Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #114586  by eric
 Sun Jun 03, 2012 4:33 pm
I impulse bought a brand new and pricey Fulltone GT500 a few years back that was DOA . Brought it in and the guys were completely stumped..Got my coin back....I thought the Boss MIJ Octave was pretty sub-par.Way too many artifacts . Tracked horribly. Gonna replace it with a mic pog at some point.

I think Jerry may have used what was good at the time , but I'd venture to say that he would be playing with more of the modded -boutique stuff these days. I think he'd really be into some of the cooler Eventide delays , perhaps some of the Pigtronix stuff... Pure uneducated speculation on my part...I think everybody's setup and ears and likes are different ..

Just to note . The Pigtronix Phil Tone has a blendable smooth diode clipping distortion incorporated in it. The nneat thing is that it actually sits behind your unadulterated clean tone and you can add super subtle or full on . That pedal is capable of clean boost, adjustable threshold and blend compression , and distortion .I'm using it always on , barely on right after my ED .. I found MY tone ....that's most important to me... Sorry to hijack.
 #114587  by Smolder
 Sun Jun 03, 2012 5:29 pm
JonnyBoy wrote:Like I mentioned above, save your time and money for mods and get a GE7 to put before or after the effect, it is like modding the pedal every time you adjust the EQ. Most of my boss stuff is MIJ where they were known for having better components in the circuit. If I wasn't going for Jerry tones I would be using some other stuff probably.

I have nothing to say about prices or snake oil offers... That is capitalism at its best and love that we have all the choices available to us. Lots of people swear by Analogman and Keely. I don''t think a re-voiced OD or distortion is worth that either, especially when you can use an EQ! Learn form Jerry!

I'd like to think that with so many better and smarter pedal builders, Jerry would have branched out beyond mass market stuff if he were still with us. There are so many better pedals on the market beyond what mxr and boss offer in a guitar center. Call me a snob, but the world has advanced.

Arguably better pedals and mods by Analogman and Keeley are expensive... and out of reach of young players, but whether or not I can afford it doesn't really make it not better. Good shit cost bucks... and people who design and build good shit should be rewarded. We can not expect a small time builder to be as cheap as danelectro (for instance).

For what it's worth, I bought a GE7 and it was a noisy POS. I practically rebuilt the thing... and now it works well and is quiet. These companies know that newbies don't know... so they don't seem to work at making their stuff better. Unless of course you buy from the 'custom shop', and then you're in the same price band as the guys mentioned above.

just my 2 cents brother. worth what ya paid for it ; )
 #114589  by JonnyBoy
 Sun Jun 03, 2012 8:26 pm
I know I was lucky with my GE7, went MIJ and got a good one. I heard they can be noisy, It does best in a loop system IMO. You also don't want to boost too much with it, cutting is preferred over boosting to keep it tamed.

I totally agree that boutique builders have some killer pedals these days! That is for sure, but also Jerry had a lot at his disposal too through out his career. Boss was not the only deal around during his days. EHX, MXR, dunlop, Way huge, Digitech, Ibanez, Moog etc... He did use Musictronics stuff. There were tube OD pedals in the late 70's and early 80's like EHX and BK Butlers stuff in the early/mid 80's. Come on guys! :smile: He lived during the era that had all the USA hand made pedals we all clone and covet, I think its silly that Boss was the only pedal he could find at the time. I also think my Boss pedals sound best in a LOUD rig versus my deluxe at bedroom level, although the SD1 and OD1 sounds great at low volumes too.

I know I distinguish between the two volumes a lot, but it seems to throw off my idea of what sounds good when I try things at a low volume and then at band volume. I've been mislead by pedals that sound great at low volumes and miss the mark at loud volumes. I really think Jerry liked Boss pedals despite all there was to use in the market. Shit he used hand made buffers and blasters, etc... I am sure he was around folks that had boutique stuff or modded pedals! But, I don't know for sure... :D I am all for fixing cheap workmanship and swapping out components for better quality stuff, that's why I prefer the MIJ stuff.
 #114592  by Smolder
 Mon Jun 04, 2012 7:43 am
There are a couple of interesting accounts in Blair Jacksons book. The first is that the reads early pedals where made by the guys in the 'electronic genius' club. The dead seemed to be surrounded by super smart folks with engineering knowledge that were thinking way outside the box at the time. The second is one of the guys saying that Jerry was always looking to get out and try the newest pedals and gadgets... even the early synths, well before they were really useful or stable live.

Jerry is even quoted as saying the entire reason he thought up the OBEL system was to stabilize pedals for the road... that they were very unstable to use live, even though they were using them in the studio prior to 71-72.

I'm always impressed with how the dead and extended family revolutionized the industry. From guitars to sounds systems. With companies like fur man, alembic, and others that came out of those advancements. And to think about the wall of sound being thought about in 69, just 4 years after the beatles were drowned out at shea stadium by a bunch of screaming girls. That's pretty impressive, but I digress.
 #115067  by JonnyBoy
 Sun Jun 17, 2012 5:30 pm
Well, the issue with that theory for me, is that all of the research people like Waldo and others have done don't point to that. They have spoken with Jerry's techs, and have never posted info concerning mods done to his effects. And I think they actually said no mods were done, if Im not mistaken... There has been speculation surrounding that issue, and no one has busted open the pedals to make sure of that. I think they're stock MIJ boss pedals since the tone is pretty similar across the board. That's not to say they can't be improved upon these days with better components to sound their best, but that's not really changing the pedals tone in a huge way, really its just slightly improving its performance/noise, IMO.
 #145075  by TI4-1009
 Fri Mar 06, 2015 11:29 am
 #145104  by Pfallon
 Mon Mar 09, 2015 8:37 am
Hey now,
I've been using a HM2 for years now for basic distortion needs but I never thought it was very close to what I heard Jerry use, alittle too gritty.
I just built a clone of the MXR distortion+ w/ Wampler mods(bass,smooth&comp switches) it has drive, tone and volume pots
It seems very responsive to picking dynamics and seems to preserve the guitars tone. It works pretty well for late 70s Samson type distortion. The layout is on tagboard effects in the MXR file
For those of you handy with a soldering iron, I highly recommend giving this one a try!
Peace and Jerryness!
 #145105  by kurt eye
 Mon Mar 09, 2015 11:26 am
I have the boss HM-2 and and Turbo OD 2. I have a strat with DA Voodo 69s. I use a stratoblaster pedal (always on) and the OD2 to get subtle overdrive and the HM-2 for distortion. I'm still in the early stages with it and don't play too loud. I haven't been able to dial it in with my rig to the point where I instantly think 80s Jerry but its not terrible. I'm sure my pickups don't have as much growl as DiMarzios. I get a decent Niel Young sounding distortion out of it too considering I'm playing a strat.

I think the HM-2 is a nice pedal for the price. Mine has very little hiss compared to my other pedals.
 #145108  by SarnoMusicSolutions
 Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:35 pm
It's been ages since I paid attention to it, but I recall watching Jerry's pedals in person in the '85 thru '95 period, and I just don't recall the HM-2 being there for very long. When he seemed to have fully moved over to Boss pedals after the MXR, by around '89 (I think), weren't the Turbo OD and the other yellow OD by Boss the mainstays for the next 5 years? I think I saw one of those OS-2 (overdrive & distortion with a blend knob) in his rack at one point too. I guess I could go look at photos again, but I just stuck in my memory that the HM-2 wasn't a mainstay, just a flirtation.

I've had great luck with the Turbo Overdrive for sustaining, searing tones like for Black Peter or similar.

 #145109  by softmachine72
 Mon Mar 09, 2015 6:23 pm
I have had a lot of luck with these kits from Fromel' electronics. Does not change the tone fundamentally but, they are a lot quieter especialy the GE-7. They are basicly what the Keely mods are better, caps, chip, and targeted resistor changes. I have never had the Hm2 but, I dig the Turbo over drive it is like Hell in a Bucket in a box. ... s/od1-mods ... s/ge7-mods
 #145207  by kurt eye
 Sat Mar 14, 2015 5:35 pm
I definitely give a big thumbs up to the HM2. Played around with it tonight. Not jerry stuff, but got some very nice overdrive/distortion Santana type tones through it (and my Turbo OD2) with my strat/voodoo 69s in the neck and middle positions. Sounded great through my fender Hot Rod. Clean but dirty.
 #145208  by James-T
 Sat Mar 14, 2015 6:35 pm

Did you use the OD2 in turbo mode for those searing tones? I wonder if Jerry would kick it over to Turbo before a tune like Black Peter and keep in in normal mode for other songs.


 #145230  by SarnoMusicSolutions
 Mon Mar 16, 2015 7:52 am
Yes, I found the OD-2 in Turbo mode to be the ticket for the really sustained, searing tones.

But I'm still an MXR Dist+ fan. There's a level of original, clean, guitar fidelity that comes thru with the MXR where Boss does some pretty strong internal midrange EQ to get their OD's to sing. And the Boss pedals sound great, but just something organic and sparkly about the MXR that I still like...