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Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

name, city, instrument, years of playing, current band, gear
 #75258  by janetfurman
 Thu Mar 04, 2010 11:00 pm
Hello all,

My name is Janet Furman. You might recognize that name from Furman Sound, the pro audio company. I was the founder and CEO of Furman Sound from 1974 until I sold the company in 1999. Furman Sound was sort of a spin-off from the Grateful Dead scene of the 70's. At least, before I began my own company I worked for both Alembic and for the Dead, and drew a lot of inspiration from what I learned from them. I designed Alembic's F2B preamp, wrote the "Alembic Report" column in Guitar Player, repaired and maintained all sorts of band equipment of the era. I toured with the Dead as part of their live recording crew, recording the Europe 72 and Hundred Year Hall albums, among others. Perhaps of greatest interest to this group, in the early 70's I was the tech who installed all those modifications in Jerry's Twin Reverbs that you all seem so curious about! I wish I could tell you every last detail of what I did, but hey, that was 40 years ago and I haven't thought about it for a long, long time. I recently ran into some folks who are active posters here who encouraged me to stop by and introduce myself. We've already had a few interesting private discussions by email that sent me on a trip down Memory Lane. I'm tickled to think that the stuff I did way back then is of historical interest now! I'll be glad to answer any questions you might have about those early days, as best I can remember. I did put a brief autobiography together, emphasizing my time with Alembic and the Dead and how it led me to start Furman Sound. A few of you have already seen it. If you haven't, you can find it at http://furmanhistory.com/ I hope you'll find it entertaining, and perhaps a starting point for discussion.

I still live in Marin County, California, not far from the remaining Dead band members, crew, and family. I play bass in an oldies cover band. I love playing Dead songs, especially the country rock stuff. I don't do it often enough. "Makes my old memories come alive..."

Best,
Janet
 #75265  by Billbbill
 Fri Mar 05, 2010 6:37 am
Hey Janet & welcome-

Glad to have you adding your insight/experience to this board!

Should be interesting.

Bill
 #75266  by FretWilkes
 Fri Mar 05, 2010 6:38 am
Welcome Janet.

I had read your "Furman History" and really enjoyed it....THANKS!

I had one of your RV-1 Reverb units back around 1980. The best reverb I've EVER had.

I'm looking forward to your participation.

Best regards,
Fred
 #75270  by myoung6923
 Fri Mar 05, 2010 6:58 am
Welcome Janet and thanks for offering up your knowledge and expertise!

There has been quite a bit of debate about where and how to tap a Twin for a direct out. One of the common methods is shown here: http://www.dozin.com/gear/preamp/mod.html

One of the contributors here, Waldo, has a different method - I don't remember what it is - hopefully he'll chime in. Can you recall how that was done?
 #75276  by jahozer
 Fri Mar 05, 2010 7:42 am
wow. Hi Janet. Please be a regular here. There are some very smart tech guys and players here. They are embracing old technology along with the new, and your gear comes up often!
We are all here out of a reverance for not only the music, but the incredible technology you guys developed over the years.
 #75279  by waldo041
 Fri Mar 05, 2010 7:49 am
Janet,

Welcome to the world of Rukind, Great Folks and Great Discussions here. I do hope you have some things to add, or maybe we can jog your memory on those Jerry Twin Mods! I haven't forgot about getting you those handwritten "Alembiciztion" mods, just have to get things scanned for you.

again, welcome aboard!

peace,
waldo
 #75295  by Rusty the Scoob
 Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:05 am
Welcome, Janet! Awesome to have another bass player on board not to mention a legend! :hail: :cool:

Anything that you can remember about Phil's gear from your time with them would be fantastic! By coincidence I happen to be working on a replica of his EB3, and working towards having an F2B in my setup. 8)
 #75297  by tigerstrat
 Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:30 am
Welcome, Janet! Looking forward getting to know you through the board, and to you sharing even the smallest part of your expertise and spirit of invention, as well a crazy tour story or two! If you ever make it up to Portland, you could sit-in for a few songs with my band any ol' time!
 #75302  by ugly rumor
 Fri Mar 05, 2010 1:33 pm
Damn, Janet, if you were lonely you will be no more!! Did you do much on Phil's Alembic? (the one in the movie) Also, I've heard that the Gibson RD series of the late 70's was modeled on that...true?

Welcome to where we on the bus try to maintain some semblance of contact with the other riders, hope to see you often!
 #75310  by janetfurman
 Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:11 pm
Thank you so much, everyone, for the warm welcome! I really do appreciate it!

Now let me get right down to it: the question of where to take a preamp out from a Fender Twin Reverb. The photo of the eyelet board looked familiar, but I certainly didn't have that thing memorized. I had to search the Internet to find a schematic. Fortunately, it wasn't hard to find. I agree with the method referenced by myoung. The place to tap is the junction of the two 220K resistors that mix the direct channel with the reverb channel. However, I didn't borrow one of the front panel input jacks to create an output. Instead I drilled a 3/8" hole in the rear panel for a new jack, using an electric drill. This was a pain because the chassis is steel, meaning it's very hard to cut. You had to start with a smaller pilot hole and work up to 3/8, otherwise the center of the hole could easily wander away from where you meant it to be. And you needed hardened drill bits that can cut steel, and you had press really hard. A little cutting oil helped. You also had to be really careful not to get metal chips inside the chassis. I used to put some gaffer's tape on the inside of the hole before I started drilling, which caught most of the chips, then I'd visually inspect and shake out any that might have escaped. I would remove the burr on the inside of the hole with a larger (1/2") bit or a de-burring tool.

Because the signal goes through those 220K resistors, it comes out at high impedance. That means it's vulnerable to degradation (loss of highs) if you use a long cable (longer length means more capacitance to ground). So keep the cable from the preamp out to the power amp as short as possible.

Another good thing to do is use a switching jack, which grounds the input to the power stage whenever something is plugged into the preamp out. Unless, of course, you want to use both the Twin's own power section PLUS an external power amp.

This is also the place to install a master volume control. I don't think I put master VCs in Jerry's Twins, but I did for a lot of other musicians. You would probably want a 500K audio taper pot for this.

In the next few days I'm going to listen to some of your GD tribute bands' recordings and see what you all sound like.

Janet
 #75311  by janetfurman
 Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:13 pm
Thank you so much, everyone, for the warm welcome! I really do appreciate it!

Now let me get right down to it: the question of where to take a preamp out from a Fender Twin Reverb. The photo of the eyelet board looked familiar, but I certainly didn't have that thing memorized. I had to search the Internet to find a schematic. Fortunately, it wasn't hard to find. I agree with the method referenced by myoung. The place to tap is the junction of the two 220K resistors that mix the direct channel with the reverb channel. However, I didn't borrow one of the front panel input jacks to create an output. Instead I drilled a 3/8" hole in the rear panel for a new jack, using an electric drill. This was a pain because the chassis is steel, meaning it's very hard to cut. You had to start with a smaller pilot hole and work up to 3/8, otherwise the center of the hole could easily wander away from where you meant it to be. And you needed hardened drill bits that can cut steel, and you had press really hard. A little cutting oil helped. You also had to be really careful not to get metal chips inside the chassis. I used to put some gaffer's tape on the inside of the hole before I started drilling, which caught most of the chips, then I'd visually inspect and shake out any that might have escaped. I would remove the burr on the inside of the hole with a larger (1/2") bit or a de-burring tool.

Because the signal goes through those 220K resistors, it comes out at high impedance. That means it's vulnerable to degradation (loss of highs) if you use a long cable (longer length means more capacitance to ground). So keep the cable from the preamp out to the power amp as short as possible.

Another good thing to do is use a switching jack, which grounds the input to the power stage whenever something is plugged into the preamp out. Unless, of course, you want to use both the Twin's own power section PLUS an external power amp.

This is also the place to install a master volume control. I don't think I put master VCs in Jerry's Twins, but I did for a lot of other musicians. You would probably want a 500K audio taper pot for this.

In the next few days I'm going to listen to some of your GD tribute bands' recordings and see what you all sound like.

Janet
 #75312  by janetfurman
 Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:24 pm
ugly rumor wrote:Damn, Janet, if you were lonely you will be no more!! Did you do much on Phil's Alembic? (the one in the movie) Also, I've heard that the Gibson RD series of the late 70's was modeled on that...true?

Welcome to where we on the bus try to maintain some semblance of contact with the other riders, hope to see you often!



Ugly Rumor, I didn't work on instruments, just amps. The instrument work at Alembic from 1969 to about 1974 was done by Rick Turner, who was at that time one of three partners. After the Wickershams bought him out in the mid-70's, he went on to start Turner Guitars. As far as I know he is still there today. I recall that Rick built Phil's quadraphonic bass (separate pickup and amplification system for each string), but that was before Alembic basses were introduced. That bass also had red LED lights for fret markers. Keep in mind that LEDs were brand new then, so that was ultra-cool. I wouldn't mind having LED fret markers myself, even now, when playing on a dark stage.

If you're asking about an actual Alembic product, Ron Wickersham, still at Alembic, would be most likely to know.

Janet