Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

name, city, instrument, years of playing, current band, gear
 #133137  by somedirection
 Thu Oct 10, 2013 5:16 pm
Hello from the Bay Area - Los Altos/Mountain View area

De-lurking after many years of benefiting from the collective wisdom on this forum. Thanks to all.
Have lived in the Bay Area since 1986 (from New York). Many shows east and west coast (and in-between) 78-95.

I play guitar in Aardvark, we're a dead band doing the usual material. The other guitarist and I switch off doing Jerry and Bob,
depending on the song. So I look for some Bob tones in my setup, but mainly look for a Jerry tone (say 72 or 74 or 77 tones, not looking to recreate exactly).

A recent setlist is below.

An ongoing quest for the tone has been aided by many - Scott Walker, Gary Brawer, Brian/9MileSkid, Andrew at AO and the members of this community.
Still on the path with miles to go.

Guitar 1: 1980 Ibanez MC150 fully Tigerized by Gary Brawer. Using a Brawer buffer/boost circuit. Brass plates laminated with walnut burl by Brian.
Have had this guitar a year and still working to find the right tone. Tends toward sterile/bright. Earthdrive on order from Brad. Will try running that right before amp outside of OBEL. Did get some great tones from the Ibanez at last loud volumes...until it mysteriously died on me and I went to Strat mid-set.

Guitar 2: 2008 Fender Am Stnd Strat. Has been the experimental platform and go to guitar. Goal was E72 tone. Scott Walker looped and buffered it (CAE buffer, not the Jangletone, the Jerry one) put in Lollar Blackfaces. Didn't do it for me. Fender 69s went in. But tech changing PUPs who wired tone pot pre-OBEL not post OBEL resulting in shrill tone. Gary fixed that and put in Dimarzio Areas 58/58/61, go noiseless for bar gigs. I had him pull out buffer out too after dead batteries at gigs was getting problematic. Want to get a buffer back in here so I can use through my effects rack/cable run and would like to try some DAllens. Honestly miss the 25.5 scale, lightweight, feel, controls and the overtones (set neck, light body) of the Strat vs the MC150.

Amp/Speaker: Gries 35 - 1x12" combo 35w 6L6 Fender blackface circuit clone with reverb. Has a preamp circuit. JBL K-120. Great little amp. JBL added a lot. Need more power though to get some clean headroom to keep up with the band. MC150 signal hot enough to keep things reasonably clean (actually need some amp snarl with the MC150) but the Fender can get too dirty if unmiked gig situation or loud practice. I should also add that Dave Gries gives amazing customer service. I bought it used and he was amazing in helping me out. I blew an output transformer but otherwise it's been a great amp. Thinking about a Showman or going the SMS/SS power amp route down the road.

more on the Gries from their website:
The 35 is based on the mid '60's Vibrolux with several modifications including: one channel, added Midrange control, no vibrato, a post-phase inverter Master Volume control, switchable 4 & 8 ohm speaker outputs. Mercury Magnetics power & output transformers. 35 watts.

Effects: Andrew Olsen/AO cables in techflex ->Brawer custom made junction box->Q-Tron+->Blues driver (Keeley modded)->Phase 100->TC Nova Delay. On Pedal Train board with VooDoo PP2 power. Lots of effects in the garage Boss OC-2, etc. Want to minimize effect chain path till I put in some loops. Earthdrive on order to sit in front of amp outside the OBEL path.


We're playing on 11/5/13 at Mardi Grad Lounge in Redwood City CA, 9p-1a

Here's a sample of a few tunes from past gigs:

Here's a recent setlist:
Played a dive bar with few heads. But a guy hanging out had seen warlocks at magoo's.
A woman who looked like she just came off tour showed up during China/Rider and boogied.
She said she's JK's masseuse when he's in Bay Area for gigs. The other guitarist got a great after set
arm massage. Small world.

11/2/13 Mardi Gras Lounge, Redwood City, CA
Jack Straw

Set 1:
Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo
Let It Grow
Get Out of My Life Woman
Catfish John
Take Me to the River
Uncle John's Band
Help on the Way/Slipknot >
Franklin's Tower

Set 2:
Sugar Magnolia
Scarlet Begonias
Beat It On Down the Line
Feel Like A Stranger
The Shape I'm In
Brown-Eyed Women
Touch of Grey
Crazy Fingers
Might As Well

Set 3:
China Cat Sunflower >
I Know You Rider
The Music Never Stopped
Playin' In The Band
Day Tripper
 #133140  by tcsned
 Thu Oct 10, 2013 6:29 pm
Nice stuff! Welcome aboard!!
 #133142  by James-T
 Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:24 pm
Hey Somedirection (first names are great to know)

Welcome aboard! I see you have the Area 58's. How do you like them? I've had a love hate relationship with them. Got some great tones and some lousy ones. I think I need to have a boost on at all times - that's when they sound the best to my ears - but good advice about the battery fatigue with the on-board booster. I was just about to rip them out this week until I listened to an old recording where they sound better than my Dan Smith strat in comparison.

Those old boss effects all have great buffers in them. Don't be shy about loading up your board if they are non by-pass. I have about 6 boss effects in a chain with a boss by-pass pedal. My rig sounds better with the effects in the chain than in by-pass, albeit a bit hisser - which is not even perceivable in a band situation.

I had a Carvin DC160 and had a similar experience to you with the tone (like you Ibanez). I eventually ditched it. It was too unbalanced, had too wide and flat of a fretboard. I just scored a Aria Pro ii. The neck is just like a strat meets an SG Junior and its the fender scale length - its the ultimate. The Carvin was 25" I think.

I've found if does't totally work its best to stop sinking money into it.


 #133144  by somedirection
 Thu Oct 10, 2013 8:44 pm
Hi James -

Thanks for the welcome and words of advice. I think you're right - if it ain't right, don't sink more into it. Still I'll futz with the Ibanex a bit more. Takes me time to really get in tune with a guitar.

Good luck with the Aria Pro. Look like great guitars to mod for Jerry tones. Let me (us!) know how it goes.

That Ibanez 25" scale. Who would've thought 1/2" would make that difference? I'm thinking the 25.5" fender scale is a fundamental key to the snappy jerry tone, less so the neck through and duplicating Tiger electronics.

I have to say the one time I achieved 100% tonal bliss was playing a Moriarity Wolf through a Twin at the GD gear expo in NJ a few years ago (I happened to be in town for that). That was THE tone. From the first note. Wow. So if the scale and electronics are right - the neck through (on an amazingly built guitar) gets you there. So many variables.

FIrst name is Des.

cheers - Des