George Benson sound on my S2 Standard?


New Member
Mar 2, 2017
San Francisco
I need some how-to help! I want an Ibanez George Benson ax to add to the quiver but can't afford one anytime soon. What settings on my current ax will get me close to a jazzy tone/sound?

I have a PRS S2 Standard 22 paired with a Yamaha THR10C amp. I would LOVE LOVE help knowing what settings (pickups/knobs etc) for both to get me a good clean jazz sound as I haven't been able to figure it out on my own yet.

Full disclaimer: I am new and definitely don't know what I'm doing so you don't need to make fun of me or say what a dumb question this is, I'm aware it's a stretch but I want to scratch the itch until I am able to more guitars. I am unclear which thread this should be in so any moderator should feel free to move it to the correct one or tell me to delete and repost accordingly.
I am not a GB fan, and am not totally familiar with his sound, so I am just going to mention what I do to get a nice, clean jazz sound. I would start on the neck pickup. Roll the tone knob back to around 5-6. On your THR pull up a Fender Twin Reverb model. Dial in the amp to be clean and neutral. I tend to run all my EQ on Fender amps at 5 all the way across. From there, play a couple of chords. If the sound is gritty, either roll back the volume knob until it sounds right, or readjust the gain on the amp - usually turning it down. in the process you will most likely have to turn the master volume up to compensate for lowering the gain.

Hope this helps.
There are definitely snobs out there, but I think you can get a decent jazz tone out of just about anything.

I generally think of George's tone as relatively bright for a jazz cat. Still use the neck pickup on the guitar definitely. On the THR try the Clean setting and like Mark said, tinker with the EQ to get an even balance. Keep the drive control low enough so it doesn't break up. I'd turn the reverb off, or use the editor to make it minimal (the preset decay time is waaay long IMO).

I'm by no means a jazz guitar expert, but my favorite jazz tone on the THR is playing an electric guitar on the Acoustic setting. It provides a very crisp and dry tonal palette that works well for jazz. I purposely EQ it a little bright, using the neck pickup, and then roll off high end with my tone knob. That seems to get the warmth where I like it better than tweaking the amp's treble control.
I actually do "Breezin" & "This Masquerade" as part of my pop jazz set and have done it with a solid body many times. It's not great but you can pull it off and you'd be surprised how little it means to an average listener, whether you have an arch top or not. Only guitarists and jazz snobs are even going to question it.

As for achieving "the GB sound" (or as close you can get) starts with the neck pickup and stays there, roll of as much of your highs as you can on your axe & amp without making sound too much like your playing underwater. When playing chords I keep my guitar volume knob around 6-7 and for single note lines I'll push it to 8-9, tone knob usually stays around 3-4. On your amp EQ, pump the bass, just a tad of mids, and as little highs as you can get away with. The clean channel gain is the key, push it so that the single note lines sound full but not so heavy that the chords break up too much and distort, just that hint of crunch is there when he strikes those octaves and chords in his solos.

Experiment, but you can pull it off, I have. Good luck with it.
We`re not interested in making fun of people on the forum. We`re here to help each other and share good things. I think the above posts are excellent. You may want to try a Guild Dearmond X135, X145, or X155. They are fantastic guitars for the money. They`re so good, I sold my D`Aquisto years ago, and have done my jazz with an X 135 for many years. A used one should run you a very reasonable price, just make sure it`s one of the earlier Korean ones, not a Chinese later one.
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I agree with all of the above -- I play an archtop for playability and the ability to practice unplugged, you can definitely get the same tones out of a solidbody, no problem. You've already got several decent recipes, but the long and short of it is experiment with dialing in both your guitar and your amp (as well as together). It's an art. Small changes go a long way -- I've been doing this for over a year, and I still have a long way to go (mostly because I get impatient and want to play guitar, not play with knobs).
I may suggest trying a 2mm pick. I've starting using them after reading about Garcia and Anastasio using old Adamas Graphite 2mm picks. Definitely gets a warmer, thicker and smoother tone.
Thanks for everyone's help!
Much better with those setting suggestions and a thicker pick!
(Still fighting the urge to buy an old Gibson or Ibanez though!) I'll save my begging for my birthday. ;)
I was recently introduced to the concept that pick material is important as well. I was getting a bright sparkly tone out of an acoustic from all my picks, until my friend pulled out one of his Dunlop PrimeTone picks, and all of a sudden...the bass was back. So you may want to check out a PrimeTone pick as well. I just use a regular middle-of-the-road 0.73mm smooth now.
You could also play with pick position. Picking closer to the bridge will give a brighter sound; picking halfway between the fret position and the bridge will give an almost synthetic, "hollow" (triangle wave) tone; etc.