The Jazz Guitar Duo….

.. worked very well last night. I was joined by local guitarist Tony Hughes in an evening of jazz guitar duets at one of Philly’s newest intimate venues, the Paris Wine Bar.

This is a small lounge room, very laid-back, and best described as elegantly casual. Covered chairs, and drapes establish the feel with designer beers and an impressive range of wines as well as the menu courtesy of parent-venue London restaurant next door. I’;s a great place to relax with someone special or a small group of non-boisterous friends and enjoy real jazz three nights each week.

While most of the musical pairings have included a pianist on the bill, I booked the dates with a guitar duo (which is something I haven’t done in over five years). I met Tony months ago at a jam session and was impressed with his playing. It also gave me the chance to do an honest-to-goodness electric jazz guitar duo.

My gear of choice was straight-forward: mid-70s Hagstrom Viking (with John Pearse nickel .011 electric strings) through a similarly-aged Lab L5 amp (1X12, 60w). While I brought Dunlop Gator Grip 2.0 picks and Dunlop Adamas Graphite 2.0 picks I played a great deal of the night fingerstyle. The technique just kicks in,especially when I walk a bass line with chords. I do get a full ‘jazz’ sound with my characteristic upper-mids which is the way I prefer it to sound. Tony uses a more traditional jazz sound with his mid-90s Gibson L5 (with flatwounds) and Hendrickson amp. The tones worked great together, but we really clicked as players. He’s a first-rate accompanist and really complimented my solos both harmonically and dynamically. I listened intently and concentrated on my voicings and dynamics with great results. A great night for both of us.

The Hagstrom:     and the Lab:

Interestingly, the guitar is a thin-bodied, ‘semi-solid’, but not like a 335. It’s mostly hollow and made from solid birch which gives it a great deal of acoustic sound, sometimes too much on quieter gigs. For this sort of setting it’s an asset. Of course, while driving home after the gig, I did begin thinking about adding a new archtop to the musical arsenal…..

A great evening playing standards which I did/didn’t know and working with a first-rate player. We return there on Saturday May 26th. Visit my website for more:

Hasta pronto a todos!



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