Beatles fuzz question (Sgt Peppers)

mattymel

Member
Messages
1,417
I guess if I had a point it would be this:

Im guessing every average TGP member has a pedalboard setup that would have put George's, Paul's, and John's (not to mention Eric's, Jimi's, Jeff's, Jimmy's, Peter's, and on and on) TO SHAME. Literally any one of them would have paid half their fortunes back in the day to have ONE of the many predictable, boutique pedalboards we see posted on a regular basis here.

I've always made the argument that 75% of the sounds that are debated around here are in fact a guitar plugged straight into an amp (usually a 50s tweed, but often a high watt Marshall, or maybe a Vox, a Supro).

Or yes, rarely, more interestingly, a one of a kind solid state mixing console with the inputs cranked, plugged into a saturated 4 track tape machine...

And even eventually maybe a Dumble (yuck)), or maybe just even perhaps a perfectly engineered, multitracked on a $150K console mixed in a world class studio, professionally EQ-ed, and compressed BF Fender amp.

I know this all sounds rather snarky. But if I have an argument to stand on, it's that most music we hear today is the opposite of this (guitars plugged straight into a DAW, and effects/eq/gain/etc added later).

But when it comes to bands like the Beatles...I just feel more compelled to make the point that ITS NOT THE GEAR. It's the songwriting, and (especially in regards to guitar tones) THE ARRANGEMENT. In many ways the mixing of the track IS the arrangement.

The thing that makes the Beatles SO relevant even today is that their arrangements are still so unrivaled that we still often think it MUST be the gear.

When in reality, 90% of the guitar tones on their records, if you solo them, would be considered: shrill, cheap sounding, silver face twins that most people would scroll past on CL.

We're all guilty. I just don't buy into this whole pedal that supposedly encompasses the sound of "the Wrecking crew/Phil Spector" or "Paul/George/John/Abbey Road/George Martin" or "Jimi/Marshall JTM45/Eddie Kramer" or...the list goes on and on.

Until it comes to a halt because the music we hear just isn't any good. The tones are great though...
 

Papanate

Member
Messages
19,820
George and John got matching starts and were using
Fender amps by the time they recorded Sgt Pepper. They were also overdriving the import of the board. Hard
to tell exactly because they were doing so much expierementation in the studio by this point. Maybe Paul
knows...is he a member?

The guitar tracks on Sgt Peppers Reprise are not Over Driven Preamps from the EMI REDD 51 console
that was in Abbey Road Studios at the time of Sgt Peppers. That kind of tone can be plainly heard on
the single 'Revolution' - which is John Lennon on his Casino with Engineer Geoff Emerick routing the guitar
through two Microphone Preamps (Altecs heavily modded by EMI Staff).

Two Vox amps were used by George during Sgt Pepper referenced in "Beatles Gear" by Andy Batiuk. One was
a Vox Conqueror - (possibly - the Beatles received all things Vox way before they were released - the Conqueror
was released after Sgt Pepper). The other amp was the Vox UL730 - that utilized a boost switch and had a 'distortion'
button on the pedal. The Beatles had access to the 15, 30 and 100 Watt versions. The tone of the tracks sounds like a mid wattage
amp cranked up with Harrison's Casino utilized. It has the earmarks of the P90/Casino sound.

Back in 2011 George Harrison's UL730 went out to auction - purported having been in Ringo's possession for years
and was either given or sold to an unknown person. At the time many questions arose prior to the auction regarding
the validity of the provenance that connected the amp to Harrison - and it was withdrawn and has not been seen
in public since.
 

Squatch57

Member
Messages
3,918
I had a Vox Conqueror which I trashed when it blew up in 1972...didn't think it was worth fixing
I kept the cool Vox chrome knobs though which look great on my daughters strat!
 

champion ruby

Member
Messages
1,803
I guess if I had a point it would be this:

Im guessing every average TGP member has a pedalboard setup that would have put George's, Paul's, and John's (not to mention Eric's, Jimi's, Jeff's, Jimmy's, Peter's, and on and on) TO SHAME. Literally any one of them would have paid half their fortunes back in the day to have ONE of the many predictable, boutique pedalboards we see posted on a regular basis here.

I've always made the argument that 75% of the sounds that are debated around here are in fact a guitar plugged straight into an amp (usually a 50s tweed, but often a high watt Marshall, or maybe a Vox, a Supro).

Or yes, rarely, more interestingly, a one of a kind solid state mixing console with the inputs cranked, plugged into a saturated 4 track tape machine...

And even eventually maybe a Dumble (yuck)), or maybe just even perhaps a perfectly engineered, multitracked on a $150K console mixed in a world class studio, professionally EQ-ed, and compressed BF Fender amp.

I know this all sounds rather snarky. But if I have an argument to stand on, it's that most music we hear today is the opposite of this (guitars plugged straight into a DAW, and effects/eq/gain/etc added later).

But when it comes to bands like the Beatles...I just feel more compelled to make the point that ITS NOT THE GEAR. It's the songwriting, and (especially in regards to guitar tones) THE ARRANGEMENT. In many ways the mixing of the track IS the arrangement.

The thing that makes the Beatles SO relevant even today is that their arrangements are still so unrivaled that we still often think it MUST be the gear.

When in reality, 90% of the guitar tones on their records, if you solo them, would be considered: shrill, cheap sounding, silver face twins that most people would scroll past on CL.

We're all guilty. I just don't buy into this whole pedal that supposedly encompasses the sound of "the Wrecking crew/Phil Spector" or "Paul/George/John/Abbey Road/George Martin" or "Jimi/Marshall JTM45/Eddie Kramer" or...the list goes on and on.

Until it comes to a halt because the music we hear just isn't any good. The tones are great though...

While you make some good points I think most of this is quite well understood for most people. So much current music is still excellent songwriting, excellent arrangement and definitely not guitars straight into the box so I find that argument totally invalid. Those names you mentioned were pioneers so of course they are relevant!

I also think it's quite cool that Lumpy's and Castledine offer/offered pedal versions of those solid state vox amps.
 

Laservampire

Member
Messages
1,159
The distorted leads on Sgt Pepper are mostly Paul, there's some photos of him during the sessions with a sunburst Fender Esquire and a Selmer amp.

My Pigdog MK1 Tonebender into a British style amp pretty much nails Paul's sound from "Good Morning Good Morning"....

 

Papanate

Member
Messages
19,820
The distorted leads on Sgt Pepper are mostly Paul,
there's some photos of him during the sessions with a sunburst Fender Esquire and a Selmer amp.

If one listens closely to various tracks you can hear McCartney's distinctive approach
to lead guitar - The lead guitar on 'Taxman' is very much like the lead guitar on
'Good Morning, Good Morning' - both of which featured McCartney on the Epiphone
Casino (leaning against the Selmer) - and not the Esquire in the Picture below. The
Esquire/Selmer combination was used on the rhythm part at the very beginning of
'With a Little Help From My Friends' - and then through out the song you can hear
it jangle away doing that Esquire thing on the downbeat chords.



paulesq1.jpg
 

vanguard

Member
Messages
2,515
Yeah, most of what you're hearing is that funky REDD (modified Telefunken) console.

To get the basic tone going, just grab a good tonebender (MKI or II probably) and play it into a cooking tube amp.
 

buzzp

Member
Messages
7,107
I guess if I had a point it would be this:

Im guessing every average TGP member has a pedalboard setup that would have put George's, Paul's, and John's (not to mention Eric's, Jimi's, Jeff's, Jimmy's, Peter's, and on and on) TO SHAME. Literally any one of them would have paid half their fortunes back in the day to have ONE of the many predictable, boutique pedalboards we see posted on a regular basis here.

I've always made the argument that 75% of the sounds that are debated around here are in fact a guitar plugged straight into an amp (usually a 50s tweed, but often a high watt Marshall, or maybe a Vox, a Supro).

Or yes, rarely, more interestingly, a one of a kind solid state mixing console with the inputs cranked, plugged into a saturated 4 track tape machine...

And even eventually maybe a Dumble (yuck)), or maybe just even perhaps a perfectly engineered, multitracked on a $150K console mixed in a world class studio, professionally EQ-ed, and compressed BF Fender amp.

I know this all sounds rather snarky. But if I have an argument to stand on, it's that most music we hear today is the opposite of this (guitars plugged straight into a DAW, and effects/eq/gain/etc added later).

But when it comes to bands like the Beatles...I just feel more compelled to make the point that ITS NOT THE GEAR. It's the songwriting, and (especially in regards to guitar tones) THE ARRANGEMENT. In many ways the mixing of the track IS the arrangement.

The thing that makes the Beatles SO relevant even today is that their arrangements are still so unrivaled that we still often think it MUST be the gear.

When in reality, 90% of the guitar tones on their records, if you solo them, would be considered: shrill, cheap sounding, silver face twins that most people would scroll past on CL.

We're all guilty. I just don't buy into this whole pedal that supposedly encompasses the sound of "the Wrecking crew/Phil Spector" or "Paul/George/John/Abbey Road/George Martin" or "Jimi/Marshall JTM45/Eddie Kramer" or...the list goes on and on.

Until it comes to a halt because the music we hear just isn't any good. The tones are great though...

While I agree with a large portion of your post and the point you're making, it is kind of pointless to post that in this thread. I'm not trying to be offensive when I say that either, I completely understand the genius behind their arrangement, phrasing, and mixing/mastering process. I listen to them quite frequently to see how they did what they did, and try to emulate certain characteristics in my own songwriting.

In this case, I just want a nasty fuzz/OD tone that is similar to that specific record.
 

Papanate

Member
Messages
19,820
Yeah, most of what you're hearing is that funky REDD (modified Telefunken) console.

No it's not. You really should read the book 'Recording the Beatles'. You'll be amazed (at least I was) how much
the sound was altered along the chain - a whole lot of tone generators. While the REDD.51 indeed has the
Telefunken V72 preamps - they were heavily modified and sound nothing like the original V72s - REDD BTW stands
for 'Record Engineering Development Department' headed by technical Engineer Len Page. His team was tasked
with building consoles for EMI. And the REDD.51 was built from the ground up based on the frame of the previous
REDD boards. The board does have a very distinctive sound - aggressive and very forward - I was lucky enough to
get to hear the original in action when a Friend of mine tracked some stuff at Mark Knopfler's Studio. It is all everyone
has said it is. However I am a bigger fan of the EMI TG12345 transistorized Mixer used on Abbey Road and Pink Floyds
Dark Side of the Moon.
 

mattymel

Member
Messages
1,417
While you make some good points I think most of this is quite well understood for most people. So much current music is still excellent songwriting, excellent arrangement and definitely not guitars straight into the box so I find that argument totally invalid. Those names you mentioned were pioneers so of course they are relevant!

I also think it's quite cool that Lumpy's and Castledine offer/offered pedal versions of those solid state vox amps.
While I agree with a large portion of your post and the point you're making, it is kind of pointless to post that in this thread. I'm not trying to be offensive when I say that either, I completely understand the genius behind their arrangement, phrasing, and mixing/mastering process. I listen to them quite frequently to see how they did what they did, and try to emulate certain characteristics in my own songwriting.

In this case, I just want a nasty fuzz/OD tone that is similar to that specific record.

No offense taken. I could read all day about the recording process of these guys. Someone should make 3 fuzz pedals and call them Paul, John, and George. Put their faces on the casings. They'd sell a ton.

I would still argue that they haven't been surpassed yet for arranging or recording. But that's all opinion.
 
Messages
67
I'm a big fan of that mid-period Beatles fuzzy guitar sound. I think a big part of the sound is an Epi Casino and a 60s fuzz. I've had good luck copping some Beatlesque tones with a Maestro FZ-1A and a Casino or Tele. It has that bold, trebley, splatty, in-your-face sound. Does it sound just like the Beatles? Uh, kinda... Does it get me in the ballpark? I think so. I do use a 90s Vox AC30 with blue speakers or a Vox AC4, which I think helps. The "cocked wah" approach also gets that weird mid-rangey but treble bite sound you hear once in a while on those records.

I recently picked up a Lumpy's Lemon Drop, which definitely has a cool vibe as well. However, it definitely sounds more Zeppelin to my ears. I think I need to spend more time with it. Though, I was working on a recording recently where I was going for a Jon Brion/Beatles kinda thing, and I plugged the Lemon Drop DI into a Telefunken V72. Sounded pretty badass.

Finally, As another poster mentioned earlier, a big part of the Beatle sound was the REDD console, Pultec EQ...and, let's face it, George Martin.
 

mattymel

Member
Messages
1,417
Studying Beatles guitar sounds. A pretty ear opening experience. A lesson in the role of the guitar "in a mix". Soloing the tracks most of us would probably think "that's pretty harsh" or sometimes: farty, shrill. But in the context of the big picture I wouldn't want it any other way.

That being said, my band is recording an album and I'm not the one mixing it. It's a different story when someone takes your tone and turns it into something else within a mix. Not always a pleasant first listening experience.
 

onebigholiday

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
437
If it wasn't studio magic, then according to Andy Babiuk, the Beatles did possess a Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face.
 

Fuzz_Mountain

Member
Messages
8,931
Didn't they use those solid state Vox amps on Sgt. Peppers? Those amp have a pretty distinct (razor blade like) fuzz sound.
 




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