Friday, November 9, 2012

Best bop sound ever?

I remember several discussions on RMMGJ about what people thought is the best recorded jazz guitar sound ever. Though the answer to this question seems fairly subjective, it was surprising how many guitarists named Joe Pass' sound on "For Django" and "Joy Spring." These albums - not suprisingly on my desert island list - were both recorded in 1964. At the time Joe was playing a Gibson ES 175.

Apart from the classic ES 175 jazz sound, the album is a personal favorite for many jazz guitar players. And rightly so, jazz guitar does not come any better than this. Here's the title track:

It is amazing that Joe recorded a second album in the same year that has received similar status. This time a live album. Same great guitar sound. Same great playing.

And a few later Joe Pass albums that capture the perfect bop sound are "Intercontinental" and "Simplicity."

Another classic guitar sound that I greatly dig is Tal Farlow's. How woody can a guitar sound? Tal has a bit more attack in his sound. Especially on "The Swinging Guitar of Tal Farlow (1956) it is beautifully captured:

In the end all great players sound great on their instruments of course, but these two guys stand out for me personally.


  1. Great blog!!
    What a pleasure to see this ..

  2. Great blog and yes, subjectivity and preferences walk hand in hand. People (like guitarists and guitar aficionados) tend to bring up names we are all familiar with, often ignoring the lesser known. For me 'the' real bopper is Peter Leitch, and not mainly for his great skills and tone but for his approach of be-bop in general: uncompromising and original. Give him a listen!

  3. Congratulations for your award, your blog is indeed very inspiring.
    I agree 100 % with you Dick that represent the best Bop tone also in my book.
    Tone might be mostly in the fingers but lets face it, a good laminated Gibson in the hands of a good player is unmatched!
    Your taste in guitar tone shows up in your very own playing, truly inspiring. Keep up the Bop flame!!!