Jerry's tone...'84-'86?

Jerry's tone...'84-'86?

Postby joeriz » Thu Jun 02, 2011 11:07 am

Hi all,

I'm unsure as to whether or not this has been discussed before...a search didn't turn up anything specific enough. I'm curious if anyone else has noticed and/or had the same impression that I do regarding Jerry's tone from, say, sometime in '84 until maybe early-to-mid 1986. I've always thought that his tone became rather thin and sort of 'plinky', for lack of a better term. (By 'plinky' I mean roughly the sound of a guitar's action being set too low for my liking.)

Has anyone else noticed this and, if yes, any idea if he changed anything in his setup around this time? His tone was fine in the early-to-mid '80s and then really good (IMO) from '87 until '90. But during the '84-'86 time period it has always sound different (and not as good) to me. I don't believe I've ever read about any important changes to his setup during this time but maybe I just don't remember now.

Now, when I say "always"...I can't quite remember if it sounded all that different when I was there live at the time. But on recordings it has always sounded this way to me. I suppose it could be an artifact of something in the PA and/or recording chain...maybe Healy was doing things a bit differently during this time...don't know.

Any thoughts?

Thanks,
Joe
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Re: Jerry's tone...'84-'86?

Postby The Stag » Thu Jun 02, 2011 1:45 pm

Personably that is when i thought it sounded best. I am presently having a amp modded to duplicate that sound.
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Re: Jerry's tone...'84-'86?

Postby mijknahs » Thu Jun 02, 2011 4:52 pm

I really love this tone as well. Listen to a good audience of Berelely Communtiy Theater 10/28/84 and also the Ventura Co. Fairground shows from 7/21/84 and 7/22/84. Great tone. Really thick and ballsey.

My favorite Jerry playing/chops is probably 81-82 but I love the 84 tone.

On the other hand, I do kinda notice what you are saying if you're talking about '85 and maybe '86 (I haven't listened to much '86). 1985 seems to be a little thinner and definitely brighter. Really trebley sometimes. I'm thinking about the Henry J. Kaiser shows from 11/21 and 11/22. But then the Chula Visa show from 9/5 sounded pretty good (but that's outdoors).

Anyway, I have no idea why it sounds different from '82 to '83 to '84 and '85. They all sound a little different to me. I know in '82 and '83 he was using an MC2500 instead of his MC2300 power amp but that doesn't explain the difference from '84 to '85 to '87. It appears that most things were constant but maybe there's something we aren't seeing.

Jim
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Re: Jerry's tone...'84-'86?

Postby joeriz » Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:01 pm

Well, go figure...different strokes, I suppose. 8)

I guess the tour that stands out most to me as typical of the sound I'm talking about is the fall '85 East Coast tour. I agree that each of the years you mentioned all have a slightly different sound and I've never been sure why.

Anyway, it's all Jer and it's all good...just wanted to see if folks had an explanation that I'd missed.

Thanks!
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Re: Jerry's tone...'84-'86?

Postby mijknahs » Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:51 pm

No, you're right about fall '85. Didn't really like his sound at a lot of those shows. Very bright. The '82 tone is killer. Very balanced. I've wondered the same thing and no one really knows.
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Re: Jerry's tone...'84-'86?

Postby tigerstrat » Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:33 pm

Maybe Jerry simply tended to twist his tone knob a little farther in the treble direction around this time? I don't really think the word "plink" can be used until sometime in 1993.
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Re: Jerry's tone...'84-'86?

Postby JamminJommy » Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:38 pm

Maybe different picks?

When did he start using the Graphite 2mm? One source or another mentions him using a Fender Extra Heavy flatpick which would be thinner and have a different attack than the Adamas. The board tapes around this era seem to sound a bit brighter on the whole, so we could be hearing some results of the ears at the desk, which would also affect the audience tapes. Also, where in proximity to the dome of the speaker the mic was places can change things too. All factors.

Just my 2 cents.

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Re: Jerry's tone...'84-'86?

Postby joeriz » Fri Jun 03, 2011 4:08 am

tigerstrat wrote:Maybe Jerry simply tended to twist his tone knob a little farther in the treble direction around this time? I don't really think the word "plink" can be used until sometime in 1993.


Yeah, I could see that...I just reached for a word. I don't know what you call that '93-ish sound...

Maybe the right word is "spack"...? I seem to recall Jerry using that word specifically in reference to playing someone else's guitar when sitting in one night. I think maybe it was Elvis Costello's Tele or something. I have the interview downstairs somewhere. I always thought that was a good onomatopoeia word for that low-action sound...spack!
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Re: Jerry's tone...'84-'86?

Postby SarnoMusicSolutions » Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:07 am

I definitely agree that there was something a bit different in Jerry's tone thru those years. I really noticed it on my old '85 soundboard tapes. Now this is ONLY my theory, but after 20 years I'm still thinking the same thing. I think that Jerry didn't change a thing, but Healy may have. It really sounds to me that Healy was using some peak-limiting and/or compression on Jerry's signal at the board. Something in the attack sounds like it's clamping down, perhaps causing this "plinky" effect, almost splatty and squished. I know Healy was into peak limiters on a number of things, so it's just my guess that in those years he was laying heavy on that tool with Jerry's guitar tone. There are some examples in that era, real audible on the soundboard recordings, where Jerry sounds nearly as squished as Trey.

But I don't see any evidence of Jerry changing his rig thru those years, other than maybe playing really, really loud.

B
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Re: Jerry's tone...'84-'86?

Postby The Stag » Fri Jun 03, 2011 11:47 am

i think the 82 sound is sweet. but 84 through 86 are great to. i think it was all in what jerry wanted his guitar to sound like that night. thats one of the things that made every show different.
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Re: Jerry's tone...'84-'86?

Postby mijknahs » Fri Jun 03, 2011 12:14 pm

I do like the sound of his guitar on those 7-4-86 videos that are on youtube. Rip your face off barking tone.
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Re: Jerry's tone...'84-'86?

Postby tigerstrat » Fri Jun 03, 2011 12:28 pm

joeriz wrote:
tigerstrat wrote:Maybe Jerry simply tended to twist his tone knob a little farther in the treble direction around this time? I don't really think the word "plink" can be used until sometime in 1993.


Yeah, I could see that...I just reached for a word. I don't know what you call that '93-ish sound...

Maybe the right word is "spack"...? I seem to recall Jerry using that word specifically in reference to playing someone else's guitar when sitting in one night. I think maybe it was Elvis Costello's Tele or something. I have the interview downstairs somewhere. I always thought that was a good onomatopoeia word for that low-action sound...spack!


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Re: Jerry's tone...'84-'86?

Postby mijknahs » Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:06 pm

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Re: Jerry's tone...'84-'86?

Postby The Stag » Sat Jun 11, 2011 10:46 am

that is one of my favorite shows. jerrys voice and guitar sounds exellent.
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Re: Jerry's tone...'84-'86?

Postby Phil Lesh101 » Sat Jun 11, 2011 9:25 pm

The Stag wrote:that is one of my favorite shows. jerrys voice and guitar sounds exellent.

That Show Was KEy. But I Have to agree with you, Jerry Garcia Was in Prime Mode in these years :lol: :smile:

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