"cheap sunglasses" question please

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by vbf, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. vbf

    vbf Supporting Member

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    My bass player asked if I knew what effect the bass player from ZZ Top uses on Cheap Sunglasses and I honestly can't tell. He's thinking a ring modulator bit I don't have a clue. Anyone know for sure? Thank you.
     
  2. drolling

    drolling Member

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    Man, I loved that band!!

    But I'd pretty much stopped listening by the 'Cheap Sunglasses' era; too much gated reverb/synth/drum machine for my tastes at the time

    Just heard it on the car radio the other day tho', and I was wondering the same as your bass player. If it's the same little part I'm thinking of, it sure sounds 'ring-modulated' to me, but also filtered, too

    I'd have guessed it was done on a keyboard, but in fact, I've got no idea

    So, a bump back up top for a great question!
     
  3. zosozep7

    zosozep7 Gold Supporting Member

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    From wikipedia:

    In a Guitar World article, lead guitarist Billy Gibbons said that he used a Marshall Major amplifier and a Maestro ring modulator on this song, and that the amplifier had a blown tube during recording which added to the tonal character of the song. [1] The Marshall Major is a 200 watt version of the classic Marshall 100 watt head made slightly taller.
     
  4. vbf

    vbf Supporting Member

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    You guys are amazing!
     
  5. AXXA

    AXXA Supporting Member

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    I was thinking it was the guitar with ring modulation. One time I was messing with an EHX Frequency Analyzer and got a very similar sound.
     
  6. zztop

    zztop Member

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    hate that band.
     
  7. Lonestar Boogie

    Lonestar Boogie Member

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    user name contradicts post
     
  8. ShredSquatch

    ShredSquatch Conspiracy Experience Director & Stunt Guitarist Silver Supporting Member

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    I see what you did there lol

    Some of the best "tone" of all time!
     
  9. bwires

    bwires Member

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    Case in point that heavier gauge strings are not required for massive tone.
     
  10. zosozep7

    zosozep7 Gold Supporting Member

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    Tone is in the beard!
     
  11. Whiskey N Beans

    Whiskey N Beans Supporting Member

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    You can also string six bionic expandoras together to get a similar sound, right?
     
  12. taco-man

    taco-man Supporting Member

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    I think you're thinking of another ZZTop era, right? The Degüello album wasn't a synth/drum machine album.
     
  13. dhdfoster

    dhdfoster Silver Supporting Member

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    Cheap Sunglasses is from the album Degüello which was release in 1979. I don't think the gated reverb snare trick had been invented yet. I don't remember any synths or drum machines on this track at all.

    I think the lick in question is a ring modulator on the guitar.
     
  14. drolling

    drolling Member

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    You're right!! That's the album that Jimmie Vaughan referred to in a GP magazine interview as a "little treasure chest of guitar tones", IIRC

    And he was right!

    It was actually the last record of theirs that I bought. Their sound was definitely changing by then, as were my musical interests

    Haven't replaced it with a CD yet, but now I'm thinkin I ought to!

    Thanks for the correction:aok
     
  15. ScottR

    ScottR Silver Supporting Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  16. BluesForDan

    BluesForDan Member

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    drolling may be referring to the gawdawful remixes of the first albums that came out on CD initially. For people who never heard the vinyl originals (or 8-track or cassette), those early CDs ess you see kay-ed. Big time. Sadly, for many people not born before 1980, this is pretty much their only exposure to the early ZZTop stuff. A travesty of a very high order, but still a first world problem :rotflmao

    For example, that Six Pack cd set is abysmal. Somebody was trying to make them sound 'modern' Eighties style. If this is what younger people think ZZTop sounded like back in the day, they have been deprived of a great pleasure of life.

    As far as what the sound on CS is, I do not know. As far as believing anything the Reverend says in interviews, you're gonna raise your blood pressure from all the salt grains you'd have to take with it. The guy has to be one of the biggest bull shitters in the business.
     
  17. drolling

    drolling Member

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    Thanks for coming to my defense Dan! But I gotta jump back in again to say that I leapt into the air with joy when I found a reissue of their "First Album" on CD w/original cover art. I bought it, thinking it would've been returned to its former glory, as they've done with Tres Hombres, for example - BUT NOOOOOOOOO!!

    It's exactly like the 6-pack version; Chorus slathered atop Billy's raw guitar & tons of digital reverb on the drums. I've read a number of plausible theories why they've done this.. But I'd still love to hear their debut remastered to CD as it was intended to sound. Wore out 3 copies of the record, burning those riffs into my brain!

    And , yeah, I find it very hard to believe he ever used 6 Expandoras as anything more than a visual stage prop, as I do to believe he gets those fat, gnarly tones from .008 guage strings..
     
  18. UncleLarry

    UncleLarry Member

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    May be a ring mod on the guitar, but as far as the bass goes, it sounds like an overdriven amp to me.

    I am a fan of their studio sound, but when I saw them at the Anaheim Stadium in 1976, they sounded like crap. The mix was terrible and Billy's guitar was so loud that the vocals were almost inaudible. Maybe the sound crew was baked, but it sure left a bad taste in my mouth for ever wanting to see them live again.
     
  19. taco-man

    taco-man Supporting Member

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    Actually the Degüello CD wasn't remixed or part of the "Six Pack" set. Just FYI - in case anyone is looking to buy a copy.
     
  20. whackystrings

    whackystrings Member

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    Hearing Waitin' For The Bus/Jesus Left Chicago and the early stuff was a revelation to me and I just discovered these recently. Being someone who hit puberty at the time that Eliminator was released and the early stuff got largely ignored on rock radio, I was never aware of the early stuff. Just like when I finally discovered Band of Gypsys...what an epiphany.

    What a shame that most people probably think "Legs" rather than "Just Got Paid" and "Rough Boy" rather than "Blue Jean Blues" when ZZ Top comes to mind simply because there is so much great back catalogue there.
     

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