Cream Reunion Show-->Clapton's tone

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by GuitarBrent, Oct 10, 2005.

  1. GuitarBrent

    GuitarBrent Member

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    Ok, I'll probably get tons of hate mail and death threats for this post, so I'll preface it. First, I think The Cream in their hayday was the best rock band there ever was or ever will be. 3 of the best musicians in the world at their respective instruments. Second, I think that the reunion show was worth doing and Clapton's playing was extremely passionate and amazing. You can tell he still has the fire and the chops. Third, I've never dug Clapton's Strat tones since he left Cream or at least Derek and the Dominoes. I just have never liked them. It's like he's trying to make a Strat sound like the Paul or SG he used with the Cream...but it just never does. And it never really sounds like a good old Strat tone to me either.

    Here's where the hate mail starts...I think Clapton's tone is one of his worst to date and didn't fit the material on the reunion show in May. Maybe it's my own pre-conceived notion that they would sound like they did in 1966-68, but the Strat through the Tweed Twins just sounds wimpy and ragged, especially in the low end. The Strat just doesn't fit those songs, although it may have been better through a Plexi-style amp. I also thought that Jack and Ginger just sounded worn out and old, but this is a guitar site, so I digress.

    Go easy on me here guys. This is just my opinion. I covet the sounds on those old Cream records, especially the live albums as some of the most quintessential guitar sounds ever. The new Cream tone from Clapton just didn't do it for me.
     
  2. PlexiBreath

    PlexiBreath Member

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    Well, you are entitled to your opium.

    I didn't see this performance, but my brother did and called me to tell me about it. My brother is a damn good drummer and very critical, he said Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce, though they did look ancient and tired, played very well, that Baker was laying down a fat groove and Bruce pulling off some great bass lines, he didn't remark on the guitar tone. But I would have to agree, I can't imagine a once in a lifetime event like this would be left up to a Strat and tweed twins, not that that is a bad tone, contrare, it's a great tone, but it's not the Cream tone. For Cream I want EC with a 335 and at least two Marshall plexi full stacks and a curly chord.
     
  3. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    Okay GuitarBrent, I'll stand over on that side of the line with you (GRIN)

    To a point, I agree. I thought his Strat/ Tweed Twin tone was raggedy on the bottom end, and I felt like it didn't give his musical 'voice' enough power to drive those songs in s trio situation.

    I agree also that Mr. Clapton's passion for playing is alive and obvious - he's still a killer guitar player. There is some really cool playing on the DVD - awesome, really.

    I thougt Jack Bruce sang well and passionately, and that he played pretty well ( I've only just heard the video, and not all of it, and only once) They did lower the keys of some of th etunes, it seemed to me.

    Ginger Baker sounded and looked a lot better than the last time I saw him, maybe 10 years ago. I'm thankful for that.

    I think the Strat has been a good platform for Clapton, and it fits in very well with the larger, more insturments (you know, a bigger band) settings he plays with in more modern times - it's a comfortable sound for him. And he does, after all, play the livin h**l oughtta the guitar.

    However, I'd really like to hear Himself ( Mr. Clapton) play through a Marshall w/ humbuckers one more time; with this caveat; It IS , after all, HIS GIG - he oughtta be able to play through whatever he wants to - just like all of us (GRIN)

    I guess we gotta give him the space to do his thing, his way ..... but I'd sure like to hear him do 'his thing' MY way one time - with an ES-335 and a Marshall. (Said with great respect)

    Thanks, Dana
     
  4. bjm007

    bjm007 Member

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    I didn't hear any of it, but I agree that I don't like Clapton's tone much anymore after he gave up the Bluesbraker and the 335...

    I don't much care for the newer Strats he's played with those damn Lace Sensor pups... I hate the sound of 'em compared to a "real" single coil pickup...

    I like the old vintage original tones - especially when you're doing a reunion tour and trying to conjure up some of the old songs the way we remember them.
     
  5. SuperReverb2

    SuperReverb2 Member

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  6. GuitarBrent

    GuitarBrent Member

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    My sentiments exactly guys so far...I'd love to hear him pull out the humbuckers and the Marshalls one more time. And I can't stand those Lace Sensors...they just don't sound like real single coils and the midrange is just not pleasing. They just have a weird sound overall. Mr. Clapton has the right to play whatever he wants, but it would have been awesome to hear all of that passionate playing through a more rocking rig.
     
  7. doctord02

    doctord02 Member

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    My local FM rock station (107.7 the Bone) broadcast one of the shows this weekend and my reaction was similar. I really think Strats and Tweed Twins are about the *farthest* thing in my mind for the "Cream" sound.

    Bruce and Baker were OK, altho not as aggressive as I'd have preferred. The whole thing reminded me of stereotypical reunion gigs... Sure they are seasoned pros and the still have great chops and vocals, but the fire wasnt really there.

    And EC, while good, just wasnt playing with the same fire either, and the thin, Strat sound did nothing for me at all. The sound of Cream, to me, demands a humbucker in a Gibson, and preferably a Marshall and a 4x12.

    Flame on!
     
  8. jeffh

    jeffh Silver Supporting Member

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    I bought and watched the DVD this weekend. I have to agree, I thought Clapton's tone just didn't fit. Too clean... maybe too mature ? The perfomance in general seemed very matured, which I guess makes sense for 3 guys playing material from their 20's almost 40 years later.

    From the interviews on Disc 2. Clapton or Jack Bruce said they did try rehearsing with the stacks of Marshalls and it did not work. They also say they did not want to be a tribute to themselves, but rather play the music like they would now. I think they did that.
     
  9. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    I loved Cream's sound back in the day. I respect them each as musicians and as adults who can make their own decisions. That being said, I haven't cared for Clapton's preferred tone for many years and was once again somewhat disappointed by what I've heard of his tone in the show earlier this year. While I thought it was actually better than many of the sounds I've heard him use in the last 20 years, it still was not the tone I dug him most with. But that's okay...he doesn't have to do what I like ;).
     
  10. Curly

    Curly Member

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    Clapton's tone seems to be a convenient target for lots of forum threads.

    I don't have the DVD yet.
    I don't really care for his "signature strat" tone.

    However, there is nothing wrong with strat-through-tweed tone.

    there is a perennial problem: if you play a Les Paul, your rhythm is sometimes muddy; if you play a strat, your lead tone isn't fat enough. How do you solve that problem?

    Clapton chose a strat with a mid boost. It's maybe not his best tone, but a practical solution.
     
  11. trisonic

    trisonic Member

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    Eric doesn't use Lace Sensors now (or for some time).

    He was aged 21 when Cream broke up; he is 60 now - people do change:D

    In Cream only the vocals and Ginger's drum kit (crudely) were miced (for stage shows - decent SR systems were simply not around back then). They need several Marshalls each to project.
    Anyway it seems that they discussed using their old gear but decided against it on the grounds that it isn't what they use now.

    Frankly, if I was Eric I would never have agreed to this reunion because of all this stuff......

    Best, Pete.
     
  12. Mark Kane

    Mark Kane Silver Supporting Member

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    He's been playing strats for over 35 years, he played a Les Paul for what, 18 months. He's a strat guy, that's just the way it is.
     
  13. sanhozay

    sanhozay klon free since 2009

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    Clapton’s 60’s PAF tone is legendary, seminal material. Some would argue it to be his best ever. I associate it with fearless, brazen abandon that encapsulates the benchmark for rock/blues guitar playing, however, I think his most expressive playing was accomplished on Layla and subsequent 70’s live recordings.

    His present note selection is phenomenally economical compared to the Cream days but, to me, he plays with a deepness that rivals BB King and Albert King.

    He’s been my launching pad for many years and I pretty much can get behind anything he does, regardless of gear.
     
  14. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    What it boils down to for me is I liked his music and his sound more way back when than I do now.

    As for EC's strat tone per se, I really enjoyed his strat sound on the Derek and the Dominoes live record, for example, but I haven't enjoyed that much since then. I also love strats in general and am "a strat guy" at heart; and I would abslolutely disagree with anyone who thinks you can't get a juicy, thick, rich sound out of a strat... I just don't particularly care for the kinds of tones he gets with his strat most of the time. Sometimes it sounds okay to me and fits the song...but usually it doesn't, IMO. But like I said...he doesn't have to make me happy with his tone. :p
     
  15. tga-3

    tga-3 Supporting Member

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    Well put Leon, I happen to agree on every point! For me, there's something I don't like about the tone when Clapton overdrives his amp with the mid-boost circuitry while in the in-between (2 & 4)positions, even in the middle position it's better, but not quite right. I prefer that midboost in the bridge position, really fattens it up and keeps the bite. And like Leon said, he certainly doesn't have to make me happy with his tone either.
    FWIW,
    Rick
     
  16. GuitarBrent

    GuitarBrent Member

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    I'm with LeonC. Not a fan of the Clapton midboost on the Strat. YUK.
     
  17. Priestunes

    Priestunes Member

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    Methought he knouted thrashingly splendid tones out of his rig.
     
  18. rabbit

    rabbit Member

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    I like his tone on the "Riding With The King" album he recorded with BB King. If his tone at the Cream show was like on the "Me and Mr. Johnson" album, I wouldn´t have liked it, too.
     
  19. tubetone

    tubetone Member

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    Well, I have the DVD and loved it. While I agree, the humbucker-Marshall sound was integral to Cream back in the day, I was pleasantly surprised how I thought his current sound which was cleaner actually fit what the band was doing. To me, this just heightened what I already knew but often don't want to admit; it's what you play and how you play it that counts more than anything. I thought these tunes came off great even if it wasn't the 335 or SG through the stacks. Doesnt' stop me from tone searching, but WHAT he played did it for me on this one.
     
  20. illroy

    illroy Member

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    I'm with you GuitarBrent.

    I'm a Cream fan, always have been. Have never been a Clapton fan. I wanted to play and sound like the "guitar player" in Cream either so I could convince good bass players and drummers to play with me, or to fantasize about jamming with Bruce/Baker, whatever...

    Bruce (especially) and Baker are the stars of the reunion just as they were the MVPs in their heyday. Clapton is still apologizing for being God and dissing all of his admirers for being stupid enough to appreciate the genius and brilliance of the Crossroads solo. He has single-handedly set the tone quest back 50 years.

    Cheers, ill...
     

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