"Modern" Bobby Tones

"Modern" Bobby Tones

Postby Stevo123 » Wed Nov 10, 2010 7:43 am

There's a good bit of discussion here on vintage bob guitars, effects, tone, etc. but very little talk about his newer sounds, which to me sound night-and-day different from his older stuff. While his GD tones tended to be very thin and trebly, his modern sound sounds, to me, very full throughout the spectrum, with perhaps some small cuts in the low-mids and/or boosts in the high treble freqs to accentuate the overtones. There's a very rich complexity to the base tone that I can't quite figure out, though.
Then there's the really clear, screaming, distortion tones. Not sure if this is from his amps or from some distortion unit, but it's not present unless he really digs in, but when it does, it absolutely screams.
You can hear this really well on the Tennessee Jed here and a little bit as well on Terrapin, particularly the 2nd time around in the Lady with a Fan solo break (about 3-3.5 minutes in).
http://www.archive.org/details/further2010-07-09.mk5_16bit

And another example of some phenomenal modern bobby tone, last year with the dead. It's all great but check out his solo on Rider and also his playing on Into the Mystic for some of that great screaming distortion.
http://www.archive.org/details/thedead2009-07-04.peluso.flac
On a side note the Slipknot jam from this show will change your life!

I'm just really curious what kind of things have to be in place to get that kind of sound. Not that I want to emulate it, I'm just more interested in the principles behind it!
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Re: "Modern" Bobby Tones

Postby strumminsix » Wed Nov 10, 2010 8:03 am

IMO - you start with single coils and EL series poweramp tubes.
Then take the classic Bobby tone and add back low mids and reduce treble!

Personally, I love it!
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Re: "Modern" Bobby Tones

Postby Stevo123 » Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:16 am

Can't be that much about the single coils, can it? I think at both of the shows I linked to he used the Gibson 335 or similar for a good part if not the majority of the time.

I'm sure a high quality tube power amp is a big part of it. Sounds like a lot of power amp distortion when he really gets raging, with little or no preamp distortion.

You hear a reduction in treble? Sounds to me like there's a high ratio of overtones to fundamentals that gives the sound that complexity. I would say he's certainly the most trebly instrument in the band most of the time. Could possibly be treble cuts and boosts in different parts of the signal chain depending on whether it's pre or post distortion?
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Re: "Modern" Bobby Tones

Postby strumminsix » Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:25 am

Less treble than 80s Bobby for sure!

I've been seeing him play alot of Tele and Strat syle guitars with single coils. IMO singles are MUCH easier to dial out bass without sounding thin.
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Re: "Modern" Bobby Tones

Postby mkaufman » Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:51 am

Between his three main guitars (blue, pink & ES335), I don't hear lots of tonal difference which leads to (a) his rig and (b) his fingers being the largest contribution to his tone. In addition, he's constantly making changes to his rig, however, his Avalon compressor remains constant. I think it's a major contributor to his sound. There are times I find his 'modern' tone quite appealing.

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Re: "Modern" Bobby Tones

Postby Stevo123 » Wed Nov 10, 2010 11:07 am

Any idea where he the avalon sits in the rig? Sounds like it's at the tail end, after all the distortion, including the power amp. I'd love to play around with one of those avalons some time. The transparency of that compression is beautiful. Is there something special about the avalon, or will any decent rack compressor get you there?
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Re: "Modern" Bobby Tones

Postby strumminsix » Wed Nov 10, 2010 11:19 am

Stevo123 wrote:Any idea where he the avalon sits in the rig? Sounds like it's at the tail end, after all the distortion, including the power amp. I'd love to play around with one of those avalons some time. The transparency of that compression is beautiful. Is there something special about the avalon, or will any decent rack compressor get you there?

In my rack I run a PreSonus Eureka and get the same response. It runs first. The benefit there is that all effects see a very even signal. It's the limiter part that really is the benefit. No compression occurs until a threshold or limit is crossed.
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Re: "Modern" Bobby Tones

Postby mkaufman » Wed Nov 10, 2010 12:28 pm

I suspect it's responsible for the sustain he gets.

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Re: "Modern" Bobby Tones

Postby strumminsix » Wed Nov 10, 2010 2:09 pm

mkaufman wrote:I suspect it's responsible for the sustain he gets.

Not sure how. It's not a guitar comp it's studio comp. The former creates sustain the latter controls peaks.
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Re: "Modern" Bobby Tones

Postby Stevo123 » Wed Nov 10, 2010 2:37 pm

Seems like any comp, when it's being engaged, would change the apparent decay curve of a note, since the initial peak is squashed and the trail-off usually has extra gain applied to it. Right?
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Re: "Modern" Bobby Tones

Postby strumminsix » Wed Nov 10, 2010 2:57 pm

Stevo123 wrote:Seems like any comp, when it's being engaged, would change the apparent decay curve of a note, since the initial peak is squashed and the trail-off usually has extra gain applied to it. Right?

The trail off has no extra gain applied, it simply passes under the limiter threshold and is therefore not compressed.

Yes, by setting a low threshold, heavy ratio, and slow release you can get what seems like a longer sustain but you'd majorly sacrifice dynamics. and I think Bobby's current rig has alot of dymanics going on in it!
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Re: "Modern" Bobby Tones

Postby mkaufman » Wed Nov 10, 2010 3:54 pm

I get more sustain when I use a compressor.

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Re: "Modern" Bobby Tones

Postby playingdead » Wed Nov 10, 2010 7:36 pm

A lot of his current tone seems to me to be coming off the preamp and poweramp ... I've been up front for a couple of shows where he was really changing guitars a lot ... blue lightning guitar, the Cowboy reissue, pink Modulus, ES-335 ... and there wasn't a whole lot of difference in his sound, which surprised me. I was psyched when he grabbed the Cowboy, and a bit nonplussed that it sounded pretty much like the Modulus to me.

I think it's essentially a nice slightly dirty but chimey Vox tone with some compression and extra overdrive here and there, at a loud stage volume. And his incredibly tasteful playing and how he uses the pick. Most of it's in his fingers, I think.
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Re: "Modern" Bobby Tones

Postby mkaufman » Thu Nov 11, 2010 6:22 am

playingdead wrote:A lot of his current tone seems to me to be coming off the preamp and poweramp ... I've been up front for a couple of shows where he was really changing guitars a lot ... blue lightning guitar, the Cowboy reissue, pink Modulus, ES-335 ... and there wasn't a whole lot of difference in his sound, which surprised me. I was psyched when he grabbed the Cowboy, and a bit nonplussed that it sounded pretty much like the Modulus to me.

I think it's essentially a nice slightly dirty but chimey Vox tone with some compression and extra overdrive here and there, at a loud stage volume. And his incredibly tasteful playing and how he uses the pick. Most of it's in his fingers, I think.


+1

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Re: "Modern" Bobby Tones

Postby strumminsix » Thu Nov 11, 2010 7:50 am

mkaufman wrote:I get more sustain when I use a compressor.


What compressor? Ross style or studio rack?

playingdead wrote:A lot of his current tone seems to me to be coming off the preamp and poweramp ... I've been up front for a couple of shows where he was really changing guitars a lot ... blue lightning guitar, the Cowboy reissue, pink Modulus, ES-335 ... and there wasn't a whole lot of difference in his sound, which surprised me. I was psyched when he grabbed the Cowboy, and a bit nonplussed that it sounded pretty much like the Modulus to me.

I think it's essentially a nice slightly dirty but chimey Vox tone with some compression and extra overdrive here and there, at a loud stage volume. And his incredibly tasteful playing and how he uses the pick. Most of it's in his fingers, I think.


I agree and fully believe alot comes from also the right size amp for the stage. He seems to be pushing his amps into the sweet spot on the poweramp side.
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