Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #155487  by MattMan
 Fri Feb 03, 2017 5:11 pm
For those who have not yet experienced a buffer in their quest for Jerry tone, the subject of this New Topic is a rhetorical question, but please share your thoughts.

I wanted to ask this question because of a recent experience I shared with my friends Brian Avigne and Mike Wald. You know Mike from Wald electronics and this forum, and Brian plays the Jerry role in a strong Detroit-area tribute band, DeadAgain,

So last night I hung out with Brian in order to install the Wald buffer in his Wolf clone.

When I arrived, Brian had already been playing his new Wald-modded Twin with his unbuffered guitar, and the tone I heard was really off. I went over to the amp, and he had the Treble and Mid down to 3, and Gain down to 3. I said, "Nope. These aren't the correct settings. Let me set it up correctly and then go ahead and use my guitar."

So I dialed in some Jerry settings (Gain 5, Treble 10, Mid 7, Reverb 5), made sure the two 8-ohm K120s were connected to the 8-ohm tap on the MC2300, set the MC2300 to 9:00, and connected my buffered axe to the Twin with guitar volume pot set at 5ish. Brian started playing it and he goes, "Oh shit. That's the frickin' tone! I can't believe how much difference the buffer makes." The tone was killer. The room volume was completely manageable (but Brian does have a large basement with carpeting on the floor).

After I installed Wald's latest buffer (with adjustable gain) into Brian's guitar, he starts playing Peggy-O and says, "I've been trying to get this tone for 10 years."

I have had similar cathartic moments after each milestone in the Jerry tone journey after starting with a stock Twin equipped with EV 12Ls and a PRS Custom 24): E and K120s, Super II pups, middle pup, buffer, MC2100, and finally Wald Twin mods.

My latest milestone is a Scarlet Fire-modded Ibanez MC200 which sounds more Jerry than my modded PRS, presumably because of the neck-through design, pup placement and clean wiring by Leo.

Thank you Mike Wald.
 #155488  by Gr8fulCadi
 Fri Feb 03, 2017 6:19 pm
Sounds bout right!! Just putting the TPC1 in my American Strat with SD Antiquities a few years ago was pretty mind blowing and quite addictive. Riding the volume at 5-6 for rhythm and 7-8 for leads without tone loss is perfect.

I got my adjustable TPC2 a few weeks ago waiting to be installed into my Phiga Eagle. It already has a 'buffer' that has a trim pot as well as a push/pull volume pot to bypass. Being able to bypass the buffer really gives ya a quick comparison between having a buffer vs not. All being fed through the SMS/mc250/Beymas is Cool stuff for sure and a blast to play.

Of course I'm now sidetracked with my ibanez artcore, just today, routed a middle pup cavity and dropping in 3 Lollar P90's, new wiring harness and the 'free way' 6 way pickup switch :cool:
 #155492  by tatittle
 Fri Feb 03, 2017 11:38 pm
Im about to put the neck back on a Strat I finally wired Wald's buffer into tonight. Ill check back soon and share my experience. No Mac here, so I am using just Fender amps (without significant Jerry mods yet either). I imagine it has an even larger affect when using deep pedalboard via OBEL (which I have on the Strat as well). But I have already noticed a consistent DCR, that alone is a big difference from standard passive pups (assuming it is normal lol...have thread asking that right now). Good on you for sharing the truth up in Motown. I was born at Henry Ford hospital 8)
 #155495  by tatittle
 Sat Feb 04, 2017 12:29 pm
Definitely an critical improvment in my Strat, and thats without the OBEL engaged. Better, stronger, consistent signal without any loss of particular EQ (usually high end). I'd say it is also an improvement over a stratoblaster (either onboard or pedal) as well. I didnt like this guitar as much as others I have before (more vintage style strats eg), and I have gripes about ceramic pups in general, but now the guitar has life it lacked before. It isnt so much a different tone than before, just noticeably stronger with better response and dynamics. And for me thats a big deal; I like to get a great base tone out of a simple rig and use (as few as possible) additions primarily to do just that. And the Wald TPC-1 does it exceptionally well imo. One more stubborn (or lazy lol) convert here. Highly recommended, and it is a great value. I shoulda done this years ago...good tone makes one want to play more which in turn makes one a better player.

I had been using either a Stratoblaster pedal, a Fuchs Pure gain, or a Demeter midboost to drive the OBEL/pedalboard previously. Frankly I didnt bother with it usually bc it still wasnt accomplishing enough improvement to justify the extra cords etc. The buffer seems to be the missing link that will change that. It looks like the Wald buffer will outperform all of those buffer/preamp pedals (2 of which I already sold lol) easily judging by a mere brief test straight to amp. The SDS-1 is an even bigger improvement with the buffer, though I also switched the tone cap and pot on that pup.

I would say the buffer is critical in getting past the 75% mark in recreating Garcia tone. Fender style amp, single coils, JBL's and Mutron get the 1st 75%.

Holy Cow it just gets better as I turn it up. :shock: This thing is life changing :lol:
Here's a shot of the guitar (only 1st pick; guts are another guitar):

doesnt show much but inside is bypassable OBEL, TPC-1sm, splittable humbuckers, brass nut, excellent sustain; though the F spacing on the SDS-1 puts that pole further away from the E strings requiring compensation. ... txqro2.jpg