Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #116511  by davidl13
 Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:49 pm
Years ago I read an article outlining garcia's rig and they mentioned he kept a DBX compressor in the back of his rack...I remember they said he used some soft compression before the Mac amp....

Does anyone know or have access to that article...

 #116525  by davidl13
 Thu Jul 26, 2012 8:06 am
lol... well i would not question your beliefs.... however, i really did read an article that spelled out that garcia used some very light compression ( a dbx unit in the back of his rack) ... i cant find the article reprinted online... it was a discourse on his 70-80's rack design....before the major overhaul... it was interview with a tech...i can't remember who...if it was CAE or a road tech..., so i hope someone might have that old magazine laying around...

i suspect it was to make sure no super spikey signal did not cause his 300w amp to blow speakers.... probably used more like a limiter than a "tone shaping" compressor as an effect...

btw - i am a proud owner of several SMS products... the preamp is currently in use in a bass rig

 #116530  by gr8fullfred
 Thu Jul 26, 2012 9:46 am
If that is the case, and the compressor prevented speakers from blowing, why would Steve Parish be famous for changing out a speaker on the fly! Why would they have used those externally mounted speaker clips, except for quick speaker changes? Think about that.
 #116534  by wolftigerrosebud
 Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:25 am
i'd have to see the article to consider the possibility of something like that being true... garcia has the least compressed guitar tone. it's like a jazz guitar with the treble jacked up and overdrive, you can hear every mistake perfectly (there really aren't that many).
 #116551  by JonnyBoy
 Thu Jul 26, 2012 4:06 pm
I would not be surprised that they tried a compressor that lived in his rack, for a very short time. If he did, I'm sure he hated it. I can't imagine trying to get that loud Garcia tone with compression. It is one of the reasons tube amps kinda sound funny to me v's a SS amp. Although it is totally possible to get a good garcia tone from a tube amp, a SS just does it better IMO.
 #116560  by Mosfed
 Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:01 pm
Well - a few things -

first re: compression - I am sure Garcia dabbled in everything. Now whether compression was a major part of his rig at anytime, I sincerely doubt it. The sound just isn't right. But I am sure there was some in the circuit at some point or another. It wouldn't be logical for him never to have had a go.

Second - you can get a fine Garcia tone through tubes. Seriously comments like that are just a bit thin...
 #116561  by SarnoMusicSolutions
 Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:03 pm
Really, it's entirely possible that they dabbled with it. Anything's possible. I feel like we've now got a LOT of good data, photos, confirmations, etc. on the '80s rig. (thanks Waldo and others..) But at the same time I can imagine that in the '70s as he was trying to make sense out of that Mc2300 and all that extreme power and loudness and ability to blow those alnico JBL's, it seems perfectly logical that trying a compressor to limit or protect or smooth out the extreme dynamics could have been attempted. At some point, and I'm not sure when, he went to using only one half of the Mc2300 and the single 4-12" or 3-12" cab. This setup seems to be one that he found he could control and gently clip naturally, and I don't believe that a compressor was ever part of that setup unless perhaps as a very brief experiment. But in the '70s, that seems like a more likely possible time frame when that could have been tried and utlized. Generally, the Dead, Healy, Jerry, and that general audio mentality surrounding them was that the players had total dynamic control at their fingertips, they were anti-compression, of course excepting Weir who was all about the compressor squish.

 #116606  by Tony6Strings
 Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:36 am
On some studio albums it definitely seems like there is some compression going on with Jerry's guitar. "Go To Heaven" comes to mind. Not so much in his live tone. I've got a compressor on my board, I put it after the wah and dirt pedals. It's useful for getting thick squishy dirt sounds when used with a TS type drive, and it sounds really cool when used with the wah, gives the effect a really rounded out sound. I tried it before those effects as widely suggested and it just didn't do it for me. It's not really a Jerry rig type of effect, but still useful for having around if you're playing single coils through a super clean Fenderish amp dialed in for treble. Comes in really handy when having an off night, think of those times when every little mistake you make jumps out of your amp with the utmost clarity and announces itself to the whole venue...

:smile: :smile: :smile:
 #116607  by davidl13
 Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:51 am
the article i read mentioned he used it as a final subtle limiter before the power amp... perhaps this kept parish from having to swap speakers out a lot more than he already had to....

and perhaps this was just part of his setup for a period of time... hopefully someone can find the magazine article I am referring to.