We can foresee a future where Jazz music takes over as the most popular musical genre, and we’re most certainly looking forward to that day. Trying to single out some of the best jazz guitars is no easy task since the guitars continue to become as multifaceted as the genre of music itself. Jazz guitars come in different forms. From the old-school archtops to hollow and semi-hollow versions, jazz guitars vary quite a bit, and the only possible unifying denominator has to be the musical end result that is jazz music.
Below some reviews of what I consider to be some of the best electric jazz guitars in no particular order that could work for your needs and budget.
1. Fender Standard Telecaster
Keith Richards, James Burton, Jimmy Page, Prince, Muddy Waters are but a few of the world’s most popular guitarist who plays the Telecaster. Made from a blend of alder wood for the body and maple wood for the neck, this solid body guitar is well liked and is quite popular with most guitarists. Its simplicity and versatility are what makes it popular. Because of its simplicity, you know what to expect and rarely will you find yourself thrown off the curve with this bad boy.
- With price range that go for as low as $100, you can find a telecaster for your budget. Its affordability means you can customize it to your heart’s satisfaction.
- The quality of the materials used to make the guitar make it almost indestructible, but don’t try and run it over with your car to test this theory.
- The Telecaster is extremely lightweight making it easily playable, but you can also have it custom made to be heavier as it suits you.
- The Telecaster lacks body contours which can result in some discomfort while you play especially if you are standing up.
- The bridge of the guitar is magnetic which can sometimes result in a “squeal” and terrible feedback when performed on high gain settings.
2. Epiphone ES-335 Dot
Epiphone is known for having a large variety of sensibly priced guitars. One of them is the ES-335 Dot which was inspired by the Gibson ES- 335. The Dot is a semi-hollow, and extremely sturdy guitar built from maple that gives you value for your money. The Dot’s playability and sound are both excellent, and we can easily conclude that based on the number of people such as George Harrison and John Lennon, the dot is an extremely versatile guitar despite the flattened C-Profile.
- The dot is extremely easy to use. Do not let this guitar’s large body fool you into thinking that otherwise. The fact that it is slender balances out its huge body, so it doesn’t feel as bulky as it looks.
- While it may be an imitation of the Gibson, the Dot holds its own in terms of reliability and quality.
- It comes in various, so you have the option of choosing which one suits you.
- Dot inlays seem a little bit bland
3. Gretsch G6118T
As a brand, Gretsch is arguably one of the best guitars making company in the world. They have perfected the art that is guitar making, and The Gretsch G6118T can easily be categorized as the best electric jazz guitars on the market. The Gretsch is a thin and light hollow body guitar that features rocking bar bridge, a Teflon-covered Tusq XL nut, and a string-through. For a while, a lot of people have argued that this guitar is not suited for Jazz music, but musicians such as Rune Gustafsson, and Cal Collins have proved otherwise.
- The quality and build of this guitar is exceptional
- The build of the guitar gives you extensive tonal controls that match the rich sound of most Gretsch guitars.
- It sometimes requires a treble lift.
- It is expensive
4. Washburn J600
Washburn first began making musical instruments in 1883 and if there is a company that we can say understands its craft it is them. The vintage Washburn J600 gives off vibes of a cello when you see if from the front. It sports a spruce top for its body, flame maple sides, back, and neck. The sides of the Washburn are decked out with an intricate flame design. With a Nubone nut, pearl inlays and extremely accurate Grover tuners this guitar is reasonably priced and doesn’t require one to have robbed a bank to afford it.
- It has a beautiful vintage feel thanks to the ebony and brass details
- Comes with a mini humbucker by the neck for amplification purposes.
- The frets and finish of this guitar are relatively rough
- The quality of strings on the guitar is terrible; hence they break easily.
5. The Loar LH-350 VS
Bold, loud tones are what best describe this little unknown archtop guitar by the Chinese brand Loar. An adaptation of vintage classics the LH 350 VS is a guitar whose look and sound are nothing but amazing. It features a Kent Armstrong humbucker, a V-profile mahogany neck, hand-carved solid spruce top, and a treble side Florentine cutaway. Ultimately, this is one of the best guitars that you can play your jazz music from.
- Thanks to the Florentine cutaways you have easy access to the upper frets.
- It is one of the easier guitars to play. The manufacturer of this design focused on simplifying the complexities that are often associated with playing guitars.
- With a pickguard that prevents scratches during strumming, the Loar LH 350 VS is very durable.
- The case of the guitar is sold separately
- As with most guitars, there is a likelihood that the fretwork can become uneven.
6. Godin 5th Avenue Archtop Jazz-Style Acoustic Guitar (Cognac Burst)
The Godin 5th Avenue is one of the most common jazz guitars ideal for a guitarist that considers themselves sophisticated. Built with Canadian wild cherry for the archtop top, back, and sides the 5th Avenue has a dynamic and rich tone. It has a very classic look with modern touches such as the height adjustable bridge.
Other notable features on the guitar include silver leaf neck with rosewood fingerboard and dot inlays, floating pickguard, cream binding, and F-holes.
- It is a beautiful guitar made from the finest materials. The pickguard and F holes make it even sexier and appealing.
- It has dot inlays that help improve your orientation and subsequently your guitar skills. Basically, it is effortless to play.
- The sounds are dull and flat. Nevertheless, don’t let this stop you from trying to diversify and test the sounds and tunes of this guitar. You might be the one to hack it and become the next big star.
7. Eastman AR503CE Single Cutaway Archtop Classic Finish Guitar
Laminate maple back, carved spruce top, sunburst sides. Its design and features can best describe this guitar. This is because aside from having the typical looks of a guitar, it looks like a cello and features elements such as, tailpiece, ebony bridge, pickguard, and fretboard some of which are unusual for a guitar.
Playing on this guitar is quite easy, and you will notice the difference almost immediately. This is because of the 3-piece maple that constitutes the fingerboards that are designed to reduce the efforts you will need if you improvise through the neck.
- Improvising on this guitar is effortless. The Venetian cutaways help you reach for those higher frets so if you are performing a solo and want to stand out this is the way to do so.
- The design of the guitar is quite something. It looks like a cello but isn’t. It contains all the standard parts of a guitar, but we can get over how creative the design of this guitar is.
- The design of the Eastman is also its downfall with some users as not everyone like the Cello look.
Our list is just the starting point of your journey to finding the perfect electric jazz guitar. Most guitarist prefers most guitars we have mentioned but if you are unsure about which one to go with it doesn’t hurt to do a little more research. When choosing a jazz guitar, the most important things to remember are:
- Jazz music sounds best when played through a tube amplifier and if you can complement it with a pedal or two even better.
- The body of the guitar matters a lot to achieve a certain type of sound; for example, solid bodied guitars work best with the modern jazz, hollow-bodied guitars have a more retro sound while the semi-hollow body guitars offer more of the mid-ground type of sound.
- The body of the guitar also determines the ease of use where jazz guitars are concerned.
- If you are still experimenting with the jazz sound and are unsure about which guitar to get, we would recommend starting with standard fender telecaster.
We hope you found our list helpful and found an electric jazz guitar for your needs.