Help coaxing a more 'vintage 60s tone' from my gear

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by dave s, Jan 9, 2008.

  1. dave s

    dave s Member

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    Looking for ideas and things to try that might coax more accurate vintage 60s tones from my gear.

    Using CS Strats and a Ric 360 v12 into a VOX AC15H1TV amp for gigs. Also have the usual gaggle of pedals at my disposal including:

    RC Boost
    Hot Cake
    Crunch Box
    Peppermint Fuzz
    Vibe - used on one song
    Delay - used on a couple songs

    Tones my gig requires include Stones, Hollies, Vogues, Byrds, Grass Roots, Paul Revere/Raiders, etc.

    I'm probably not going to move away from a Strat as my main guitar, so please help me work with what I have and refrain from recommending a Gretsch or a 335.

    The single tone recipe that seems to get me closest to 'vintage 60s tone' is using the peppermint fuzz set to a pretty searing fuzztone with the guitar's volume control nearly off to 'deaden' the the overall tone considerably. Using a strat, it produces a rhythm tone nearly identical to the opening riff of Carousel by The Hollies.

    Other than that, the gear still sounds WAY too modern for most of what we play. Also, I'm not getting nearly the 'jangle' you'd expect using the Ric 360 v12.

    Any tone recipes based on available gear? Flatwound strings? Sure would appreciate some insight, ideas and thoughts. Thank you in advance.

    dave
     
  2. Jahn

    Jahn Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver Supporting Member

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    I don't see a compression box in your list. Looks like you need a Janglebox.

    http://janglebox.com/janglebox_about.htm

    Hey, if it's good enough for Roger McGuinn himself, right?
     
  3. AL30

    AL30 Member

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    The guitarist I play with uses an AC15 (90's model) with a strat, a tele, and a Ric 12 string. His only pedal is a Tube Screamer. Great "open" tone.

    Have you tried just running straight into the amp yet? Or just using one dirt box?


    AL
     
  4. dave s

    dave s Member

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    Al,

    Yep. Going straight into the amp provides a wonderfully 'open' tone. But for some reason, it just sounds much too modern and not '60s' at all. Frankly, it's ME and not the gear, but don't know what to do to get me closer to the real deal.

    dave
     
  5. dave s

    dave s Member

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    Nice idea. What about a Barber Tone Press used, for about HALF that price? Will it get me anywhere near the Janglebox compression?

    dave
     
  6. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    Strings would also be the first place I looked.

    McGuinn says he never changed the strings on his Rick.

    Loudboy
     
  7. pgissi

    pgissi Member

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    The Vox or generic 60's tones you may be remebering and are acting as your reference were rendered from amps running vintage voltage, 110VAC

    Get yourself a variac, they can be had for $50 or so and dial down the current 120 to 125VAC and see what happens.

    It will not hurt the amp and its something frequently overlooked

    will lower the plate voltages, reduce headroom some (where you may be hearing the modern and harder sound)

    add some more sag in addition to the tube recitfier
     
  8. pgissi

    pgissi Member

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    I meant to say dial down the wall voltage from the current 120VAC to 110VAC
     
  9. 909one

    909one Member

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    Remember...
    Most of the guitars on the records in the sixties were recorded with a U47 or a nice ribbon, going into a tube pre-amp of some sort, then through an LA-2A or a Fairchild or some type tube compressor, then hitting tape at a fairly hot level. Then it was mixed through a Neve or a Trident desk to more tape, then mastered directly to vinyl. There are so many factors playing into the tone beyond the guitar, amp and pedals... There are so many possibilities for the pleasant harmonic distortion that we all love to appear, when you factor in all those gain stages. Not to mention the fact that all this was being done by great producers and engineers. I bet if you took you current setup and brought it back to the 60's you would be pleased with the sounds you were getting to record. That Vox amp you have is pretty darn close to what people had back then.

    People's perceptions of what recorded music should sound like has changed. I love music from the 60's, but all most all of it has an attenuated high end. By today's standards, the fidelity really sucked back then. By the time the 80's rolled around, tape machines were capable of reproducing quite accurately all sounds in the full frequency spectrum.

    We (my self included) are so nostalgic for those sounds in the past. Unfortunely, we are never going to attain them in the same way unless we went in a time warp.

    Sorry to be a downer in this post. I'm just being a realist about the fact that my(our) boutique/vintage gear obsession is something not always based in reality, and hence drives me crazy in pursuit of it.
     
  10. 909one

    909one Member

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    ps. Try putting Lollar pickups in your Strat. I just got some for a Tele I put together and I have never heard pickups that sound so good - esp in that 'vintage way'. You won't be disappointed!
     
  11. sector9

    sector9 Member

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    You might have to borrow a blackface or tweed fender amp from someone and see if that works.
     
  12. dave s

    dave s Member

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    Hey, that wasn't a 'downer' post at all. And you're probably correct regarding all the processing that lead to compression and squishing before guitar tones were committed to tape back then.

    I recently sold a Tele that had the Lollar BF pickups. Very nice, but couldn't get enough versatility from the tele to make it work as a #1 player at gigs.

    Thanks for your take. appreciated your words.

    dave
     
  13. dave s

    dave s Member

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    I've been resisting going 'tweed' due to the early breakup and lack of enough volume for live work most small tweed amps provide. The AC15 is the lowest power amp I've used as a gigging guitarist! It can be easily turned up to the point of breakup and sounds really good, just not really sixty-ish.

    Maybe this weekend I'll make a CD full of tones I need and get back to work on the 'stage rig.'

    dave
     
  14. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    I'm having trouble imagining what it is about your sound you're not hearing. Could it be the tube choices in the AC15? I noticed a huge difference going from modern EL84s to Mullards in my AC30s (and if you can't afford those, Lord Valve has some NOS russian military things that get darn close). Are your strat pickups low output (you'd be surprised how much higher output strats have become since Stevie Ray came along, I had to go with the lowest output vintage set from Seymour Duncan to match my 57 strats original, Lollars are great sounding too)? I'd start with getting amp and guitar to sound like you need, plugged straight in, then work on pedals to expand the palette...
     
  15. The Whiz

    The Whiz Member

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    pure nickel wound strings might help.
     
  16. reeced

    reeced Member

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    dave s, as far as strings go, flatwounds are definitely the right way. AFAIK Roger McGuinn uses Pyramid flatwounds, and certainly a lot of 60s groups used flatwounds eg Rotosounds.
    For something like "On a Carousel" have you tried a WAH pedal on a fixed open setting to give that trebly nasally sound.
    Also perhaps using a touch of chorus to give a synthetic double-tracked sound - a lot of 60s guitars were double tracked.
     
  17. Kurzman

    Kurzman Supporting Member

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    I just wanted to also suggest the Janglebox. It is a compressor and a treble booster.
    I know it would be hard to try one before buying but on the off chance you didn't like it you probably would be able to eBay it for about 90% of the orig. price.
    I was told (second hand info!) that the Janglebox is a clone of the Ross compressor with additions taken from the compressor built into the Ric ltd. ed. McGuinn 12 string.
    This is totally subjective but to me it's the coolest stompbox ever. When you stomp it, it's 1966. I use it after a Peppermint Fuzz for that perfect Electric Prunes sound.
     
  18. thefyn

    thefyn Member

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    4x10's seem to work good for me for getting a vintage sound. Even though there were not many 4x10's around back then :)

    I have the same issue, and I am looking at a Gretch/dot clone with upgraded pickups


    It's ironic you mention that you didnt want that and its the first thing I thought of.
     
  19. DGDGBD

    DGDGBD Member

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    Has anyone mentioned choice of speaker? That can make the biggest difference of all.
     
  20. scottcw

    scottcw Low rent hobbyist Silver Supporting Member

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    Since everything matters, work your way through the entire chain.

    - Strings. Pure nickel. I recommend SOB 10-46, but with a .015 plain G (yes, you read that right).

    - Pickups. Vintage wind, low output, something in the low to mid 5s. Staggered.

    - Speaker. Alnico. Should probably go for a Cele Blue. Weber Blue Dog is an alternative.

    - Tubes. NOS if you can afford them. Otherwise, research the closest affordable alternative.
     

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