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Which Acoustic Guitar for Jazz

The best acoustic guitar for jazz is the Martin D-28, known for its rich and warm tones. If you’re a jazz musician looking to enhance your sound, finding the right acoustic guitar is essential.

The Martin D-28 is widely recognized as one of the best choices for jazz players. With its exceptional craftsmanship and high-quality materials, the D-28 delivers a rich and warm tone that perfectly complements the unique characteristics of jazz music. Whether you’re playing rhythm or lead, this guitar provides excellent projection and sustain, allowing you to express yourself fully.

Its ebony fretboard and comfortable neck make it easy to navigate complex chord progressions and intricate solos. With the Martin D-28, you can confidently showcase your jazz skills and captivate your audience with its exceptional sound.

Factors To Consider

When it comes to choosing an acoustic guitar for jazz, there are several factors that you need to consider. These factors will greatly affect the sound and performance of the guitar, so it’s important to choose wisely. In this section, we will discuss three key factors that you should keep in mind when selecting an acoustic guitar for jazz: body style, tonewoods, and neck profile.

Body Style

The body style of the guitar plays a crucial role in determining its sound and playability. For jazz music, the most common body styles are archtop and grand auditorium. Archtop guitars are known for their warm and rich tones, making them ideal for jazz improvisation and soloing. On the other hand, grand auditorium guitars offer a balanced and versatile sound that can handle both rhythm and lead playing in a jazz ensemble. Consider your playing style and the sound you want to achieve when choosing between these two body styles.


The tonewoods used in the construction of an acoustic guitar greatly influence its tone and resonance. For jazz, guitars with a spruce or cedar top are commonly preferred. These tonewoods produce a bright and articulate sound that complements the complex chord progressions and melodic lines of jazz music. As for the back and sides, maple and mahogany are popular choices due to their warm and balanced tones. Consider experimenting with different tonewoods to find the perfect combination that suits your jazz playing style.

Neck Profile

The neck profile of an acoustic guitar determines the feel and comfort of playing. In jazz, a slim, fast-playing neck profile is often preferred, as it allows for easier chord transitions and intricate soloing. Look for guitars with a “C” or “D” shaped neck, as they offer a comfortable grip and allow for smooth movement along the fretboard. Additionally, consider the scale length of the guitar, which refers to the length between the nut and bridge. Shorter scale lengths can make complex chord voicings easier to play, while longer scale lengths offer increased string tension and projection. Choose a neck profile and scale length that feels natural and enhances your playing experience.

Which Acoustic Guitar for Jazz


Best Acoustic Guitars For Jazz

Jazz music is a genre that thrives on improvisation, intricate melodies, and sophisticated harmonies. It’s no wonder that finding the right acoustic guitar for jazz can be a bit of a challenge. As a jazz guitarist, you need an instrument that not only delivers beautiful tone but also has the right blend of warmth and articulation. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best acoustic guitars for jazz, each with its distinctive qualities and characteristics.

Gibson L-5

The Gibson L-5 is a legendary jazz guitar that has been a favorite among professional musicians for decades. Known for its rich, deep tone and impeccable craftsmanship, the L-5 is synonymous with jazz. Its full-bodied sound and excellent projection make it ideal for both solo playing and accompanying a band.

  • The L-5 features a maple body and a spruce top, which contribute to its warm and resonant tone.
  • Its single-cutaway design allows for easy access to the upper frets, making it versatile for complex jazz voicings.
  • The L-5 also comes equipped with high-quality humbucker pickups, perfect for capturing the nuances of jazz improvisation.

Guild D-55

The Guild D-55 is another excellent choice for jazz guitarists seeking a powerful and balanced instrument. With its solid spruce top and Indian rosewood back and sides, the D-55 produces a well-rounded and articulate sound that cuts through a mix effortlessly.

  • The D-55’s dreadnought body shape offers a full-bodied and robust tone, ideal for ensembles and solo performances.
  • Its scalloped bracing provides enhanced resonance and sustain, allowing for extended and intricate jazz solos.
  • The D-55 also features a comfortable C-shaped mahogany neck, allowing for smooth playability and effortless chord changes.

Martin D-28

The Martin D-28 is a true classic among acoustic guitars, and its versatility makes it an excellent choice for jazz players as well. Renowned for its balanced tonal characteristics and responsiveness, the D-28 is a guitar that can handle the demands of jazz music with ease.

  • The D-28’s solid Sitka spruce top and East Indian rosewood back and sides create a harmonically rich and vibrant sound.
  • Its dreadnought body shape provides ample volume and a wide dynamic range, perfect for capturing the expressive nuances of jazz playing.
  • The D-28’s low-profile neck shape and smooth playability make it a joy to navigate through complex jazz chords and melodies.

Choosing the right acoustic guitar for jazz is a personal decision that ultimately comes down to your individual playing style and preferences. However, the Gibson L-5, Guild D-55, and Martin D-28 are all exceptional choices that offer the tonal qualities and craftsmanship required for jazz guitarists. Whether you prefer the warmth and depth of the L-5, the balanced and articulate sound of the D-55, or the versatility of the D-28, each of these guitars will deliver a sublime jazz experience like no other.

Setting Up Your Acoustic Guitar For Jazz

When it comes to playing jazz on an acoustic guitar, the right setup is crucial. Jazz guitarists have distinct preferences when it comes to their instrument, and taking the time to properly set up your acoustic guitar can make a world of difference in the way it sounds and feels. In this section, we will explore three essential aspects of setting up your acoustic guitar for jazz: adjusting the action, installing flatwound strings, and using a preamp.

Adjusting the Action

The action of an acoustic guitar refers to the height of the strings from the fretboard. In jazz, a lower action is often preferred as it allows for faster and more fluid playing. To achieve a lower action, you may need to make adjustments to the guitar’s bridge and saddle.

Here’s how you can adjust the action of your acoustic guitar:

  1. Start by loosening the strings to relieve tension on the instrument.
  2. Using a small screwdriver, adjust the saddle height by turning the screws at either end. Lowering the saddle will lower the action, but it’s crucial to make incremental adjustments and test playability along the way.
  3. Once you’ve reached your desired action, tighten the strings and check the guitar’s intonation.

Installing Flatwound Strings

Flatwound strings are a popular choice among jazz guitarists for their smooth feel and warm tone. Unlike roundwound strings, which have a textured surface, flatwound strings have a smooth, flat surface that reduces finger noise and provides a vintage jazz sound.

Here’s how you can install flatwound strings on your acoustic guitar:

  1. Remove the old strings by loosening and unwinding them from the tuning pegs.
  2. Clean the guitar’s fretboard and bridge with a soft cloth.
  3. Starting with the thinnest string, insert it into the bridge and thread it through the corresponding tuning peg.
  4. Stretch the string gently to remove any slack and tighten it to the desired pitch.
  5. Repeat the process for the remaining strings, making sure to tune each string as you go.

Using a Preamp

In a live jazz performance, having a preamp can enhance the tone and provide more control over your sound. A preamp allows you to shape the guitar’s EQ, add volume, and even apply effects if desired. It can also mitigate the inherent limitations of an acoustic instrument when playing in amplified settings.

Here are a few key steps to using a preamp with your acoustic guitar:

  1. Choose a high-quality preamp that suits your needs and budget.
  2. Connect your acoustic guitar to the preamp using a high-quality instrument cable.
  3. Adjust the preamp’s EQ settings to tailor the tone to your preference.
  4. Experiment with different effects and settings to find your desired jazz sound.
  5. Ensure the preamp is properly powered and connected to an amplifier or PA system for live performances.

Amplification Options For Acoustic Guitars In Jazz

Jazz music is known for its rich and smooth guitar tones, and when it comes to playing jazz on an acoustic guitar, finding the right amplification options is crucial. Whether you’re performing on stage or recording in the studio, having the right equipment can make a world of difference in capturing the true essence of jazz guitar. In this article, we will explore three key amplification options for acoustic guitars in jazz: Acoustic Guitar Amps, DI Boxes, and Acoustic Guitar Pickups.

Acoustic Guitar Amps

Acoustic guitar amps are specially designed to enhance the sound of an acoustic guitar while maintaining its natural tone. These amps are equipped with features such as EQ controls, reverb, chorus, and feedback suppression, allowing you to tailor your sound to match the desired jazz aesthetic.

When choosing an acoustic amp for jazz, it’s important to look for one that offers a warm and full-bodied tone, as well as enough power to fill the room with your playing. Some popular options to consider include:

Amp Model Description
Fishman Loudbox Artist A versatile and powerful amp with exceptional sound quality, perfect for both small gigs and larger venues.
Roland AC-60 A compact and lightweight amp with a natural sound and built-in effects, ideal for jazz guitarists on the go.
AER Compact 60 Known for its clear and transparent sound, this amp delivers remarkable tonal balance and dynamic range.

DI Boxes

DI (Direct Injection) boxes are another essential tool for acoustic guitarists in jazz. These devices are used to convert the high-impedance signal of an acoustic guitar into a low-impedance signal that can be easily processed by mixing consoles and recording equipment.

DI boxes help eliminate noise, improve signal clarity, and maintain the natural sound of the guitar during amplification. They are particularly useful when connecting your guitar directly to a PA system or audio interface for recording purposes. Some reputable DI boxes for jazz guitarists include:

  • LR Baggs Venue DI
  • Radial Engineering PZ-DI
  • Grace Design Felix

Acoustic Guitar Pickups

Acoustic guitar pickups are transducers that capture the vibrations of the strings and convert them into an electrical signal, which can then be amplified. These pickups come in various types, each with its own tonal characteristics:

  1. Undersaddle Pickup: Located under the saddle, this type of pickup provides a balanced and natural sound.
  2. Soundboard Transducer: Attached to the soundboard, it captures the resonance and vibrations of the guitar top for a vibrant and open tone.
  3. Internal Microphone: Placed inside the guitar body, this pickup option offers a warm and organic sound.

Choose a pickup that complements your playing style and desired sound. Experimenting with different types can help you achieve the unique jazz guitar tone you’re after.

In conclusion, when it comes to amplifying an acoustic guitar for jazz, having the right equipment is essential. Acoustic guitar amps, DI boxes, and pickups all play a significant role in capturing the true jazz sound. By choosing the right tools and experimenting with different options, you can find the perfect combination that allows your jazz guitar to shine.

Frequently Asked Questions Of Which Acoustic Guitar For Jazz

What Acoustic Guitar Is Best For Jazz?

The best acoustic guitar for jazz is one with a rich and warm tone, like a Gibson L-5 or a Martin D-28. These guitars provide the right balance and resonance for jazz music.

Can Acoustic Guitar Be Used In Jazz?

Yes, acoustic guitars can be used in jazz. Their mellow sound and versatility make them suitable for jazz music.

Which Guitar Is Good For Jazz?

A hollow-body archtop guitar is good for jazz due to its warm and resonant tones.

Should Jazz Guitar Be Low Or High Action?

Jazz guitar action should be low to improve playability and achieve a faster, smoother style. Low action allows for quick finger movement and better control over complex melodies and chords.


To play jazz on an acoustic guitar, choosing the right instrument is crucial. Consider factors such as tonal quality, resonance, and playability. While there are various options available, selecting a guitar with a deep, warm tone and good projection will elevate your jazz experience.

Remember to try out different models and find the one that feels comfortable in your hands and complements your playing style. Happy jazz guitar playing!

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