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Re: guitar amps

The polytones are indeed nice (just don't use the gain on them, as that 
produces what could likely be the most nasty sounding distortion on the 
planet earth)...however, having used many models of Polytones in my guitar 
playing history, I find that they are a generally a one-dimensional amp. 
Most guys I know using them are using good sized archtop guitars, which is 
what I did. The polytones are designed to have a very flat frequency 
response and re-produce the beautiful, and unique sound of a big bodied 
archtop.  This is also why they are a popular amp for accordion players. 
for someone who wants to play modern jazz - a mix of traditional clean 
with other flavors of dirtied up tones, like Mike Stearn, Scofield, etc - 
don't believe the Polytone is a good choice. It's not that sort of amp.  I 
keep falling back to the newer DSP amps, like the Roland Cube 60, Fender 
FM65, Vox, and so on. I keep seeing these amps pop up in jazz guitar 
discussion forums over, and over again. One just found out that one of my 
favorite jazz guitarists, Lorne Lofsky (an mind-blowing modern jazz 
guitarist that teaches and lives in the Toronto area), is also using the 
Fender FM65.  These amps have the ability to produce a very clean tone 
a JC-120), but also a vintage amp or tube amp that will get dirty when you 
push it.  I never believed it until I use them, but amps like the Cube 60 
even have the ability to produce that "spongy" feel of tube amps.  I think 
it's just amazing what they've done with them...so, for the versatile jazz 
guitarist who has to switch from traditional jazz, to smooth jazz, to 
jazz, to fusion on the fly depending on the gig, these DSP amps are the 
cat's meow.

I find "harshness" to be a feature of EQ, not an amp. I've never played an 
amp that I couldn't get a smooth tone out of by adjusting the EQ...roll 
the presence or highs, boost the mids, and turn the tone down on the 
a bit....all age old tricks of jazz guitar players to "silkify" their 
Although I've heard some tube purists say that solid state amps in general 
are harsh...but I think this is an unqualified claim as well. Once you 
a solid state amp right, it will NOT sound harsh..."harshness" is not the 
right term, in my opition..rather, it's that "sponginess" I mentioned, the 
fact that tube amps breaks up when you push them, that they change 
throughout the duration of a performance as they heat up (which annoys the 
shit out of me), etc.  I think harshness is an easy characteristic to 
change, but these more organic features of tube amps are more difficult to 
emulate...but the new DSP amps are getting really good at it...enough so 
that I really prefer the DSP amps now, because they run cool, don't 
tube maintenance, and they are light. It's the best of all worlds. I don't 
know who a Roland could be regarded as harsh...turn the treble and 
to 0...the last thing it will be is harsh...incredibly undefined, but not 

Speaking of Polytone, you ever played a 104? The George Benson model? I 
to one one...weight a tone, but it was a LOUD sob....very clean, 2X12 amp. 
used to own a Lab Series L5 too...very intriguing amps, with built in 
compression and some filtering EQ. I used to run a L5 one one site, and a 
Polytone 104 on the other for big jazz gigs, where I had to compete with 
18 piece jazz group or loud drummer.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "samba -" <sambacomet@hotmail.com>
To: <Loopers-Delight@loopers-delight.com>
Sent: Sunday, December 17, 2006 5:55 PM
Subject: guitar amps

> Loopers-Delight@loopers-delight.com
> I think for small portable the polytone is very tatsty.  I find the 
> stuff has a sort of harsh edge,where the polytone is sweet.No bells and 
> whisltes though.I got one for under 100 and have seen 2-3 for 50 that 
> needed repair.It'/s usually switch or power supply problems,or maybe a 
> cap.
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