Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #124330  by tigerstrat
 Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:09 pm
Trecia wrote:That's really interesting, because a lot of the most definitive Jerry mutron sounds (77) were, strictly speaking, chronologically prior to August '79. Has this been covered before? I think this would be kind of a big deal to all those famous pre-79 tones. Because, as most of you know an un-bypassed mutron iii alters (ie sucks) tone pretty significantly. Granted the OBEL was in place, but that would mean effects were all-or-none up to that point if that how it was used. Am I wrong?
Disagree, and greatly prefer the chewy, bouncy responsiveness of the post-79 Mutron tones... check out the '80-'83 Shakedowns, Estimateds, FOTMs...

However, I would not attribute the difference in sound in any way to the change in switching methods. It would come from A) the introduction of Tiger on 8/4/79, and possibly , B) the simultaneous introduction of a UGB (part and parcel of "A").

Not sure what point you mean to make about an un-bypassed Mu III. If you are hearing the filter effect, it is by definition un-bypassed, whether you are hearing an Estimated with the TB-500 in early '77 or Tiger circa '81. You would hear the tone suckage, or lack thereof, when bypassed.

Pre-8/79, he would switch the pedal off with his foot, but the Mu's gain stage would still be in the chain (possibly affecting Octave Divider or Phase sounds in the loop if engaged).

Post-8/79, the whole pedal would be taken out of the chain, cleaning up the signal considerably.

Of course there is also Wolf 9/77-to-7/78 to consider: 2.0 (same non-switchable loop wiring) and 2.1 (w/ on/off switch and Blaster line driver). I have to admit though, that I still don't listen to that much late 70's stuff... it's about my 5th or 6th favorite GD era, so it usually loses out to a hot '82, '69, '73, or '90 show... or 77-78 JGB!

re: the pic comment, I guess it was just another way of saying that the silence from his guitar is deafening... :cry:
Last edited by tigerstrat on Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 #124331  by mgbills
 Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:10 pm
I've got Englishtown in iTunes. Tonight I'll put the Estimated through the Mc2100 and crank it up. Can't remember anything but the Eyes from that show.

I have many many '76-'78 shows. I know this is oblique and subjective, but to me this & the '72 era are the defining eras.

Don't want to be judgmental. Maybe somebody messed with his Pete B. Mutron settings that night. :smile: :smile: :smile:

If Jerry had those settings, his troubles would be over. They work great every day in my rig through the GCX.
 #124332  by Pete B.
 Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:30 pm
My MuIII settings were taken directly from pics of Jer's rig. All three knobs between 11 o'clock and straight up.
 #124333  by Trecia
 Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:15 pm
Ok I def. did not mean to start a debate about which were the "best" eras for mutron sound... Considering that I was born 5 days after he started playing tiger I don't have much direct experience there. But I think the effect is heaviest and most prominent and frequently played in recordings I've heard from the 77-78 era. Maybe because that's when it was new in the rig. Just a guess... And I'm going to own that statement as very much my own perception, and not authoritative by any measure..
My main point is that I've found that the MU3 sucks tone when disengaged (effect off) and not true-bypassed. So I was trying to express surprise that that would be in his path, effect off and on, that whole time. Since that level knob remains active even when the effect is disengaged. If it was not fully bypassed it would be effecting the tone the whole time... It's almost like its own preamp with a distinct sound... Certainly as important to consider as whether you're tapping the neck or bridge side of you middle pickup for example. I've used the MU level control at higher settings to drive effects behind it harder, but it's a delicate balance since that level affects the Mutron response too. Also I forgot entirely that 77 was Bean-time. That didn't even have a middle pickup or splitting did it? Bridge most of the time?
Last edited by Trecia on Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 #124334  by dleonard
 Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:33 pm
mgbills wrote:I've got Englishtown in iTunes. Tonight I'll put the Estimated through the Mc2100 and crank it up. Can't remember anything but the Eyes from that show.
My favorite Eyes ever
 #124335  by mgbills
 Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:41 pm
Eyes favorite is the Cow Palace release. So edgy almost to the ecstatic. But I'll settle into some Englishtown.

I do have to re-digest some of that '79-'82 stuff. I started seeing them Boys in '81...but really didn't slurp the Koolaid for a year or so. I mean...I was drinking the KoolAid, but didn't get the real groove right away.

Thanks for the tip T.S....I need to dig in there.
 #124373  by jenkins
 Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:04 am
In '77 he did have a middle pup in that Bean, he had 3 p90's, each with their own on/off switch, iirc.

IMO 77 is THE quintessential muIII tone, it's just raw and driving and just plain epic. The whole spring tour he's just raging his mutron, it's truly awesome.
I think 77 is just probably the sickest jerry tone of all time.

Watch the videos from 77-78, and watch Garcia. He is so animated and smiling, almost dancinga lot of the time. you can tell he's have such a good time..
You don't see that as much once they get into the 80's, looks like he's more at work or sometthing
 #124378  by Trecia
 Sun Feb 10, 2013 2:31 pm
So the takeaway I'm getting from this is... Leave youre muiii in the loop, not true bypassed, and you'll just be a happier, more buoyant, groovey person. ; ). YMMV
 #124382  by seniorpesca
 Sun Feb 10, 2013 4:19 pm
Trecia wrote:So the takeaway I'm getting from this is... Leave youre muiii in the loop, not true bypassed, and you'll just be a happier, more buoyant, groovey person. ; ). YMMV

i donno i miss that pure tone of twin>strat

what ive been doing as of late is just keeping the mutron off until i wanna use it? will this automatically true bypass my signal when the mu is not on???

really love the trippy sounds im getting i love messing with my whammy pedal and delay on at the same time. very trey 2001 esque or 95 whammy jerry

the ts9 and distor+ sound so good together
 #124386  by Trecia
 Sun Feb 10, 2013 6:41 pm
No Mutron III's are very much *not* true bypass -- unless you mod them to be. That level control (basically a low-tech preamp) works even with the effect off. I've noticed it rolls off some high end and sparkle. But it sounds like it didn't hurt Jerry too much if you don't mind late 70's tone.
 #124388  by mgbills
 Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:50 pm
Jenkins...been thinking that same thought for at least 10 years. "Edit" - I think it's more like 20 years.
 #124391  by Pete B.
 Sun Feb 10, 2013 10:28 pm
Are there any good shots of his MuTron settings from 77?
It sounds like he might have the Range knob on High, or maybe the top knob in BandPass mode rather than Lo Pass, during the 77 TB period, to my ear.
'77 was the first full year of MuTron usage. As Phil Lesh states in his book, Jerry loved that new toy!
My observations are strictly tone based and have nothing to do with the intracacies of the soloing itself, or wether or not he appears to be having fun or at work.
The lack of humbucker mode is likely part of the thin-ness compared to other guitars played after he put down the TB. There is some thin metallic component that results in more of a synth sound, that I find less appealing to my ear. It may simply be an anomalous component of the aluminum neck.
I really hear it when he comes back to the theme lick after the long solos in '77 Estimated's.
I prefer the fullness of the MuIII tone in the post TB years.
As long as we agree that it's different, I'm good with that.
Regarding the mods, I'll set up an un-modded unit next to an internally true-bypassed unit and do a comparison. I don't recall there being that much of a tone suck. We shall see! I have a Strat here that has individual on/off switches for each pickup, allowing for the neck/bridge combo, and all 3 pickups on. Maybe part of the equation.
As always, if anyone wants to post a vid of themselves nailing the TB MuTron tone, that'd help me to believe that you really like that tone.
 #124395  by cmc64
 Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:58 am
Currently not have a completely true-bypassed pedal set-up I have gotten quite used to (and now rather like) the sound of the Mu-III - effect off with it's gain stage added in to my clean signal. What is especially interesting to me is how the effects after the Mu-III change how it sounds. My rig is the standard (more or less) stuff - Mu-III -> Script D+ -> Script Phase 100 -> and then the delay of the day, either the MXR Analog Delay (big green old one), MXR Carbon Copy or TC Electronics Flashback. The delay is where things seems to change the sound the most. Both the Carbon Copy and the Flashback claim to be "True Bypass" but you can sure bet that when you swap those pedals the sound of the MU-III changes. No question in this rig it sounds the best with the Flashback. My Analog Delay is getting funky - I have a feeling that Reticon chip is failing, so I do not use it that much.

I have heard many say that the Carbon Copy is not actually true bypass but AnalogMan says it is, and he is a reliable source. I called Dunlop/MXR to for confirmation and I am pretty sure they had NO idea of what I was talking about.

I can't afford a GCX/Ground Control at the moment so I opted for a LoopMaster True-Bypass pedal strip - we'll see how that mixes things up whenever it arrives.

Once I can afford a Mu-Tron Octave Divider I will do some test with the gain staging of the Mu-III. If what a previous poster wrote is accurate (and I am betting it is) it makes perfect sense to have the gain-bypass toggle added, especially if you have you pedal in a rack - flip of a switch and you have the Mu-III's gain stage to follow the Octave Divider - on the floor (if you have some sort of true-bypass strip) you can turn the MU-III on with the strip and then kick the effect in or out on the actual unit depending on needs.

After reading the thread this is probably a superfluous post but that's my take on things over at my house.
 #128265  by TI4-1009
 Tue May 21, 2013 11:13 am
Bringing up an older thread. Related...

When did Jer have another effect on in addition to the Mutron? I sometimes hear an "edgier" envelope, I'm guessing thst's some distortion added in?

Semi-off-topic, but I just ran into this recent article about Mutrons:

Nice article, but the strange thing is badly-translated reader comment spam about Nikes. It looks strangely similar to the one that was just deleted over in the GD Discussion forum???