Welcome to our Community!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Who's Online (0)

Related Discussions

Today's Birthdays

Brad Herman ashybee elbasco rcjpisani

Tchavolo tone


I am new here so I hope I am asking this on the right board, etc.. As someone who doesn't know much about the gear in this style, this question has bugged me so much I just had to ask: how on earth does Tchavolo get that tone? I'm thinking particularly of the earlier albums, like Miri Familia. More recent stuff is still very distinctive of course, but on those early albums, the tone is unlike anything I've ever heard come out of a guitar. It doesn't even sound like steel strings. I know a huge part of it is technique, but I suspect there is something gear-related, otherwise it wouldn't have changed so noticeably (unless he changed his technique). Definitely partly sounds like an unusual pick...Anyway, to be clear, I'm not interested in trying to emulate it, just curious. If anyone knows anything or has any guesses I would be interested to hear.



  • WillieWillie HamburgNew
    edited April 25 Posts: 168

    Actually I don't like the plinky guitar sounds that much, I prefer it robust, wooden sounding. But Tchavolo's tone and playing is one of my all-time sources of delight, although I can hear every single fret!

    I think he has a very bouncy, percussive and danceable approach. Everything he plays is "serving" the rhythm of the song, pushing forward; he doesn't play solo over accompanying musicians but is sending energy to them, being part of the "pompe" even wen he is playing fast runs and tricky embellishments, or strumming "against" the other guitars. And he seems to have a very high awareness of Django's playing. For me, all this might already explain much of his tone, because the first and most important impact on sound is the player's personality and what is in his/her mind while playing.

    Mechanically, his tone to me seems to be resulting of a strong right hand and hard attack, a not too fat pick, a pick position halfway between soundhole and bridge, and a very low action; I assume that on recordings like "Miri Familia" he is using guitars with bright sound, at least the one on the cover seems to have the Dupont brand. But I'm not a specialist on gipsy jazz gear: the guitar on the "DC Music School" Videos might be a Dupont, too. By the way, what do you mean with that noticeable change in sound? For me, Tchavolo still sounds like Tchavolo ...

  • PhilPhil Portland, ORModerator Anastasio
    Posts: 665

    My understanding, after watching the film "Swing", is that he gets that tone from stringing his guitar with old bicycle brake cables! 😎

    rudolfochristWillieBill Da Costa WilliamsbillyshakesTeddy DupontWim GlennTwang
  • jtr2jtr2 New
    Posts: 3

    Oh I didn't mean to suggest his playing has changed, quite the opposite, he still sounds exactly like himself. I only meant the guitar itself on Dijeske, for instance sounds far more 'plinky', as you say, compared to a more recent recording of him playing unaccompanied:

  • TwangTwang New
    edited April 25 Posts: 302

    Tchavolo is using his signature Jean Barault in the DC lessons. Tchavolo's right hand is completely floating. There is no contact with the top.This is also the case with Gonzalo, who is also noted for his powerful distinctive sound.

    As well as his signature brake cables :-) you see Tchavolo having a go on an Oud in Swing. If you watch Oud players the right hand is completely floating. I don't think this is an influence, just interesting.

    Gonzalo talks about how great it feels to play with a floating right hand in an interview with Joscho Stephane. I have learned to play this way and agree ( I sound just like Tchavolo...😚)

    I think Django dragged his fingers on the top. I'm sure I've seen a picture of this somewhere. Also 503 has a bad rash where the fingers would be (hmm could be pick marks).

  • TwangTwang New
    Posts: 302

    Remembered! J'Attendrai footage

  • WillieWillie HamburgNew
    edited April 25 Posts: 168

    The solo piece is no "dance tune", no concise rhythmical playing needed, but dynamic variations with soft passages. When he is playing louder, the good old "plink" is back also in this tune..

  • pdgpdg ✭✭
    Posts: 200

    @Twang , do you have a link to that interview of Gonzalo by Joscho?

  • TwangTwang New
    Posts: 302

    @pdg Ah now that's a shame cos the interview is in his Gypsy Jazz academy. You'll have to subscribe for about 3 months sorry. It's a very good resource BTW, I got a lot of great ideas from it.

    Bill Da Costa Williams
  • jtr2jtr2 New
    Posts: 3

    No I suppose 'plinky' wasn't the right word then. I realize he's playing softer there. I meant the tone of the guitar itself, but I'm obviously not expressing myself very clearly. I appreciate the info anyway

Sign In or Register to comment.
Home  |  Forum  |  Blog  |  Contact  |  206-528-9873
The Premier Gypsy Jazz Marketplace
Banner Adverts
Sell Your Guitar
© 2021, all rights reserved worldwide.
Software: Kryptronic eCommerce, Copyright 1999-2021 Kryptronic, Inc. Exec Time: 0.046212 Seconds Memory Usage: 3.450798 Megabytes