Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #60316  by tigerstrat
 Mon May 04, 2009 10:48 am
playingdead wrote:I'm listening to that Let It Grow clip now, Brad.

That has that sort of nasal midrange to it that I really like ... do you know how he had that thing set up? Was he running an EQ with it at the time to boost the mids?
To my knowledge JG's Distortion+ never had an EQ applied to it in the FX chain. GEQ-7's seem to have been 1st applied to the OD's in 1990 in the vertical rack.

I have to retract my "MXR-in-89" assertion (at least maybe until I rediscover the pic I had in mind): all the 89 pics Ive looked at over the last couple days had the two yellow BOSSes, w/o GEQ's, including May and July at least.

I always think of 80-83 being the most-dialed-in tone years (maybe more because of the quality of his playing), but the entire rig is VERY similar, almost unchanged from 82-88.
 #60319  by SarnoMusicSolutions
 Mon May 04, 2009 11:08 am
Jerry didn't use an EQ with the MXR+. What's interesting is that the MXR is a flat response pedal. It has no midrange voicing or boost, and has fairly full low end. I think that it's the lack of high-end rolloff that makes it sound bright to some people. The Boss pedals, like most overdrive pedals, have a strong midrange EQ to them and part of that voicing is a strong attenuation of the highs. What I hear in the MXR+ is that it is sort of hi-fidelity in that it contains tons of that top end sparkle which can seem like his clean pickup tone is preserved, even with all that MXR dirt/fuzz across it. It's very slicing and knife edged, and in a very cool and Jerry kind of way. Now I also very much dig what he got from his Boss pedals, but they were relatively much warmer pedals and less searing and sizzling. But they made up for it in fatness and uber-sustain and a more "tubey" character. The sharper MXR+ did more precision brain surgery on me, if that makes sense, and I'm guessing it probably does to those who hang out here.

I tend to consider '80 thru '88 a pretty consistent tone era. Rig didn't really change much, and the MIDI wasn't hogging up all the space yet. The lack of intense drug use in the late '80s shows up as more focused delivery of the songs, but overall, the playing and sound is pretty similar to my ear. You can hear it get a bit more sparkly in '82 with the switch from Dual-Sounds to Super II's. One key element to notice in the'80s with the MXR is that you can hear when he flips the switch to kick on the MXR+, suddenly whatever note he had ringing becomes on the verge of feedback. Listen especially to the middle solo of a Stella Blue where he has a lot of space and clearly goes between clean and MXR. Just the sheer loudness makes his guitar tone and string response a lot different than most of us sitting around kicking on an MXR. That feedback level volume creates lots of effortless sustain and a harmonic "bloom" that merely picking a string doesn't tend to do.

 #60321  by playingdead
 Mon May 04, 2009 11:15 am
I can't quite seem to get that same honk out of it, though ... I do like the sound.

My rig is all set up in my studio today ... LOL
 #60323  by playingdead
 Mon May 04, 2009 11:27 am
Or he could have been hitting it a little harder with his neck pickup or bridge pickup as a humbucker with the tone control rolled off. Although on that Let It Grow clip it sounds like he just switches on the effects loop and doesn't go for the 5-way. I guess we'll never know for sure.
 #60328  by Guardian
 Mon May 04, 2009 12:07 pm
REAL fun discussion never-the-less. And sound clips are always helpful when looking to actually hear these sometimes fine distinctions....

You guys are cool!
 #60341  by Capt Rosebuddy
 Mon May 04, 2009 2:47 pm
I realized that I made a mistake in my original remarks about the tough time I'm having getting good late 80's tone out of my MXR. Being that my rig lives in my living room I never really get a chance to get past say 2&1/2 volume wise so things don't get pushed nearly as much as they would in a live setting. Also having done some thinking on the matter, all of the "in the dark" sessions where MXR (example..that beautiful cascading solo from throwing stones) and that is what I think of when I think 80's Jerry, yes it's studio but its really fantastic maybe the band's swan song. So maybe what I need to do is crank it up and get back to you guys.
 #60347  by SarnoMusicSolutions
 Mon May 04, 2009 4:07 pm
Don't forget that In the Dark was recorded live (albeit privately) on stage with their live rig at live volumes, or close to it. So he was able to get his live tone on that album.

Also, I think what happens at low volumes is that it's really the speaker(s) that are the problem until you start to push them loud and live. The louder you push the speakers, the more fat, warm, round, and thick they begin to sound. At low volumes, you hear a lot of the voice coil and dustcap, and that's almost like a tweeter, full of highs. I find this at home practice volumes with almost any guitar rig.

 #60351  by SarnoMusicSolutions
 Mon May 04, 2009 4:11 pm
Hey playingdead,

I think that sounds quite good, really. I bet that if you had that rig turned up at gig volumes and stood about 2 or 3 feet from the cabinet so the speakers could be blasting into the guitar, I think you'd hear that extra mid howl and sustaining roar thingy. But man, that's really quite "there" to my ears. Is that your Twin Reverb head driving JBL's?

playingdead wrote:I can't quite seem to get that same honk out of it, though ... I do like the sound.

My rig is all set up in my studio today ... LOL
 #60355  by czyfingers
 Mon May 04, 2009 5:21 pm
I just listened to the let it grow jam from that meadowlands show and if volume is what it takes to get it roaring like that, I'm ready to put in my ear plugs and crank my showman reverb up to about 5 or so and let it rip. That really sounded nice. Vic-I thought your clip sounded good and pretty accurate too.
 #60356  by Capt Rosebuddy
 Mon May 04, 2009 5:25 pm
yea that's what I mean about In the Dark, its the Grateful Dead on stage just at the Marin Vets with no crowd. and it's Jerry's rig in a studio perfect setting. My experience has always been with overdrive to dial back the guitar's tone to take some off the high's, but it doesn't seem like Garcia ever did that and yet like you say the mid's just howl in just the right ways most times. And hey Vic as always man,sounds killer wanna trade OD boxes sometime?

cheers everybody
 #60464  by miket573
 Wed May 06, 2009 2:05 pm
Hey Now,

First a question, Did the use of the Fender Twin pre have anything to do with Jerry's Sound?
I remember he use to have one or two fender twin pre amps he used as his front end.

I may be going back a bit here but I also remember him using what was called a 360 Systems Slave Driver to insert thru Syths.

Don't know how or what else the path was from that device.
By the way if you cant afford the Mutron try an Emma DisCumBobulater. I picked one up like new on Ebay for $150
Its the closest you can get.
 #60524  by Pete B.
 Thu May 07, 2009 12:03 pm
Anyone have a copy of the MuTron Octave Divider Manual that they could post? Just curious.
Came across this today:
 #60533  by seamones
 Thu May 07, 2009 2:43 pm
Great discussion. I am way way out leagued here, but I love my HM-2, but can't really get anything I like out of the OD. Any thoughts on settings?

Also, I messed around with a EH Pog the other day and liked it alot more than my Boss OC2(Japanese)
 #60537  by playingdead
 Thu May 07, 2009 7:39 pm
Best as I recall, the Slavedriver was used on the Terrapin Station record, specifically those lightning-fast synth-like riffs during the "rest" of Terrapin. (Although I always suspected those were speeded up later.)