, but you do make it sound tempting.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,190Member
    Cheers Derek and ES - indeed it was a bit of a guitar safari, I like that term. I do get a bit carried away with the old gas from time to time I know, but I did come to some, I hope useful, conclusions. One of which was that there really is a lot of value in trying out a potential guitar or bass purchase, and not just taking a punt on the internet. I've have done the punt purchase thing a fair bit in the past, and I think I've been lucky on a number of occasions, but it's risky.

    For example - I was thinking I liked the look the Ibanez 5 string bass - only speaking for the model/example I tried, but if I had ordered that without trying, it would have been a disappointment. The specs seemed good on paper, and I have had good experience with the brand in the past, but it just didn't gel with me, and I couldn't get a sound I liked from it. The Yamaha - I would have said the bridge string spacing was wider than I would like, but in the hands it just felt good to use, and I did like the sounds. The only way to find out things like this is to go to a shop and try. So Derek, if you are interested in semi-acoustic or hollowbody guitars, go and try different stuff out. And now I'd better get my AS83 ordered pronto before ES nicks it... :wink:
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,183Member
    edited January 25
    Megi - I loved that. Really honest music. Please thank Beryl for me too. WOW !

    Don't do professional recording. Keep it like that. So cool and retro.

    (I must have responded to an earlier comment by mistake. Re your soundcloud.)
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,190Member

    Megi - I loved that. Really honest music. Please thank Beryl for me too. WOW !

    Don't do professional recording. Keep it like that. So cool and retro.

    (I must have responded to an earlier comment by mistake. Re your soundcloud.)

    Thanks for listening to our humble efforts I must say KP, much appreciated. We did go on to do a recording of Night & Day using a friends home recording setup, where I overdubbed an extra guitar part, and which came out very well imho. And then more recently we did what you advise against, and recorded some stuff at a local studio - it's OK I guess, (Beryl likes it more than me) but my opinion is that we did indeed lose something of that retro sound.

    I still find it hard to listen to my own playing on any recording - I tend to hear the vast gulf between myself and my guitar heroes, rather than the good things. Cheers again though :)
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,190Member
    edited January 25
    I'll just re-post the link FWIW https://soundcloud.com/vintage-cool - we did this 5 or so years ago, there are things on there re my own playing that I cringe at a bit, and hope I'd do better with today. But I still think these recordings, done live, and simply using a couple of channels on a Peavey PA amp straight into a mini-disc recorder did have a certain something. The duo is still on the go also, and we have a lunchtime jazz gig coming up this Sunday in fact.
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,183Member
    We're our own worst critics, aren't we !

    No. That music is really lovely to listen to. I often by band CDs and find they are nothing like the gig I've heard. "No. I want a recording of how you sounded tonight !"
  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,078Member, Moderator
    I have often bought albums after gigs, and been very disappointed how unlike the gig they were.
  • Derek_RDerek_R Posts: 1,700Member
    I've bought a number of CDs by professional artists and have been disappointed that they don't sound like the live You Tube clips that led me to buy the CDs in the first place. I think a lot of people get in the studio and think "Great, we can add drums and bass and keyboards... horns..." whereas the YT videos were often just one man and a guitar (which of course is the finest set-up). I'm far more careful these days and always check out with Alexa before spending my hard earned cash.
  • Derek_RDerek_R Posts: 1,700Member
    Thoroughly enjoying Vintage Cool this evening - it's kicking The Voice well into touch. Great stuff!
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,190Member
    Belated thank you for listening to our music Derek, and glad you enjoyed it. :)
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,190Member
    Just got back from another boys day out visit to the big Gear4Music warehouse/store on the outskirts of York. Again just went along for the ride, again bought nothing.

    But I did have a general browse around, and just a quick go on various guitars dotted around in the showroom. Tried a B-stock Yamaha nylon string electro-acoustic (just acoustically) and it was a nice guitar - as an acoustic, decent but nothing exceptional, but played very well indeed, very well finished, and if it works well for getting a nylon string sound plugged in, then worth the money I guess (£770ish IIRC).

    Also had a look at a couple of Epiphone Casinos, and liked those - didn't see a price, but acoustically they were resonant and full-sounding, and looked well made and finished. Also looked at an Ibanez RG370AHMZ solid body, and again that seemed resonant, well made, and with a very attractive blue-burst finish.

    Not so great imho were some of the cheaper budget models - the various "Hartwood" semi-acoustic type offerings (I think G4M's own brand) I didn't think a lot to - they seemed dead acoustically, and some with fret ends left a bit rough, and somehow just uninspiring to play. I'd spend the bit extra for an Epiphone or Ibanez every time I think.

    At the other end of the scale, they had quite a few Fender Custom Shop jobs in stock, from about 3 grand upwards. Most had (admittedly well done) relic type finishes. Even models that were obviously not vintage replicas - for example with 22 fret necks and noise-cancelling pickups had the relicing. Examining the guitars, I could find no fault at all with the finishing, fretwork and construction - but you would expect this at the price of course. Other than that though, I have to say I just don't get it, and fail to see how these guitars are worth the money -- there's nothing wrong with them, but I honestly can't see how they would perform any better than well set up guitars costing less than a grand. Just having a quick acoustic strum on a few, and I didn't detect any extra special resonance or anything. But just one man's opinion of course.
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,674Member, Moderator
    Having had the privilege of being able to own quite a range of guitars and, at least in the electric quarter, know what suits me and what doesn't, I like hearing or reading of other players' experiences and preferences. Thanks for the update, Megi, and, while you say it is just one man's opinion, I suspect that many an experienced or discerning player would agree with you.
  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 941Member
    Interesting you should visis Gear4music, I recently bought a powered loudspeaker from them only to discover it was shipped from Germany! No problem, it arrived as tracked within the two days specified and was very competitivly priced. My first experience with the retailer and very positive too.
    As an aside, if anyone wants a small powered speaker for acoustic guitar/voice/keys/monitor etc. The current Turbosound Milan M10 is a steal for what is impressive spec and sound. The new Turbosound 10" + horn is far more powerful and loaded with spec, but twice the price!
    I rarely get those boys days out what with work getting in the way and all, I hope you enjoyed it Graham. It sounds like time well spent and I tend to agree with @Lester about having similar opinions of instruments.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,190Member
    Thank you chaps, reassuring that other guitarists feel they might tend to agree with my impressions. As for Gear4Music, I don't want to give the impression they are perfect - the staff are friendly and helpful, and they have a vast stock of products, and I too have found their internet service to be good and efficient. I think the bulk of the guitars I looked at in the showroom had just been hung up straight from the boxes with no setup check or anything. Some were good, but I think that's down to the factory, and others were not. Perhaps "box shifters" is an unfair description and going too far, but it is a case of buyer beware, and a bit of advance knowledge of what is a good bet, and what isn't, would help enormously when ordering a guitar. Which is one reason I found the trip quite useful.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 961Member
    Sounds like you had a fun trip, even if you didn’t buy anything.
    I had a somewhat lesser experience than you, but did buy something!

    I was there about a month ago, trying out jazz semis, and absolutely loved the Ibanez AFC95. The lady who helped me was very helpful in that she brought out whatever guitars I wanted, but couldn’t offer any advice. I didn’t take the AFC95 home, but decided to look at keyboards. I told the nice lady what I wanted and she went away for a while, returning with printouts of the website, with two recommendations. Neither were what I was looking for. I looked around for a while, then went back to the front desk and talked to someone else. I told him what I wanted and he just said “well, we have a lot of keyboards, it depends what you want.” If he had said “I’m not a keyboard guy” ONE more time, I’d have screamed. He was so nonchalant and dismissive it wasn’t funny. So after another wander and a think about how to fix my problem, I bought an iRig BlueBoard footpedal, iRig interface and midi cables They work a treat with my iPad. I also ordered a new keyboard off eBay -a refurb for less than half full price.

    So my point is that gear4music is a warehouse, online ordering shop. Do your own research and go play there if you have to. They have a free return policy so I’ll just use that in future and try things out at home.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,190Member
    I absolutely loved the AFC95 also - tried that on my earlier trip to G4M, a total belter of a guitar I thought, and excellent value. Might have tried the same one you did for all I know. Not good re the keyboard enquiry I have to say, no points there. As you say, do your research in advance, and take them for what they are.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 961Member
    How interesting...we may have played the same guitar! I did nearly buy it too.
    Oh well, music shops are a bit hit and miss aren’t they?
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,190Member
    edited October 5
    Another of my occasional music shop trip reports - had to take a relative to Lincoln today, and then had a few hours to kill there. Spent maybe 15 minutes at what seems to be the only music shop in Lincoln these days - it's one of the "Music Room" chain that has shops up and down the country. So ground floor - music tutors/books for various instruments, cash desk with various guitar strings behind it, a few acoustic guitars hung up. Room at the back has electric guitars on the walls, various amps stacked in the middle with a couple or so set up for use plus a couple of seats. Stairs go up to a room with keyboards.

    Anyhow, I just had a browse round the walls of the electric guitar room. They had a few nice looking Ibanez, including a striking looking cherry red semi acoustic I liked the look of. A whole wall of Fender, including an elite strat that looked great - a striking Ice Blue Satin metallic blue finish, dark tortoise scratchplate, aged white/cream knobs, HSS pickup setup with noise-cancelling single coils and a zebra coil humbucker. Nice dark red-brown rosewood [edit: actually non-black ebony I find after online research, nice anyhow] fingerboard, the whole thing looked well put together and I was most taken with the appearance. £1795 though, which is a whole lot of money to me. A few other Fenders on the wall at similar prices.

    Did not see a single Gibson, and only 5 or so Epiphones, and none of them were the 335 type that I would have been interested in. Maybe 6 or 8 Gretsch guitar - don't know much about those to be honest, and not really keen on the looks.

    Overall, yes they had some nice stuff in, but I was just a bit disappointed with the sales chap in there - he asked if I needed any help, I said just having a look to be honest, after which he seem a bit cold and uninterested in me. I still said thank you to him as I left - "yeh mate cheers" in response. Probably doesn't get paid a whole lot and I wouldn't want to overstate it, but I felt he could have been a bit warmer and more friendly. I was admiring the red Ibanez semi acoustic - OK, I didn't ask, but he could have offered for me to try it - who knows, that might have led to a sale further down the line. So overall, a bit of a "meh" experience for me.

    In other news, I bought a guitar neck on ebay the other day - should not have done it but could not resist. It's a solid bocote wood strat neck, and I'm going to fit it to my gold metallic strat - I will sell on the Allparts rosewood board neck that was on there before.

    image
    image
    image
    image
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,674Member, Moderator
    Bocote is not a wood I know, although I have in the last half hour read quite a bit about it. To look at it reminds me of bubinga.

    I was sorry to read about your lacklustre time in the Lincoln music shop. I am from south Bucks and the two music shops in High Wycombe have both closed and I noticed this summer that the one in Beaconsfield (which serves mostly schools and classical music) has one half up for sale. That just leaves Perfect Pitch, a really tiny shop in Chesham.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,190Member
    Thank you Lester - I would say the colour is somewhat darker than bubinga, and also not with the same red-brown kind of hue that bubinga (at least the bubinga I've seen) has. Also the grain is not quite as tight. It's heavier than maple, but has a similar hardness. It was a busy Saturday re the music shop, so maybe I didn't catch them at their best.

    Anyhow, I've now got the neck fitted to my gold strat - it looks really gorgeous on there in the flesh - the following photos are not that great, but for what it's worth I'll post them. The neck has had a fret level and dress, a Graphtech Tusq XL nut and string tree fitted, and a set of Axesrus staggered locking tuners. I had to ream out the vintage size tuner holes in the headstock to 10mm to take the modern style machines, which is a job I don't recommend at all, but worth doing for me anyhow.

    image
    image
    image
    image

    One thing I really like about the neck is the 10" - 16" compound radius, it's the first compound radius neck I've had, and it works great. You can set the action really low, and there is no hint of chocking on bends, or string buzz anywhere.
  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,078Member, Moderator
    That neck goes well with the gold body. Looks great.
    I have had to open out the tuner holes on a few necks (fitting good tuners to a Squier neck), and it is real pain. Found the best way was to glue in a hardwood dowel, centre dab it, then use a wood auger.

    image
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,190Member
    Jocko said:

    That neck goes well with the gold body. Looks great.
    I have had to open out the tuner holes on a few necks (fitting good tuners to a Squier neck), and it is real pain. Found the best way was to glue in a hardwood dowel, centre dab it, then use a wood auger.

    image

    You're method is undoubtedly superior to mine Jocko. I just used a round file with 240 grit wet and dry sandpaper wrapped around it. I had masking tape on the front and back of the headstock marking where the edge of the holes needed to be when done. The finished job looked fairly neat, but a close inspection would show not quite perfectly round holes. And it took flipping ages to do as well - Bocote is a pretty hard wood like maple. But no matter, I was able to get a nice straight line of machine heads in the right place, so the end result I wanted is there.
Sign In or Register to comment.