Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #129799  by James-T
 Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:13 pm
Just received the May 77 box set. I was surprised to see a great shot of a Mesa Mark II head sitting on top of Jer's JBL cab. I always suspected he got those tones through something else than a fender and I think he probably kept the rig well into winter fav semi modern Jerry tone.

Anyone know more of the history of Jerry's Mesa setup?


 #129814  by tigerstrat
 Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:00 am
3 questions:
Is there date, location or photographer info for the pic?

What guitar does Jerry have in the pic?

Are you sure you aren't looking at Weir's Mk 1 head, which sat directly on his speaker cabinet thusly?


Here is Jerry with his dual Twin preamp... he switched from the TB-500 guitar to Wolf in September '77, which is the major gear difference between Late '76 thru Mid '77 and Late '77 thru Early '78.
 #129825  by James-T
 Wed Jul 03, 2013 3:26 pm
Good sleuthing and I did check Mike's page before posting. I think you are right about spring 77 and the photo in the box set is Jerry near Bob's rig now that i looked at it again but I still think Jerry migrated back to a Mesa for that winter 78 tour. I was doing tone matching with my ultra and could nail the Dicks picks 18 Eyes tone almost perfectly with the Mark Ii set on my new (to me) Axe FX Ultra.

Any one want to care to speculate. The tone from those shows, Madison to be precise more closly resembles Jerry's solo tone than it does later in 78 or early 77. The tone seemed to get gritty and more compressed starting with the new years shows in Dec 77, at least to my ears.

Interesting that Bob played a Mesa back then just like when he was playing an SG in 74. Both rigs that on the surface seem better for a lead guitarist but hey it's only Rock and roll.


Last edited by James-T on Wed Jul 03, 2013 5:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 #129845  by tigerstrat
 Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:20 pm
I've never heard anything that made me believe Jerry purposely had distinct GD and JGB tones. He played louder, attacked the guitar differently and the bands were mixed differently, but to these ears its the same rig on the same settings.
 #129847  by waldo041
 Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:27 pm
tigerstrat wrote:I've never heard anything that made me believe Jerry purposely had distinct GD and JGB tones. He played louder, attacked the guitar differently and the bands were mixed differently, but to these ears its the same rig on the same settings.

 #129858  by James-T
 Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:34 am
+ 2

I meant to be more explicit in that I find to my ears the winter 78 tone more closely resembles the Kean Collage tone from 80 than it does from the shows before this tour and after it. I just couldn't recall the name of the darn show when i madevthe post. It's a great tone and one of my favorite Jerry tones.

Jerry's tone to my ears was constantly evolving from year to year and in some cases tour to tour andvobviosuly because he was constantly changing gear around, and I believe he played a Mesa for the fabled Kean Collage show. Correct me if I'm wrong here.
 #129865  by Aaron1229
 Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:31 am
I concur with the OP, the tone was ever evolving, sometimes radically from tour to tour. I also think 77-78 might be the best example of this. I hear a bigger, fuller, more aggressive tone starting around Binghamton 11-06. It sounds more like the output you'd get from a hot humbucker. First few months of 78 are similar, but with a lot more dirt and gain coloring the sound. Spring 78 is yet another radically different tone from wolf (one of my least fav Jerry tones), red rocks in the summer has its own thing going on, and of course dual sounds provided a big difference yet again. I think Jer was all over the map during this period.
 #129868  by Chuckles
 Fri Jul 05, 2013 3:39 pm
I think this period and the many associated gear changes reflect JG's - and, by extension, the band's - renewed commitment to further honing in on the sound they were after and their willingness to experiment to get there. It was reflected in their playing as well. Anyway, just my .02.
 #129873  by waldo041
 Fri Jul 05, 2013 6:20 pm
A lot of changes happening in this period. From the the new OBEL and first steady use of effects other then a wah in his arsenal, to the reintroduction of Wolf. Then Wolf gets the blaster put in once the OBEL gets an in/out switch which requires the db's to be raised for matched levels on both sides of the switch. Then he actually puts humbuckers in Wolf. Like the changes to Alligator in an attempt to find what he actually wanted out of a guitar, this period represents what he actually wanted from the effects side of things and culminates in Aug of 1979 with the introduction of Tiger, new buffer preamp and the new Cutler effects rack and switching system. The pickups get switched out, an occasional effect gets swapped out and a different power amp may be utilized for a brief period, but this Tiger/80's rack stays a constant for the next 11 years. And then it pretty much stays the same with only an addition of the midi system which was it's own rig in parallel with it. I agree that 77/78 were pretty big years on the equipment front for Jerry.