Covering the Dead's Sound the Easiest

Chat about Equipment Info

Postby myoung6923 » Fri Jan 18, 2008 9:49 pm

From the 80's on - especially with JGB - Jerry really played with his delay a lot - especially during solo's he'd crank up the delay and some really cool sounding reflections going on. In the Jerry band he used even more often - even pretty heavily during whole songs.
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Postby jenkins » Sat Jan 26, 2008 4:33 am

jerry used more than one amp back in the day. In '68 he used 3 twin reverbs ran into 2 4x12 cabs. Im not sure how he ran it though. In '76 he ran dual twin reverbs.

in 79 he added some sort of op-amp buffer/amp to maintain high end clarity with the effects on.
Which is basically what im tallking about doing by adding on another amp. I add another amp with no reverb and more of a high end tone.

Starting toward the late 70's Jerry used effects loops, pre-amps, op/amp buffers, and was running stereo through the house PA. This obviously helped his tone greatly and at that point it seems like running one amp is all that is needed.

Ive found that using dual amps to be the easiest way to recreate jerry's tone. After I started playing through two amps I cant go back to one. WHenever I play on one amp nowadays it just sounds weak and I can never get it to truly have the highs and the lows come through clearly.

Anyways, thats my tip for the "easiest" way to recreat the dead's sound; which is not easy
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Postby myoung6923 » Sat Jan 26, 2008 7:15 am

jenkins wrote:jerry used more than one amp back in the day. In '68 he used 3 twin reverbs ran into 2 4x12 cabs. Im not sure how he ran it though. In '76 he ran dual twin reverbs.

in 79 he added some sort of op-amp buffer/amp to maintain high end clarity with the effects on.
Which is basically what im tallking about doing by adding on another amp. I add another amp with no reverb and more of a high end tone.

Starting toward the late 70's Jerry used effects loops, pre-amps, op/amp buffers, and was running stereo through the house PA. This obviously helped his tone greatly and at that point it seems like running one amp is all that is needed.

Ive found that using dual amps to be the easiest way to recreate jerry's tone. After I started playing through two amps I cant go back to one. WHenever I play on one amp nowadays it just sounds weak and I can never get it to truly have the highs and the lows come through clearly.

Anyways, thats my tip for the "easiest" way to recreat the dead's sound; which is not easy


Some parts of this are close to true - some are not. From early on in the 70's he used some form of buffer in his guitars. Early on it was alembic developed stratoblaster wiring in Alligator. Later in the 70's John Cutler designed the unity gain buffer that was used in tiger and all later guitars. But, except for the 60's, it's my understanding that Jerry used some form of buffer in all of his guitars.

You are right that he used to run through multiple twins early on. However, by about 72 or so he used one. The dual twins that you saw him use up until 94 (when he switched to a rack mounted GT Trio) was just a primary and a backup. The lower amp - the silverface - was the one that was the main amp. The blackface was only used as an emergency backup. It was convenient to have them both in the same cabinet - that way it was just a matter of moving over one cable if the silverface went down.

And Jerry's guitars were never in stereo. The 2 cables from his guitar are a loop send/return and main output. One cable was a stereo cable with stereo connectors (TRS, Tip, ring, sleeve) - this was used as the send AND return all in one cable. A stereo cable has 3 conductor - for this application the ground (sleeve) is used as a common ground for both send and return, the tip conductor gets split off to a mono connector on the other end which goes to the beginning of the effects chain. The ring conductor is the return and also gets split off to a mono connector which goes to the output of the last effect. So this cable is really a Y cable - stereo connector on one end and 2 mono connectors on the other end.

The signal from the output of the pickups runs out to the effects loop and then back to the guitar - through the volume pot - and THEN out through the other jack and from there out to the amp. Now, the main output jack on the guitar was also a stereo connector and here's why... the unity gain buffer requires 9v battery but it would be on all of the time unless some kind of switch was wired up for it. Well, in this case the negative from the buffer was run to the ring and the main ground was run to the sleeve. This way, when the mono connector from the main out cable was connected, it would bridge the ring and sleeves, and connect the negative to ground, completing the circuit, and turning on the battery and the buffer. Pretty cool.

Here's a schematic of Tiger and this system:
http://www.dozin.com/jers/guitars/tiger/schematic.html
For tons ofinfo on jerry's gear - look here:
http://dozin.com/gearheads.html
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Postby jenkins » Sun Jan 27, 2008 4:28 pm

on dozin.com jerry's guitar history it says this:
-10/3/76: last boogie mark I show, first appearance of dual twins.
-early '77: "Travis Bean MC500 recieves Jerry's first unity-gain buffer/fx loop jack combo, placing all effects in front of Jerry's gtr vol. knob."

-5/77: 1 (silverface)Twin Reverb as pre-amp > McIntosh MC2300 power amp > 3 JBL 2x12's; BF Twin as reserve backup head.

That's what he used pretty much from 77 on.

It looks to me like he was using more than one amp at a time until 77 when alembic got the unity gai buffer correct. Until then it seems like he was using more than one amp to create his tone.
am i wrong here? He defintyl was using dual amps at least through '76.

Regardless, without a unity gain buffer, preamps goig into amps and all the other custom thngs that jerry had the easiest way to get a sick tone is to use dual amps.

Most proffessional guitar players have several amps on stage at a time.
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Postby tigerstrat » Sun Jan 27, 2008 5:44 pm

jenkins wrote:on dozin.com jerry's guitar history it says this:
-10/3/76: last boogie mark I show, first appearance of dual twins.
-early '77: "Travis Bean MC500 recieves Jerry's first unity-gain buffer/fx loop jack combo, placing all effects in front of Jerry's gtr vol. knob."

-5/77: 1 (silverface)Twin Reverb as pre-amp > McIntosh MC2300 power amp > 3 JBL 2x12's; BF Twin as reserve backup head.

That's what he used pretty much from 77 on.

It looks to me like he was using more than one amp at a time until 77 when alembic got the unity gai buffer correct. Until then it seems like he was using more than one amp to create his tone.
am i wrong here? He defintyl was using dual amps at least through '76.

Regardless, without a unity gain buffer, preamps goig into amps and all the other custom thngs that jerry had the easiest way to get a sick tone is to use dual amps.

Most proffessional guitar players have several amps on stage at a time.


I happen to have written and submitted that content to dozin, and I don't see what you are interpeting as use of multiple amps. Myoung correctly stated above that by around late-1972, Jerry was no longer using more than a single preamp (his # of power amps & speakers and total wattage grew and grew, peaking with the full Wall in 1974)

1968ish-1972 three Twins
1973 and 1974: single Twin Reverb
1975 and 1976: single Mesa Mk I with another one onstage as backup only
10/9/76 on: single Twin w/ another onstage as backup only.

obviously if you have something that works for you thats great, but that's not necessarily how Jerry did it.
"There, in huge black letters, was 'The Grateful Dead'. It just... cancelled my mind out."-Garcia
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Postby jenkins » Thu Jan 31, 2008 4:36 am

tigerstrat wrote:
obviously if you have something that works for you thats great, but that's not necessarily how Jerry did it.


very true.

Thanks for the info tigerstrat. I have 1question for u.

-Pre-72 when he was running the 3 twins do u know how he had them set up? was he running two at once and then one as a back up? or was he switching between the two for different tones? or did he have all 3 goin at once?

I love jerry's tone from the 60's but I have to say that starting around 72 it got better and from the mid 70's on it was always perfect, IMO.

And this whole discussion is based on the fact that you can already play well. There really is no way to cover the dead's sound easy. like has been said several times in the thread "its all in your fingers" and it is so true. If your fingers aren't up to the task it doesn't matter how much $ you spend on equiptment, you will not sound the way you want to.
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Postby jenkins » Thu Jan 31, 2008 5:04 am

tigerstrat wrote:So, as you play up the scale from the E,A,& D strings, you have to then stomp on the A/B box to switch to the other amp to sound good for the G,B & E strings? Sounds tricky!

OK maybe that wasn't what you meant but I say one decent amp is way better and simpler than trying to achieve some slippery balance between two crappy ones.


no this is not how you do it at all. That would be silly. THe AB switch is just a splitter. YOu run your guitar into both amps at all times. Basically I have one amp set up with rich sound with a lot of reverb and more low-end. Than I mix in another amp with a basically dry tone with more high end. This gives a dank high end boost and when you mix the volumes of the 2 amps correctly (which is very easy) it gives you an awesome tone in every range. The effects work much better too.

Im NOT saying this is what jerry did. This is my trick to having a great tone the easiest. Jerry's rig was obviously a whole step above just running a guitar into some effects into 1 regular guitar amp. When I was first started buying pedals I noticed jerry used mostly boss stomp boxes. SO I figured great, they are affordable. So I bought them and brought them home and they sounded nothing like they did when jerry used them. Through my one amp they just sounded weak. After a lot of experimenting and money spent on new effects I found that adding another amp helped my tone way more than any effect ever could. Now that I run dual amps pretty much any effect I try.

I agree that dual amps probably isn't the best way to acheive tone. For me, at this point, it is the best. And for someone else who doen't have that much money but does have an extra amp sitting around I would suggest giving it a try.
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