Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #101066  by tastyjams
 Sat Jul 16, 2011 10:22 pm
So I just got a job at the movie theatre, and i have quite a while till i need to start paying for car expenses, so I'm planning on spending most of my money on guitar stuff, and i have a few ideas for things I would want to do over the next 6 months to a year (assuming i keep the job that long).
So my setup of right now is a Gibson SG with Seymour Duncan 59's and a Bigsby through a 1971 blackface modded Twin Reverb with Cannabis Rex's a the Sarno Earth Drive, a micro Qtron, a Vox Wah, and a few other pedals. Alot of the time I feel my my tone is a little stale and thin sounding,I keep my Treble at 9, my Mids at 6-7 and my Bass at 2.5, because that's what sounds best to my ears. I might be able to attribute the staleness to the fact that the amp may have not had a cap job in a very long time, so that's one of the first things I'm going to get with my paycheck. Oh, my main goal with this long term addition of gear is to get my guitar tone close as possible to Garcia's tone on the Live/Dead Dark Star. The overdrive is just so good, and there are so many cool tonal possiblities. After the cap job, I'm going to get a BBE Sonic Stomp, because I tried out my friend's with the Earth Drive, and it really allows you to get more usable tones from controling your tone and volume knob on the guitar. I'm also planning on getting a new pedal board, a nicer wah, a Lovepedal Gen 5 tape echo pedal and a Proton envelope filter. Now looking into the longer future projects, I'm wondering if possibly getting some JBL or JBL like speakers would make a noticeable difference on my sound, as far as getting it closer to the Live/Dead tone. I'm also wondering if there might be better humbuckers than the Seymour Duncan 59's for that sound.

Now looking even longer into the future possible gear projects, I have an old Fender Highway One Strat and I was thinking about replacing the neck and bridge to fix action problems and general discomfort with the neck, then putting in some vintage sounding pickups, and having my friend paint it psychedelic :D I'm hoping I could get some nice alligator tones on. Would JBLs versus the Cannabis Rex make a bigger difference in getting closer to that sound? Is there anything else that i should consider adding to any of these ideas? All ideas are welcome, I'm half daydreaming half pla nning for these. It all really depends on how many hours I'm working, but I would like all these projects to happen in the near future, so we'll see.
 #101067  by tastyjams
 Sat Jul 16, 2011 10:33 pm
Oh, and I'm also wondering if adding a modded strat would possibly give me a better envelope filter sound, assuming I get the Proton. I'm going for like 78 evelope filter sound, or something close. Just wanting to know if possibly having a strat would have better sound for the envelope filter, opposed to my SG.
 #101073  by Kennay
 Sun Jul 17, 2011 7:39 am
Hi Tastyjams

I would definately get Waldo`s tpc-1 line buffer and have it installed with an onboard effects loop(OBEL). That way all the effects are getting full voltage from your guitar even if you have the volume pot turned down. JBL K112`s would make all the difference in the world. I tried the Proton for about an hour. The one I tried didn`t get that fartsy 78 sound and was so micro sensitive to the smallest adjustment I felt it would be a pain in the ass. My Q-Tron+ was much better to my ears but I`m saving for the real thing. I`m seeing them go for 400-500 on ebay.

I`m not sure about the pickups but Waldo`s tpc-1 with an OBEL will make your pedals come alive. I`m not the only one here who feels this way. Good luck and keep us posted on your quest for the tone!
 #101083  by strumminsix
 Sun Jul 17, 2011 12:38 pm
Which position are you using on the pickup selector switch. I find too often that folks park it on the middle/both position and then get a bland tone.

I think you have a very nice rig and one that could produce great sound!
 #101085  by JonnyBoy
 Sun Jul 17, 2011 1:03 pm
I agree with everything above, I think the tone you are going for 1969-70 is pure classic humbuckers , an amp and to keep the volume manageable, an OD. JBL's are very important to that tone. I have my Twin combo back together with some stock fender speakers and it sounds horrible turned up. Don't know much about the sonic stomp stuff, but far too often I looked to pedals to change something only my hands can really do. A huge part of tone for me is working it out of the guitar with your skin and bones. That unfortunately you cant buy... only time and practice does.

Our band last night opened for the Kudzu Kings with George McConnel and his tone was so nice through a 1x12 boogie and a few old staple pedals. It just proves the hands theory. His tone was killer with Widespread Panic too and it was probably a very similar setup.
 #101092  by GeneralGoldilocks
 Sun Jul 17, 2011 5:19 pm
Hello Tastyjams,

I have a fender highway one strat as well, and i got a huge upgrade in tone by going with the kinman vintage strat pickups. i want to say they are the mk II. anyway, they are the "vintage" ones, not the blues or woodstock ones. they are lower output than a lot of the stock fender ones. I also installed them and adjusted them so they are far away from the strings, although you have to dial it in for yourself. the pickups in my highway one were not great, now my strat sounds way better than most american standard ones, and is great for jerry tone. i also have tried the dimarzio area 61 in the bridge and area 58 pickups in the neck and middle and liked those as well. definitely hotter than the kinmans, but same technology, they are noiseless. either of these pickup sets will probably improve your tone.
 #101131  by tastyjams
 Mon Jul 18, 2011 1:36 pm
Ok Yeah, the envelope filter is pretty far down the line as far as purchases go (i only use it currently in a few songs), so i guess i got a little off topic with that. The OBEL sounds really awesome, but I think I'm going to try and get the exact tone I want out of my SG first, then maybe integrate the OBEL and tcp-1 into my next guitar project, probably on the strat. I'll definitely look into the Kinman pickups

I keep my pickup selector in the middle position sometimes, but it's usually when I'm practicing alone. When playing with my band, it's usually on the neck pickup for chunkier rhythm/ fatter soloing tone, and the bridge pickup for soloing, and anything where I'm focusing more on single notes than chords.

I probably should of elaborated a little bit on the Sonic Stomp. So usually when I try and roll back the tone on my guitar to get a thicker 1968 Garcia/ Santana sound, it's just a little too muddy to cut through and sound good, no matter what pickup I'm on, or how much it's rolled back. When I tried out the Sonic Stomp with that tone, it sounded much clearer, while still remaining really thick. The dynamics of my playing also came through a bit better. In the meantime, I also got a great guitar teacher who is teaching me the CAGED theory in and out, and it's actually quite enjoyable :-)

So, as far as new speakers go, my Cannabis Rex's are definitely not completely broken in yet ( one blew out and i had to get it replaced around 3 months back). I heard it's something like 100 hours of playing until the hemp speakers are truly broken in. So I figure I'll get my caps fixed first, swap out some of my pedals, get a new pedal board, and then if my speakers still are not getting me as close as i want to be to Garcia's 69 sound, then I'll take the plunge on some JBL's. As far as mods on my Twin go, is there anything else i should consider doing to my amp, as well as getting the caps changed?