Quest > where to start > guitar or amp/speaker

Quest > where to start > guitar or amp/speaker

Postby banjoted » Mon Apr 01, 2013 3:43 am

I know playing is # 1. But, I cannot get the tone which frustrates me incredibly. Playing Gibson SG into a Peavey amp.

My question is where will I get the biggest bang for the buck initially ? Getting my guitar modified (I've been in contact with AO guitars in ME) or going the pre-amp/speaker route - SMS/JBL?

or is it 50/50 ?
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Re: Quest > where to start > guitar or amp/speaker

Postby gpilcher2001 » Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:00 am

I'd start with the speaker. The amp is important but you'll get a more noticeable change with the speaker. Greg...
Last edited by gpilcher2001 on Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
good to know you got shoes to wear when you find the floor.....
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Re: Quest > where to start > guitar or amp/speaker

Postby strumminsix » Mon Apr 01, 2013 6:42 am

IMO every Jerry player needs a well modified Fender Deluxe Reverb type amp with JBL D120 type speaker. They have awesome tone and are relatively lightweight but most importantly, can get the tone!

Twin Reverbs or SMS + xyz poweramp are all wonderful but for basic basement woodshedding and skills building way more power than needed.
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Re: Quest > where to start > guitar or amp/speaker

Postby playingdead » Mon Apr 01, 2013 6:43 am

Hey Ted:

I guess the first question is, which tone are you going after? Lots of folks are chasing the mid 80s Tiger tone; if that's what you're after, you either need to mod the SG with a middle pickup (unless it's a Custom with three already) or pickup a Strat type guitar and mod that to get a DiMarzio Super II in there.

If you like his 60s tone, an SG is not a bad place to start.

Basics on the amp are a Fender style amp with good reverb ... not sure which Peavey amp you have, but if you detail your gear a little bit more maybe folks can make some better suggestions.

Garcia had killer banjo chops, so you've got a leg up on most of us based on your screen name.
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Re: Quest > where to start > guitar or amp/speaker

Postby Jon S. » Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:03 am

playingdead wrote:Garcia had killer banjo chops, so you've got a leg up on most of us based on your screen name.

Or a clawhammer up. :smile:
"For me, I think the only danger is being too much in love with guitar playing. The music is the most important thing, and the guitar is only the instrument." Jerry Garcia
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Re: Quest > where to start > guitar or amp/speaker

Postby banjoted » Mon Apr 01, 2013 9:17 am

Hi All, thanks for responding !

playing dead > I like the 79-82 era. At least, that's what I'm listening to a lot of these days. I play an SG into a Peavey Bandit 75W. The SG was a trade; from the S/N found it was built in 1986. It has double humbuckers that I was looking to upgrade and possibly get a SDS-1 in the middle position (along with 5-way switching).

strumminsix > I have a Fender Twin Reverb in hibernation. (I also have a Crown Amp.) Would it be easier to get the Twin modded or get the SMS preamp ? Also, can you buy just the fender head rather than the whole amp ? I've been playing 20+ years but never got so deep into the actual mechanics of the instruments. I am basement playing. My peavey at 2 is pretty loud. My wife will just have to accept it. Better or worse, right ?
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Re: Quest > where to start > guitar or amp/speaker

Postby strumminsix » Mon Apr 01, 2013 9:31 am

I'd for sure start with the Twin you already have!

For the basement, I'd even suggest looking at a half power mod.

SMS plus power amp is great but that's a lot of volume!

Yes, Fender made Dual Showman Reverb amps that are/were Twin pre and power sections in a head.
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Re: Quest > where to start > guitar or amp/speaker

Postby Tennessee Jedi » Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:38 am

banjoted wrote:Hi All, thanks for responding !

playing dead > I like the 79-82 era. At least, that's what I'm listening to a lot of these days. I play an SG into a Peavey Bandit 75W. The SG was a trade; from the S/N found it was built in 1986. It has double humbuckers that I was looking to upgrade and possibly get a SDS-1 in the middle position (along with 5-way switching).

strumminsix > I have a Fender Twin Reverb in hibernation. (I also have a Crown Amp.) Would it be easier to get the Twin modded or get the SMS preamp ? Also, can you buy just the fender head rather than the whole amp ? I've been playing 20+ years but never got so deep into the actual mechanics of the instruments. I am basement playing. My peavey at 2 is pretty loud. My wife will just have to accept it. Better or worse, right ?

I played a bandit for a long time decent amp w/great reverb .... If ye have a twin that would be better but maybe too loud
I had a twin ; it was too heavy ; took the speakers out and made it a head ; was really loud though but a little lighter :-)
Ended up getting the SMS and a 2 x 12 / 1 x 12
It is excellent
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Re: Quest > where to start > guitar or amp/speaker

Postby gr8fullfred » Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:40 pm

I say start at the ends, then work your way through the middle.

1st Get a JBL D, K or E120

2nd Modify the SG with a Split SDII in the middle position

3rd, turn the bass on the amp to 0

4th Get a tube amp. I think that Bandit is SS, best bet might be to get a Fender DeLux Amp.

5 Twins are good. Heavy but good. Can make a head and get a 2x12 speaker cab with the JBLs.

These steps will get you close ish. TO continue the quest, buffer, twin as preamp or SMS, OBEL
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Re: Quest > where to start > guitar or amp/speaker

Postby wolftigerrosebud » Mon Apr 01, 2013 2:40 pm

Another route, if you want to get the late '60s tone, could be [E/D/K]-120 and simply buying an SMS Earth Drive for the Twin Reverb OD sound -- you already have the right axe for that sound, for one, and it'd be cheaper, easier, and faster than swapping pups or buying a new amp. You could always add the new pups or different amp later on.
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Re: Quest > where to start > guitar or amp/speaker

Postby tcsned » Mon Apr 01, 2013 3:53 pm

wolftigerrosebud wrote:Another route, if you want to get the late '60s tone, could be [E/D/K]-120 and simply buying an SMS Earth Drive for the Twin Reverb OD sound -- you already have the right axe for that sound, for one, and it'd be cheaper, easier, and faster than swapping pups or buying a new amp. You could always add the new pups or different amp later on.

There's some wisdom in this advice. Doing a cost benefit analysis would be a good idea. What are you looking to spend?

If you've got a Twin, that's a good place to start. The half power mod would help with power or maybe you could get some sort of power soak so you can use the Twin. You could mod your SG but keep in mind your using a 24 3/4" neck scale not the 25 1/2" Jerry was using with the Tiger. That's gonna affect the tone. Though, if you want that old school Garcia tone the SG would be awesome for that. If it were me, I'd do the following:
- Power soak for marriage preservation - use the Twin
- Strat w/DiMarzio middle pickup - maybe Scott Walker's SDII single coil modded PU - depending on $$ an imported strat or for more an American or if your adventurous, a Warmoth neck and body.
- Earth Drive

That should get you started. If you want to mod the speakers cool - if you don't want to sink $$ into 30-40 year old speakers you might look at Eminence Commonwealths ($150 ea) or better yet Beyma Liberty ($250 ea).

You could do some of the Jerry Mods on your Twin. The SMS is awesome, I use one on stage. You could get a Mac power amp though you might like the MosValve 962 (you can get these for less than $200).
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Re: Quest > where to start > guitar or amp/speaker

Postby jenkins » Mon Apr 01, 2013 6:00 pm

I'm gonna have to disagree with most of the comments & say your guitar is the place to start.

If you like the SG & how it plays, get it modded for sure, it will get you way closer way faster than any speaker will IMO.

It doesn't matter if you have a 65 twin that's been modded to be a preamp>mc2300, it's not gonna sound like 79 Garcia with an SG that has 2 humbuckers, it's just not.

I have a les Paul Double cutaway & and epi hollow body. I bought a 67 twin reverb & usin those guitars it sounded like 69-71 Garcia. Had it preamped & ran it through a crest power amp into JBL's & it still sounded like early Garcia.

Then I had the LP modded Jerry style. Put an sds-1 in the middle(due to room available) and super 2's splittable in the bridge & neck positions, the 3-way pup selector changed to a 5-way rotary selector & the volume knob as a push-pull to split the pups to single coils or humbuckers. Also had the Buffer installed.

The second I plugged that guitar into my amp I was like ahhhhhh, THAT'S what I've been looking for in tone. It literally brought it from a guitar that I could not get to sound the way I wanted through any amp to a guitar that sounded exactly how I wanted it through any amp, it was night and day.
Having that middle pup is CRUCIAL for getting the Garcia tone, IMO it's just not happening with any 2 humbucker guitar. The only double 'bucker guitar i've ever played that has a similar tone is a PRS that also has a piezo pup with a blend knob, but that's thousands of dollars and still not THE tone you're looking for, more like '91 Garcia.

At this point I hate playing any guitar that just has two humbuckers, it's just so restricted tonally. That's the beauty and genius behing Garcia's setup, it truly is the best of both worlds. Those certain songs that you play where you like playying on bridge humbucker you still have that option, it's like a true hybrid between a strat and a Les Paul, don't get any better than that!

You''ll get the most bang for your buck by having that SG modded for a third pup in the middle, you''ll be VERY happy thatt you did. This is assuming you have the neccesary playing chops but you'll be able to get a pretty damn convincing Garcia tone even out of that Peavey, but run it into your Twin and you'll be in tone heaven, I swear.

Personally I would go with the SDS-1 in the middle rather than a single coil super 2. That's what I hae and I couldn't be happier with the tone. The difference between the super 2 split and the SDS-1 is the SDS-1 is hotter, which is what you''ll want on that SG. You gotta remember that Tiger weighed what 13lb's? THat's a lot of wood there which provides tone, defintetly on my LP DC, which is like 7-8lb's that hotter signal makes up for that loss of weight, at least somewhat.

The bottom line is no matter what amp you have you're never going to get a 79-82 tone with an SG that has 2 humbuckers. You MIGHT be able to get kinda close, but you're never gonna get to where you really want it until you get that third pup in the middle and you make the HB's splittable.

IMO the guitar is the key element to the tone, the JBL speaker is just the icing on top, that's for when you're going all out. Your guitar is still going to sound like an SG when it's going through JBL's, it's certainly not gong to sound likke 79 Garcia.

First thing is get the guitar tiger-ized,, you will NOT regret it. There's nothing else you can do for a few hundred bucks, or even thousands that's going to get you closer. That SG will sound money even through the Peavey once you have 3 splittable Dimarrzio's and a 5-way selector. That is CRITICAL for the Garcia tone.
Next step, since you already have a twin, is getting a mcintosh power amp. There's Just no amps I've ever heard that sound as good as a mac, they're just awesome going through almost any speaker.
I think the last step is getting the JBL, thats the icing on the cake after you have the guitar tiger-ized running into a nice preamp into your mac, that's when you wwant the TRULY authentic Garcia tone.

But remember, an SG with hb's is going to sound lke an SG with hb's no mattter what amp or speeaker combo you choose, it's never going to sound like Garcia in 79.
Get that bitch modded ASAP with the 3 dimarzio's, buffer and splittabl hb's,, you'll be so glad you did and so much closerr to the tone you want than any amp or speakers will get you, as evidenced by the fact that you already own a twin.

All JMHO and YMMV, but trust me, tiger-izing your SG is definitely gonna be the most bang for your buck.
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Re: Quest > where to start > guitar or amp/speaker

Postby jeager » Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:26 pm

Here is a different take. I think a stock strat with single coils and JBL K120 in the fender twin will get you quite close and be minimally invasive (no router or electronics expertise required). Check out the video on youtube called Sunshine Daydream. Jerry is playing a plain old strat and he has Jerry tone, or even better the video of the band playing on borrowed gear in Amsterdam. I have heard various example of people playing stock guitars with a single coil in the middle and stock fender amps sounding very much Jerry tone.

The SG is a 24 and 3/4 scale guitar no matter what single coil you put in the middle it will not sound like the a 25 1/2 scale guitar (strat, tiger, rosebud etc)... the different scales produce different overtones and I think it is as important if not more fundamental than little things like the specific modifications to a fender amp or even using a split super II versus any other good single coil in the middle position. IMHO the middle position single coil on a fender scale guitar and the correct amp settings on a fender tube amp get you in the ballpark for 70s and even 80s with out any mods or Jerry specific hardware...then you can go from there. The big lesson for me was simply amp settings (roll off the bass completely and jack the treble on your fender amp and then tweak from there a little) and where to put my pick up selector... I found this really odd at first but it wrks great for this musical situation. try it with your SG and Fender amp if you have not already...then borrow a strat and try it... Scale effect the feel a whole bunch too and thus, may also effect way you approach the guitar and the sounds you (Jerry) make

http://www.guitarplayer.com/article/5-things-about-scale-length/4119
"One man gathers what another man spills..."
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Re: Quest > where to start > guitar or amp/speaker

Postby wolftigerrosebud » Mon Apr 01, 2013 9:41 pm

Another idea is, if you're looking for the most cost-effective solution, you could simply cut off your right middle finger.
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Re: Quest > where to start > guitar or amp/speaker

Postby wolftigerrosebud » Mon Apr 01, 2013 9:46 pm

jenkins wrote:Having that middle pup is CRUCIAL for getting the Garcia tone, IMO it's just not happening with any 2 humbucker guitar.


Not to bust balls, but Jerry did sound like himself on a lot of guitars with just two pups. My SG has PAF-style pups in it, and with the Earth Drive, E120, and Brad's preamp, it really sounds quite convincing. Through an actual blackface Fender, it sounds exactly the same.

There are a lot of ways to get there, everything everyone's saying on the whole page is probably a valid, effective place to start.
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