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Rodney Jones: The Art of Jazz & The Craft of Guitar



JGT: What are the guitars and equipment that you use?

Rodney: Well…I am a real guitar guy! Having said that, I am not a collector. The instruments that I have all serve a musical purpose, and give voice to a particular sound and perspective.

The guitar that I used for many years as my “go-to” instrument is a Heritage 535. I bought it in 1997 and have used it with artists as diverse as Lena Horne, Maceo Parker, Jimmy Smith, and on TV shows, and commercials. 

I also use and used a Fender Strat, Pensa Strat, 1966 Gibson L5, Guild Artist Award, Gibson Super 400, Gibson ES 175, Gibson 335, Gibson Gibson Les Paul, Martin Acoustic, Blade, Mortoro, Lehman, and many others. At my guitar peak I had 51 guitars!

Now I use a Benedetto Bambino Deluxe for much of my playing. It is a thin-line guitar but has a rich full sound like a large archtop. The quality of Benedetto guitars is legendary, and for good cause. I use D’Addario CG 26 Electric Flat Wound strings.

Rodney Jones guitar
Rodney’s Benedetto Bambino Deluxe

I often use a D’Angelico EXCEL-SS guitar. For the money, there is no better value that I have found. It sounds and plays great and is versatile in the tonal variations that are possible.

I have two Taylor acoustic guitars that I love, an 814ce DLX and a 812ce – N. They are the best acoustic guitars that I have ever played.

My amplifiers are a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe 3, Rivera Jazz Supreme, and a Quilter Micropro. When I play larger venues with backline, I request a Fender Twin Reverb 65 Reissue. They are readily available and have a rich sound with enough power for any hall.

JGT: You do a lot of teaching online. Tell us about that.

I have been teaching online now for many years dating back to the early days of Skype. The technology has really changed for the better. I now teach courses on Facebook and Zoom in private groups as well as private lessons online through my group Jazz Guitar Scholars 

NEXT – Rodney’s Reflections on Dizzy Gillespie, Lena Horne, Bucky Pizzarelli, Kenny Burrell, and James Brown >>>

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