Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #62569  by hogan
 Thu Jun 18, 2009 3:55 pm
Another cool facet to all this Trey business is when the the next generation of gear dorks is trying to figure an exact time line of Ernie III's gear all of us old and very old men will be able to chime in w/ the "remember whens" and "6-16-09 was the night..." only to be second guessed by some young know-it-all whippersnappers. I hope the preamp sticks and isn't a footnote on that lineage. Im suspecting it won't be. The Trey endorsement implied or otherwise is really neither here nor there for me, i've been saving my pennies for a while for one of these. I'd better get an order in quick before Brad "restructures his price schedule to reflect demand" :lol: Unless of course, Brad would care to do a little horse trading.
Congrats and regards ~MJH
 #62570  by SarnoMusicSolutions
 Thu Jun 18, 2009 4:40 pm
Thanks for the support! It means a lot. I hope it sticks too. I guess tomorrow I'll find out how tonite's Pittsburgh show goes. I got the official order and request for an invoice and the second preamp today from phishcorp and the go ahead to list Trey as a owner/user.

I forgot to mention that the price on the SMS Classic preamp has just changed from $695 to $2195.

Kidding of course. I have no plan to change my price. The only thing that may change is the wait time to get one.

Thanks y'all,
 #62571  by hogan
 Thu Jun 18, 2009 4:57 pm
SarnoMusicSolutions wrote:I forgot to mention that the price on the SMS Classic preamp has just changed from $695 to $2195.
Nice, now you're playing the game!

 #62612  by jester536
 Sat Jun 20, 2009 7:45 am
Re: New Tube Preamp for Jerry Tone
by playingdead » Thu Jun 18, 2009 9:32 am

Using the SMS as the preamp bypasses the Boogie's preamp, so nothing gets plugged into the front of the Boogie.

The point to changing the preamp is the different sound ... they would be very different.
I put total faith in you guys...hell I've seen the videos of've got the sound down. Anyone can chime in on this but perhaps Brad should be the one explaing his preamp.
Can you explain how it is that the different preamp will be markedly different sound. I guess I think the Boogie is a pretty good amp but swapping the preamp out seems to imply that Mesa doesn't understand what it takes to get good tone.
What I'm hoping for is that good SNAP on those low notes...and those piercing clean highs that Garcia would get. Are there differences between your preamp and Mesa's that would make this happen. Also I'm not stuck on the Boogie...eventually I'll probably go with a power amp and a cabinet. I'm just trying to find a sequence that allows me to get there and all the while have something good to play through.
Thanks guys.
 #62613  by Crazy 9.5 Fingers
 Sat Jun 20, 2009 11:14 am

Awesome news on hooking up with Trey, or should I say hooking Trey up. Well done man and thanks for contributing all of your insight to this forum.
 #62614  by waldo041
 Sat Jun 20, 2009 11:49 am

i don't think anyone is insinuating that mesa makes a crap preamp. trey had 2 onstage! it's just that the hard work into refining the AB763 has paid off for brad. for quite some time, preamps such as the F2b or Groove tubes trios and many other have used that 1 tube, 2 gain stage of the Ab763 circuit and worked and built from that. what we know now, is how he had the preamp taps wired for the twin and the major hypothesis that his vibrato roach leg was snipped essentially unloading the vibrato circuit and opening up that gain stage. that and the metal film plate resistors will really, really jerrify a preamped twin.

the snap is jerry, but brads preamp from either a clean tube or solid state power amp and a halfway decent guitar with a (my tiger clone**shameless plug**) buffer/preamp will get you really close. so many other factors involved, but this is where all who look for this should start.

 #62615  by jester536
 Sat Jun 20, 2009 1:06 pm
Thanks Waldo,
I don't know what the hell you're talking about in the first paragraph...Ab763 circuit...vibrato roach're serious right???...I'm just very glad that there are guys like you out there getting this stuff figured out.
I'm picking up my guitar on Wednesday of next week. Throwing down some pretty serious money...I imagine my wife thinks its time to cool down on music expenditures...but I don't think I'm going to be able to wait too long before getting one of Brad's sound as though it might be just exactly perfect.
I'm having a CB1 put into my guitar but I'll certainly keep one of yours in mind if I find myself wanting to tweak my tone again...Which I most likely will ...Perhaps it's the quest for tone that is the fun part... I fear its a journey that will never end.

Thanks again,
 #62617  by Capt Rosebuddy
 Sat Jun 20, 2009 1:34 pm
Looks like Trey's still happy with it..
Last Night in Indy

Brad, I'll be in the second row in Red Rocks later on this summer I'll let you know if I spot your work there.
 #62630  by paulinnc
 Sun Jun 21, 2009 10:28 am
I was just over on and the consensus there about Trey's new tone is very positive. People are really digging it. I just downloaded The St. Louis show so I will be hearing it for the first time later today. Congrats again on the success of the preamp. If I ever run into Trey around here I'll be sure to ask him about it.
 #62633  by SarnoMusicSolutions
 Sun Jun 21, 2009 11:20 am
The FOX show was entirely the SMS Classic pre. But I believe that (and I'll find out for sure) that the 4 following shows were combinations, that he may have been reverting to his old rig for some of the heavy, dirtier sounds. Cleaner tones were mostly SMS Classic from what I understand.

 #63068  by SarnoMusicSolutions
 Thu Jul 02, 2009 4:06 pm
SMS Classic Tube Preamps are temporarily out of stock. First batch went fast. Should have more by the 3rd or 4th week of July. Stay posted.

 #64601  by rob
 Mon Aug 17, 2009 6:07 pm
Very cool stuff, Brad! Many thanks for ALL the info and congrats on landing Trey!

Clear this up for me if you can. Is there a different version of the Classic with the Jerry mod, or just the one version? I don't see how to order the Jerry version on your site. Also, have you come up with any amp recommendations to add to the Classic to help get "the tone"?

 #64606  by SarnoMusicSolutions
 Mon Aug 17, 2009 10:26 pm
Here's the deal with the Garcia version. At this point the only difference between the SMS Classic as a steel guitar preamp and a "Garcia" version guitar preamp is in the choice of treble capacitor.

For the super clean stuff like pedal steel guitar, I use a polystyrene or silver mica treble capacitor.

For the guitar or Garcia version, I use a specially chosen and "doped" ceramic disk. This sounds better for guitar and especially the Garcia tone. Ceramic disks vary. Some are glaringly harsh and painful to hear. Others are thin and grainy. But the right ones sound just like (or even better than) a vintage one as found in a '60's Fender. Ceramic is piezoelectric and the physical makeup, size, coating, and mass of the cap actually imparts tone character. This treble cap is critical too because it not only has high voltage on it making it exaggerate its character, but it also carries all the music above 800Hz or so. The entire high mid and treble band passes thru it. Anyway, after comparing and selecting and treating certain ceramic cap's, I got something very true to the original vintage version. For guitar, that subtle distortion and mild grit of a good ceramic disk just seems to put the right amount of hair on the tone. Not too perfectly clean as that actually can sound kind of sterile on guitar.

The other factor that contribute to the Garcia factor is the 3 plate resistors in the circuit. I had offered (and still do) either an earlier '70s version of the preamp using all NOS Allen Bradley 1W carbon comp resistors, and a more modern, cleaner version using the military spec 1W Dale metal film types instead. Now I'm using a combination of the 2, and that's what I like best. It seems to bring in the warmth of carbon comp, yet the low noise and bell-tone top end of the metal film. But whether a guitar/Garcia or a steel guitar version, I'm using the same resistors now for both.

Regarding power amps,

Last week I helped Dave Casper of Jakes Leg in St. Louis finish off a rig we'd been working on this past year. The final change was from his Boogie to a rack with the SMS Classic and a Fryette (was VHT) 2/90/2 all tube rack mount power amp. It was pretty amazing sounding. The power amp is very flexible tonally and just a clean tube monster. An ideal choice. There are some steel players who also use the steel preamp with that VHT/Fryette power amp. Only glowing reviews. The setup I'm eager to try is a McIntosh Mc2100 power amp to truly emulate the Garcia power amp peak limiter factor. Those can be found too. Carvin makes a more affordable rack tube power amp, and I'm waiting to get some opinions on that. I'd say if you know you play absolutely clean, then there are a number of nice sounding MOSFET amps like Hafler and Mosvalve. Stewart makes lightweight and clean amps. Boogie made a couple of nice rack tube power amps. If you think you're gonna lay into your guitar and drive an amp hard and into clipping, then consider a power amp that is tube or truly has some good limiting built in. Apparently, this limiting is something that helps make the McIntosh's so good for guitar, that ability to just bang on it.

  • 1
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10