When Jazz Guitars Go Bad

"Let me teach you a thing or two about CHUNK, sonny!"

The other day I posted a few audio clips I’d recorded using a Guild Archtop fitted with a Seymour Duncan Custom Shop Dynasonic® pickup. Going with the ’50s theme, I strung the guitar with flatwounds and coughed up a few Eisenhower-era licks.

Reader Dohmin Semper wondered how that setup would sound playing punk or metal. I muttered a polite response and moved on.

But later I felt guilty. With all this blog’s big talk about breaking things rules, why had I restricted my demo of this cool pickup to the most obvious uses? What a wuss! So I slunk back into my studio and bashed out a few riffs through high-gain amp simulations.

Hollowbody Metal

Flatwound Punk

I find the tones cool and unusual. I’m not sure they work for actual metal, where it’s all about the right balance of gain and note definition. These tones are loose, tubby, and lacking in percussion—you might even say flatulent. But there’s something about their oddball harmonic content that catches my ear.

Next I tried another sound over rhythm tracks, doubling the guitar and adding a clean-toned bass to reinforce the note attack. (Please pardon the lazy-ass excuse for a mix.)

Archtop Apocalypse

I distort, you decide!

So what do you think? Will nü-nü–nü metal be played on jazz archtops with .013-gauged flatwounds and 1950s pickups? ;)

P.S.: Even recording direct with the monitors turned down low, the guitar desperately wanted to erupt into runaway feedback. Proceed with caution, or at least a sense of humor.

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