Coldness of the guitar

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  1. jazzbum

    Anyone else feel like, that the electric guitar just seems really slick, and cold in nature? I've been feeling this way lately, and it has made playing very difficult.

    I especially struggle because I love Thelonious Monk a lot, and try to play his tunes, but I really feel like "jazz guitar" is far too cold to do him justice. Same feeling about Duke Ellington, Strayhorn, Ornette, Mingus etc....Even my own tunes don't sound warm and expressive on guitar. I'd rather hear them on piano, or a horn section, or even acoustic guitar.

    I definitely don't feel that way about guitarists who I admire - like Kurt, P. Bernstein, Grant Green etc....especially Kurt seems to have addressed this in his playing - the voice, the effects really help. It just seems like an endless struggle lately to get the feeling I want from the electric guitar - not just the sound.

    Things to think about?

  2. aramaya

    Instead of looking at it as a disadvantage, why not find the beauty in that icy quality of the instrument?
    perhaps in the midst of that you will realize that what you are hearing is your own
    expression and then you will find sonorities that express your inner dynamic.

  3. Alvin

    I hear you, man...
    It's difficult for me when I have listened to a lot of acoustic instruments and/or orchestral music, and then going to play my electric.
    For me, I'd go for classical nylon string guitar + fingernails, if there weren't the whole mess with amplifying the damn thing. The soul you can get out of these instruments is just amazing for me.

  4. I think you can love the guitar for what it is or hate it for what it is not. Each instrument is a voice.
    If you are finding you can't express what you want to on the instrument, it may do you well to write for other instruments. I don't think it is the guitar player inside you that experiences the coldness of the instrument, but the composer.

  5. fakejake

    This may only partially be related to your issue, but from time to time I deliberately practice on what was my first guitar, a cheap strat copy that sounds bad and plays worse, through a battery driven bedroom amp. Talk about a cold, harsh guitar sound... After struggleing with it for a day or two, I go back to my high quality main guitar and always feel blessed with and inspired by its warm, organic sound.

  6. mf

    remember that electricity is perfectly natural and organic. think of lightning. lightning is pretty expressive id say. make it so your guitar can tap into that natural electric energy.

    for me, that meant making sure my signal path was completely analog. i also realized most of my pedals were compressing my signal in bad ways, even the nice ones. now i just play into an amp with its own overdrive and real spring reverb. try out a nice tube amp if you haven't done that much.

  7. jazzbum

    Thanks guys, some really good stuff to think about.

    I've actually decided to quit taking gigs, and take a little break from playing, until it starts to feel good again. I have never done that in 12 years of playing jazz. It feels good so far, can enjoy music on different terms.

    When I pick up my axe again, it will definitely be refreshing. And a tube amp purchase is in the works.



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