Dumble/Sonny Landreth

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by GAT, Jul 18, 2005.


  1. GAT

    GAT Gold Supporting Member

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    Saw Sonny Landreth this weekend here in Reno. His drummer missed the flight so Sonny and his bass player played the show as a duo. I was truly humbled by how well they pulled it off! A couple of people I talked to said they almost didn't notice the drummer being gone. Not many of us could pull that kind of thing off, but he never missed a beat.

    He was using his Dumble through a T-Rex Replica into the speakers of a rented Fender Twin and he sounded great. The Dumble is the key to his tone. I've seen him before with the drummer (obviously better) and his tone is always consistant. His new live album has the exact tones on it, even though he is using a Matchless plus the Dumble on the CD. Anyway, thought I would share.
     
  2. GAT

    GAT Gold Supporting Member

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    I stand corrected.:)
     
  3. shallbe

    shallbe Deputy Plankspanker Gold Supporting Member

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    I strongly disagree. The Dumble is not the key to his tone.

    I have seen Sonny play more than 2 dozen times. With his band, with John Hiatt, and solo. I've seen him with Little Feat and the Lil Band of Gold. I've seen him use a Matchless head and cab, for years I saw him use Demeter TGA-3's. I've seen him use his Dumble. I've seen his Dumble actually die on a gig and him switch to the Demeter. I've seen him use a rented Fender Twin. I've heard him through an old tweed Fender. I've seen him use his Firebird, Strats, and Les Pauls.

    The key to Sonny's tone is his approach to the instrument. The way he uses a flatpick/thumbpick and all his right hand fingers. The glass slides he uses on his pinky and the way he frets behind the slide.

    Sonny always sounds like Sonny, regardless of the amp. The Road We're On was an old Marshall. He does not need a certain amp to make magic happen, thankfully.

    Showing how he handled the gig without the drummer is just how calm, humble and classy he is. I saw him at Jazz Fest one year where the PA went out COMPLETELY in front of about 40,000 people-----probably the biggest crowd he had ever played for at Jazz Fest---no vocals, nothing----only a little guitar and cymbals from the stage if you were close enough to hear it (I was). He just kept going, playing his ass off. When the PA came back on after about 4 minutes, he takes the mike and has everyone applaud the sound guys for the great job they do every year, since it was the first time he had ever had a problem at Jazz Fest with PA. Then he kicked off the next song----no attitude, all talent and class, not tied to any amp or guitar. A true inspiration.
     
  4. lv

    lv Supporting Member

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    Steve, just curious, and this is a serious question - why do you think he uses it if it isn't key to his tone?
     
  5. GAT

    GAT Gold Supporting Member

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    I talked to him after the show for about 15 minutes (I've met him before). He loves the Dumble. We talked about my Brunos and Komet, he was interested, but he said that the Dumble fits his sound. I agree with you that he would sound great through a solid state Crate (no offense to you Crate lovers). All great players can sound like themselves no matter what rig they have.

    Along those lines, (not saying that I'm great), my band jokes that no matter what new amps I get, I still make them sound like what I want to hear in my head. They are right.
     
  6. RobertMiller

    RobertMiller Member

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    I was there as well, and was equally impressed. Total class act. Made a lot of fans that day. I was standing next to some people from San Fran who knew nothing about Sonny and were just trolling for music at the fest like lots of folks do. Sonny wasn't due to come on for a couple of hours, so I told them to stick around and thank me later. The look on their faces when he launched into Native Stepson was priceless. Had to physically lift their jaws off the grass.
     
  7. ButchR

    ButchR Komet Player Gold Supporting Member

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    Sonny plays a small club here in Alexandria, LA every Friday after Thanksgiving. Ironically, the last two years he hasn't even brought the Dumble. Just a Matchless. The thing about Sonny is that what he does looks so easy while you are watching. Try it when you get home. Good luck!:)
     
  8. RobertMiller

    RobertMiller Member

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    Butch,

    What's the name of the club? If I'm home for Thanksgiving (either Eunice or Ville Platte with my in-laws) I'd love to catch the show.
     
  9. RickC

    RickC Gold Supporting Member

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    Imo, the thing about Sonny is he has a *very strong* trademark tone. So to a greater degree than many players, he sounds like himself no matter what he uses. Put another way, there are things about his signature tone that make it easy to identify, regardless of the amp involved.

    On the other hand, Sonny's tone does sound like it would lend itself quite well to a Dumble; they're very compatible.

    /rick
     
  10. guitarpkr76

    guitarpkr76 Guest

    Ditto, I've heard of him coming around here, but can't remember where it was.
     
  11. aeolian

    aeolian Member

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    Earlier this year Sonny was playing at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz and after 3 songs or so, his ODS blew up (HAD must put some pretty lightweight resistors in there that can't handle an output tube shorting out, RF had flames coming out of his a few years ago). Anyway, they rolled out a Marshall combo sitting on a slant cab and off he went. Took a few songs to dial in the gain he wanted but it always sounded like his trademark tone.

    In answer to why does he bother to use the Dumble if it doesn't matter? I think the answer for any of the folks that use these, is that they've becomed acustomed to the feel and response of the amp. They're going to dial in their sound with just about whatever they're playing though. But sometimes, getting that sound is more work. And takes more of their concentration away from the rest of what they're doing.
     
  12. lv

    lv Supporting Member

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    Sonny's response to GAT seems to say otherwise.
     
  13. shallbe

    shallbe Deputy Plankspanker Gold Supporting Member

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    I think he uses it because he likes it. It ain't key to his tone. He likes a lot of amps. I've talked to Sonny on a few occasions and his amp/guitar roadie many times. Sonny has mucho gear, and I'm sure he has his preferences, but it is not necessary. I've been told he grabs whatever he feels like will be right for the venue, and it changes. I saw him play with John Hiatt twice in a short period of time----one gig he used a Matchless (Chieftan?) head and cab, the next time it was the Dumble. Same tour, many of the same songs. He killed both nights. People talk about Sonny Landreth's Dumble tone, when in fact they have only heard it on very few of his recordings and at recent live performances. Most of his earlier recordings are full of Demeter TGA-3, tweeds, old Marshall 50 watt. The best tone I've ever heard live was his TGA-3 through a dynacomp and into a real echoplex, with a new Strat and Dimarzio twin blade pickups. Not as sexy droolworthy as a Dumble, but it was beyond words. I know---we spoke after that show and I think I came across rather awestruck and did put together my thoughts too well.

    I know this is a gear page, but this guy is simply beyond gear defining him. He can play a Strat or a Les Paul----2 very different guitars, and it still sounds like him. It doesn't really sound like he swapped guitars. I'd say he has a signature approach, style and phrasing more than "tone."

    What Sonny has said is key to his playing is pushing the power tubes of the amp. He feels that is where the magic lies (said this in person as well as a few interviews). To that end, he often uses attenuation.

    Sonny is extremely humble. He will talk gear with folks like me that need it to sound good and play well. :)
     
  14. cocheese

    cocheese Supporting Member

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    I saw him play a coffee shop in Boulder with just a Strat and a Deluxe Reverb reissue. Sounded like him, but the Dumble/Matchless rig does sound stunning. The guy with the Transperformance guitar was actually there showing him that guitar that night.
     
  15. GAT

    GAT Gold Supporting Member

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    There are a lot of great amps out there that Sonny would sound great with. He rents equipment sometimes when bringing his own rig doesn't make sense. But when he plays that Dumble...

    I feel the same about my two Bruno Super 100s, especially with my Grosh strats. I get the richest tone that seems to respond to what I'm thinking in my head. I have many amps and I can always get them to sound the way I want, but it just seems to be easier with the Brunos.

    Sonny is great, no matter what gear, we all agree on that. Seeing him live is one of our era's living legends in my opinion.
     
  16. Beelzabubba

    Beelzabubba Guest

    Hi fellas, I'm a newbie

    Spirits is the club...he sits in with Steve Conn


    I'll kill a few birdies for everybody with one stone.

    He can play on anything and sound like Sonny, but
    the Dumble has a harmonic voodoo when driven that
    the other amps just don't.... the Matchless DC-30
    has some of the same complexity 'cause of the EF 86
    in the pre, and I think the DC has a fatter low end
    than the Dumble, but it does mush out a little.
    On the live record most of what you hear is the
    Matchless with some high mid from the Dumble.
    The cab for the Dumble was in a long forgotten
    freezer in the bowels of Grant St. dancehall, all
    Sonny heard on stage was the Matchless.
    Don't believe *everything* that was printed in that
    silly article GP published a few months ago....
    The truth is if he had to choose 1, then Dumble....

    I'd say all of you guys are right, it just depends on the day. Sonny, like all players is constantly tweaking his rig.
    The first 15-20 gigs I did with him as a tech, he didn't use
    the same exact rig twice......

    I like this place.. I've done hard time at AGA for a few years,and I came here to talk about amps and this
    is the first thread I see! :D
     
  17. GAT

    GAT Gold Supporting Member

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    Beelzabubba,

    Welcome aboard, glad my post made you feel at home.
     
  18. Beelzabubba

    Beelzabubba Guest

     
  19. Beelzabubba

    Beelzabubba Guest

    Thanks Gat,

    I wasn't in Reno, otherwise I'm sure we'd have met.
    Was it that tiny casino again?....I'll look it up.
    If you were there the first time we may have met.

    I've slacked on touring to do guitar repair work, I went with
    Sonny to Europe in May, but that's it. I *kinda* miss it.
    Clapton showed at the gig in London...that was cool.
    Said he's been a fan of Sonny since the '70's, the look on
    Sonny's face was priceless.
     
  20. aeolian

    aeolian Member

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    Okay, I'll have to defer to your observations. I can't say exactly what happened as I walked in just after it went down. Sonny was standing there appologizing and making comments about it being on fire, and there was smoke in the air above it (like I said, I must have just missed it). After getting that Marshall going, I saw the tech sitting there looking in the amp and at a tube in his hand. Given the smoke and comments from Sonny, I assumed that a tube had taken out a grid resistor. Looking at different schematics I have here at home show various ratings down to 2W, so they'd go pretty quickly if a tube went, as Robben's did at the SC bluesfest. If the amp held, I would have thought that the tech would swap in some spare tubes and be on with the show.
     

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