that distinctive 74 tone

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that distinctive 74 tone

Postby caspersvapors » Sun Mar 12, 2006 12:50 am

How did Jerry achieve that tone unique to 1974 w/ Wolf? Reading up on the first design of Wolf it essentially has Fender Strat guts, yet it doesnt really have that raw Strat sound. So what was Jerry doing?
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Postby tigerstrat » Sun Mar 12, 2006 12:59 pm

That's really what it is.

Debate continues on whether the pickups were Fenders or custom rewound at Alembic, or what(and the techs of the time either don't remember or won't tell) - but basically, from Oct 1973 to Oct 1974, it's a neck-thru three-single-coil guitar into a non-master vol. Twin Reverb which preamps several hugely powerful solidstate amps and an up to 25ft vertical column of between 16-20 JBL K-120 speakers! The massive distortion he occaissionally uses is from an Alembic Stratoblaster mounted in the Wolf.
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Postby strumminsix » Sun Mar 12, 2006 1:37 pm

Here are some factors that must be considered:
#1 - The pickups (as stated above)
#2 - Instruments converted to low impedence (different signal feel)
#3 - Seperation of poweramp from the Fender Twin which provides a different feel.

Okay, so most of ya probably run into combos but think differently on the old days when most amps (like the Twin) had a single gain stage so the only way to distort was by cranking it to an insane volume.

Now with the preamp seperated, he has the ability to dial in the tone irrespective of the volume. If you take a stack of gear and play it low, you get one sound. Then crank it up and adjust all your settings and you'll get a similar sound but different since the tubes are working a bit hotter.

I wish I knew more about the equipment used during that time but to my ears it appears with the wall up behind them with all new poweramps we are getting something unique in the poweramps.

What I do know is that they (sound crew) looked for full range, flat response poweramps and loud-speakers. That configuration would basically be straight amplification without coloring of tone from the mic'd amps. This would likely be the key to the tone that is heard.

Their soundguys were ahead of thier time in many ways. Another thing to consider is bleed: from mic'd amp to another mic'd amp, from the stage to FOH, mic'd amps and vocal mics, monitors, mains, ya know the rest....

My best guess after all this insight into my thoughts, is that JG (and all) where running their amps a bit lower than they used to relying more on the Wall to obtain pure sonic bliss.

Then again I could dead wrong and maybe JG was using the Mesa that he used in the studio at times on these tours.
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Postby tigerstrat » Sun Mar 12, 2006 2:31 pm

In all 1973 and 1974 stage pics, it's clearly his older Blackface Twin, possibly the same one that became the "backup" Twin in his Oct 1976-1992 rig.

The Mesa Super 60 combo(s) possibly appeared at Legion of Mary shows in 1974 (and I just saw them in a 1979 pic w/ Reconstruction), but its use with the Dead was evidently 3/23/75 to 10/3/76
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Postby waldo041 » Sun Mar 12, 2006 4:56 pm

8)
Last edited by waldo041 on Sun Oct 12, 2014 1:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby strumminsix » Sun Mar 12, 2006 5:34 pm

tigerstrat wrote:In all 1973 and 1974 stage pics, it's clearly his older Blackface Twin, possibly the same one that became the "backup" Twin in his Oct 1976-1992 rig.


Just cuz the amp is there doesn't mean that he is using the speaker and poweramp sections of it. That's one thing that struck me odd was seeing pics of the combos knowing the poweramp and speaker weren't being used. I always wondered why he just didn't have someone convert it to a head.

But then I figured Jerry being Jerry he felt there was no need to destroy something when he can easily just use one part of it.
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Postby waldo041 » Sun Mar 12, 2006 5:55 pm

Your right strumminsix. he eventually had both a silverface and blackface stuck into a twin reverb cabinet and turned it sideway's. don't forget that along with using the twin's preamp he also got to keep the tube reverb and used his share of it. another overlooked part of his tone.

:smile:


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Postby tigerstrat » Sun Mar 12, 2006 6:47 pm

strumminsix wrote:
tigerstrat wrote:In all 1973 and 1974 stage pics, it's clearly his older Blackface Twin, possibly the same one that became the "backup" Twin in his Oct 1976-1992 rig.


Just cuz the amp is there doesn't mean that he is using the speaker and poweramp sections of it. That's one thing that struck me odd was seeing pics of the combos knowing the poweramp and speaker weren't being used. I always wondered why he just didn't have someone convert it to a head.


I didn't mean to imply that any combos' power amps or speakers were being employed. But if you are referring to the Twin(s) (the part of my post that you quoted), he did turn the Twin into a head , sort of: sometime before Fall tour 1973, he mounted just the chassis of the '65? BF in a rack with two MC2300's and a small mixer.

Prior to that in 1973 (as shown in Bruce Polonsky's awesome 5/20/73 pics for example), he had the BF combo (preamp-only we assume) feeding MC2300(s) driving a more modest stack of 6-8 JBL's. The first show with the BF + '68 SF two-Twins-in-one-Twin-cab appears to have been the Day On The Green 10/9/76.

All that aside, I did mention the Wolf's neck-thru construction, but I'm not sure how the neck angle should affect tone...? :-?
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Postby strumminsix » Sun Mar 12, 2006 8:13 pm

TS ~ cool! The way the strings are tensioned does impact tone. Don't know how but know it does. Learned that after hanging with a luthier and hearing his stories.
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Postby waldo041 » Sun Mar 12, 2006 8:27 pm

8)
Last edited by waldo041 on Sun Oct 12, 2014 1:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby caspersvapors » Sun Mar 12, 2006 9:04 pm

good observation waldo, I never realized that alligator had an angled neck. And I always did wonder why Alligator didnt sound quite like a strat

what did you mean by "set neck" and "bolt on" in this

the electronics contribute to a guitars tone but the wood and how it is made play a big part ie.. Neck Thru(wolf), Set Neck(tiger&rosebud), or Bolt On(alligator)
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Postby waldo041 » Sun Mar 12, 2006 9:29 pm

caspersvapors wrote:good observation waldo, I never realized that alligator had an angled neck. And I always did wonder why Alligator didnt sound quite like a strat

what did you mean by "set neck" and "bolt on" in this

the electronics contribute to a guitars tone but the wood and how it is made play a big part ie.. Neck Thru(wolf), Set Neck(tiger&rosebud), or Bolt On(alligator)


well, wolf is an example of a thru body guitar it's neck runs all the way thru the body.

tiger and rosebud were set neck's there body's were routed for and a custom fit neck glued in.

a bolt on is your standard stratocater where the neck is just bolted on to the body.

they all have there own sound. the difference between them all is how well the strings react(vibrate)to the transfer in the wood.

the thru body is the best as it has no glue or bolt's to deal with.

a set neck need's to have the neck and body glued tightly.

a bolt on has to have enough torque on the bolt's to optimally transfer the vibration's.


peace,
waldo
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Postby tigerstrat » Sun Mar 12, 2006 10:17 pm

I'd be extremely interested to know where you came by this information about Alligator having an angled neck.

And fwiw, it does sound just like a Strat to my ears. A Strat w/a blaster.
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Postby waldo041 » Sun Mar 12, 2006 11:19 pm

8)
Last edited by waldo041 on Sun Oct 12, 2014 1:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby tigerstrat » Mon Mar 13, 2006 1:56 am

hey I just heard about Jack of Roses hadn't checked 'em out yet... I've been wondering how I was going to do the fx-loop jack on my Schecter, and this gives me some ideas.

Very cool clone! Only Alligator replica I've seen. How did he know how high to make (or to shim) the bridge & tail? That top view pic seems to be the only really close look anyone has had at it in 30 years, and it doesn't show elevation very well...

So did it also have the angled neck in it's Alligator-less Europe '72 incarnation? Because the block of wood (never realized what that was before!) doesn't seem to be there.

I wonder if the Dan Erlwine Strat also had an angle, or the '57 'burst... nah, not the Burst!!

God, look at the sorry state gator is in today... corroded, missing a vol pot, and wires sticking out under the scratchplate... :(
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