Jerry Tone: is it the guitar or amp that matters?

Jerry Tone: is it the guitar or amp that matters?

Postby James-T » Fri Nov 08, 2013 11:34 pm

OK.....so its not exactly a question I'm asking, but this is a question which always comes up...what guitar, what pick-ups, do you need a buffer....?

Here is a demo I put together, to first of all, sell folks on the Fractal (as its the world's niftiest guitar gizmo), and second of all, dig into that age old question.

Its one rhythm track with three different guitars on the lead, but spliced together...you'll get the idea.

For the amp, I just dialled in a Jerry tone on the Fractal. Basic blackface twin...

The results really surprised me. :smile:

Peace,

James

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Re: Jerry Tone: is it the guitar or amp that matters?

Postby vwjodyme » Sat Nov 09, 2013 8:20 am

Cool video! Very interesting!
Would love to see this with different Jerry type guitars/pick-ups/woods or even a luthier type face off (AO vs Moriarty vs Post vs Phiga vs SF, etc...)
Get this man some more guitars!
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Re: Jerry Tone: is it the guitar or amp that matters?

Postby waldo041 » Sat Nov 09, 2013 8:42 am

First let me state you are spot on about the Fractals niftiness, it appears to be a pretty impressive unit. I do hope to get one soon for other purposes. Now on to your demo.

The choice of scale sounds great for the rhythm you have laid out. If I may comment on the question you asked versus the tones you have laid out, you never really answered it. First, It appears that you are pointing out that you can simply dial in an actual Jerry tone with a Fractal Twin Reverb setting and then play any guitar and manipulate it's selected pickup to match his tone. Also, not with just any guitar, you have chosen to use a Jerry modified guitar versus a stock Strat and stock Les Paul setups. OK those observations noted, IMHO, you lack the high end content Jerry gets. His notes are crystal clear and more meaty. Also, in almost any trial of getting an actual Jerry tone the low end should be addressed. The higher note content is the easiest to manipulate into a somewhat similar Jerry tone, but nailing that low end register is the real trick. I am not saying it cannot be done with what you have presented, but I do not hear it being accomplished. Nor do I hear the passages you have presented as being something that could be passed as an authentic Jerry Tone. Everyone knows that the real way to really nail Jerry is by nailing his technique and playing approach, that gets most almost all the way there alone. That part of the equation you are doing an admirable job in so it can trick ones ear into thinking they have it all nailed. The truth is that last little percentage he gets from his rig tone lends slightly to that approach, but is also key in nailing his tone. And that requires both a properly setup guitar and preamp/amp/speaker combo. You should hit up brother Vic here for his Fractal patch and get a closer baseline to begin this approach with one of those units. Also, be sure to hit some of the low end register content in songs like Althea or Sugaree to showcase your equipment's ability to nail those.

Hear is some examples of Jerry,








~waldo
"Tone is in the instruments. Technique in the hands. Do what you will." ~ quote from some guy at the TGP forum
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Re: Jerry Tone: is it the guitar or amp that matters?

Postby James-T » Sat Nov 09, 2013 10:02 am

Hey Mike,

Great observations. :smile: Actually the point of the video was not to try to nail any "one time period of Jerry tone" (nor to really sound like exactly like Jerry). It was intended to illustrate that with basic gear, say a twin reverb and with simply picking a guitar, any guitar off the shelf, one tends to sound him or herself and with some basic eq settings you can get in the ballpark depending on your skill level. I reluctantly posted it as "Jerry Tone", but just could not think of a better way to tittle it. Its really "Jerry tone generic" or perhaps "Jerry tone Walmart" not "Jerry Tone with super II's", an SMS and a McIntosh 2100. What surprised me was how little the tone actually changed between guitars.

One thing to comment, however is that the Les Paul, when played straight up through my 73 twin (no modelling) has an impressive bottom end - which I'm going to attribute to the circa 1965 PAF disguised in that gold cover. A bit of it comes out in this demo.

I'd agree that for me at least, the hardest tones to hit are those cracking bass notes and anything above the 12th fret on the high E string. That's why I'm still experimenting with different pick-ups on several of my guitars!

Here is a second video in which I really focused on trying to dial in an authentic Jerry tone, and like in my original post, I will comment again myself that "in this experiment" I'm close yet still far away. Feel free to comment on this as well. I'm looking for criticism. Its how one gets better! and I'm glad we are getting you interested in the Fractal!!

Peace, :cool:

James

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Re: Jerry Tone: is it the guitar or amp that matters?

Postby waldo041 » Sat Nov 09, 2013 10:45 am

James-T wrote:Here is a second video in which I really focused on trying to dial in an authentic Jerry tone, and like in my original post, I will comment again myself that "in this experiment" I'm close yet still far away. Feel free to comment on this as well. I'm looking for criticism. Its how one gets better! and I'm glad we are getting you interested in the Fractal!!

Peace, :cool:

James



I think you have posted this before. I would make a comment on it, but the sync'd audio between you and the GD does not allow for a true representation of your actual tone versus his. To make a comparison they need to be side by side like your first video here in your first post so that the distinction between what is yours and what is his tone can really be compared. Another observation about this is the fact that you are playing Weir lines and are looking for a Jerry comparison? As you know they have 2 distinctly different tones.

check out Vic of Playing Dead with his Fractal, doing a very impressive job of getting that Jerry vibe.


~waldo
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Re: Tone Shaping: is it the guitar or amp that matters?

Postby James-T » Sat Nov 09, 2013 11:35 am

Cool!

We were talking about Vic within our band recently. We came to a mutual conclusion he's better at the Jerry stuff than John K, and that Walk-on Dead will never be able to play at that level! Its still fun to try! :smile: And I'll tell you one thing; Vic's an inspiring individual. Not only his playing, but also one of the nicest guys on this forum.

I find it useful on the Fractal to dial in a tone with the original tone along side. That way you are not dialling in what you "remember" hearing but rather what you "are" hearing. I stole this philosophy from a drawing prof. When figure drawing your eyes must always be on the model, not what your hands are doing. Yes its a visual art - but the concept can be "seen" in parallel ways to music. What works for one person doesn't necessarily work for another, but its an interesting take on tone shaping. As I said I thought I was close yet miles apart - once again we are in total agreement. Hey it was only an experiment!

Waldo said
you are playing Weir lines


That's a pretty nice compliment - I love Weir's stuff!

Peace,

James
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Re: Tone Shaping: is it the guitar or amp that matters?

Postby waldo041 » Sat Nov 09, 2013 11:56 am

James-T wrote:I find it useful on the Fractal to dial in a tone with the original tone along side. That way you are not dialling in what you "remember" hearing but rather what you "are" hearing. I stole this philosophy from a drawing prof. When figure drawing your eyes must always be on the model, not what your hands are doing. Yes its a visual art - but the concept can be "seen" in parallel ways to music. What works for one person doesn't necessarily work for another, but its an interesting take on tone shaping. As I said I thought I was close yet miles apart - once again we are in total agreement. Hey it was only an experiment!



I do agree with the premise of this, but it should be approached in a different manner when putting it out for comparison. You cannot put the model directly over your work and expect a true comparison to be made. the 2 must be placed side by side after the work is done to get the comparison. You can take this approach with headphones or by another means of separating the 2 after the work is done so both can be seen as separate pieces and not the same.

I also agree that Vic is a pretty cool dude! He has some great stuff going on, but I do want to state that while he is very impressive and his Fractal patch is pretty amazing, I do hear some differences between what he is doing and an Authentic Jerry tone. IMHO, the guys that are approaching it with the Jerry modded gear(guitars/preamps/Mc amp/Jbls) are closer to nailing it when the chops are there. But what Vic has going on is very impressive and I have spoken to him in the past about some of it.

If you enjoy your Fractal and enjoy Vic's tone, he will give you the patch to load into your Fractal to get exactly what he has going on there.

~waldo
Last edited by waldo041 on Sat Nov 09, 2013 1:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Jerry Tone: is it the guitar or amp that matters?

Postby PaulJay » Sat Nov 09, 2013 1:17 pm

Hey James, Just want to say that your videos are very well done and enjoyable to watch. I think you proved that the Fractal is a good tool to get closer to the tone. It shows an alternative to the basic Jerry rig, that not everyone can afford or need to have. Whether it be a Twin reverb or a G-dec ,or a H and K Bluesmaster, Etc. as long as you are happy with what you hear thats all that matters. Thanks Paul
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Re: Jerry Tone: is it the guitar or amp that matters?

Postby James-T » Sat Nov 09, 2013 2:17 pm

Hey PualJay!

Thanks for the kind words. You kinda hit at the core of this particular video, and thanks for your comments Mike as well. Its funny, as of just less than 18 months ago my rig was a stock PRS and a stock Twin Reverb II (1983) I believe. I just hated my tone - (and my playing for that matter). I stumbled upon this forum and a an archive show of Vic's and listened to China Cat and realized how far I was off. Vic's tone and his playin' inspired me to just go for it! Gear, playing regime,the whole band thing. Its great having down to earth folks on this forum giving advice and encouragement!

Off to set up for a gig! :smile:

Peace,

James
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Re: Jerry Tone: is it the guitar or amp that matters?

Postby playingdead » Sun Nov 10, 2013 8:20 am

Hey, thanks for the kind words, although I don't feel my playing approaches JKs!

I'm still using the antiquated Fractal Audio AxeFX Ultra (firmware 11.0) and it's been a long time since I made any changes to my setting. The core of it is the custom impulse response files I made from my old Hard Truckers cabinet with E-120s.

None of us would be close without the kind of effort Mike and others have put into figuring all this out. After accumulating a pretty big analog Jerry rig I went a different path back in 2008 or so.

What the AxeFX excels at is knocking the sound of a guitar cabinet miked up, and that was always the sound I was after. I'm maybe 85 percent of the way toward the true authentic tone in my estimation, but so much of playing Jerry is in the hands and technique that I have been happy with the way my guitar sounds in the context of my own band, and how it responds on stage (it's perfect every night how I hear it, and how it sounds in the venue, and it's 100 percent repeatable without having to make any adjustments for room acoustics, stage acoustics, stage volumes, etc., and, to me, that was worth the compromise against carrying a very heavy and very loud rig and trying to manage it in all the different venues and stage settings we play).

The last time I tweaked it was using Jerry's isolated tone off Touch of Grey on In the Dark -- there is an extensive thread about that -- and to me, it's acceptable where it is. I might do better using the new AxeFX II if I wanted to put the time in, but I have not although I have had one sitting here for two years now ... LOL

Here's Jerry's solo from Touch of Grey isolated (circa 1986).

http://playingdead.net/touch.wav

And here's me direct.



Try upping the presence on the AxeFX amp block, and maybe put a little EQ curve on there to emphasize the highs. Beyond the E-120 IR file, there's no real magic in my settings, just a Twin Reverb block, reverb, some careful EQ and the typical Garcia effects. A little soft limiting to tame the transients at the soundboard.

I've been playing my Walker live the last year or so, but I am about to put a Dual Sound in my Tiger to see if I can get that nice fat 79-81 tone as a change of pace. Maybe I will try it on the AxeFX II so I can share the settings with the guys who have the newer version.
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Re: Jerry Tone: is it the guitar or amp that matters?

Postby jalevinemd » Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:01 am

You guys that can appreciate the subtle differences between Jerry's actual playing at that Touch of Gray solo are as impressive as the player himself. Because to my naive ears, that thing was spot on. Well done!
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Re: Jerry Tone: is it the guitar or amp that matters?

Postby waldo041 » Sun Nov 10, 2013 12:44 pm

jalevinemd wrote:You guys that can appreciate the subtle differences between Jerry's actual playing at that Touch of Gray solo are as impressive as the player himself. Because to my naive ears, that thing was spot on. Well done!


Vic is a very good Jerry player. He has a lot of his technique and approach down and like Jerry and many other Jerry type players he can make any rig sound like Jerry with that skill. The subtleties in his tone from his rig is where the difference lies, not necessarily his playing.

Here is the same isolated Jerry track and the same solo from Vic's video he posted, only this is isolated. Vic's Axe Fx settings are pretty impressive, but there is a hint of sterility and high end crispness more associated with Jerry's 90's In-Ear tone then with his Twin/Budman rig.

Jerry Isolated
http://playingdead.net/touch.wav

Vic Isolated
http://playingdead.net/touch2.wav

~waldo
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Re: Jerry Tone: is it the guitar or amp that matters?

Postby jalevinemd » Sun Nov 10, 2013 2:45 pm

Thanks for the isolated direct comparisons. The differences are more obvious, though I'd have a hard time expressing clearly what they are. Your descriptions are very accurate. :-)
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Re: Jerry Tone: is it the guitar or amp that matters?

Postby playingdead » Sun Nov 10, 2013 2:46 pm

More crispy, and more pick noise, too, possibly because my hand position is more over the middle pickup than Jerry's was. Or maybe my pickup is too high.

It's good to keep in mind that the isolated In the Dark clip is not necessarily representative of Jerry's live tone, as it's unknown how his rig was set up or miked in the studio -- it could be a mixture of a close miked cab and a room microphone, which I think is evidenced by the slightly slap sort of delay you can hear on it. Or maybe he had a little delay on at the time. And was that track compressed, or re-EQ'd at the desk (I'm sure it was). And did they record those live tracks on analog tape, with the further nice non-digital compressed warmth and feel? I don't know. Maybe some day the multitrack recordings from those tracked spring 1990 shows (Dozin' at the Knick) will filter out and we can hear the real deal in all its glory.

Also, I specifically adjusted my settings to make the guitar sit where I want it to in the full band mix, so I do like it a little brighter -- I have the advantage of being able to work with multitrack recordings and make note of adjustments to the EQ I make within Logic listening back to those recordings ... then apply those adjustments to the AxeFX, replay the parts, and listen and adjust again (although the video track is actually what I played that night -- interestingly, I've never sat down and tried to learn the In the Dark solo note for not but whatever was in my head was not too far off).

That's another thing about the digital realm ... being able to exactly reproduce the guitar sound every single time. In a sense, Garcia's live rig sat on a big open stage in a huge venue with the same mic and mic position, same signal chain, same sound system, so his live sound was pretty reproducible, at least to the board (the band sounded different outside, of course). But for guys like me, who might play a big 900-seat venue with a huge system one night, and a smaller club with a brick wall behind the stage the next night, that consistency is a great thing to have.

I don't think digital will ever be able to accurately reproduce the sound of a 2300 pushing three E-120s hard. But it gets close ... and given the leaps and bounds that Fractal has done since the Two was released (they just came out with new firmware last week, and the entire modeling setup from my stage Ultra was rethought when the Two came out a couple years ago), it could get even closer and sound less sterile. But I like to think that the sterility is lost playing live, especially when that sound is coming out of the PA with the rest of the band.

At the end of the day ... you still gotta play! :shock:
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Re: Jerry Tone: is it the guitar or amp that matters?

Postby JustinJohn » Sun Nov 10, 2013 2:59 pm

Great playin' Vic, and an impressively close Jerry tone!

My $.02 on this subject: I've played a variety of amps (with my Jerry technique), and it's true that they all "sound" a bit like Jerry - to an extent; a lot of it certainly is technique. But the greatest difference, as a player, is the feel of the amps - how the amp forces you to play, especially your right hand technique.

With certain amps (Marshall, deluxe, boogie) I play differently to achieve a passable Jerry sound pleasing to my ear. Through a normal twin reverb I can get pretty close, but still I must adjust my technique slightly to get a passable sound. However, through my main Jerry amp - a 71' twin (Jerry-modded), a Mac250, and a pine box of E120s - the sound is already there, and I find that my technique (which of course has been honed on this very rig) is more a reaction to the "feel" of the amp, rather than somethinging I'm consciously, intentionally doing. But more than that: playing in this zone, with the right feel, I find so many little subtle things suddenly available; getting those semi-gritty inflections on strong high notes, that unmistakable tight and present meat on the low end, being able to affect the chime by up-picking near the bridge, gettin an almost banjo-like tone by positioning my hand a certain way when finger picking, all very Jerry... The list goes on.

All these little subtle Jerry things are, in my experience, simply impossible without the right 'feel' already prexisting. The sound of the tone seems to be a product of ones playing ability in reaction to the feel of the amp. I'm impressed by AxeFx thus far, and am really interested to see where it will go. =)
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