Do You Need a Jazz Guitar?

A recent article posted in the Facebook group Jazz Guitar Confidential posed the question “Do You Need a Jazz Guitar to Play Jazz Music?”

Benedetto President and a truly wonderful Jazz Guitarist in his own right – Howard Paul – added a response which I happened to really like. So I asked him if it would be ok to post it here on Jazz Guitar Life and he agreed. Here is his response just slightly edited.

“It’s called a “jazz guitar” because in 1922 when Lloyd Loar created the first one, it was the only acoustic plectrum instrument with the volume and projection to cut through the newly evolving “jazz orchestra.” All of our pioneers had to use this style of instrument to be heard beyond the parlour instruments that were popular prior the L5’s invention. The more recent guitarist who choose semi, chambered, or solid body instruments to perform did so because technology changes allowing cheaper, louder, and more feedback resistant instruments. The newer, much cheaper and easily mass produced electric instruments changed both the music and the access to the instruments, consequently increasing the guitar’s popularity.

The Archtop guitar celebrates its 100th anniversary next year, and anyone writing about “Do you need a jazz guitar to play jazz music” misses an opportunity to celebrate the brilliance of the construction, the pioneers that gave it voice, and the tradition carried on by building these marvellous instrument.”

Howard Paul

Thank you Howard and for those looking for even more info on the Arch Top and its sigificance, click on over to this Wikipedia page.

If curious, here’s the link to the original article:

About Lyle Robinson 353 Articles
Lyle Robinson is the owner/creator/publisher and editor of Jazz Guitar Life, an online magazine dedicated to the Jazz Guitar and its community of fine players worldwide.

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