Garcia Live Vol.1 - Guitar Tone

Garcia Live Vol.1 - Guitar Tone

Postby ccw3432 » Fri Apr 05, 2013 8:56 pm

I've been listening to this new release (Garcia Live Vol.1) from Capitol Theatre, 3/1/80 a lot lately. The sound quality on this CD is absolutely spectacular, as is the guitar tone and playing. I was wondering if anyone knows what Jerry is using for gear on this one. Is this the Mesa? I'm also curious what overdrive pedal he's using. He kicks it on several times throughout the show for some stunning solos. You hear it at about 11-12 minutes in on Russian Lullaby, but also in several other places.

If you haven' heard this yet, do yourself a favor and get it. Get it in full CD quality (not MP3) and be blown away.
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Re: Garcia Live Vol.1 - Guitar Tone

Postby cmc64 » Sat Apr 06, 2013 9:27 pm

This JGB tour was the impetus for my Jerry rig. First off, Tiger with DualSounds (Super Distortions) -> Mesa MK IIA -> McIntosh MC2300 -> JBL K-120 4x12. He might have moved to the E-120's by this point and may be using a 3x12, but I am pretty sure he was using the K's and 4x12. He has the MXR Phase 100 in use on Sugaree. For some heavy overdrive at the time he was using a Script MXR Distortion+

There has been a lot of discussion about the tone on this tour and how he had the Mesa dialed in. The MK IIA has a Rhythm (Clean) channel and a Lead Channel (the one people like to call the Santana channel). The Mesa's gain and tone controls are sort of cascaded together so even a slight adjustment to the treble, for example, will have a sizable impact on the gain. If you dime Volume 1 and stay on the clean side you can get a bit of breakup. However, from use of this amp, it is my opinion that he has the lead channel engaged, most likely with the lead drive around 3 or 4 and the lead master on 1. Master one on 2 and Volume One set to taste for overall volume level (or how much signal he wants to send to the MC2300 - the Mesa has a built in pre-amp tap. With those settings and your guitar (with a UGB) volume around 6 you can nail that clean/dirty thing that Garcia has going on. You drive the volume on the guitar a little harder, and the tone of course gets a bit raunchier. Now, I do not have an MC2300 and my K-120 stack is a 2x12 but those settings get me there. My current guitar is very bright so I have the treble at 6.5, mids at 5 and bass at either 0 or 1, depending on my mood. Rolling the tone off (or on) and switching pickups (and going from humbuckers to singles via the coil taps) has a distinct impact on the amount of clean vs. grit in the signal.

In Russian Lullaby at the 12:00 point or so in the solo it sounds to me like he is using the middle pickup in humbucker mode with the tone rolled off a bit.

There are others here who probably know exactly what he was doing - my ear is not as good as many.
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Re: Garcia Live Vol.1 - Guitar Tone

Postby ccw3432 » Sat Apr 06, 2013 9:53 pm

Great info cmc64. Thanks. Do you use your Mesa as a preamp only? Are you using the Mesa power amp or something else? On another note I've been thinking I need a 1x12 combo amp and considering a Deluxe Reverb. I've also thought that maybe one of these Mesa amps would be a good choice.
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Re: Garcia Live Vol.1 - Guitar Tone

Postby cmc64 » Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:06 am

I am currently just using the Mesa on it's own. MK IIA head -> JBL K-12 2x12. It sounds great but needs a bit of work so when I save up a bit of cash (and I am almost there) it will be heading out to Shakedown Amps for a cleanup and extra Jerryfication. I plan on getting of Mcintosh MCx at some point. When I have the cash to spare and I find one that I like i will snatch it up. an MC50 would be more than fine, but I do love those blue VU meters so getting an MC2105 would be a real treat (an MC2300 would be tops, of course, but for my purposes it is most certainly overkill. They are so damn nice, though.)

Anyway, I know a lot of people content that Garcia was using the clean (Rhythm) channel and not the Lead channel - you vsn switch between the two but when you do the amp has to be completely dialed in again. What sounds good on the clean cvhanel is a mess on the lead channel, and vice-versa. But I have discovered that if you engage the lead channel but keep it low (around 3 or 4), keep the lead master on 1, set Master 1 at 2 and then drive you overall volume level with Volume 1 you keep the signal very clean but with just a hint of bite. With the amp at these settings, when you crank up your guitar's volume or strengthen your pick atack you get a bit more grit, but it stays in the clean realm, getting you right into that clean/dirty Garcia tone zone. Even without a McInotsh in my rig, with those setting the tone gets damn close to what you hear on the February 1980 JGB tour.

Lots of good info here.

I don't have any experience with the Deluxe Reverb so I can not comment on that. The consensus around here is that it is a good amp but not so much of a "Jerry" amp. If you go with a Boogie I think you will be pleased - they offer so much flexibility. There is a world of tones contained within those amp. There are rather large differences between them, especially in the Mark Series - The MK I, MK ii, IIA, IIB, IIC, IIC+, III (with green, purple, blue and some other color stripe and no stripe models), MK VI, MK V - plus the LoneStar's, the Rectifier series and so much more. Do your homework before pulling the trigger on a Boogie. They are great amps and they don't seem to be in the "one-trick pony" category. But if you want a Jerry amp, for example, you may not want to get a MK IIC+ (aka the Metallica amp). Check The Boogie board forum. Tons of great info over there.
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Re: Garcia Live Vol.1 - Guitar Tone

Postby Smolder » Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:59 am

Spectacular recording and one of my favorite guitar tone references (I think it was Jon S that brought it to my attention). Call me crazy, but I hear alnico mags on the speakers (jbl k-120's). But so much of this recording is Jerry in the zone and with the touch on the pick/strings of a true master in the groove.
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Re: Garcia Live Vol.1 - Guitar Tone

Postby TI4-1009 » Tue Apr 09, 2013 8:47 am

cmc64 wrote:If you go with a Boogie I think you will be pleased - they offer so much flexibility. There is a world of tones contained within those amp. There are rather large differences between them, especially in the Mark Series - The MK I, MK ii, IIA, IIB, IIC, IIC+, III (with green, purple, blue and some other color stripe and no stripe models), MK VI, MK V - plus the LoneStar's, the Rectifier series and so much more. Do your homework before pulling the trigger on a Boogie. They are great amps and they don't seem to be in the "one-trick pony" category. But if you want a Jerry amp, for example, you may not want to get a MK IIC+ (aka the Metallica amp). Check The Boogie board forum. Tons of great info over there.


Yeah, you want to stay away from the "rectifier" style Mesas- they're more for hi-gain whamo-blamo! The Marks, Lonestars, and some of the newer ones like 20/20 and 50/50 are based off a Fender design and tone stack (originally) and can give some excellent clean tone- with dirt available if you want to add it in.

I have a Lonestar Classic, which is based off the Blackface twin tonestack. 10/50/100 watts of clean, with superior reverb.

The biggest "complaint" you usually hear about Boogies is the time it takes to dial them in, they have so many tonal options.
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Re: Garcia Live Vol.1 - Guitar Tone

Postby Smolder » Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:51 am

TI4-1009 wrote:
cmc64 wrote:If you go with a Boogie I think you will be pleased - they offer so much flexibility. There is a world of tones contained within those amp. There are rather large differences between them, especially in the Mark Series - The MK I, MK ii, IIA, IIB, IIC, IIC+, III (with green, purple, blue and some other color stripe and no stripe models), MK VI, MK V - plus the LoneStar's, the Rectifier series and so much more. Do your homework before pulling the trigger on a Boogie. They are great amps and they don't seem to be in the "one-trick pony" category. But if you want a Jerry amp, for example, you may not want to get a MK IIC+ (aka the Metallica amp). Check The Boogie board forum. Tons of great info over there.


Yeah, you want to stay away from the "rectifier" style Mesas- they're more for hi-gain whamo-blamo! The Marks, Lonestars, and some of the newer ones like 20/20 and 50/50 are based off a Fender design and tone stack (originally) and can give some excellent clean tone- with dirt available if you want to add it in.

I have a Lonestar Classic, which is based off the Blackface twin tonestack. 10/50/100 watts of clean, with superior reverb.

The biggest "complaint" you usually hear about Boogies is the time it takes to dial them in, they have so many tonal options.



What about the 'calibers'... aren't they a twin (763) tone stack?
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Re: Garcia Live Vol.1 - Guitar Tone

Postby Grant » Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:23 am

TI4-1009 wrote:
cmc64 wrote:If you go with a Boogie I think you will be pleased - they offer so much flexibility. There is a world of tones contained within those amp. There are rather large differences between them, especially in the Mark Series - The MK I, MK ii, IIA, IIB, IIC, IIC+, III (with green, purple, blue and some other color stripe and no stripe models), MK VI, MK V - plus the LoneStar's, the Rectifier series and so much more. Do your homework before pulling the trigger on a Boogie. They are great amps and they don't seem to be in the "one-trick pony" category. But if you want a Jerry amp, for example, you may not want to get a MK IIC+ (aka the Metallica amp). Check The Boogie board forum. Tons of great info over there.


Yeah, you want to stay away from the "rectifier" style Mesas- they're more for hi-gain whamo-blamo! The Marks, Lonestars, and some of the newer ones like 20/20 and 50/50 are based off a Fender design and tone stack (originally) and can give some excellent clean tone- with dirt available if you want to add it in.

I have a Lonestar Classic, which is based off the Blackface twin tonestack. 10/50/100 watts of clean, with superior reverb.

The biggest "complaint" you usually hear about Boogies is the time it takes to dial them in, they have so many tonal options.


Jerry and Metallica used their amps in polar opposite manners tone-wise. The Marks may noticeably vary when driven, but if you're using a IIC+ clean, I doubt there would be a significant difference in tone to the IIA, or IIB for that matter.
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Re: Garcia Live Vol.1 - Guitar Tone

Postby jeffm725 » Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:47 am

TI4-1009 wrote:
cmc64 wrote:If you go with a Boogie I think you will be pleased - they offer so much flexibility. There is a world of tones contained within those amp. There are rather large differences between them, especially in the Mark Series - The MK I, MK ii, IIA, IIB, IIC, IIC+, III (with green, purple, blue and some other color stripe and no stripe models), MK VI, MK V - plus the LoneStar's, the Rectifier series and so much more. Do your homework before pulling the trigger on a Boogie. They are great amps and they don't seem to be in the "one-trick pony" category. But if you want a Jerry amp, for example, you may not want to get a MK IIC+ (aka the Metallica amp). Check The Boogie board forum. Tons of great info over there.


Yeah, you want to stay away from the "rectifier" style Mesas- they're more for hi-gain whamo-blamo! The Marks, Lonestars, and some of the newer ones like 20/20 and 50/50 are based off a Fender design and tone stack (originally) and can give some excellent clean tone- with dirt available if you want to add it in.

I have a Lonestar Classic, which is based off the Blackface twin tonestack. 10/50/100 watts of clean, with superior reverb.

The biggest "complaint" you usually hear about Boogies is the time it takes to dial them in, they have so many tonal options.


the "defualt Clean" on a Mark 2a (and original Mark 1's ) are indeed very similar to a Fender Tone stack, however there are a ton of tweaks. (and this is not taking into account the models with the 5 slider EQ) .... On the Treble pot there is a "Pull shift" function which shifts the Treble Control frequency center-point downward for a bigger mid boost. On the first Gain pot is a "pull bright" option which adds some highs back if the gain is set low, but if the gain is set to 7-10 it really does nothing. This is all just the Clean channel, get to the Gain channel and it really gets crazy as all controls are interactive.
The cleans on the 2b -2c 11 and 4 are not very similar to the one and 2a. The 2a is known as the best Clean sound of all the Marks.
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Re: Garcia Live Vol.1 - Guitar Tone

Postby Mosfed » Fri Apr 19, 2013 3:53 pm

Is that a Mutron on Catfish John or a wah? I'd say Mutron...
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Re: Garcia Live Vol.1 - Guitar Tone

Postby ccw3432 » Fri Apr 19, 2013 5:32 pm

Mosfed wrote:Is that a Mutron on Catfish John or a wah? I'd say Mutron...


Sounds like the mighty mu-tron
Great tone.
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Re: Garcia Live Vol.1 - Guitar Tone

Postby TI4-1009 » Sat Apr 20, 2013 8:21 pm

The liner notes say Mutron. Sounds like the keyboards have some envelope filter on parts of that show too?
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Re: Garcia Live Vol.1 - Guitar Tone

Postby TI4-1009 » Fri Apr 26, 2013 11:17 am

Been listening to this a lot this week. Wonderful clarity and tone, like you pulled up a stool right in front of the silver-domed JBL! Clean, hairy, mu-trony, this one has it all. I heard them about two weeks after this show when they stopped in Oswego, sat on the floor right in front of the stage in the anti-accoustics of Laker Hall Gym.

The only thing I don't like so much is that this was when he had Ozzie Ahlers on keys, don't like him as much as Merle. A little too Moog-ish.

Three 50-minute+ discs, Hunter joins in for two songs, what's not to like!
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Re: Garcia Live Vol.1 - Guitar Tone

Postby ccw3432 » Fri Apr 26, 2013 8:13 pm

This is about all I've been listening to for the last month. It's really that good. The emotion behind the playing is through the roof.
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Re: Garcia Live Vol.1 - Guitar Tone

Postby TI4-1009 » Tue Apr 30, 2013 8:55 am

Heh heh- it's worth the price of admission just for the Catfish John solo! :shock:
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