Tim Miller – Jazz Guitarist and Klein Electric Guitar Player

Another in the Performances series – Here’s the Mason Brothers Band Live in NYC with guest David Binney on Alto. The band features Brad Mason on Trumpet, Elliot Mason on Trombone and Bass Trumpet, Tim Miller on Guitar, Janek Gwizdala on Bass and Jordan Perlson on Drums:

Looking back at previous guitar players in the series, it’s interesting to note that there are no rock guitarists in the mix. Why are only jazz guitarists willing to explore unique instruments like the Klein Electric Guitar and the Forshage Hollowbody Electric Guitar? Whatever happened to rock being the music of rebellion?

13 Responses to “Tim Miller – Jazz Guitarist and Klein Electric Guitar Player”

  1. I would suggest that guitars like the Klein and Forshage are not about rebellion, but rather about individuality and (of course) ergonomics. It seems a lot of rockers with their 15 lb Les Pauls slung down to their knees do not care much for ergonomics. 🙂 Plus a greater proportion of jazzers tend to be, err, of advanced age – over 40 – and need all the help we can get! The Klein would be a great rock guitar too of course. I’m sure there are rockers out there who play one.

    1. I absolutely agree, Roger. Rebellion, in and of itself, is not what these instruments are about. They happen to be ergonomic but they also sound fantastic – in the right hands of course. What I was alluding to was the almost dogmatic adherence to the Strat or Les Paul among rock guitarists. Once upon a time, the Strat was the radical design on the block. It looked different and sounded different but rock guitarists were apparently more willing to experiment back then and adopted it anyway. Where is that element? Where has it gone?

      And one more thing – advanced age is 40+? You mean I finally have to admit I’m old? 🙂

      1. Back when the Strat was introduced, in 1954, rock was BRAND SPANKING NEW! You have to remember the context. People needed an electric guitar that could get loud and not feed back. There were only a couple of choices at the time, since most electrics were hollowbodies. So even then, it was about practicality. And the icons of a musical genre die very, very hard – if ever. Look at archtops and jazz! Same thing there.

    2. BTW Roger, how is your Forshage?!?!


      1. Marc, a fair question indeed! I’ve been frustrated by the lack of media clips available showing people’s Klein “builds” in actual playing situations. There are at least two that have been posted on this blog, yet only pics – no sound. C’m on guys, let’s hear the guitars you built!

        I have been getting to know my Forshage for about a week now and didn’t want to rush clips out there. I’ve recorded a few but I’m not ready to share them – yet. Very soon. I want to do right by this guitar with a nice video demo.

        It’s an extremely versatile, and also somewhat challenging, guitar. And I don’t mean hard to play… it’s so dynamic and expressive that it really demands a careful, purposeful technique. It’s right up my alley. It’s put my G.A.S. in serious remission.

        Pics of the final guitar can be seen here, along with build pics.

  2. Rock is the music of a *certain kind* of rebellion–a visceral, macho, not very intelligent, and somewhat nihilistic kind of rebellion. And any effort to mess with the formula is typically scorned upon by the rock literati. How many critics actually ever *liked* progressive rock? Much too brainy. Ergoguitars? Comfort? No way. Real men don’t care about comfort. Does my dick look big in this? Where’s the beer and the babes?

    Having said that, good rock is absolutely one of the most awesome things. 🙂

    1. Is that all that’s left of rock? I hope not. As I noted in my response to Roger’s comments, rock guitarists, once upon a time, seemed willing to try something new. Has it all come down to formula?

      And, I agree – good rock is “one of the most awesome things.”

  3. Good point about the Strats– an instrument that despite being a “standard” shape was fairly ergonomic for its time. Arm bevel, belly cut, smooth edges, good upper fret access, balances well on a strap.

    So, once upon a time it was cool to be ergonomic. 😉

    I think the closest we’ve come in recent memory was the all-too-brief reign of the Steinberger guitars in the 80’s. Not ergonomic in an anti-RSI kind of way, but at least by being minimalist and light.


  4. Tim is definitely an incredible player — I have both of his recordings, and they’re quite amazing. There are better videos featuring his playing, too, one great one with Randy Brecker!

    I believe Tim was a student of Mick Goodrick’s, thus likely his lean towards the Klein.

    BTW, jazzers are quite rebellious, too! Think about be-bop back in its day — it was crazy drug music! And, uh, yes, Roger’s probably right — we’re over 40 and like practical things!


    1. I’ll look into other videos – thanks for the tip! And, no “disrespect” intended toward jazzers, of course. 🙂

  5. Debates about the soul of rock n’ roll aside, that Forshage is something else to look at, boy! Why isn’t it featured on the Forshage web site?

    1. Chris seems to be a man who focuses on his music and his work (luthiery) first and foremost. He told me that he hasn’t updated his website in about five years!! So he has built many, many instruments since then and has pics of them all. Of course I chided him about this, and he was in total agreement that he should REALLY submit a content update… but I sense that it will not actually happen!

      So for now it’s word of mouth, and I believe that Chris is being kept very busy indeed through that means of PR alone. Still, I totally agree that he could have a serious rush of orders from Klein-envious guitarists if he put the model “out there.”

      1. I’ve talked to Chris about his site as well and I’m surprised that the site doesn’t contain this particular model. For my part, I’m happy to publish information about it and help get the word out.