Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #139003  by RiseandFall
 Wed May 14, 2014 8:28 am
I'm relatively new in this quest and my tone (obviously) has a long way to go.
The rig is basically a Super 2 (single coil/middle position) >SMS>MC40>2-JBL 120K's.
The guitar is a Minarik Goddess (sort of a cross between an SG and a Les Paul).
There is NO Obel or buffer currently.

Standard disclaimer...please overlook shoddy playing. I'm just wondering what you think of the current tone and interested in hearing folks articulate what differences I should expect when the buffer/obel are added into the mix.
 #139007  by rugger
 Wed May 14, 2014 9:13 am
Well, I think you're there tonally and playing-wise, it sounds good to my ears.

I don't think you'll get or hear much benefits from the OBEL/buffer when running straight into the amp as you apparently are in the clips--those come when the effects chain is added and mostly just with the envelope filter.

john in san diego
 #139020  by tcsned
 Wed May 14, 2014 5:13 pm
Sounds pretty close to my ears. Those Minarik guitars look pretty cool. Nice playing too. I don't think you're going to notice a huge difference in tone with the OBEL/buffer. It does seem to make the Mutron more stable and with a post effects master volume you'll be able to roll off the volume and not lose your tone. It's a cool upgrade especially if you play out. I've got it on two guitars and it is cool.
 #139022  by Searing75
 Wed May 14, 2014 6:03 pm
Your tone is great! Very close to what your after. Nice playing also. You have the righ picking attack going on, which gets you closer. :cool:

 #139026  by kurt eye
 Wed May 14, 2014 6:43 pm
Sound's great. I like your Sugaree licks. To my ear, those tracks could just use a dash of reverb.
 #139030  by ccw3432
 Wed May 14, 2014 8:24 pm
Great playing. I've found that adding a buffer to a couple guitars that I was use to playing without it was a really nice upgrade with a noticeable difference. I would highly recommend it to give you a little more sparkle and high end clarity. I resisted the OBEL for a while, but now that I have been using it I won't go back. Not only is extremely helpful for using an envelope filter, but I like it for overdrive pedals too. It makes the settings consistent regardless of volume. Some prefer more grit with more volume. If you don't need or want a consistent signal going to your effects, it may not be necessary for you. The buffer can be installed without the OBEL so you could start there.
 #139033  by RiseandFall
 Thu May 15, 2014 6:22 am
Thanks for the kind words and insight, folks!
Per the need for more reverb, I think it was my recording device (a voice recording ap on my iPhone) or mic placement that was dampening it. The reverb on the SMS was around 11:00 and sounded very wet in the room..
Thanks for the comments on obel/buffer/tone. I truly didn't know how the obel/buffer would impact things tonally. I now think I have a better feel after your comments. Another thing that comes to mind are my pots. They are factory (likely cheap Asian parts)...I imagine I should upgrade them? If so, what value pots go where? Or should I leave things as they are?

Even with this invaluable resource of the forum, one goes in sort of alone and blind in the quest.
It took me forever to work out the gain structures between the 2 volume controls on the SMS, the Mc40's volume and the guitar volume pot. What worked for me was 10:00 on the front of the SMS, 95% on the back of the SMS, 95% on the Mc40, and the guitar volume way maybe 30%.
The tone pot on the guitar was a wrestling match as well, as my initial inclination was to dime it....something wholly unworkable with the Super 2.
But the constant tweaking of combination of gain structure, tone structure, action, and pick up height allowed me to approach the desired slight speaker breakup I'm getting on occasion (along with some sound advice on e-120 vs. k-120 from a certain Mr. Sarno).
I'm still trying to coax more sparkle and sweetness from the rig. At times I suspect this will always be the case.

Then there are the weird invisible variables. Like the night before it was as perfect as it has ever been, but the next day you power up, and even with the exact settings it sounds like shit. At first I thought it was my ears, or something moved in the room, or the humidity or something. But what I learned is the SMS sounds progressively better the longer it is on, and it sounds much better after a 5 minute warm up. It also finally sunk in to my thick skull that it takes me a good half hour of playing before my touch with the pick gets decent.

Anyway, thanks for enduring my longwindedness. Thanks for the collective brain power too!

 #139035  by PurpleTrails
 Thu May 15, 2014 7:05 am
It's pretty common for preamps and amps to need a half hour or so warmup time to sound their best. On my home stereo I leave my preamp on all the time for that reason, though if it were a tube preamp I probably wouldn't do that because I would be burning through the life of the tubes. That's one of the reasons a lot of amps, including twins, have a power on toggle and a standby switch as well.
 #139036  by ccw3432
 Thu May 15, 2014 7:27 am
Here's a really good video by fellow RUKIND member Scott Walker where he toggles between having the UGB off/on. I think the video captures the changes in tone really well.

 #139041  by tcsned
 Thu May 15, 2014 10:56 am
I should correct myself - the UGB does effect tone. It is essentially a preamp and will color your tone. The OBEL, not so much other than your tone remains pretty constant when rolling down the master volume unlike standard pickup level volume controls. I've got a guitar with both the Waldo buffer and the Alembic Blaster and they definitely sound different. I made a video a while back to contrast the two. I like both of them, the Blaster is a little hotter and a little beefier sounding to my ears. The Waldo buffer is cleaner and more pure sounding. I usually try both before a show and pick the one that sounds best to my ears. Outdoors I think I gravitate towards the blaster and in hot reflecty rooms I like Waldo's buffer. Both are cool though.

 #139043  by jeager
 Thu May 15, 2014 2:51 pm
Cool videos. tcned, i would love to see more/hear more about that guitar...very nice tones and playing.
 #139063  by tcsned
 Fri May 16, 2014 6:14 am
Thanks guys! The guitar is a carved top tele that I got from a guy named Gregg Rogers probably 15 years ago or so. It originally had a solid rosewood Warmoth neck. I gigged with it for 3 years or so and let or rhythm player use it for a while. I love the P94 pups in the neck and bridge but I wanted to get a new neck for it and a Super 2 for the middle. Milobender did all the upgrades including the awesome brass work and a sweet refinish. It's got the OBEL and a Waldo buffer and Blaster that I can switch back and forth. I love it, milobender does awesome work, I highly recommend him. I think I had some decent audio from a recent gig. Next week I'm gonna try to do another video doing an A/B with the Mac rig and my twin and maybe running all of my guitars through the Mac rig. This guitar is certainly the closest to getting a Jerry tone of all of them. I'm getting a Scarlet Fire Wolf in a month or two that I'm real excited about.

Oh, the Earth Drive is my favorite pedal. I can't say enough good things about Brad's work, the SMS and the Earth Drive are my two favorite pieces of hardware. There really are some really smart and talented builders and gizmo builders on this forum . . . and some killer players.