Cameron, Van Halen Jose Mod and Matt Bruck

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by ed84246, Sep 18, 2008.

  1. ed84246

    ed84246 Member

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    Okay, here's a question. On another forum, there's a guy who claims Mark Cameron's Jose mod isn't a great mod because before Van Halen One came out, Matt Bruck, Eddie's tech, took the amp to another guy to "fix" Jose's "butchering" of the amp. Supposedly, this amp tech that Matt Bruck took the amp to returned it to stock and this is what we hear on the albums.

    Now I don't really need to get into a "was the amp modded" or "was it not" debate here, but something struck me as odd.

    Unless I'm mistaken, Matt Bruck doesn't seem that old to me at all. I believe he didn't start teching for Eddie until after the Sammy years began. Does anyone know how old he is? I get the feeling he's like in his late thirties, which would mean he would have been pre-pubescent when this supposed incident took place.

    But maybe I'm wrong and Matt Bruck is 50?
     
  2. Kelly

    Kelly Member

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    Eddie's Plexi has never been modded, and Matt Bruck didnt start working for Eddie until the early 90's, I believe. Mike Soldano, Steve Fryette (VHT), and Van Weelden have all serviced Eddie's plexi. Fryette says it's bone stock...

    Having worked on the supposed IT amp on more than one occasion, I can speak first hand on some of this.

    First of all, hate to blow anyone’s bubbles, but there’s not a thing especially outstanding or unique about this amp. Matt Bruck brought what he said was Eds main amp to me in 1990/1 to “bring it back to life” He said Ed felt it just wasn’t the same as it once was and thought the output transformer was “getting weak”. I told him OT’s don’t get weak, but went ahead and checked it out from top to bottom and found not a thing wrong with it at all. In fact it was bone stock and rather clean inside. It sounded like a stock Marshall, put out full power and all of the caps were in good shape. I might add, and this is just from memory, but I recall that the circuit was actually closer to a 70 JMP than it was to a plexi, something I attributed to this possibly being a transition model, seeing as how it had a plexi panel, but apparently the newer input and feedback configuration. All that aside, Matt insisted that something needed to be done so I gave it a complete once-over and I then took the liberty of installing a Pittbull Classic output transformer into it to see if anyone would notice. Upon getting it back, Matt told me that they noticed no difference in sound and they still thought it sounded weak. I just presumed that something else was amiss or had changed and thought no more about it. I still have the receipt and copy of the check for the work signed by Ed, in case anyone wants to try to discredit this claim. I don’t usually talk about it, because frankly Scarlett…but since you went to the effort of posting this here, I though it might be fun to respond to some of the idiots history items:

    “Eddie would keep it loaded with four Sylvania 6CA7 power tubes (Ed used this American brand because they run slightly cooler than their European counterpart).”

    In the mid to late 70’s most available EL34’s were horribly unreliable and the Sylvania 6CA7 was king because it was the only available reliable replacement. It was well known at that time that if you had an EL34 amp you either used the Sylvania 6CA7 or in the case of Marshall, the popular thing to do was swap it over to 6550, which Marshalls US distributor was doing to cut down on warranty claims for failed European EL34s – you know those coveted NOS ones people pay big bucks for now…and by the way, the back was off because tubes got replaced frequently and everybody at that time left the backs off or lost them.

    (Although he did crank the Variac up to 140 volts in the studio for Van Halen I)!

    Anyone who has ever tried this knows it's BS and the reason you know it’s BS is because after you tried it the guy who replaced your blown power supply capacitors or transformers told you it’s BS. When the first interview where this appeared came out I was a repair tech at Valley Arts Guitars, and I can tell you that article made me a lot of money. But I lost a lot of respect for the big E for being so thoughtless as to say such a thing in print and potentially help people put their lives in danger, or at the very least sacrifice their gear over such a stupid comment.

    "Early in Van Halen's career, Ed used to say that his amps were heavily modified by Jose Arrendondo of Arrco Electronics to throw people off that were trying to imitate his sound."

    And if it ended there, I would have thought fair enough, but it didn’t end there. He allowed Jose to promote and sell “Eddies Mod” to anyone with cash. As a result, legions of guys got reamed and their amps butchered with a bunch of terrible sounding and horribly executed mods (some now considered desirable as “Cameron Jose mods”) which caused lots of noise, hum, output transformer failures, etc, etc. I had lots of players coming to me wanting to find out why their amps with the blessed Jose/Eddie Grail were giving them so much grief. In most cases it went something like “fix the problem with the amp but don’t touch the mod”. Response: “The mod is the problem, so I either dump the mod or you take it back to Jose”.

    Let the flames begin!

    smf
     
  3. Belmont

    Belmont Member

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    I believe every word you wrote,awesome.I had a chance to buy a Jose modded Super Lead in about 90' or 91',It was in a local pawnshop and I knew of the Jose lore so I tried it,it sounded awful and needed work so I passed on it,kinda wish I would have bought it though.
     
  4. Roccaforte Amps

    Roccaforte Amps Member

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    The varic gets set to 90 volts.
    When I first started doing repairs for Matt Bruck
    that was the first question I asked him about "the" amp.
    Next was what is inside. It was stock.
    I've seen the amp in person, it's real!
     
  5. gainfreak

    gainfreak Member

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    The guy who you are speaking about is a known troll and has a beef with Mark cameron. Don't pay him any attention because he is a knucklehead !
     
  6. electronpirate

    electronpirate Member

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    ...post deleted...
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2008
  7. ed84246

    ed84246 Member

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    Dude, as I stated, I really didn't want to get into a "was it modded" or not debate here. But I will say briefly, that from the people I've spoken with who have shown me pictures and/or actually been former techs of VH during the first five albums and seen the amp then, not for the first time in 1991, there's just as much evidence to debate your claims that the amp was stock and that Jose's mods caused "nothing but problems" (even if they did, Eddie himself has said along with many techs that he regularly did blow through transformers but it was worth it for the tone, a claim that is certainly open to debate as is much else regarding the whole lore), all I really wanted to know was how old Matt Bruck was.

    And I'm not claiming that what you said about the amp you saw was necessarily untrue. The point is we could probably debate this until the cows come home with everyone from Rudy Leiren, Matt Bruck, Doug Roccaforte, Cerrum, that Dutch tech, Cameron, Dave Friedman Eddie himself and a sceance to contact Jose from the great beyond and probably still never get a real straight answer that could be proven in a court of law or where ever.. In my opinion, there's probably a little bit of truth and a little bit of the stretching of it in everybody's story.

    All I know is Cameron modded an amp for me that sounded like crap before I got it to him, and after his "fake" Jose mod, it absolutely nailed the early VH tones. But that's just my opinion and everyone else is certainly entitled to theirs. He subsequently modded another amp for me that I love and I've had absolutely no problems with any of them. I've spent quite a bit of time with Mark at his shop, playing his amps and listening to mods as he does them with other clients as well. I've put my deposit down on one of his amps as a result because for me it's the tone I'm looking for. He tells me they're based on mods he got from an amp Jose modded that he felt nailed the early VH tone plus things he's come up with over the years. Good enough for me.

    If others want to continue this thread with the bang-your-head against the wall debate about Eddie's amp, feel free but if you could at least try to give me some information about my original question - "about how old is Matt Bruck?" I would really appreciate it, thanks.
     
  8. paulscape

    paulscape Member

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    Listening to some of the early VH bootlegs his amp sounds just like a normal loud plexi. Its his playing, the way he uses equipment and Don Landee (when in the studio) that seems to create the magic.
     
  9. plan-x

    plan-x Supporting Member

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    We used to take our fender amps to that Jose dude at Arrco electronics back in the70's just for repair. He was the only game on that side of town town. He was a hack. None of his repairs worked. Down on Balboa blvd? In Van nuys, as I recall. He used to say how he worked on VH's amps, which I couldn't believe in the long run, cause like I said, he pretty much hacked all of our amps.
     
  10. jammybastard

    jammybastard "I'm losing my edge, but I was there..."

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    The fact that grown men would still waste their time debating this subject baffles me.
    :horse
     
  11. GtrWiz

    GtrWiz Member

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    my Cameron nails those tones, love it!
     
  12. matte

    matte Senior Member

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    my body.
    i beg to differ.
     
  13. Randy

    Randy Member

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  14. macmax77

    macmax77 Supporting Member

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    like i said yesterday
    John Suhr says he saw VH playing with a headless woodless guitar with rusty strings and the sound was the same VH sound.

    John Suhr goes further and says T is in the fingers.
     
  15. GrecoVee

    GrecoVee Member

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    Is Cameron still doing Marshall mods?
    What is your guys opinons on who or what company does the best sounding VH 1 type Marshall mod for the most affordable price?
    I've got a beat, (modded for an FX loop at one time but brought back to stock) JCM 800 2204 that's beggin' for a killer sounding mod at a decent price.
    Any sudjestions on who?....
    Would like to have a complete mod done for less than $500.
    Voo Doo amps seems to be my best bet so far price wise but what do you guys think?
     
  16. scottl

    scottl Member

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    Matt is 41.....

    He is my close cousin. A Pisces for any zodiac freaks.... LOL
     
  17. madstrat

    madstrat Member

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  18. ed84246

    ed84246 Member

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    OH MY F***IN' G*D! A post that actually answered my question!!! Are you high, on drugs or something? Why didn't you go into a raging two page debate about whether Eddie's amp was modded or not and ignore what I was asking like everyone else?

    (btw, thank you).
     
  19. AstroStrat89

    AstroStrat89 Member

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    Eddie played though a Marshall?

    :argue

    :stir

    :mob
     
  20. pluto

    pluto Member

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    Whomever said that the Cameron Jose mod is bad has obviously never played it before. I don't care where or from whom Cameron got the schematics or inspiration to build the Cameron Jose mod, but the Cameron Jose mod is one of the best sounding amps I've ever owned or heard. As far as Jose A's mods, I can't say whether they are good or bad, but John Sykes sure seems to like his.
     

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