FX for Rush Hemispheres-Permanent Waves-Moving Pictures era tones?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by RMosack, May 19, 2006.


  1. RMosack

    RMosack Supporting Member

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    I know that Alex Lifeson was a bit all over the map over the years when it came to guitars and effects, but there's still a certain something that makes up his tone in the Hemispheres through Moving Pictures era. Does anyone know what sort of FX he used to get his rather signature tones on such things as:

    - the intro to "Hemispheres"

    - the main guitar parts in "Xanadu"

    - the intro to "Spirit of Radio" - Is it a flanger like I've always thought, or some sort of phaser?

    - the main rhythm guitars in "Spirit of Radio" and "Tom Sawyer"


    For the obvious clean chorusey stuff, you can guess he's either using a JC-120 or plugging in an old Boss Chorus. That's easy. For the above group, there's a sort of swirly dirtiness that isn't exactly chorus, phaser, rotary speaker or just delay (IMO at least).

    Any secrets, tips, etc.?
     
  2. RMosack

    RMosack Supporting Member

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    I know I'm responding to myself, but I found this on a search in the middle of a thread on people's favorite album tones:

    Wow, just a simple chorus into a cranked amp. Maybe the fact that it's a ES Gibson as opposed to the almost standard Strat-Chorus-amp thing you'd get from that period that makes it different.
     
  3. GrisGrisFunk

    GrisGrisFunk Member

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    I know effects wise you can use a Electric Mistress Flanger, a Boss Chorus CE1, Maestro phaser, and a echoplex. I know he was using these effects around that time, also he used a MXR distortion pedal for solo boosts.

    Also, the most overlooked part on Lifeson's tone for that era are the Hiwatt amps. They give you the main foundation for his tone for that Hemispheres-Moving Picture period.

    I have a Reeves 50 watt Custom (Hiwatt style amp) that I got for Gilmour type tones. But playing stuff like the Trees, La Villa Strangiato, and anything from Permanent Waves. This amp is dead on the money! It's actually a Hiwatt DR-504 clone.

    Moving Pics is a little trickier to mimick. Don't forget that Alex was using the Strat with a humbucker pickup. So that gave him a unique sound too. This kind of stuff comes into play if not more than the effects do. You should try to cover the foundation of his tone first if your trying to get a convincing tone.

    Mike
     
  4. Scott Cioe

    Scott Cioe Member

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    Cool - The CE-1 is the big original unit. I think (although I have never used one) that they are quite a bit more organic (hence that swirl that you mentioned) than any small stomper. The CE-2's (I use a keeley modded one) and beyond are good, compact pedals, but I am not sure that you can get the same thing from them.
     
  5. erksin

    erksin Member

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    Some of this is out of the Moving Pictures tour program I still have...

    HiWatts, H&H solid state, Marshall Club & Country(?) combos, and a Leslie cab for amps.

    EH Electric Mistress, Roland/Boss CE-1, MXR Distortion + and Micro Amp, Roland 301 Space Echo, Morley Wah/Volume, Moog Taurus pedals for effects.

    Gibson ES-355, 1175 Doubleneck, the tobacco LP, Hentor Partsocaster for electrics (this is the HB equipped Strat that he used for all the divebombing whammy craziness like on Spirit and Limelight).

    His best tones IMO are from Kings thru MP - those HiWatts are amazing amps...
     
  6. RMosack

    RMosack Supporting Member

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    Interesting. Very similar lists from different people. I've had a bunch of pedals over the years, but I've been in a "less FX" mode for a few years, so I've used a GT-8 for everything. I'm wondering how well it can replicate those classic analog units of yesteryear such as the Electric Mistress, CE-1 and Maestro.

    As I understand it, the CE-1 and CE-2 are quite different. I suppose Voodoo Labs makes a modern version of the CE-1 that'll do all that classic Rush and Police chorus stuff. I wonder (if the GT-8 won't cut it) if there's anything out there now that covers the ground of things like the Mistress and the Maestro.
     
  7. RMosack

    RMosack Supporting Member

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    BTW, anybody know if the signature lick in "Spirit of Radio" is phased or flanged?
     
  8. Jemlite

    Jemlite Member

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    Big Rush fan here as well.

    ...Get the Retro-Sonic Chorus and I guarantee you will smile everytime you jam on some Rush.
     
  9. nlopez

    nlopez Silver Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    I always thought it was flanged. Sounds like that to me
     
  10. RMosack

    RMosack Supporting Member

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    I've been poking around doing searches on anything remotely to do with CE-1, Lifeson, Electric Mistress, etc.

    It seems that I've learned a few things.

    1) The CE-2 was much different than the CE-1 it replaced. Not only smaller, but a different, brighter tone.

    2) It would seem that the CE-1 is the classic Rush and Police chorus. Unfortunately, these are 3 decades out of production, so newer clones have to suffice.

    3) Along those lines, it appears that there are a few people out there making modern choruses that "do" the old CE-1 sound (as opposed to the later CE-2, CE-3 or even the classic EH Small Clone sounds). At this point, that list seems to include the:
    - Retro-Sonic Chorus Ensemble
    - Voodoo Lab Analog Chorus
    - Fulltone Choralflange
    There may be more, but I'm not yet aware. Of these three at least, does the Retro-Sonic really stand out above the others? I have to say that the clips on the RS site sound pretty darn good, but what can you really tell from a computer clip?
     
  11. RMosack

    RMosack Supporting Member

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    Here's another question.

    The Electric Mistress seems to show up on all of the searches for Lifeson's gear. Is it that distinct as a flanger, or will any decent flanger do?

    The reason I ask is that it seems that for chorus, you have to stay in the CE-1 tonality ballpark. For flanger,
    a) does it really matter?
    b) is the Mistress that much different than the other flangers out there?

    Sorry for all of the back to back questions, but I'm kind of on a Rush roll now! :BEER
     
  12. nlopez

    nlopez Silver Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    You got me diggin out the Nano to hear all these tunes while I am on the job-The call me the Workin Man"
    Just need a brew.
     
  13. erksin

    erksin Member

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    The Retro-Sonic is THE CE-1 clone - you won't be disappointed, IMO.

    The Electric Mistress might have newer clones out there (Foxrox TZF maybe?), but I've never owned a flanger that could do those huge sweeping flanges like on 'Jacob's Ladder' etc - maybe an A/DA Flanger but those are hard to find too.
     
  14. Dan Desy

    Dan Desy Member

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    Yeah, I'm pretty sure.

    I can't believe you can't get acceptable effects out of the GT8. That thing has everything in it. That's all I use for effects, but I must admit I never try to copy tones.

    I'd rather produce my own with the same kind of "signature". I'm pretty happy with my Rush toned without breaking down and analyzing what they should be.
     
  15. todd richman

    todd richman Senior Member

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    Do yourself a favor and grab a copy of the Guitar Player cover story with Alex and Geddy from around May 1981-jklutherie usually has these back issues in stock. I believe he did use a CE-1, Maestro PS-1a Phaser, Electric Mistress, some dirt boxes, and maybe a Space Echo. I think he went to Loft DDL's around the time of MP or maybe Signals.
     
  16. Trogdor

    Trogdor Member

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    I'm pretty sure that the sound you hear in the intro to The Spirit Of Radio is the Electric Mistress flanger as I own one now. I hear a lot of his tones are form the Elctric Mistress. You can make it sound like a fantastic chorus unit. Listen to Andy Summers and you hear it big time on the Zennyatta album. If you can find one on ebay, I highly recommend it. I hear the Deluxe is not the same. As for using those multi-digital-fx units, well you are not going to get the same sound, that's for sure...it's like :horse if ya know what iI mean. (sorry, had to use that smily here:cool:)
     
  17. RMosack

    RMosack Supporting Member

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    I guess it comes down to having some sort of direction in mind before attempting to fiddle with all of the effects, parameters, et al. Just having a clue that a specific effect should be used (e.g. CE-1) would at least lead me to try and dial in a CE-1 sound with the GT-8 chorus as opposed to fiddling with other things like phase or flange to no avail.

    Heck, just going to the Retro-Sonic site today and clicking on their "Fly By Night" chorus clip made me re-think my approach to monkeying with my own choruses.

    Then again, if all the parameters and settings on my GT-8 can't come close to a warm CE-1 tone, then it's good to know that and approach things differently. The same holds true if the various parameters for the GT-8 flanger can't "do" Electric Mistress.
     

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