Help guide me on my Bobby tone quest!

Help guide me on my Bobby tone quest!

Postby jumage96 » Tue Sep 13, 2016 10:35 am

Hi everyone!
I have been reading the forums here for a while but this is my first post. I've been playing in a band recently and even though we aren't a dead band I take a lot of influence from listening to Bobby and I love his tone and the way he sits in the mix. My current set up is an Ibanez Artist ar305 (w/ dimarzio pups, coil splits, and phase reversal) played through a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe iii with a Cannabis Rex speaker which I usually run at Treb:10 Mid:5 Bass:1.5 (the hot rod tone controls go up to 12). I also have a mooer yellow compressor that i run around 2 o clock with a flat eq. My problem is I feel like I am always switching between sitting way to thick in the mix to being extremely thin and harsh and I start getting a really "honky" sound. I usually play in the middle position running both pickups in humbucking mode. I am debating going to a shop to put a middle pickup into the guitar but before I do that I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions on cleaning up my tone a bit through amp settings, compression settings, pickup height, volume relation between neck and bridge, etc. I have access to a boss 7 band eq but I have no clue what frequencies should be boosted/cut for that nice clear bell like Bobby tone. Thank you all!
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Re: Help guide me on my Bobby tone quest!

Postby Drybonz » Tue Sep 13, 2016 4:08 pm

I had a Hot Rod Deluxe amp years ago, and if I recall it was hard to get a sound out of it that wasn't muddy, and I believe that's why I got rid of it. If I had the drive turned up over about a 1 or 2 it sounded very dirty to me. You may want to drop that down as far as you can and then raise the volume a bit. Also, may want to boost your mid a bit and drop that treble down a little. Maybe a little more bass. Don't want to be the bearer of bad news, but I could never get a tone I liked out of that amp. I'm sure others here will disagree with these suggestions and probably have better advice for you.
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Re: Help guide me on my Bobby tone quest!

Postby gmchart » Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:45 pm

Everything I've learned about chasing the unicorn that is 'Bobby Tone' I've learned on this site, So others (the ones who know) will probably chime in. For my set-up EQ is essential. Drybonz has experience with your amp-I don't. Try putting the EQ in your chain and starting with the bass side set it -3,-2,-1(or flat), mid point +1, +2, +3,+2. See where that gets ya.
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Re: Help guide me on my Bobby tone quest!

Postby chipperj » Tue Sep 13, 2016 11:11 pm

Could be just me, but I have never heard any good coming from the middle position between two humbuckers. It's got compromise written all over it.
I don't agree that it's the amp. I say add that middle pick up.
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Re: Help guide me on my Bobby tone quest!

Postby strumminsix » Wed Sep 14, 2016 7:10 am

IMO some keys to Bobby, oversimplified and generically:
1) your neck hand must be versed in all chord patterns and inversion and substitutions. Using your thumb helps too, but I don't have that stretch.
2) your pick hand must have a myriad of attacks and mutings
3) guitar: PAF style humbuckers with 3 way mini toggles for series, parallel and single as well as out of phase switching. Bright woods!!
4) amp/cab: I've had best results with Blackface Fender / Jensen/JBL type equipment. Yeah, I know it's the go-to for Jerry guys but Bobbyness needs guitar poweramp not clean PA poweramp.

For the OP:
1) get that guitar modified to add some PAF style pickups and switching
2) realize that amp is not gonna cut it. they are good amps, I've owned one with a C-Rex before. Not knocking them. But it's not the right tool for the job. IMO a Deluxe Reverb would serve you much, much better. Even the re-issues are good.


chipperj wrote:Could be just me, but I have never heard any good coming from the middle position between two humbuckers. It's got compromise written all over it.
I don't agree that it's the amp. I say add that middle pick up.

Great things come from that position. Very wonderful mellow R&B tones. Beautiful rhythm sweetness. Soft tones that are tonal middle. Sometimes the song needs that.
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Re: Help guide me on my Bobby tone quest!

Postby JDB30 » Wed Sep 14, 2016 8:11 am

I've posted some of this before but, for the benefit of the OP, here is a summary. Here are the elements of achieving the tone your after, in order of importance:

1) TECHNIQUE: No amount of gear will get you there unless you understand the technique, which includes having a command of music theory, leading tones, chord inversions, partial chords, a very specific attack on the strings, palm muting, etc. Believe me when I tell you that this is about 80-90% of it. Most people won't. Do yourself a favor and learn the thought process.

2) PICKUP COMBINATION: Most of the '70's-early '80's Bobby tone was achieved with a 3-pickup guitar. You need a single coil middle pickup and the ability to put the neck & bridge pickups in Off, Single Coil or Humbucking mode. You can do a Google search and find the various pickups that Weir used (he used a crazy different amount).

3) STRINGS: Using flat-wound strings really helps. Pyramid makes a set based on Weir.

4) AMP: Again, Weir used (and continues to use) a wide variety of things. Some of us prefer the tone he got out of a Fender circuit variant (Mesa Boogie Mk. 1) while others prefer the tone he got from using the solid state IVP pre-amp/Godzilla Power amp combination. In the end, there are a lot of ways to get there but you want something with a lot of headroom before you start overdriving the amp. You want to avoid getting into distortion (unless you're playing slide, etc.).

5) OTHER: Weir used a very specific pick (Dunlop Jazz 1) that maximized his unique technique of hitting the strings a certain way. Weir also used a great deal of different effects (and, sometimes, very few effects). There is no single effect that will absolutely get you close but there are certain effects I've found will help accentuate what you do once you've mastered #1.

Again, the most important aspect of Bob's tone (and I believe this is true for EVERY great guitarist/musician) is what's in his/her head & heart and how that translates to his/her hands.
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Re: Help guide me on my Bobby tone quest!

Postby jumage96 » Wed Sep 14, 2016 9:22 am

Hey everyone thank you for all the replies!
To start off I was able to use the boss 7 band eq last night and it was actually a tone of help. My tone still sounded a little "softer" than Bobbys but with it set up at -2,+1,-1,-1,0,+1,0 paired with some compression it helped so much with the chord comping type stuff that Bobby does.
From the sounds of it though a Deluxe Reverb would be worth investing in which I was already partial to anyway but went with the Hot Rod a few years ago cause I found a really good deal on it and its my first tube amp. Do you guys know how the stock speaker is in them? Would it be worth also getting a JBL for it or would the Crex sound good in it?
I have been working a lot recently on chord inversions and voicings and I'm feeling pretty comfortable now using them and moving between them in real time. Ive also been slowly honing in on the pick attack (also using the dunlop jazz 1s). Im now just trying to figure out how to create those rhythmic licks that Bobby pulls out in jams.
In regard to the middle pickup I'm having a difficult time finding someplace to get it done. I currently have a Dimarzio Air classic in the neck and a 36 anniversary in the bridge that I got put in at my local guitar shop where they also put in a phase switch. Unfortunately none of shops around want to cut into the guitar. They said they would but it would be very expensive and acted like it was a crazy request. Would it be worth sending it in someplace?
Heres the guitar http://imgur.com/a/mHq8o
Thanks
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Re: Help guide me on my Bobby tone quest!

Postby strumminsix » Wed Sep 14, 2016 9:30 am

jumage96 wrote:From the sounds of it though a Deluxe Reverb would be worth investing in which I was already partial to anyway but went with the Hot Rod a few years ago cause I found a really good deal on it and its my first tube amp. Do you guys know how the stock speaker is in them? Would it be worth also getting a JBL for it or would the Crex sound good in it?

As I said above: realize that amp is not gonna cut it. they are good amps, I've owned one with a C-Rex before. Not knocking them. But it's not the right tool for the job. IMO a Deluxe Reverb would serve you much, much better. Even the re-issues are good.
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Re: Help guide me on my Bobby tone quest!

Postby JDB30 » Wed Sep 14, 2016 10:07 am

jumage96 wrote:In regard to the middle pickup I'm having a difficult time finding someplace to get it done. I currently have a Dimarzio Air classic in the neck and a 36 anniversary in the bridge that I got put in at my local guitar shop where they also put in a phase switch. Unfortunately none of shops around want to cut into the guitar. They said they would but it would be very expensive and acted like it was a crazy request. Would it be worth sending it in someplace?
Heres the guitar http://imgur.com/a/mHq8o
Thanks


PM me and I'll give you the name of someone in LA who modded mine (photo below). It sounds really good but I don't use it much since getting a Cowboy. While he's at it, make sure he splits the neck & bridge pickup coils and wires them with tri-sound switches for you.

Image
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Re: Help guide me on my Bobby tone quest!

Postby jumage96 » Wed Sep 14, 2016 11:42 am

Wow JDB30 that's beautiful. Is it an original 305 or a reissue? Also what do the 4 switches do there? Thats along the lines of what Im hoping to do but unfortunately Im pretty far from LA so it might be a bit difficult and pricey to send it there.
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Re: Help guide me on my Bobby tone quest!

Postby JDB30 » Wed Sep 14, 2016 12:04 pm

jumage96 wrote:Wow JDB30 that's beautiful. Is it an original 305 or a reissue? Also what do the 4 switches do there? Thats along the lines of what Im hoping to do but unfortunately Im pretty far from LA so it might be a bit difficult and pricey to send it there.


It's an Ibanez Artist 325 reissue. Very inexpensive but plays great. Regarding the switches:

UPPER HORN: This is the standard Les Paul-type pickup selector (selects between Neck, Bridge and both pickups)
LOWER HORN: These 3 mini toggles do the following:

1) Tri Sound Switch for the Neck Pickup (Parallel Humbucker, Single Coil, Series Humbucker)
2) On/Off for the Middle pickup
3) Tri Sound Switch for the Bridge Pickup (Parallel Humbucker, Single Coil, Series Humbucker)

Here are some sound samples I got with this guitar:

https://soundcloud.com/jdb30/ls-ibanez-ivp
https://soundcloud.com/jdb30/terrapin-s ... introverse
https://soundcloud.com/jdb30/jack-straw ... under-solo
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Re: Help guide me on my Bobby tone quest!

Postby Drybonz » Wed Sep 14, 2016 12:40 pm

jumage96 wrote:From the sounds of it though a Deluxe Reverb would be worth investing in which I was already partial to anyway but went with the Hot Rod a few years ago cause I found a really good deal on it and its my first tube amp.


If you are going to think about another amp, you might consider outside Fender amps also... there are a lot of mentions about other amps here on these forums that guys commonly use for the Bobby tone.
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Re: Help guide me on my Bobby tone quest!

Postby JDB30 » Wed Sep 14, 2016 12:46 pm

Drybonz wrote:
jumage96 wrote:From the sounds of it though a Deluxe Reverb would be worth investing in which I was already partial to anyway but went with the Hot Rod a few years ago cause I found a really good deal on it and its my first tube amp.


If you are going to think about another amp, you might consider outside Fender amps also... there are a lot of mentions about other amps here on these forums that guys commonly use for the Bobby tone.


Several people on this forum have reported very good results with the Roland JC-77 which is affordable and fairly easy to transport.
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Re: Help guide me on my Bobby tone quest!

Postby jumage96 » Wed Sep 14, 2016 2:07 pm

Id be interested to try the roland as Ive never had any experience with higher end solid state amps. And on the ibanez does the middle pup have a volume and tone control or is it just straight to jack?
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Re: Help guide me on my Bobby tone quest!

Postby jumage96 » Wed Sep 14, 2016 2:09 pm

Those soundclips sound awesome!
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