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1st time to see ZZ Top...can we discuss BG's live tonez

harpinon

Member
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8,975
Yeah, it took me four decades to finally see them so I went last night. $37 tickets...can't beat that.
Anyway, Gibbons amazes me. One guitar and he fills the house with massive tonez.
I noticed he used some sort of Tele with a single humbucker for over half the show. The tone was huge. There was this cool midrange honk to his sound.
Does anybody have the skinny on what gear he uses?
He also used two les Pauls, but the tone wasn't quite as good.

So school me.
 

jcs

Member
Messages
8,093
A lot is in his fingers.

I think any decent old Marshall or tweed or brown Fender will get close to the classic Billy Gibbons tones......not the 80's stuff though!!
 

harpinon

Member
Messages
8,975
A lot is in his fingers.

I think any decent old Marshall or tweed or brown Fender will get close to the classic Billy Gibbons tones......not the 80's stuff though!!
To a degree, maybe, but you cannot make a guitar have a strong vowel like sound with your fingers.
I have played lots of Marshalls and Gibbons' tone went way beyond that.
 

jcs

Member
Messages
8,093
Then use a cocked wah to get that vowel sound?

Billy used a Mexican Peso a lot as well.

I've heard a few guys get really close to Billys tone over the last 40 years.

My 63 Tremolux with a Marshall BB pedal in front gets really close to his classic 70's tone....my 71 Smallbox 50 as well.... close enough anyway....but a lot is still in his technique overall imo.

And yes, 'Pearly Gates' too but i have a friend who gets close with a 61 SG/Les Paul Standard.
 

toasterdude

Member
Messages
2,065
Pretty sure rev g turns the treble ALL the way down. I dig a lower mid and fat sounding "growl". I have been known to do bass on 10, mids on 10 treble on 2. . .no presence for some stuff.

Interesting there was a change in tone noticed. I saw one vid where the tech said the EQ was to get all the guitars to sound the "same". So if billy siwtched from LP to tele, the audience would not hear a change in the sound. Makes zero sense to me, if I wanted my tele to sound like a LP, I'd just play the damn LP and vice versa.
 

Stike

Member
Messages
14,093
Pretty sure rev g turns the treble ALL the way down. I dig a lower mid and fat sounding "growl". I have been known to do bass on 10, mids on 10 treble on 2. . .no presence for some stuff.

Interesting there was a change in tone noticed. I saw one vid where the tech said the EQ was to get all the guitars to sound the "same". So if billy siwtched from LP to tele, the audience would not hear a change in the sound. Makes zero sense to me, if I wanted my tele to sound like a LP, I'd just play the damn LP and vice versa.
Like Rick Neilsen Billy is a showman, he switches guitars more for aesthetics than tone.
 

aynirar27

Double
Platinum Supporting Member
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32,459
Last I knew, he was having some of his jmp-1's modded by Trace at Voodoo
 
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11,390
It's crazy the guy can use a peso with such light strings.
I used 8's when I was younger and broke them CONSTANTLY.
 

ronmail65

Gold Supporting Member
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3,576
It's crazy the guy can use a peso with such light strings.
I used 8's when I was younger and broke them CONSTANTLY.
I think the low guage strings and low action are a big element. Those low guage string really lack resonance and tone, especially when they're laying on the frets. They're lifeless.

He's essentially stripping his tone down to nothing at the very source, and then building it back up with this technique and gear.
 

davebc

Member
Messages
4,298
I think the low guage strings and low action are a big element. Those low guage string really lack resonance and tone, especially when they're laying on the frets. They're lifeless.

He's essentially stripping his tone down to nothing at the very source, and then building it back up with this technique and gear.
Thats a very interesting observation;never thought of it
in that context, very insightful.
 

TStrope

Member
Messages
245
I think that the peso legend is just that, legend. I doubt that he used a peso on any kind of regular basis. One of the all time great guitar players AND one of the all time great mystic(BS) artists. One of my faves non the less...
 

LPMojoGL

Music Room Superstar
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,294
I might catch some crap for this, but...

I saw them open for Tom Petty a couple of years ago.
I didn't think his live tone was all that special.
I've seen vids of him in the past, where the live tone was awesome.
But, it seemed a pretty generic, mid-heavy Marshally during the Petty show.
Don't get me wrong, I loved every minute of it. I love his playing. But I remember having that thought about his tone at the show. I think a person could mic a little ss Marshall Lead 20 and run it through a PA and have basically the same sound.
 






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