Brian May proves that small amps kick ass!

fierce_carrot

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1,880
I watched on DirectTV last night Queen + Paul Rodgers recorded concert in the Ukraine of a couple of years ago and I was in love with Brian May's HUGE tone coming from his guitar and those VOX AC30's!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwnJ...6A9B9C26A&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=1

A GREAT show and I'm not even a Queen fan! He may have had the largest sounding guitar I have ever heard on a tv concert program. I watched it thru my 63" gas plasma and my bose sound system and the house was just rockin!

If you haven't seen this show, it's something worth looking for!
 

Gnarlly

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2,863
Since when is a Vox AC30 considered a "small amp?" 2x12 combo that weighs a ton does not equate to "small amp."

When I think "small amp," I think a Fender Champ, or maybe a Princeton-sized amp.
 

gtrfinder

Silver Supporting Member
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3,645
Well, Brian May actually did a fair amount of heavy lifiting in the studio with a battery powered solid-state amp, so I'll second the OP's comment that small amps kick ass!
But a healthy AC30 running flat out is a beast for sure.
 

SgtThump

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7,834
Since when is a Vox AC30 considered a "small amp?" 2x12 combo that weighs a ton does not equate to "small amp."

When I think "small amp," I think a Fender Champ, or maybe a Princeton-sized amp.
Plus, if I'm not mistaking, he has either 9 or 12 of them suckers on the stage! (some for stereo delay only, I believe.)
 

ssdeluxe

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1,213
what a tone..........its the guy playing.....but the amp helps a weeeee bit !

if you havn't experienced in person, a cranked old ac30, well, there simply is nothing like it !! I like the korg era ones too......just as cool....but different.


thanks for the vid. gr8 music ~!
 

fierce_carrot

Member
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1,880
Since when is a Vox AC30 considered a "small amp?" 2x12 combo that weighs a ton does not equate to "small amp."

When I think "small amp," I think a Fender Champ, or maybe a Princeton-sized amp.

To me a "small amp" is anything under 40 watts, but I'm an old guy and remember when gigging with 100watts plus in a bar wasn't any big deal!

There are varying degrees of small to smaller to smallest. The weight of the amp comes from the 2x12 Bluedogs. I have an 18watter pushing 2x12 celestion blues and its a heavy beast as well.

My comment was that Brians amp had a HUGE sound to it, reminescent of AC/DC at Donnington.
 

cram

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13,702
so what's lost here is that queen actually recorded some of may's guitar work through a much smaller amp. I believe I've read here at tgp that the recording engineer famously said, "the microphone has not clue how big the speaker is".

stp has recorded some of its tracks with a smaller amp with a nice sound as well.

Someone could clarify or cite it correctly, but I have this tip of my toungue thing going on about it and I can't recall just now.
 

AmplifyMe

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898
Tough time gigging in a club with one AC30 unattenuated these days, unless you play clean.
Most sound guys would say turn that amp down!
 

Crowder

Dang Twangler
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Back in the day, a friend of mine bought one of those book/cassette combos where Brian May broke down his rig and many of has famous parts. The greatest thing about the tape was how Brian would be explaining something, then he'd get ready to play it. He'd step one three switches, and with each switch the hiss from his rig would get louder. By the time he was ready to play it sounded like he was standing beside Niagra Falls! Then the tone would leap out of the rig and drown it all out. It sounded like he was on the edge of feedback the entire time he was playing. Gives sone insight into how he got such a huge tone. :)
 

SgtThump

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7,834
I've had the luxury the past two weekends of sitting out in the audience and hearing my rig over our PA while someone else sat in on a few songs. I must say that my guitar sounded enormous!

I was using my Electra Dyne 1x12" combo.
 

teemuk

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3,049
Plus, if I'm not mistaking, he has either 9 or 12 of them suckers on the stage! (some for stereo delay only, I believe.)
Yep. Most of those AC30's in his rig are just for show.

I think he actually uses only two of them, could have been for stereo effects or "channel switching" - I can't remember exactly. I read about his stage rig sometime in the past but I can't remember all the details anymore. I have a faint memory that some of the amps were also configured as backups that could be put in use rather quickly. Anyway, my main point is that he only used maybe two of all those amps.

In the studio he's been known to use the "Deacy", which was basically some very old (early 1960's -style) transistor radio found from a pile of garbage and fitted inside a small HiFi speaker by Queen's bassist (hence the name). Basically it was not too far off from that legendary Pignose design, which was also pretty much a carbon copy of an early transistor radio.
 

Astronome

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758
i have the mahoney orchestrator which is a clone of the Deacy amp, and i can totally get those solo tones that May gets on some albums
 

DigitalHater

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According to the Guitar Handbook, he has 12 AC30's on stage, using 4 of them. 1 gets the pedalboard out, another gets the signal w/ a chorus and 19 millisecond delay. The remaining 2 (switchable) get a signal via a pair of delays or pitch changers. This isn't my memory, just read it out of my book.
 

skoora

Member
Messages
753
I thought he used the Deacy to drive the AC30's for the harder sounds. Was it just for certain solo parts on it's own? I know he used a treble booster but I thought it was likr stories I heard on Ace Frehley using a modified champ to drive his Marshalls for solos etc.

I like Paul Rogers voice a lot but really miss the soaring melody and emotion Freddie would put in. You really notice on bigger crescendo moments in the songs. Plus Paul's strut works for Bad Co. but he looks catatonic compared to how Freddie would move to accent the songs. He doesn't engage the audience like Freddie did.
 
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Yep. Most of those AC30's in his rig are just for show.

I think he actually uses only two of them, could have been for stereo effects or "channel switching" - I can't remember exactly. I read about his stage rig sometime in the past but I can't remember all the details anymore. I have a faint memory that some of the amps were also configured as backups that could be put in use rather quickly. Anyway, my main point is that he only used maybe two of all those amps.

In the studio he's been known to use the "Deacy", which was basically some very old (early 1960's -style) transistor radio found from a pile of garbage and fitted inside a small HiFi speaker by Queen's bassist (hence the name). Basically it was not too far off from that legendary Pignose design, which was also pretty much a carbon copy of an early transistor radio.
I saw a video where Brian showed everything he uses...he keeps no secrets.

Going from memory...he only had 3 old AC30's on stage that were modded in some way. Two were used and one was a backup. Brain said they're fussy and overheated often. He also had a treble booster type device that he likes right on his guitar strap, saying it sounds best running the guitar straight into it first before anything. Clean and dirty is simply controlled by his guitar's volume.
Very simple setup and it does sound bloody great.
 

Bill Brasky

Senior Member
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1,422
He usually has 9 ac30's on stage, modified with SS rectifiers. I read that three at a time are on, in a wet-dry or wet-dry-wet stereo setup. Three more are on standby, the others are turned on later. He only wants to run a set of ac-30's full blast for 20-30 minutes tops. Then he'll switch over to the next trio of amps. Apparently in his experience, they will fail if he tries to run one set of amps that hard for 90 minutes straight, so he runs some for a while then gives them a rest and switches on the others.
 




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