JGB Tone (Late 80s / Early 90s)

JGB Tone (Late 80s / Early 90s)

Postby lunasparks » Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:32 pm

At times I've been obsessed by how there's a more reverb-y, echo-y sound in Jerry's tone by '89-'90 in the JGB (at least in a lot of shows) than there seems to be in GD recordings. At first I thought maybe it was just audience recordings, but then I hear it in the soundboards too. And it didn't seem quite like reverb only. Never could quite figure it out. Then tonight I'm watching the Live at Shoreline (9/1/90) video and at the end of My Sisters and Brothers the camera pans to get a clear view of the Jerry's 4x12 cabinet. For the first time ever I notice that it's got 3 JBLs up top but the bottom slot is empty...

...except for what looks like a little snake stand going into the empty bottom 1x12 space, presumably complete with microphone and adding a difference to the mix when blended in?! Anybody else agree that JGB tone in this era had something different going on? Is it that he's blending in the tone coming from inside the cabinet? Could it be that I'm tragic for having never noticed this before? :shock: And if this is not the explanation, how do I get a "distance" in my tone like that, cuz I like it...a lot :-)

P.S. I had a youtube link but because the video I watched is in widescreen but YT clip is not, you can't actually see what I'm talking about, at least in that clip; maybe other spots in the whole video? Very clear in widescreen, though.

Anyway, just an observation from a guy searching for the sound....
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Re: JGB Tone (Late 80s / Early 90s)

Postby mgbills » Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:22 pm

That's a cool idea really. I've observed the change in how the cab projects to the room (and/or the immediate area), but it's proximity to a solid object. What would be the isolated sound of mic'ing a JBL from the back of the surround.

Intriguing!
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Re: JGB Tone (Late 80s / Early 90s)

Postby lunasparks » Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:03 pm

mgbills wrote:That's a cool idea really. I've observed the change in how the cab projects to the room (and/or the immediate area), but it's proximity to a solid object. What would be the isolated sound of mic'ing a JBL from the back of the surround.

Intriguing!


Yeah, my first thought--again, assuming I'm seeing things correctly on the video--is why would they mic the back/inside of the cab? A few comments on the subject I found from different places online:

It's just a different timbre. More diffused. I generally find that diffusion can be a good thing. A bit of phasey color can add interest.
it's not THAT different from micing the front but it gives you a slightly diffuse and less harsh sound.
Seems to give me "beefier" mids.
Open-backed cabinets offer some nice tones when you mic them from behind.
It's usual to blend the 2 sounds, but keep in mind that this is an advanced technique, and it can introduce phase issues

Anyway, not a technique I'm familiar with, but would be interesting if (1) they did, in fact, record in JGB both in front and behind/within the cab and (2) that has something to do with my sense that something is different in that JGB tone...like it's almost phasey or diffused, in fact. Who knows?
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Re: JGB Tone (Late 80s / Early 90s)

Postby lunasparks » Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:46 pm

Okay, I may be crazy. Now I don't know what that white gooseneck/snake-looking thing is at the bottom of the 4x12. Mic stand? Any guesses?

Image
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Re: JGB Tone (Late 80s / Early 90s)

Postby oldsmojo » Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:46 am

Sorry I didn't read all the responses to this but i have a persepective from being at a lot of those shows for those years, many of you here aslo, Im sure. Anyways...they played some big rooms and some really small rooms and it was quite random..mainly east coast vs west coast but he and rest of crew for one, were not used to this fluctuation. Secondly, He had been messing with rack delays for a few years already and for some reason unbeknownst to me, he acquired a Digitech rack delay etc. he was messing with their crappy reverbs and delays a lot and basically the sound of that unit just being in his rig was noticeable it seemed. I remember the first time it really got to me bad was in a small gym in San Jose and his tone was lost in that place...just awful. I was used to Warfield setup and spoiled. Later when I saw The JGB in Nassau Colliseum and better yet Shoreline,..they sounded huge and rocked the big joints pretty tasty! The sound of the Gyms and most smaller theatres is that they are like echo chambers and you have to be very careful about driving high signal pressure and reverb in these rooms ! :) One important thing we should all take into acct is that we have the right power and speaker per room size...reverb is next. After that make sure nothing is booming w bass and if you have a great balance of tones in that room a great guitar tone is just icing on the cake.
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Re: JGB Tone (Late 80s / Early 90s)

Postby tigerstrat » Fri Oct 12, 2012 4:38 pm

lunasparks wrote:Okay, I may be crazy. Now I don't know what that white gooseneck/snake-looking thing is at the bottom of the 4x12. Mic stand? Any guesses?

Image


To me it looks an awful lot like a guitar stand with the "wishbone" piece kinda stuck tipped to one side as they often do. Otherwise, why would there be a 2nd gooseneck sticking down?

Honestly, I believe the perceived difference in tone of JGB vs GD is simply that it's a smaller ensemble and there's more spaces in the group sound for the reverberation to ring through.
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Re: JGB Tone (Late 80s / Early 90s)

Postby lunasparks » Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:09 pm

tigerstrat wrote:
To me it looks an awful lot like a guitar stand with the "wishbone" piece kinda stuck tipped to one side as they often do. Otherwise, why would there be a 2nd gooseneck sticking down?

Honestly, I believe the perceived difference in tone of JGB vs GD is simply that it's a smaller ensemble and there's more spaces in the group sound for the reverberation to ring through.


By golly, I think we might have a winner...now I feel like an idiot! :?

It's still tough for me to embrace the notion that his tone isn't somehow different in JGB vs GD during this era. To me it sounds like there's less presence in the tone or more "air" in the sound. But maybe you're right ... Maybe Joe is right above also that he was messing with different reverb a lot. I guess it's going to be a mystery to me, either real or imagined!
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Re: JGB Tone (Late 80s / Early 90s)

Postby jenkins » Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:47 am

Lol, it's definitely a guitar stand but you are also right about the difference in his tone.
I love his extra reverb jgb tone of that era, it's a really sweet tone.

I always thought it was because he had more room for his guitar in the nix.
In the GD he needed his guitar to cut through the mix more, less reverb helps achieve that.
For a long time I always used too much reverb, like the same amount that I would set when playing at home solo practicing.
And I wondered why my tone wouldn't cut through the mix that well.
Then I realized I was using way too much reverb, I brought it way down and it was perfect.
This is most important with two guitars.
In the jgb he was the only guitar so there was a lot more room in the mix for his guitar so I think he wanted it to sound "bigger", if you will. He had a lot more space.
His playing was different too, he generally used a lot less notes in the jgb, this is another reason he cranked his reverb up IMO. Reverb muddies the waters a litte bit when your doing fast note runs. I was watching a jgb vid on YouTube the other day where he pretty much was playing like three notes for like 3 mins of his solo and it sounded amazing, he was just laying back in the cut while letting his incredible guitar tone do the talkin. The kind of solo nobody else on earth could pull off, so simple yet so epic. Every other guitarist in the world is always tryin to impress people, Jerry played shit that he thought sounded cool, he had no interest in how difficult it was to play or how hard it was to play, only that he liked how it sounded. In jgb he was able to take that To another level IMO.
I always got the sense that he did the GD for the fans, and the jgb for himself, and the fans fkn loved it.
There's been many times that I thought I like the jgb more than the GD. There wasike a year a couple years back that I only listened to the jgb.

He changed his tone and his playing, tweaked it just a little to fit in with the different band.
He did some epic playing with the jgb, every version of the band.
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Re: JGB Tone (Late 80s / Early 90s)

Postby TI4-1009 » Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:56 am

jenkins wrote: I was watching a jgb vid on YouTube the other day where he pretty much was playing like three notes for like 3 mins of his solo and it sounded amazing...


He stole that from Dylan. :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: JGB Tone (Late 80s / Early 90s)

Postby Mosfed » Mon Oct 22, 2012 3:20 pm

My take is pretty close to many opinions already stated:

Smaller band, 1 guitar, bass, 1 drummer, keys. More space and less of a need for treble boosting type sound to make sure you ring through. And thus you hear more of the sound all around including the reverb. Also think of the difference btwn settings from places like the Warfield to Shoreline. Much smaller crew. So some differences make sense.

We always used to say: "going to see the Grateful Dead is like going to a party; going to see the Garcia band is like going to church"

I was lucky enough to see quite a few shows at the Warfield and there was nothing like it. Enemy in the later years. Bolt through the full Jerry rig was a site to behold.
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Re: JGB Tone (Late 80s / Early 90s)

Postby jenkins » Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:24 am

The Q I have is why was he using a 4 speaker cab with only 3 speakers?
Did he do that for the whole tour or was it just that show?
It's not like he didn't have access to a 3 speaker cab, do you guys think there was a specific reason for taking out the speaker, tone-wise? Can you guys think of any tone reasons he would want that empty hole?
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