Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #96317  by mgbills
 Sat Apr 02, 2011 7:59 pm
Good Evening All,

In the last couple of weeks, I was stoked to see both JGB (Stu & Melvin), and DSO in and around Portland, Oregon. I really wish I had pics, but have taken so many worthless ones...I've taken to travellin' light. I'd love to read comments from others who have seen these folks recently. Especially, to exchange analytical and/or qualitative comments on their respective Jerry Style rigs.

Stu rocks. He showed up with his SG, and a small (largely Boss loaded) pedalboard. The SG was modded by Brad (I believe), since I last saw him with DSO in the Fall of '10. He was playing through a Twin; likely a loaner or a renter. I called this amp a TR reissue, but it could have been a blackface. Something tells me Stu would have armed it with JBL's if it were vintage. I would guess they were traveling light, as I saw Stu with an MC250 last year. He didn't have an SMS in the Northwest last year if memory serves correctly. The Bossanova was so poorly mixed it was painful. Stu & the gang were really great though. Stu really had the great low growls when he was playing through his McIntosh in 2010.

Armed with the wealth of knowledge from the good folks at RUKind, about 50 DSO shows, and about 115 GD shows (Bus since '81)...I've really gotten a charge for listening for subtleties in each rig. No growl through the Twin. Tones from the 8th fret up were crispy and close. Quite Jerry-esque, even though he was traveling light.

Family and I saw DSO last night. Wow. Mr. Mattson sounded as close to Jerry (tonally) as I remember. Mr. Mattson seems more Haynes-esque than either John K., or Stu...but his tone was crazy cool. He's excellent with the bends, but seems to skip the low-tone walkups/downs that might make the rig growl. Anyone know what that big rack-mounted amp he's toting is? There was a bit of "Cone of Death" going on stage left. He was quite loud for that room for the 2nd set. But, for those for you who weren't there, ...the higher the volume...the sweeter the ....the....chime, horn, trumpet. Mind-blowingly Beautiful. Anybody have a better adjective? For those fine fellows who contributed to his rig, I bow. :hail:

I saw Brad's SMS, and what looked like a Soundscaper cab (?) loaded with K120's (?). I wanted to get back to the front for the 2nd set, but the room was so over-booked it was more mosh pit than seaweed dance. Awesome. Rob Eaton was supporting 2 Mesa Power amps & a Studio Pre. I think that Studio Pre is fairly new to him. Keep in mind that I see them in PDX & Eugene only. The Showbox in Seattle is a bit of a pit.

So, I admit this is a ramble. If anyone cares to fill in gear blanks, discuss tone in these rigs, or explain where the "growl" comes from I'd be Grateful. I have in my toy chest a Mesa Mark I with a K120. That sucka will growl like crazy and sing like an angel, but it also shakes the glass in the neighbors house.

Thanks to all.
 #96332  by sants
 Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:27 am
Saw Stu and Melvin back in August at a small intimate show in Wilkes- Barre, Pa. I was talking to the tech that was on hand and Stu was using a stock Twin Reverb Reissue! No mods and stock jensen speakers! Tone was still sick. The tech said that was he east coast rig and that he only breaks out the jbl's and mcintosh in the midwest and west shows. Melvin was using just a nord c2 with leslie.

Stu's jerry tone was money! I didn't miss the JbL's or any other gear!
 #96333  by deadguise
 Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:34 am
Stu plays through a Twin Reverb Custom, it's a TRRI amp in a slightly larger enclosure and has a 15" Fender driver based on a JBL design.
 #96335  by SarnoMusicSolutions
 Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:54 am
Stu still hasn't equipped himself with his "good" rig for west coast shows yet. I've got his little Mc50 that needs some cleanup and then Tracy is planning to help build a couple of flight-ready racks to both house a JBL and the SMS Classic and the little Mac. The TRRI amp is more out of logistical convenience at the moment. Not his favorite rig at all. A bunch of Stu's good gear is still parked here in the midwest, including his pristine Mc2300. Hopefully sometime soon we'll get Stu set up with his more preferred gear for the West Coast touring, or all touring for that matter.

 #96337  by Pete B.
 Sun Apr 03, 2011 11:04 am
I saw DSO with both Stu and Jeff respectively, the last 2 times DSO was here.
I thought Stu's tone had the edge when comparing DSO to DSO.
 #96343  by mgbills
 Sun Apr 03, 2011 12:33 pm
I agree Pete. Stu was awesome last year, and I love his style. I really dug Jeff's tone, but am still "sussin'" him out in his current role. Certainly has his great moments. The Eyes on Friday was awesome after Rob aided him through the first key change.

Brad. Is it the player or the rig (or both) that promotes the traditional horn-like growling lows? Stu's Mc250 rig had it nailed in 2010 DSO. Still trying to wrap my head around that aspect.
 #96355  by SarnoMusicSolutions
 Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:36 pm
With DSO, Stu was using the SMS Classic and Mc250 into 2 JBL's. It's really hard to compare the two tones. Jeff has been using a Bryston 4B power amp, a VERY, VERY powerful amp. So loud that he also uses an Earth Drive ever so slightly right before the preamp input, and also uses an experimental line level clipper I built for him right after the preamp and before the Bryston to help emulate some amp clipping at a more reasonable volume. Also Jeff uses a fairly thin pick most of the time, a grey Dunlop nylon type. I think it's the .88mm type. Stu has been using the Jerry pick I think. Both guys get a different sound from their guitars by the way they play. Both guys have different sounding guitars. Lots of variables.

Stu also uses in-ears and doesn't necessarily have a very loud stage sound. He can get away with the little Mac given that factor. Mattson on the other hand, plays with a pretty hefty stage volume, probably more akin to how loud Jerry was. He surely has the power to do it with that Bryston if he so chooses. I'd still like Jeff to get a Mac at some point, but he's been pretty happy with what that rig is doing for him.

Oh, and both guys seem to set their tone knobs differently on the preamps.

 #96358  by jdsmodulus
 Mon Apr 04, 2011 6:10 am
Brad, does Jeff have that Line Clipping unit as well? There is a single space rack unit with simple knobs and hand writtten levels on it. Are you making anymore of these?
 #96399  by SarnoMusicSolutions
 Mon Apr 04, 2011 4:34 pm
jdsmodulus wrote:Brad, does Jeff have that Line Clipping unit as well? There is a single space rack unit with simple knobs and hand writtten levels on it. Are you making anymore of these?

It actually IS Jeff who has that clipping device, not Stu. Stu is able to drive is Mac to get that effect. I'm slowly working on that design. What Jeff has there is a fairly crude version of what I hope to be a pretty sweet and multi-purpose line level clipper, not just for guitar, but hopefully also as a studio effect as a musical and nasty peak limiting clipping device. I've been so slammed that I haven't had time to dive in and really refine that thing. So if I make more, it'll be a much more developed and refined version with more intentional control over various harmonic contents, even, etc. Maybe transformer balanced, maybe not. Maybe a visual led readout of clipping, maybe some hi and lo passing to the clipping stages, maybe parallel clean/dirty blending, etc. Lots to think about.

 #96400  by jdsmodulus
 Mon Apr 04, 2011 4:37 pm
Cool I thought that was your box. Keep me updated on this, I would buy one. I know your real busy but that would be a cool device!
 #96409  by SarnoMusicSolutions
 Mon Apr 04, 2011 7:54 pm
Actually "Mac in the Box" is already one of my two working titles I've had for the past couple of years. The other working title is "Cap'n Clips".

Same wavelength brother.

 #96440  by bdhact1
 Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:48 pm
How about a "Mini Mac" or the "McMac". Of course, The "IMac" is already taken.......