Great topic for discussion, IMO, and there's been some very interesting posts in this thread.
JK doesn't sound exactly like jerry, but he's clearly playing in the style of jerry and does a damn good job at it too. The way I see it is if your going into a furthur show expecting to hear jerry your gonna be dissapointed. He does is own thing, but always keeps it in the same style as jerry.
For me it really goes either way, most of the furthur shows ive seenI felt he just nailed what he's trying to do(&what bobby and Phil want him to do), and then there's been some where I just couldn't get into it, seemed almost uninspired. But that's part of the magic of the GD, when you catch those amazing shows there's nothing like it and in that respect further has it dead on. Those great furthur shows can be truly magical, just like a great GD show can.
What I find interesting about his tone is that it seems like he is going more for a 90's tone then anything else. If I could pick a year I think he sounds most similar to I think it's like '91, although it still sounds different than that even.
He even breaks out the acoustic Jerry tone, that just shocked me. And he makes it sound good too.
Didn't he recently switch to the GT Trio preamp? That is decidedly 90's
I feel his tone can be almost too clean and smooth most of the times. He lacks the pick attack and mostly that "clean yet dirty" tone that is what I think of when I think of jerry. Just Jerry's clean tone had so much depth to it, something JK is def lacking IMO.
What I constantly wonder upon listening to JK is whether or not this is what jerry would have sounded like if he was still alive. In my mind that is the big question: what would jerry sound like if he was still around. His tone was constantly evolving throughr the years and he certainly was never going to go backwards. He was never gonna sound like70's Jerry again. I also don't think he was gonna stick with his 90's tone either, I feel like he was going for something he hadn't yet achieved. I feel like his tone would have been somewhat similar to what we are hearing in furthur, but probably with a little more bite.
Overall I think JK does a very impressive job filling Jerry's shoes and does it I such a way as that he's not stepping on Jerry's toes.
I think he makes the band a lot better than it would be if he was trying to be a true jerry clone, then the rest of the band would have to try to be a GD clone and that would ruin what they are. Mattson in dso right now sounds more like 70's Jerry than I thought JK ever sounded. Saw him last year in Northampton,ma and I was so impressed with how much he sounded like Jerry, incredible show('78). But if he was in furthur doing that I think furthur would be held back.
I also think they are going to do one more tour as the dead with JK on guitar, I'd like to see that. Originally I thought furthur was a test run for not only jk's playing but also how the fans accepted him before bringing a jerry clone into the dead, which they were always like afraid to do. Anyone remember '96 furthur tour when they had the all star jams at the end of the shows? I remember everyone's biggest complaints were that there was no lead guitar player. At first they were playing without even anyone trying to fill in for jerry. I remember still loving it, but wow, how far we've come.