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Any Marshall lovers out there?


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I have a Valvestate 2000, with the closed cabinet. It screams, hypnotically.

Angus was king of the "dry" tone, meaning no reverb or other embellishments. Try the pre-amp around five or six. For a metal band, those guys didn't use a lot of distortion. The sustain was generated through the fingers.

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I have done just about every tweak out there. I recently set my sons amp up as a JTM45. I had heard so much about it and supposedly thats what Angus uses in the studio. I wasn't impressed. I am now taking back to a MKII version that uses a .0022 coupling cap between V1 and V2 and that gives me the closest thing I can get as of yet to the sound that I'm looking for. There is so much misinformation out there.

Its absolutely true you can tweak a crappy sounding marshall back into a great sounding one but theres more to it then what you read on the internet.

I am very happy with the post phase inverter master volume mod. It's much better then the crappy production way that marshall does it after the tone stack.

I also like 6550's better then the EL34's. But then again I like cheap gin and can't stand the more expensive stuff.

Chris, Oregon

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Well, but I'm pretty much old school. A musician's sound is ultimately derived from his hands, his phrasing, and a bunch of other esoteric factors that no one will ever understand. If I were to play through B. B. King or Eddie Van Halen's rigs, I wouldn't sound like them, I would sound like myself.

I have an ancient Kramer with a Dimarzio JB humbucker in the bridge position that, for whatever reason, is ideal for my playing style and the sound I want to achieve. I've come close to buying a Paul Reed Smith several times in the recent past, but those beautiful, $2,000.00 works of art simply don't suit me as well as my old Kramer that would likely cost three hundred bucks new in today's economy.

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Marshalls are great for the hard rockers but I guess I am getting old and need some easy listening. I used to have a Fender Super Six Combo but it was a monster. Now I use an early 70's Carvin Combo with a single 15" speaker.

Sorry for the thread drift but as a plug for my son and his bandmates, they will be performing at Don Hills, NYC on November 24th. Come and cheer for them (The band is called "The Ivy League").

PS. I know it is a long commute from Oregon, but I am sure there are some New Yorkers reading this.

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Well, I guess I came to the right HI board, because now we're talking about guitars and amps.

I have a small collection of 1970s Music Man amps. They're the amps that Leo Fender's company made after Leo's no-compete contract with CBS ran out. I've got a 112-65, a 410-65 and a 210-130. They're "hybrid" amps; that is, they have a solid state front end, a 12AX7 phase inverter, and EL34s as power tubes (2 power tubes in the 65s, 4 in the 130).

My buddy Ferg, who lives just up the road, is an amp tech. He tells me -- and I agree with him -- that there are precious few decent tubes on the market these days. For those of you who don't know, new old stock (NOS) tubes -- Telefunkens, Mullards, Sylvanias, RCAs, etc., -- from the 60s and 70s can cost well over $100 each. You can spend a grand or more tubing an old Marshall, Vox, Ampeg, Fender, etc. back to original specs.

I buy JJ tubes from Eurotubes. The JJs cost about $12.50 each, and they sound good for a few months. Then -- like all new tubes --they start to rattle (microphonics), and sound like poo. When any modern tube is used in a combo amp (tubes near the speakers), the vibration from the speakers will kill the tubes off pretty quickly.

Of course, old tube amps need new caps, and a whole lot of tweaking to get back to original spec. The recap jobs usually cost $150 - $300.

Then there's the whole speaker thing: You've got your hempcome speakers (tone tubbies); you've got the choice beetween ceramic and alnico, or a mix of the two; you've got your rebuilt JBLs at $300+ each. I like the Celestion G10s and Vintage 30s. And reconed-to-spec JBLS.

My vote for coolest-looking modern "boutique" amp: Swart. http://swartamps.com/swart_super_spacetone_30_order.htm

Guitar-to-amp cables (which used to cost me $5) now cost $50. I like the Monster cables. They make a big difference.

All that said, once an amp has the right maintenance, caps, tubes, speakers and cables, and once the player has a decent guitar in hands, the sound comes straight from the player's soul and fingers. There's no teacher, no instruction course, no nothing that can make a non-musical person musical. (I have a test: If a person can't play "Wipe Out" on a tabletop, he's hopeless. Not just for music, but for everything...)

Now, while I'm thinking about it: don't buy a production-line guitar. If you're going to spend $2K on a good guitar, go ahead and spend $3K and have one custom-built. I've got two guitars from Scogo. One was my "trial" guitar; the other -- the Blue Funk -- is my everyday instrument. You can see it on Scogo's website, here: http://www.scogo.com/blue_funk_guitar.html

Click on the various features, to see how Scott Gordon met my every weird-ass need.

As far as Marshalls go, I like the 50-watt head. And I've got my eyes on a blackface Fender Super. But that's just me,

WJ

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That's a beautiful guitar, Walter. Truly beautiful.

Though the concept is slightly different, I have a handmade Alvarez-Yairi that's signed and dated by Kazuo Yairi, himself. The thing is nearly thirty years old--I bought it when I was seventeen--and time has seasoned the wood and performed some other kind of magic that elicits an incredible, multi-layerd tone. Everything from Bach and his brilliant counterpoint to Chet Atkins sounds amazing.

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Originally posted by Bain

That's a beautiful guitar, Walter. Truly beautiful.

Though the concept is slightly different, I have a handmade Alvarez-Yairi that's signed and dated by Kazuo Yairi, himself. The thing is nearly thirty years old--I bought it when I was seventeen--and time has seasoned the wood and performed some other kind of magic that elicits an incredible, multi-layerd tone. Everything from Bach and his brilliant counterpoint to Chet Atkins sounds amazing.

Those are excellent guitars. About 30 years ago, I worked in a music store, and sold a bunch of A/Y guitars. In the process, I came up with a near-foolproof way to explain value.

Every Xmas, daddies would walk into the music store, and tell me they wanted to buy a "cheap guitar," suitable for a beginner. The cheapest guitar in the store went for $35.00. The daddies wanted to buy at the low end, so they wouldn't feel so bad if the kid didn't learn to play.

So I explained: "I can sell you the $35.00 guitar, which is a piece of crap. I can't play it. Nobody can play it. I guarantee that your kid will never learn how to play on that guitar. I have an Alvarez-Yairi for a hundred bucks. It's a good guitar. If your kid can learn to play, he can learn to play the Alvarez.

"So, you've got two choices: Spend $35 on a guitar you'll throw away after your kid gives up on it; or, spend $100 on a guitar that you could sell to any smart beginner for $65, if your kid gives up on it. Maximum risk is $35 either way. But if you buy the Alvarez, and your kid just might turn into a guitar player."

During the two years I worked in the store, I sold out the entire stock of $100 Alvarez-Yairis. My employers were delighted.

I don't own an acoustic guitar,

WJ

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Walter, are you the one who bought the Walnut Lizard?

Those amps are beautiful, as are the guitars.

I spent my youth playing inagodadavida and toad (wipeout was beneath me), so I pass Walter's practical talent test. God, those were the days! Unfortunately, academia, industry (and child-support) seemed to take me away from all of that.

But NOW I'm free! My guitar is right next to me - see ya'.

And Walter, why no acoustic???

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Have patience with me because I’ve never played a guitar. However, I used to hang with classical musicians when I was in college.

I’ve since been fascinated with something they told me about and that I could find no rational explanation for. Some of them told me, and others agreed, that a fine stringed instrument’s quality could be changed by the act of playing it – a skilled musician could improve the quality and a less skilled musician could damage its quality. Some even said that they’d lend their instruments to their teachers or other more skilled musicians in order to improve the instrument. Conversely, they were loath to allow a less-skilled musician to play the instrument for fear of damaging its playability and sound.

They maintained that this was the reason why Stradivarius violins are so prized. Sure, they’re brilliantly constructed instruments but, more importantly, they’ve been consistently played by the some of the finest musicians on the planet for hundreds of years.

I may have asked Walter about this before (forgive me if I’m mis-remembering). As I recall, he agreed and said that he didn’t like to let less-skilled musicians play his guitar because they’d “get geek all over it.â€

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Jim,

From someone better able to explain it than I could:

"A well-accepted truism is that guitars and other stringed instruments get better with age, and it is not just chronological time that does the magic—it is actual playing time as well. In fact, old instruments, even great ones, don’t necessarily sound good just because they are old; they have to be played in order to live up to their potential. The wood that guitars and other instruments are made of seems to vibrate more musically the more it is vibrated—"Use it or lose it," as it is said. While the mechanics of this effect are subject to controversy, the results are not, and this is one reason why vintage instruments are so revered by players and collectors.

The reasons for the improvement have to do with subtle changes in the stiffness and flexibility within the cellular structure of the wood, as well as the hardening of resins within the cells themselves. Also, the finish ages, changing the flexibility of the surface of the top. With lacquer, the most common finish on guitars, the finish film loses plasticizers, making the finish more brittle over time. These changes usually take many years. In the final analysis, it seems that the major change is to the wood itself, with the top leading the way as the major tone-producing element.

We know that guitar tops vibrate in distinct patterns at different frequencies; some areas (nodes) hardly move, while other areas move in and out dramatically. These Chladni patterns, named for the first researcher to do a scientific study of plate movements, are predictable and have been the subject of intense study for disciplines ranging from lutherie to rocket science (really!). It is not a stretch to see that as a guitar is played, certain nodal patterns are continually flexed and thus loosen up while other areas move little and get stiffer. Those patterns are "set" as the wood ages and the cellular structure takes on a certain memory of the vibrational frequencies most often encountered. "

The vibrations matter, so you don't want some doofus clang, clang, clanging away on it and sending the wood the wrong message.

Walter, the guitars you were selling back in the day were simply Alvarezes. The Alvareze-Yairis were much more expensive. The AY I still own was nearly $1,200.00 thirty years ago.

John

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Originally posted by ozofprev

Walter, are you the one who bought the Walnut Lizard?

Those amps are beautiful, as are the guitars.

I spent my youth playing inagodadavida and toad (wipeout was beneath me), so I pass Walter's practical talent test. God, those were the days! Unfortunately, academia, industry (and child-support) seemed to take me away from all of that.

But NOW I'm free! My guitar is right next to me - see ya'.

And Walter, why no acoustic???

I bought the walnut lizard as a "test guitar," so I could check out Scott Gordon's work. I was pretty well satisifed. Workmanship on the lizard is excellent; however, it has only one truss rod, so it tends to slip out of tune. No problem, though, as I can tune up quickly using a StroboStomp pedal.

Over the weekend, I'm going to try to edit the opening lick from Inna Gadda Da Vida into a ringtone for my mobile phone.

No acoustic because I'm just an electric kinda guy. I started with electric guitar (1965 Gibson ES330TDC), and I've played electric guitar ever since. Also, if one plays an acoustic guitar, he tends to do it in the presence of other acoustic players. I get nervous around acoustic players. They're a different breed.

Oh... I could be talked into selling the mint-condition Walnut Lizard. I'm thinking of having a custom Strat or 335 copy made.

WJid="blue">

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Originally posted by Jim Katen

Have patience with me because I’ve never played a guitar. However, I used to hang with classical musicians when I was in college.

I’ve since been fascinated with something they told me about and that I could find no rational explanation for. Some of them told me, and others agreed, that a fine stringed instrument’s quality could be changed by the act of playing it – a skilled musician could improve the quality and a less skilled musician could damage its quality. Some even said that they’d lend their instruments to their teachers or other more skilled musicians in order to improve the instrument. Conversely, they were loath to allow a less-skilled musician to play the instrument for fear of damaging its playability and sound.

They maintained that this was the reason why Stradivarius violins are so prized. Sure, they’re brilliantly constructed instruments but, more importantly, they’ve been consistently played by the some of the finest musicians on the planet for hundreds of years.

I may have asked Walter about this before (forgive me if I’m mis-remembering). As I recall, he agreed and said that he didn’t like to let less-skilled musicians play his guitar because they’d “get geek all over it.â€

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Well, yeah, but an electric guitar isn't really a stand-alone instrument. And as one gets older, there are fewer and fewer people who want to provide rhythm while I wail away intermingling the Aeolian and Dorian modes.

An acoustic guitar can provide both the rhythmical and melodic portions of a song, simultaneously. Don't get me wrong. I love both kinds of instruments. But each one has a different means by which to allow its player to express himself.

And on a postscript, for the first time since I joined this forum, I've actually answered a question posed by Jim Katen, which is no small feat. I fully expect his curiosity to become aroused and for him to become an expert on the aging of musical instruments. Shortly thereafter, he'll likely wrap his big brain around the quote in my last post and expose its fallacies point-by-point. He will explain said fallacies in a manner that is highly compelling and reasonable, I will no doubt agree with him.

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Originally posted by Bain

Well, yeah, but an electric guitar isn't really a stand-alone instrument. And as one gets older, there are fewer and fewer people who want to provide rhythm while I wail away intermingling the Aeolian and Dorian modes.

Well, if you ever come to Nashville, you won't have any problem finding acoustic pickers to join an impromptu band. Every table waiter, bus boy, pole dancer, drug dealer and substitute teacher has a guitar within easy reach.

Rhythm guitar is the heavy lifting; about 98% of a given song. And these days, there are dang few electric guitar solos. I consider that to be a good thing.

Those who want to hear acoustic-playing gods need to get hold of some Alison Kraus/Union Station stuff. Pay special attention to Jerry Douglas on Dobro.

WJid="blue">

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Originally posted by Bain

Walter, the guitars you were selling back in the day were simply Alvarezes. The Alvareze-Yairis were much more expensive. The AY I still own was nearly $1,200.00 thirty years ago.

John

Well, the $100 "Christmas Specials" were Alvarezes. Back in the mid-70s, the store kept a pretty good stock of Alvarez-Yairis, some of which ran up to four figures. I thought they were great guitars for the money, right up there with the Gibsons and Martins, quality-wise.

WJid="blue">

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  • 3 weeks later...
Originally posted by Steven Hockstein

How about that "Self-Tuning" Les Paul? I guess we need it for all of the old rockers that blew out their hearing!

What happens when a string snaps? Does a robot replace it?

We tried the Fender/Roland Strat last night. That is weird too!

Well, as my buddy Ferg said, "It's just a Les Paul for people who can't tune."

With all the high-quality electronic tuners out there, I can't imagine why anybody would want to pay extra for a guitar with a lot of delicate extra wiring and moving parts. Back in the day, I used to tune with a concert-A tuning fork (for the A string), then bring the other strings to pitch via harmonics. I run across young guys now who don't even know how to create harmonics, let alone tune via harmonics.

Deep sigh,

WJid="blue">

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I saw an article about the self-tuning Les Paul earlier this week. Like lots of rock-n-rollers, I've always tuned a half-step flat. I wonder if the tuners can be adjusted to do likewise. And what about open tunings? Isn't almost every Stones tune played in open G?

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Though the concept is slightly different, I have a handmade Alvarez-Yairi that's signed and dated by Kazuo Yairi, himself. The thing is nearly thirty years old--I bought it when I was seventeen--and time has seasoned the wood and performed some other kind of magic that elicits an incredible, multi-layerd tone. Everything from Bach and his brilliant counterpoint to Chet Atkins sounds amazing.

I have one of those (signed and dated) AY's too. Mine is a DY 45 mahogany/sitka spruce, made in 1980. I still have not found anything short of a pre-war D-18 that would make me put it down. I primarily flatpick fiddle tunes and old time music, and while I didnt know it when I bought it, it cuts through garden variety Martins like a hot knife through butter. I would love to get an old Martin or a Gallagher, but I just dont 'need' one, as long as I have the AY.

Walter, I have a 1960 Strat that needs to be restored, anyone you know in Nashville that you could recommend? I need to find someone close to Alabama so that I could drive it to the shop. I really dont want to ship the neck.

Tim

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Originally posted by Bain

I saw an article about the self-tuning Les Paul earlier this week. Like lots of rock-n-rollers, I've always tuned a half-step flat. I wonder if the tuners can be adjusted to do likewise. And what about open tunings? Isn't almost every Stones tune played in open G?

I saw that too, and the first thing I thought of was 'can it temper the tuning"? I believe that open tunings can be programmed into it, as can concert tunings that are tuned down symmetrically from string to string, but I dont know if it tempers to playing in a particular key. As for the Kieth Richard tuning it would be cool if you could program it to somehow mute the sixth and replicate his 5-1 G, D, G, B, D, tuning. As you know, KR has gone to playing custom made 5 string guitars more often than not, to get rid of that pesky sixth.

Tim

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Mine's a DY 85, which I think is identical to yours only with abalone piping. I remember thinking it was a little too gaudy when I bought it--being a teenager and just wanting to blend in and all--but it was by far the sweetest sounding guitar in the shop. I suppose it's anathema to say it, but the sound and playability far surpass that of any Martin I've held in my hands.

I remember trying to figure out Peter Frampton's Penny For Your Thoughts in standard tuning, and going quite mad, many many years ago. Until, that is, someone turned me on to open G tuning. All of a sudden, the song made sense.

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