Jazz guitarists have a unique style that sets them apart from other genres. From the big bands of the swing era to the bebop pioneers of the 1940s and beyond, jazz guitarists have always sought out the best instruments to help them achieve their signature sound. Here is a list of the 10 best jazz guitars of all time, along with some famous jazz guitarists who used them:
1. Gibson ES-175
This classic archtop guitar has been a staple of jazz guitarists since its introduction in 1949. Its warm, mellow tone and excellent playability make it a favorite of players like Joe Pass and Wes Montgomery.
2. Gibson L-5
Another iconic archtop guitar from Gibson, the L-5 has been around since the 1920s. Its deep, rich tone and beautiful craftsmanship make it a popular choice for jazz guitarists like Charlie Christian and Johnny Smith.
3. D’Angelico Excel
John D’Angelico was one of the premier guitar makers of the mid-20th century, and his Excel model is a favorite of jazz guitarists like Jim Hall and Kenny Burrell. With its intricate inlays and luxurious finish, the Excel is a true work of art.
4. Benedetto Bambino
Robert Benedetto is one of the most respected guitar makers in the world, and his Bambino model is a favorite of jazz guitarists like Pat Martino and Howard Alden. The Bambino’s compact size and excellent tone make it ideal for playing in smaller venues.
5. Gibson Super 400
This big-bodied archtop guitar was first introduced in the 1930s, and its full, resonant tone has made it a favorite of jazz guitarists like Herb Ellis and Barney Kessel. The Super 400 is a true classic that is still in demand today.
6. Fender Telecaster
While often associated with country and rock music, the Telecaster has also been used by jazz guitarists like Ted Greene, Ed Bickert and Tim Lerch. Its bright, clear tone and versatile sound make it a great choice for a variety of genres.
7. Gibson Byrdland
This slim-bodied archtop guitar was designed by two legendary guitarists, Billy Byrd and Hank Garland. Its unique design and excellent playability have made it a favorite of jazz guitarists like Herb Ellis and Jim Hall.
8. Gretsch White Falcon
With its flashy appearance and distinctive sound, the Gretsch White Falcon has been used by jazz guitarists like Brian Setzer and Steve Howe. Its big, bold sound is perfect for playing in larger venues.
9. Ibanez George Benson Signature
George Benson is one of the most influential jazz guitarists of all time, and his signature model from Ibanez is a popular choice among players like Pat Metheny and Lee Ritenour. The guitar’s smooth, comfortable neck and versatile sound make it a great choice for a variety of styles.
10. Epiphone Joe Pass Emperor II
Joe Pass was one of the most famous jazz guitarists of the 20th century, and his signature model from Epiphone is a popular choice among players like Russell Malone and Martin Taylor. With its rich, warm tone and excellent playability, the Emperor II is a great guitar for jazz players of all skill levels.
There are many great jazz guitars on the market, each with its own unique sound and style. Whether you prefer the warm, mellow tones of an archtop or the bright, clear sound of a solid-body, there is a jazz guitar out there that will suit your needs. So go ahead and find the guitar that speaks to you, and let your inner jazz musician shine!