Waldo's buffer and my Tiger

Waldo's buffer and my Tiger

Postby playingdead » Tue May 05, 2009 7:58 pm

Hey folks:

Waldo was kind enough to send me a version of his unity gain buffer, specially modified so even a non-soldering type guy like me could install it. So, I did.

I've also been working on trying to get my sound as close as possible to Garcia's miked rig, as heard through the 82-85 soundboards; that means some slight dirt to the sound, subtle reverb and very little low end. It's getting there, I think. It might sound kind of thin on its own, but if you listen to the boards, that's what makes it cut through so well.

So, here's some brief clips, various, as described. (Probably way more than anyone wants to hear ... LOL) I like Waldo's buffer a lot, it's a subtle difference from the Cutler CB1 I had in the guitar originally, but it's a bit smoother.

The guitar is my Resurrection Tiger, with three DiMarzio Super II pickups and, now, Waldo's buffer. I was all set up in the studio, so I just sat and played for a while. I used more bridge pickup than normal because I am working on getting the preamp to break up where I want it to ...

First off ... a little Bird Song ... middle pickup, single coil, switches to the bridge as a humbucker halfway through (note how the sound breaks up more). This is the longest clip.

http://www.playingdead.net/vicbird.mp3

A little Jack Straw intro, also middle pickup single coil:

http://www.playingdead.net/vicjack.mp3

Four seconds of badly played Promised Land, just to hear the bridge pickup humbucker breakup:

http://www.playingdead.net/vicpromise.mp3

An excerpt (badly played) from Slipknot, bridge pickup, humbucker:

http://www.playingdead.net/vicslip.mp3

Just to show the Tiger can Strat out a little, an excerpt from the Eyes Jam, middle pickup and neck pickup single coil -- in between position:

http://www.playingdead.net/viceyes.mp3

A little Midnight Moonlight, bridge pickup as a humbucker:

http://www.playingdead.net/vicmidnight.mp3

A taste of fingerpicked Althea, bridge pickup as a humbucker.

http://www.playingdead.net/vicalthea.mp3

And, finally ... some They Love Each Other, middle pickup, single coil.

http://www.playingdead.net/victleo.mp3
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Re: Waldo's buffer and my Tiger

Postby SarnoMusicSolutions » Tue May 05, 2009 9:37 pm

Vic,

what's the signal path? What preamp? Computer interface?

And on MM and Althea, is the humbucker wired in series (typical) or parallel? Very juicy sounding, had me thinking parallel, but really just guessing. It's been ages since I've actually had a Dimarzio wired up for humbucking.

Thanks for doing this by the way. Very cool.


Brad
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Re: Waldo's buffer and my Tiger

Postby Capt Rosebuddy » Wed May 06, 2009 5:31 am

Hey Vic,
well you have certainly made me a believer of Jerry breaking out of the middle pickup single coil setting. To my ears the humbucking bridge stuff is very close to the early 80's official GDM releases (JGB @ Keene College & Go to Nassau respectively). That's not to say that the single coil stuff doesn't sound good as well I'm just really liking the humbucking bridge. An issue I'm finding with my own guitar is it's not really "quacking" in the 2 or 4 Strat positions.
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Re: Waldo's buffer and my Tiger

Postby SarnoMusicSolutions » Wed May 06, 2009 5:47 am

That was my thought too. The bridge humbucking mode really impressed me. That's why I'm wondering if it's series or parallel humbucking.

Would you guess that Cumberland used that setting often?


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Re: Waldo's buffer and my Tiger

Postby waldo041 » Wed May 06, 2009 6:08 am

WOW!

thanks Vic!

Great Chops and it Sounds Fantastic!~

Brad, i am almost positive it's standard single/series wiring for his coil switches.

peace,
waldo
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Re: Waldo's buffer and my Tiger

Postby playingdead » Wed May 06, 2009 6:34 am

I've always felt that the bridge pickup as a humbucker got close to the original Tiger's DualSound pickups. I don't know whether he ran them single coil or not before he got the Super IIs, but the 79-81 tone definitely sounds like a fat humbucker. Or maybe, as Brad suggests, that's the pickups run in parallel.

I do believe -- and could definitely be wrong -- that Jerry used a humbucker on certain tunes. I have been listening to a LOT of spring 82 and spring 85 soundboards chasing this current obsession of mine. On the same show, you can hear a definite difference tune to tune. I would say on tunes like Cumberland, Mama Tried and Promised Land he did go to that setting. Or maybe parallel or humbucker on his middle pickup, because the bridge as humbucker is a little bright and piercing at the upper end. But it sure does fatten up the tone. On my own guitar, there is a stupendous amount of volume difference on the middle pickup between single and double. It's like twice as loud.

If I get a little time this week, I'll put a live 82 snippet with Jerry starting a song or two, then replay it with my current settings. We have no gigs until Memorial Day, so I have it all set up to experiment with. As I said, my goal here it to get close to his recorded tone with my own recorded tone ... you can't compare your own rig to Garcia's rig in a room, obviously. At least not without renting Madison Square Garden or something. I'm A/B'ing everything on the same set of studio monitors once it's recorded, then tweaking, etc. I will start another thread with the rig's details. I just wanted to give a shout out to Waldo for his tireless efforts to help get the tone out there by sharing his knowledge.

My DiMarzios are wired series, as far as I know. It's kind of at the point where the first gain stage sounds just about right with the bridge humbucker, but if I try to drive it harder with the middle pickup single coil, it's too juicy using the humbucker. This is with the guitar's volume control wide open, though, of course the amount of dirt would be varied depending on how hard the preamp is being hit, so that could be the difference right there. I have noticed through listening that at places where Garcia would go to the humbucker (if he actually did ... LOL) and really turns it up (like the intro to Promised Land), he had a huge amount of dirt come on. I'd be interested to know where he set his volume control on the guitar on a given night ... did he have such a loud rig that the guitar volume was low and never got turned up to 10 (or 11 ... LOL)? Or did he set it so 10 was where he wanted to be for his solos, and then reach for a volume pedal or the mystery knob if he wanted to be louder? At gigs, mine seems to run about 4 during songs, and 7 during solos, by the end of the show it might get dimed, depending on how loud we are playing. But I also can get a lot of dynamics from how hard I am playing.

I also changed strings right before making these clips, which made the guitar a lot brighter. I had it kind of dialed in with strings that had a gig already on them, then changed them and it really varied. I know Parish changed Garcia's strings before every gig, but I also know that Jerry was a bear for noodling scales all day, and also warmed up a lot before a show, so who really knows how many minutes or hours Jerry's legendary toxic sweat were on a "new" set of strings before a gig!

(I'm using an Apogee Duet interface, straight into a Mac Pro using Logic. No processing whatsoever after the sound hits the Mac.)
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Re: Waldo's buffer and my Tiger

Postby myoung6923 » Wed May 06, 2009 6:41 am

I'm pretty sure that it's in series. I believe that Resurrection does only single/series configurations unless you specify otherwise. On mine, I put in a 3 way switch for the middle pickup to add parallel as well - I love it. It just adds a little more richness than the single coil sound - and a little hotter output. It comes in handy sometimes also for juicing up the signal while using the Q Tron and playing on the higher strings - I'll pop it on and then turn it off when I go back to playing on the lower strings. I really like having that extra option.
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Re: Waldo's buffer and my Tiger

Postby Emoto » Wed May 06, 2009 6:51 am

playingdead wrote: ...I'd be interested to know where he set his volume control on the guitar on a given night ... At gigs, mine seems to run about 4 during songs, and 7 during solos, by the end of the show it might get dimed, depending on how loud we are playing. But I also can get a lot of dynamics from how hard I am playing...


Interesting. I would have thought that you would mostly run your guitar volume wide open to get a consistent amount of tube "dirt" but I guess I am mistaken.

I run my guitar volume wide open and use a volume pedal that affects my amp post pre-amp so the sound doesn't really change much with the volume. Not saying that's better, just how I do it.
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Re: Waldo's buffer and my Tiger

Postby SarnoMusicSolutions » Wed May 06, 2009 7:06 am

I never suspected that the Tiger or any of Jer's axes had the parallel humbucker wiring, it's just that Vic's sample sounded quite juicy for series humbucking, so I was curious. I guess one reason I ditched the series thing long ago was that since you double the signal voltage and get that sharp hi-mid boost by doing it, I felt that it was just TOO hot and aggressive, and I would tweak my rig for the single coil. But now I'm interested in dealing with that just so I can have that option again.

Great work Vic and Waldo.

I don't know why I think this, but I was under the impression that Jerry ran his guitar typically at about 2/3 max so that he had plenty of headroom on hand, and that on 10 his rig was really slamming hard and only at extreme moments of a show. But I really don't know where I got that idea. It seems that most shows started fairly tame and balanced and the tone was very clean, in general. But by the time a Cassidy jam or a Let it Grow or something late 1st set, the whole band was loud and rockin, and Jerry was right up there on top of it all. And since one of his main functions was to have that fingertip master volume when using the mutron or distortion or simply to stay on top of the extreme dynamic range of the band, it seems to me that it would be logical for him to have plenty of headroom swing either way with that knob. If he had to resort to a volume pedal, then he's somewhat defeating the purpose of the on-board master volume control.


Brad



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Re: Waldo's buffer and my Tiger

Postby Capt Rosebuddy » Wed May 06, 2009 8:42 am

there is a stupendous amount of volume difference on the middle pickup between single and double. It's like twice as loud.


I'm glad you mentioned this, I'm finding the same thing to be true on my new guitar. So much so that it's tough to go from the middle single to bridge humb. w/o making allowances on the guitar volume knob, which I always keep at 10. Frankly I being the shoot first and post questions later type thought something was wrong, (ie not both pickups where super II's or something, after all one is F spaced and the other isn't).

ps let me know if you want the me to bring the twin by for some further testing, I'll be around this weekend.

cheers,
Andrew
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Re: Waldo's buffer and my Tiger

Postby playingdead » Wed May 06, 2009 8:55 am

In a way, it's a no-brainer ... single coil is one coil, humbucker is two coils. It should be twice as loud, right?

But it also has to do with pickup height. I find my bridge humbucker is only slightly louder than my single coil middle. And, for some reason, the difference in volume between the bridge as single and humbucker is not as great as the middle as single and humbucker.

So many variables to confound my soul!
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Re: Waldo's buffer and my Tiger

Postby SarnoMusicSolutions » Wed May 06, 2009 9:13 am

That all makes sense. Two coils in series is double the voltage. And then you mention a key point about how string amplitude is far less at the bridge, so that is a balancing factor. Man, you got me eager to throw a DiMarzio in the bridge position, but I've got a Tele!!! I do have the split Dual Sound in the middle position though. I may have to re-construct the frankenstrat.

Brad

playingdead wrote:In a way, it's a no-brainer ... single coil is one coil, humbucker is two coils. It should be twice as loud, right?

But it also has to do with pickup height. I find my bridge humbucker is only slightly louder than my single coil middle. And, for some reason, the difference in volume between the bridge as single and humbucker is not as great as the middle as single and humbucker.

So many variables to confound my soul!
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Re: Waldo's buffer and my Tiger

Postby RiverRat » Wed May 06, 2009 9:39 am

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Last edited by RiverRat on Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Waldo's buffer and my Tiger

Postby SarnoMusicSolutions » Wed May 06, 2009 10:29 am

I'm no pickup scientist, but I simply saw it as placing two voltage generating devices in series, sort of like placing two batteries in series. If given a fixed source, one coil generates 300mv, and the next coil also generates 300mv, then in my head it seems that the net result of series wiring would give you 600mv. But this is just pulling it out of my @$$ and not based on any hard study of the subject. But this is all nitpicky. The sub-topic being discussed is that it's clearly a much hotter signal when switching both coils on in series, and how that can present certain issues.


Brad
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Re: Waldo's buffer and my Tiger

Postby Pete B. » Wed May 06, 2009 11:16 am

I've used a Seymore Duncan Pickup Booster pedal in-line to keep my single coil output matched. Flip the coil switch and hit the boost. Tonal change but not volume. Works pretty cool but outside the Jerry "spec"... but imho... there are no rules with regard to searchin' for the sound.
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