Fender Deluxe

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Fender Deluxe

Wes Montgomery - Jazz Guitar Music Legend - Part 5

Wes Montgomery favored the sound and response of an archtop electric acoustic guitar. He was closely identified throughout his career after 1960 with the Gibson L5 CES (Cutaway Electric Spanish) model, in varying configurations. L5s are single cutaway (either Florentine or Venetian), deep bodied acoustic guitars with F-holes and two built in electric pick ups. Judging by album jacket photos and publicity shots, Wes owned at least six different L5s from 1960 to 1968, two of which were custom made single pickup models. When playing the stock two pick up model style, Wes used the front or the neck pick up almost exclusively for its' warmer tone. This is customary for the jazz guitar music sound of the bebop era.

Prior to 1960, Wes Montgomery used various other Gibson guitars. These included an L4 with a Charlie Christian electric bar pickup, an ES-125D and an ES-175. Kenny Burrell once stated that Wes borrowed his L7 and a Fender Deluxe amplifier for the 1959 recording session of "The Wes Montgomery Trio". He was pictured on the cover of "The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery" with an ES-175. Wes strung his guitars with heavier gauge Gibson Hi Fi flat wound strings.

Wes amplified his guitars during the Riverside Records years with either a late 1950s or early 1960s Fender tube amplifier. Reportedly, Rudy Van Gelder kept an old Fender Deluxe amp permanently on hand in his New Jersey studio where Wes recorded with Creed Taylor for Verve Records after 1963. Wes later switched to Standell Custom solid state combo amplifiers and alternated between these and the Fender tube amplifiers during the remainder of his recording career.

Wes Montgomery left us all too soon on June 15th,1968, the victim of a heart attack at the height of his popularity. In spite of this early death, his legacy remains undiminished. He paved the way for new generations of jazz guitarists, which is evidenced in the work of George Benson, Pat Martino, Pat Metheny, Emily Remler and virtually every other guitarist after 1959. Wes was the archetypal fusion musician, experimenting with various ensemble settings from small bop combos to large orchestral groups with grandiose arrangements! His approach embraced every form of straight ahead jazz and bebop as well as Afro-Cuban, latin rock, semi-classical, proto-funk and pop styles. Wes Montgomery brought a freshness and vitality to jazz guitar music that has never been surpassed or equaled. He is sorely missed by all who love jazz music and incredible guitar playing!

About the Author

Peabody Conservatory trained guitarist Steven Herron helps people succeed at becoming better guitar players. His company ChordMelody.com features an enormous, unique selection of
jazz guitar tab
as well as guitar books and instructional DVDs by
Wes Montgomery
himself.

Fender Deluxe
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