Joscho Stephan's setup

Does anyone know whether Joscho Stephan uses light (010) strings or mediums (011s)?
Also, what sort of action his guitar is set up for?
It's interesting to see how these things affect each great player's style and sound.


  • PapsPierPapsPier ✭✭
    Posts: 426
    I can not answer your question but if you spend some time on youtube, you ll see videos of the top players we love (Tchavolo, Angelo, Moreno for example and for sure), you ll see them playing all kind of guitars but still with the same characteristic sound. It is even more impressive to see that happening live when they show up to a gig in the audience and the guitarist on stage offers them to play a tune. They go on stage and the guitar that sounded like a guitar before now sound like "the guitar of Tchavolo"...

    But if you are really convinced it would make a difference, you can ask him directly on facebook, he is usually pretty responsive.
  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,161
    I ve played rhythm for joscho on a few different occasions in the usa and confirm what paspier said. At each occasion, joscho didnt bring his guitar, he just grabbed whatever was available, and each time sounded like himself.

    The string gauge is meaningless because each guitar responds differently. the important thing is set up; as long as the guitar feels easy to play and sounds decent, most players are happy.. and the term ‘easy to play’ is relative too. It s not what you want to hear but the only thing an answer to your question will help you with is to satisfy your curiosity, it wont help with the playing in any way. The only thing that s gonna help is hardwork and bringing your playing level up
  • BonesBones Moderator
    edited November 2017 Posts: 3,319
    Yeah for sure what Denis and Paps said. The whole gear thing is cool and we are all nuts about guitars and certainly any pro would rather play on their own 'dialed' instrument/amp/etc. but they are still going to sound like themselves more or less on any decent guitar since this genre is so 'technically' influenced. Like that other thread that I posted about Django's string gage. I was only curious because some guy at a house party who is a guitarist but not GJ was INSISTING that Django played on heavy gage strings and that was how he got his volume and tone. I didn't say anything at the time but I was pretty sure that it was more about technique than string gage and of course in the answers to my post and also info from Savarez in an email they only had 10s back in Django's time so there you have it. And the 10s were specifically designed for the Selmac guitars. I've heard interviews with GJ pros about practicing 6-10 hours per day...everyday. That's what it takes (at least to get to that level I guess, not that I would know) a whole lot of talent :-)
  • DragonPLDragonPL Maryland✭✭ Dupont MD 50-XL (Favino), Michael Dunn Stardust, Castelluccia Tears, Yunzhi gypsy jazz guitar, Gitane DG-320, DG-250M and DG-250
    edited November 2017 Posts: 172
    Joscho gets asked this in:

    ...and his reply is pretty much what was already said here in the thread. He does not even know that the scale length of GJ guitars are longer. In many other interviews he sais he plays what ever is available and makes it sound like Joscho.
    This just reminds me of the countless 'gearhead' students which l had, that had countless thousand dollar guitars, told me about knobs, pickup hums, voltages ohms....things l have no clue about, but they could not play a single tune well....
  • pdgpdg ✭✭
    Posts: 462
    Thanks. I'm not a gearhead, just curious.
  • pdgpdg ✭✭
    Posts: 462
    My question was not how can I use Joscho's setup so that I can sound like him without practicing. Not sure why it became a thread on the need to practice.
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,319
    Yeah for sure. Sorry about that, we kind of 'hijacked' ur thread. I guess in my mind that guy at the party really got me going on the technique thing versus gear thing since he wasn't even into GJ and was proclaiming he was so sure about how Django got his sound. Really though, the difference between 10s and 11s can't make nearly as much difference as technique. Just play whatever strings you like the best and you will still sound like you. The biggest problems to avoid with 'gear' is a guitar that is not loud or is too 'wet' because you will struggle to overcome those issues. Just find a nice, dry and loud guitar and the rest is up to the player. Of course, not saying that different guitars don't have different nuances of tone but the big hurdle is to find one that is loud and dry.
  • edited November 2017 Posts: 4,736
    You know, while when I first read somebody making this point I was thinking "of course, great point, it makes so much sense", now I'm not so sure what is the point?
    I myself listened to "Selmer 607" and was surprised by how different it sounded in the hands of a different player.
    Yes the point still makes sense. But it also makes assumptions in my mind that these guys kinda don't care about what they're playing. And it assumes that it in itself is an amazing skill, to sound like yourself whichever instrument you pick up. But I don't think it is. See, I'm going to sound just like myself on Selmer 607. And nobody's going to say "wow check it out, Buco played a Selmer 607 and he sounds just like himself". Nobody.
    It's Joscho's music that sounds like Joscho's music, the same on every guitar. Yes, he'll get a great tone out of every guitar but that also is a part of his music and his craft. A guitar will sound like a guitar.
    Are we really saying that if Joscho plays his own personal guitar and somebody hands over a Cigano which he then plays, it will sound the same or there will be a small negligible difference?
    Joscho doesn't call Michael H or his counterpart in Germany and says "hey send me whatever, just make sure it plays well". He's as picky about his gear just as we are, or I'm pretty sure he is. I mean every time he comes to the States he really, really wants to perform with Michael B's Di Mauro heart hole if he can have his choice.
    All the rest of the top guys, I'm pretty sure they all know exactly what they want out of their own instruments.
    Whenever someone here asks about the luthier X and the guitars built by this luthier, conversation ensues. Whenever there is a top player's name in the same paragraph, conversation ends with "well you'll never sound like him". OK point taken, but does this X guitar objectively sound better than my guitar? Probably so because 1% players usually play 1% percent guitars, even though I like my guitar a lot. None of them own a lesser guitars that apparently they can sound exactly the same as on top guitars. Even if they sometimes pay full price for the guitar that they really like.
    Supposedly the word is Django didn't care what guitar he played. But then he came to States and even though he killed it on every guitar he played here, I read that he couldn't get his hands back on his Selmer fast enough.
    Yes, American archtop and French Selmer are different instruments but it also kinda proves that he cared about what he played after all.

    Yes, also, very sorry about perhaps sounding a little bit grumpy... I'm sleep deprived.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • PapsPierPapsPier ✭✭
    Posts: 426
    Hi Buco
    You re right when you say that the top players know what is a good guitar for them but imo the "good" quality won't be related to the sound but to the ease of playing the guitar to achieve the sound they want. It is almost the same idea in the end but not philosophically. And of course they care about what they re playing but in the audience you ll barely notice the difference because they know how to get the sound they want whatever the conditions.
    As a clarinet player, you feel physically this thought and the difference btw yourself and a top player. Unlike strings, each reed is different and to achieve a nice sound you ll need to blow like an elephant twisting your mouth for reed A or effortless for reed B. But if u listen to good players you won't notice the difference in the sound.
    And it is exactly the same for guitars and guitar players.

    But once again pdg if u re really interested, ask joscho directly. Here we don't even know what album or what video you re referring to
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,319
    Yeah what Paps said about playability. That should have been my third criterion for a 'good' guitar for completeness, I guess that goes without saying in my mind (along with a stiff neck and well built). Sure if the setup sucks and the action is a mile high it will not be a fun deal.

    Yes Buco, an archtop and a Selmac are VERY different animals. IMHO for this type of music I would much rather play a Selmac esp for soloing. Typically much louder. That said, a loud archtop will work. Mind you, these are all 'generalizations' and I LOVE a good archtop for rhythm!
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