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From Heavy Metal to Bebop: How Oz Noy Found His Signature Sound

From Heavy Metal to Bebop: How Oz Noy Found His Signature Sound

New York-based jazz master Oz Noy joins Rhett for a discussion on how to get the most out of your gear and the importance of playing live.


This episode of Dipped In Tone features Rhett flying solo with veteran jazz guitarist Oz Noy. Born in Israel, Noy started gigging at age 13, and 37 years later, he’s still going strong as a celebrated live musician—including a 17-year run at New York City club The Bitter End.

Noy explains that he grew up with a foot in both jazz and rock music worlds. The former taught him intricate playing, while the latter schooled him on tone and sound. “I was playing heavy metal on one hand,” he says. “On the other, I had a hollowbody guitar and I was playing bebop.” When he moved to New York, he was “shellshocked” by how advanced and impressive the jazz music scene was. Noy played in a trio, so to fill out his sonic palette, he began leaning on effects as “almost another instrument.” Not all of it has been intentional—he found a signature sound thanks to a happy accident with a tremolo pedal while gigging in Japan.

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While he still loves old, loud Marshalls, Noy says Two-Rock amplifiers have radically changed his approach, and he even uses Fender combos on the road. But aside from running his amps into a Universal Audio OX, Noy explains why he’s still not impressed with digital amp solutions.

Noy’s most important advice for players? “You gotta go out of your house and play live,” he says, explaining why it doesn’t cut it to just home-record clips for Instagram or YouTube. And while he sings the praises of his favorite modern jazz players, he tells Rhett why he thinks that rock and blues guitar-playing haven’t evolved much since the ’70s: “There’s nobody that took it to the next level or invented something new.”

Slinky playability, snappy sounds, and elegant, comfortable proportions distinguish an affordable 0-bodied flattop.

Satisfying, slinky playability. Nice string-to-string balance. Beautiful, comfortable proportions.

Cocobolo-patterned HPL back looks plasticky.

$699

Martin 0-X2E
martinguitar.com

4
4
4.5
4

Embracing the idea of an acoustic flattop made with anything other than wood can, understandably, be tricky stuff. There’s a lot of precedent for excellent-sounding acoustics built with alternative materials, though. Carbon-fiber flattops can sound amazing and I’ve been hooked by the sound and playability of Ovation and Adamas instruments many times.

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U.S.-made electronics and PRS’s most unique body profile make this all-American S2 a feast of tones at a great price.

Many sonic surprises. Great versatility. Excellent build quality

The pickup selector switch might be in a slightly awkward position for some players.

$2,029

PRS S2 Vela
prsguitars.com

4.5
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Since its introduction in 2013, PRS’s S2 range has worked to bridge the gap between the company’s most affordable and most expensive guitars. PRS’s cost-savings strategy for the S2 was simple. The company fitted U.S.-made bodies and necks, built using the more streamlined manufacturing processes of PRS’s Stevensville 2 facility, with Asia-made electronics from the SE line.

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A Gibson Explorer (left) and a Dean Z model.

In a legal battle over guitar body designs between Gibson and Dean, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the 5th circuit has ruled that Dean has the right to appeal an earlier decision by a Texas court, ordering Dean to stop selling guitars that Gibson says infringed on its iconic body shapes.

In a legal battle over guitar body designs between Gibson and Dean, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the 5th circuit has ruled that Dean has the right to re-try an earlier decision by a Texas court, ordering Dean to stop selling guitars that allegedly infringed on longtime Gibson body shapes, including Dean’s V and Z Series instruments, according to a report in Bloomberg Law published on Tuesday.

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