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Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #105962  by Tony6Strings
 Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:06 am
Hey all,
new to the forum, just got referred by one of my friends on Strat Talk. Searching for that Jerry tone. I play a stock Am. Std. strat through a 78 Pro Reverb, silverface and I believe it's an "ultra linear" model, though I don't know what this means other than it's a solid state rectifier. I'm pretty illiterate when it comes to wires and circuit paths. All I have on the floor is an early 80's Boss DS-1. I like to keep it simple, though I wouldn't be averse to adding a couple more things to my chain. Anyways... Any tips on getting some 70's Jerry tones from my rig?
 #105969  by TI4-1009
 Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:37 am
Spend a few hours poking around the threads here, you'll learn a lot. Welcome!
 #105978  by PaulJay
 Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:43 pm
Hey welcome, I also have an American standard w/ stock pick-ups. I would like to get some 70's tone but I'm not happy with the pick-ups. I am just wondering how you think you guitar sounds? ,Paul
 #105987  by Tony6Strings
 Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:43 pm
PaulJay wrote:Hey welcome, I also have an American standard w/ stock pick-ups. I would like to get some 70's tone but I'm not happy with the pick-ups. I am just wondering how you think you guitar sounds? ,Paul
I'm pretty happy with the stock pickups in my Am. Std, they have a beautiful tone with great response. But most people I know swap them out first thing. The most popular at the moment seems to be D Allen, people can't quit talking about his pickups, esp. these ones called Voodoo Blues. Lindy Fralin also makes some superior boutique pups. Of course, you can also go with the Fender custom shop vintage, they have ones modeled from different years.
 #105990  by strumminsix
 Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:19 pm
I think people who post online just like to tweak their gear more than most people :)

Honestly, I think a few hours with an amp for settings and a screwdriver for pickup heights would be more important than pickup changes. Jerry's Alligator sound is very Fendery.
 #105997  by Tony6Strings
 Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:37 pm
dleonard wrote:What at we going for with the pickup height on a standard strat to get the most fender-y sound?
Fender factory specs are 2 mm from the pole piece at the low E, 1.6 mm at the high e, when the strings are fretted at the last fret. The rule of thumb is that distance should be the greatest at the 6th string neck pickup, and least at the 1st string bridge. I tried out these specs and wasn't satisfied, I felt it robbed me of some of the smoothness of tone, a bit too harsh. I play mine a bit lower but nothing too drastic, some guys have them to where they're flush with the pickguard. Speaking of which, I noticed that on Alligator, the pups are unusually high. I was wondering if that's just a necessary adjustment because of the high action Jerry favored and the customized bridge setup of that guitar, or if he really liked his pups almost touching his strings.
 #105998  by dleonard
 Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:03 pm
Tony6Strings wrote:I felt it robbed me of some of the smoothness of tone, a bit too harsh
I agree with you, I heard a recording of my guitar and noticed that the difference from my playing on the D an G strings to the B and high E strings was unpleasant and wondered if i was doing something wrong. guess i just have to toy around with it
 #106005  by Tony6Strings
 Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:17 pm
Update. I read through some posts regarding JG tone settings. Dialed the treble on my amp to 10, Mid at around 6 and Bass at a little under 2. WOW. Holy cow man. I feel like I have a whole new amp. At first it really threw me off, it's just so different, completely foreign to the way I've always thought about amps. The first thing I realized is that this is a very unforgiving setup. It's so responsive to touch and dynamics, you can't just fake through cause there's no bass in there to help blend in or cover up your mistakes. The second thing I noticed was how every run of note clusters and chords I played were just jumping and popping out of my amp. Very very cool. :smile:
 #106016  by unnbrokenchain
 Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:11 pm
Good to hear that you are satisfied. Really, you already had everything in front of you. My settings always are 9-10 Treb, 4-6 Mid, and 0 bass. 0 Bass is important in order to get that growl on the lower nights. As far as the amp itself, I like to have my guitar volume all the way up and have the amp volume just where there is some speaker break up. Very easy to accomplish is you go with the D or K series.
 #106023  by SarnoMusicSolutions
 Tue Dec 06, 2011 3:02 pm
I'm glad you commented on the tone settings and how "unforgiving" it is that way. So true about Jerry's tone. It's so bright and forward that every little thing is very dynamic and revealed. It truly challenges one to clean up their picking and practice dynamic control. Somewhere I once read a thing that Jerry commented on, and I think it was from a very early '70s interview where he said that one thing he did as a practice discipline early one was to plug in to his amp and crank it and then run thru his scales. First playing each note very softly and evenly. Then when that soft level is nice and consistent from note to note, then do the runs a bit louder, and so on until you're playing the scales with a full on hard pick attack for full volume, real loud and ripping. I think right there is where Jerry became the master of note loudness control, something that most players never really master because they just don't play that clean and loud with a rig that will deliver whatever you throw at it.

Regarding the Jerry tone settings - bass0 and treble10, I find that it takes a minute to adapt, but then your brain and fingers begin to warm up the pick attack and tone and touch so that it fills out and sounds right. But when you first make that tone knob adjustment, it's a bit threatening.


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