Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #60538  by playingdead
 Thu May 07, 2009 7:44 pm
Great Mu-tron info here:

and Phasors for sale ....

More from Mike Beigel:
 #60711  by tigerstrat
 Tue May 12, 2009 2:13 pm
playingdead wrote:Best as I recall, the Slavedriver was used on the Terrapin Station record, specifically those lightning-fast synth-like riffs during the "rest" of Terrapin. (Although I always suspected those were speeded up later.)
That un-Jerry-sounding Terrapin Flier jazz is a tape layering effect, also I believe that's part where it's been said that Olsen constructed the solo out of a bunch of different JG clips.
 #60715  by tigerstrat
 Tue May 12, 2009 2:43 pm
Cool Mutron sighting: Joe Zawinul's keyboard rig in the DVD Weather Report: Live at Montreux 1976 ! Right up there in plain view, a Bi-Phase and what appears to be possibly a prototype of the M3??? It looks just like the M3 and has the Mutron logo, but i'ts all BLACK, and says "ENVELOPE FOLLOWER" in huge white letters where it would say "MU-TRON III"; also where the footswitch should be there is instead a jack with a cable plugged into it.
 #60717  by SarnoMusicSolutions
 Tue May 12, 2009 4:16 pm
I thought the super fast Terrapin solo stuff was from that early Roland guitar synth that had a patch that would do that thing. You play simple long notes, and it chops them up like a machine gun and give that effect. But I'm not sure about it.

 #60719  by Pete B.
 Tue May 12, 2009 4:22 pm
iirc, I read somewhere (I'll try to find the article) where the producer cut that lightning fast stuff at half speed (actually played an octave below), then played back and re-recorded at 2x the speed.

Where can I get one-a-dem machine gun effects?!
 #81059  by JonnyBoy
 Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:19 pm
I know a lot of people here know of Mike Beigel, the inventor of the Mu Tron III, and many people know that he was a MIT Grad with a sharper mind than most. I thought I would post something about envelope filters, since we all have differing opinions this may not mean much to some, but if a Mu tron is difficult to come by and you still want a Mike Beigel envelope filter, then the Qtron+ is his most current development in his personal line, just with a different company: (From the article about the Mu Tron II):

Mike Beigel says:
"In '94 I met former competitor Mike Matthews [president of Sovtek/Electro-Harmonix] at a NAMM show. We talked about effects pedals, and later he asked me if I'd be interested in re-creating the Mu-Tron III for Electro-Harmonix. The new box which is called the Q-Tron, uses the same opto-electronic design of the Mu-Tron III, but I've given it some new features and improved its specs. It will be followed by other new types of effect: devices. It's great to be involved again in the musical products industry after quite an extended "vacation." "

I knew Electro Harmonix copped the Mu tron III but had no idea that Mike Beigel actually designed it for them. I thought he just sold them some notes or patents or something like that... thought this may be interesting to some people and an appropriate place to post it. You can carry on about machine gun synthesizers now....
 #81147  by williamsaut
 Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:40 pm
I knew Electro Harmonix copped the Mu tron III but had no idea that Mike Beigel actually designed it for them. I thought he just sold them some notes or patents or something like that... thought this may be interesting to some people and an appropriate place to post it. You can carry on about machine gun synthesizers now....
I tried the Q-tron a while ago when I was still preamping out a Twin'verb and running it through one side of a Crest 300watt pwr amp. Dude, so heavy. I think I was playing through a '78 Musician EQ then. The Qtron just had so much freakin' 'Quack' it really could drill holes in the walls. I just couldn't find the sweet spot so I went back to my T-Wah. Now I know that alot of people here have poo-poo'd the boss T-wah but I find it pretty descent. Better than the vintage MXR/DOD versions ( except for dancin' in the streets of course! ). I also tried the Ibanez Tone Lock AW7 pedal AND the newer Maxon AF-9 but couldn't get the range of quack out of them that I could out of the T-wah. The new MXR auto-Q came pretty close. The only Boutique pedal I tried was the 'Funk-a-Duck' whick seem totally useless. I think it's more cut out for Keyboard FX. Now there's tons of pricey super high end envelope filters out there but before I start dropping that kind of money, I figured I'd lay down the money for a recased mutron III first. I haven't had much time to dial it in. We'll see.

Remember the Guitar Player issue in '87 or so? The one with Jerry's head and the tiger right next to it on the cover? There's a great interview with Steve Parish about Jerry's guitar. He talks about how they used to come home with arm fulls of FX pedals for Jerry to try out. And not just different 'new' stuff. If you go out and Buy 10 MXR dist+ pedals, Every one will sound a little different. Same goes for just about anything. He talked about how Jerry hand selected a particular reverb tank as sounding more 'spacey' than the rest.

I personally have found this true with T-wah pedals. I've had several and they all have sounded different. I've also come to this conclusion in my quest for Jerry's guitar tone. His tone can be 'approached' but that last 10-20% is pretty impossible to get. I call it the 'X factor'. Threre's just too many variables. What's a Sennheiser 421 sound like? Because that's what we're all really hearing as the last tone shaping device in the chain. The sound guy who placed the mic is a factor. 10" away. 14" away. Right on the edge of the dust cap or midway up the cone. All big differences in tone IMO.

I've thought about taking a 1x12 jerry rig and putting it in an isolation cab and miking it with a Senheiser 421 and using the other half of the Mac amp to run a PA speaker sitting on top of the iso box. But that's getting a little out of control don't you think? I have experimented Miking my existing rig and listening to it through a powered pa monitor in another room and it sounded pretty good. What I lost was the pop. The sure SM57 I was using compressed the sound a little.

If this post was too long-winded, don't be shy in letting me know!!
 #81157  by JonnyBoy
 Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:43 am
Naw, you just had something to say, and its right on. Not to mention you can hop on stage, snag Jerry's guitar from him and the playing dynamics will make the guitar sound different as night and day. Vic posted an April Fool's thing a while back where they all switched insrtruments Mickey played Jerry's guitar and it sounded like crap, not like Jerry's guitar rig. Jerry's hands unlock the largest portion of the tone, and a lot of people have practiced for years to come close enough to resemble.

Did you have the Qtron or Qtron+? I didn't like the regular Qtron as much as the plus, and I wanted to since it was cheaper. The Qtron+ was a better Jerry sound to my ears since you can mix the BP and LP. The T wah is a cool pedal, I haven't played one but I have heard it before and its a vintage sound. In the last year, I have been messing with the tone of the env. pedal, and I found it can make a deep bass like wha to a thin chipmunk wha. Its actually quite versatile, but VERY sensitive to its leveling. You can turn two knobs a little out of whack and you have a crappy sound, and vise-versa. I really should be writing down all the levels I have discovered since I know it will take too long at a gig to find them to use, not to mention annoying.
 #81428  by bdhact1
 Sun Jun 06, 2010 5:41 pm
waldo041 wrote:
SarnoMusicSolutions wrote:Now technically, I know people debate the differences between fuzz, overdrive, and distortion, but the MXR+ to my understanding, is the classic textbook example of a true "distortion" pedal. It uses a clean booster stage and then a pair of reversed diodes in parallel that short the signal to ground for the clipping. That's a "distortion" pedal in a nutshell.
Exactly! the distortion+ is a classic! it does have the clipping diodes, but the beauty of it is the 741IC. it distorts also! changing the chip can clean some of the dirt out of it. the vintage ones also used germanium diodes vs. the silicon ones today and in my opinion make for the difference in the vintage and reissues.

my 2 cents.

carry on!


I agree with the diode differences. I am presently building a Dist+ clone and the biggest difference in sound has been the diodes. The color codes on the diodes makes a difference as well. With germanium diodes I get 70s Jerry. With silicon I get modern and Randy Rhoads types of sounds.
 #147032  by Pfallon
 Thu Jun 04, 2015 8:12 am
I like the Dist+ Built with the "Wampler" Mods as described in an article in Premier guitar magazine November 26 2008
Brian Wampler provides the stock schem and a schem for the mods he describes.
He adds 3 spst switches and a tone pot and recommends component value tweaks to make the Dist+ a bigger fuller nicer (or meaner!) Distortion pedal. 1 switch is a subtle bass boost 2nd is a smooth switch that affects the clipping diodes
And the 3rd adds a hint of compression. I've built it with TL071 or LM741
Chips and 1n34 diodes or 1n270 and I like the latter combo
It's a very flexible circuit that really sings and has great harmonic content
While retaining the original tone of your guitar.
If you would like to build one yourself but are confused by schematic diagrams
There is an easy layout for this build on the Guitar fx website.
I can highly recommend this for dialing in the Jerry distortion tones of your choice
Think 10-17-83 lake Placidtest- Samson and the searing last part of Terrapin!
Peace and Jerryness
 #147046  by softmachine72
 Sat Jun 06, 2015 12:58 pm
I know I am restating what has already been said but, my vote goes for the 2x speed on Terrapin Flyer. Very tough to play 16th note triplets at Q=158 in 6/8. There is definitely some kind of synth effect on Jer's guitar in the solo parts. Although the first licks are in the 7/4 parts are 16th notes that are playable but, I do not think it was done that way.