playingdead wrote:... and ultimately, no one has his exact touch or technique, so there's only so far you can get, even if you have Irsay's Tiger in your hands.
The older I get and the longer I play the more I find that to be the case.
It is a fun chase, no doubt (and that is ultimately what brings us all together here, no?) but after everything, you really reach a point of diminishing returns and that point is different for everyone. We all love that tone, and it helps to understand how he got there, but even still it is different for everyone.
I see Edwin quoting Kimock above. You see people say Kimocks tone compared to Garcia's more than anyone's, and to take Edwin's quote one step further, Kimock states that not only did he personally sound like shit through Jerry's whole rig, (he had access to the whole thing for Other Ones rehearsals in 98) that he had to approach it 100 percent differently to get in that ballpark. Low output single coils, bolt on necks, different amp setups.
At what point do you tip your hat to jer's greatness and absorb the spirit but find your own voice? Even John K, who is filling Jerry's shoes so to speak, and can nail this stuff, modifies the equipment approach (An H+K Blues master into a QSC, come on that is NOT a Twin/Mac deal by any stretch, Carvin? Vantage? Steinberger?!!? No cocobolo in any of these!) to allow for his own vibe to come through, while still absolutely maintaining Jerry's musical spirit.
Like, I love your thoughts behind switching to the Walker, Vic, you've still got your Jer on tap, but you have a way bigger palette to work with for your own voice.
Here's the last thing. I love chasing the tone, I love what someone like Waldo has done for getting all this accurate info in our hands. He is incredible, and generous for sharing the fruits of some exhausting labor. But in the end (and this is just my opinion) it is a self-serving chase for all of us. It is because it means something to US as musicians and Deadheads.
I can tell you first hand (and I play a fair amount of gigs to a fair amount of people, a lot more than some, and a lot less than many). From a gigging and performance standpoint almost nobody gives a shit how close someone is to Jerry's tone or Bobby's tone, or Phil's.....WE care as Deadheads and musicians about "getting it right" but if you think the majority of the crowd at a DSO show or Zen Tricksters show or any other Dead band that draws cares at that level of detail, I think you are mistaken. That is NOT what is putting people in the room. A lot of us sit on the internet and critique how close this guy is to nailing it, or that guy is to missing it, and we comb over the minutiae. Guess what, those ARE NOT the people that are paying money to come out and see you play. The people who come out to see you play, come to do so to see good music played with passion and conviction. They come to dance, they come to hang with friends to have a good time. They come to be part of something. The come to hear alternative ways of playing music to what is out there today. They do NOT come to see who has the closest Super 2 split single-coil sound.
So in the end I guess I am talking about 2 different things, because I STILL love the chase of getting a sound in my head and translating it and making it happen through my rig. Most of the time that is Jerry or Bobby's sound in my head, because that is the music I love, and what I saw 100's of times, and listened to for years and years. But I used to tie in my ability of getting Jerry of Bobby's sound "just exactly perfect" depending on the band I was playing with at the time, which Ive never been able to do even close to any level of personal satisfaction, I used to tie it to what I thought would make my band(s) more successful. I have realized that it is really not tied together at ALL. My chase to sound like Jerry or Bobby is it's own thing, for my own personal satisfaction. However, it does not help me draw people to see me play on stage. What has helped me draw people on stage is the aforementioned playing with purpose, conviction, and energy and passion. I have found that both as a spectator from the audience side of the stage and as a performer from the band side of the stage that the passion, conviction, and energy comes though much better when using your own "voice" even when playing Dead covers.
Remember this is just my opinion. I am sure some will disagree. I just have been taking an informal poll of our crowds for the last few years and I would say about 1/100 are gearheads or even know the tone differences.
.......................................................have you heard the one about the yellow dog?