Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #125387  by playingdead
 Sat Mar 09, 2013 8:37 pm
So ... Playing Dead had a gig last night at Johnny D's, a club near Boston, where the city unexpectedly got a foot and a half of snow dumped on it instead of the forecasted 4 inches. Ironically, this was a makeup gig for our 2-9 performance, which was snowed out by the blizzard.

But not knowing what it was going to be like parking, or getting the gear in, I left my regular rig home and just took a bone stock Fender Vibrolux (40 watts, with 2X10 Fender speakers), two cables, a Boss OD-2R and a stock PRS Custom 24. I figured I could carry it a few blocks in one trip if we couldn't get near the club.

The results were interesting ... the PRS' pickups (59/09) are hot as hell, and they were driving the heck out of the Vibrolux. I played through the bright channel, treble on 8, bass on 3 or 4, reverb on 4, tilted back and miked with an SM-57. Not real loud, volume was up on three.

I alternated between the bridge humbucker and the 4th position on the 5 way, which would be the bridge humbucker in parallel with the neck's south coil. Kind of a Strat tone with a little quack to it.

Here's a little board excerpt from the second or third tune, They Love Each Other. Not a Jerry tone at all, but it's interesting to hear the "Jerryness" come through the fingers. This was the 4th position.

Goes to show ... something, I suppose. I wonder how it would have sounded with a 58 Les Paul reissue.
 #125397  by czyfingers
 Sun Mar 10, 2013 2:49 am
That was an interesting tone. You could definitely hear those buckers driving that vibrolux hard. It's cool to change things up once in a while. I have 2 guitars with Duncan JB/jazz combo and I'm so used to a split super 2, when ever I plug in either of those guitars in its like a gain attack. Feel like I have a cranked up overdrive pedal in the chain. At any rate, it sounded good Vic. Your fingers still did the talking.
 #125402  by tcsned
 Sun Mar 10, 2013 6:58 am
Sounds great! Not a classic Jerry tone but killer. There's a ton of great amp/guitar combinations out there only one of them is the classic Jerry tone. It's cool to change things up on occasion. I've been messing with a Marshall JMP1 preamp lately, fun to use on St Stephen and some other heavier tunes. Though feeling the urge to crank out a Sabbath or AC/DC tune :)
 #125410  by tigerstrat
 Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:53 am
Great playing, Vic, but I just can't relate to the statement "not a Jerry tone at all", is that a reference to some specific tone out of Jerry's very wide tonal spectrum?
 #125415  by playingdead
 Sun Mar 10, 2013 2:21 pm
Thanks for the kind words. I'll try and post an example of the humbucker sound I got on some of the other tunes.

I wouldn't say this particular tone is reminiscent of anything I've heard from Jerry, mostly because I can hear that in-between quacky single coil thing happening, which he very rarely employed. There's also a lot of natural tube compression happening from hitting the front of the Vibrolux so hard with those PRS pickups, which is also extremely un-Garcia like.

I think the basics -- Fender amp, reverb -- are there, but I don't think (playing aside of course) you could play that tone for somebody and have them mistake it for a real GD recording.

What it does remind me of, a little bit, is the tone Bobby Cochran used to use with Bobby and the Midnights, when he played his own Cowboy Fancy guitar, he was definitely using that in-between sound into a hot overdriven tube preamp.
 #125432  by Patrick Strain
 Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:34 am
That's one of those things most people just have to get used to if you're touring through bigger cities. I can't tell you how many clubs/bars in NYC insist that you use their backline instead of bringing in your own gear. I've played my pedal steel through more Fender Blues Deluxes than I'd like to admit.
 #125437  by joethepainter
 Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:11 am
playingdead wrote:Bridge humbucker ... fat and sassy.
Wooo! Raunchy, yet refined. You sure have the Jerry touch going on. I like this tone in this context...not only does it work, it rocks! Your playing is what makes it happen, tho...tasty stuff. You're a real good musician, man. :-)

Peace, Joe
 #125467  by playingdead
 Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:15 pm
Thanks, man! Had laryngitis and couldn't sing worth a s---, but what the hell.

The whole show is on now.

That PRS sure played better than my Resurrection. A lot lighter, too. LOL
 #125472  by barefootdave
 Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:50 pm
You can get roughly three PRS that play better than the Resurrection for the same money. Pat lives down the road. Great guy, waaaayyyy overpriced.
 #125530  by racecar
 Fri Mar 15, 2013 9:05 am
I would like to jump in here because I do not believe you are being fair to Pat. My lead guitar player had a great guitar built by Pat for a very reasonable $3500. It is a wolf replica, it just had just less finish to the guitar to keep costs under control and used woods to keep the guitar on the light side. It is a very nice player if I must say so. I have also been to Pat's place myself and played a number of his guitars. His workmanship is excellent and the guitars he sells in the $4500-$5000 range in in line with other guitars with this amount of detail. I also found Pat to be negotiable if you are willing to buy one of the guitars he has already built. Some where to my liking, some weren't. I was not looking for a "Jerry" guitar, but I will say the tones that came out of some of those guitars were excellent. One called the Eagle could have doubled as a "bobby" guitar with the right settings.

I can only speak of the few guitars I played. While all of them were too heavy for me, they had that Jerry tone in spades. I also think due to the varying woods he uses, each guitar does have somewhat of a unique signature. I learned from playing his guitars, that its best to play a few and pick one that meets your needs.

I have also played a few of his that were not to my liking. pickups were too close to the strings and would have needed adjustment.

As for 3 PRS that play better? Hmmm.....I was never a PRS fan to begin with, so its hard for me to agree with this statement. I will say I believe my two Anderson Drop Tops play better than the ones I played from Pat. They are in the higher price range, but still less than Pat's guitars an also weigh considerably less than most of his guitars. I think with Pat, it could be a hit or miss situation. I am going to ask my lead guitar player how she feels about it after owning the wolf for about 7 months now.

I do admit, I like Vic's tone with the PRS in that recording :) Its nice to hear something "different".
 #125556  by James-T
 Sat Mar 16, 2013 1:07 pm
Hey Vic, your playing and tone with those PRS 59’s is amazing. I actually like it better that the tone John K has been getting on tunes like this with his Alembic (and your playing is right at the same level – congrats!).

There is something to be said about stock gear. I was checking out clips of Dead On Live and emailed Marc to ask him what his rig was that captured that amazing 72 tone (and playing!). To my surprise a budget Highway 1 strat with stock pick-ups and an old super six reverb with JBL E120’s. An amp he’s had since he was a kid. It all changed for him when he dropped in the JBL’s.

He did mention that he also has an 1982 62 reissue strat which he uses for the 73/74 shows. That inspired me to continue my hunt for a second strat, in which a few weeks ago I scored an 83 two knob for $600 on craigslist. Hands down this is the best strat I’ve ever played. Amazing thin maple neck and super bell like pick-ups. I’ve been picking up strats in stores for about 2 years now in search of the elusive winner, and the 83 actually goes head to head with my PRS cu 22 in terms of playability and sounds really similar but crisper with more bite than the dual sound in my PRS. The funny thing is, those 83 two knob strats have a bad wrap on the internet, mostly because of the FreeFlyte Trem, but this one had the springs fully cranked so it is in hard tail mode, it is incredibly light and resonant and the cool thing about 83 strats is there are no cavities through to the back, in fact no plates on the back at all, they are solid wood. Just a really resonant guitar with really great vintage pick-ups.

BTW Vic, what is the output of the 59’s – I thought they were modded after PAF’s. PRS doesn’t seem to offer much technical data on their website. I did play a PRS recently with the 59’s and really liked them.


 #125561  by playingdead
 Sat Mar 16, 2013 6:21 pm
James, PRS quotes 9.3k at the bridge and 8.4k at the neck. They are alnico magnets but they keep the variety of alnico close to the vest. Their pickups improved greatly back in 08 or so when they bought an old wire machine that was used to wind Gibson pickups on in the 50s. The real deal, so to speak.

There was a famous comparison where Paul Reed Smith handed David Grissom a real 57 goldtop onstage at a PRS Experience and had him play it back to back with a PRS SC58 with the 57/08 pickups ... it was fairly close to the real thing.

I am building a Private Stock guitar with the 57/08 pickups in it right now and it will be interesting to compare it with a Custom 24.

Thanks for the kind words. It was a good night but I wouldn't say I'm at JK's or really anybody else's level ... I'm just having fun up there like there rest of us are. Now, if I ever learned some theory or actually practiced ... :shock:
 #126793  by pablomago
 Wed Apr 17, 2013 3:41 pm
From listening to the clip, I would have never guessed that you were playing a PRS. A very accectable tone. I like it when people play Dead stuff and don't go by the rules. I'd pay money to hear your band.