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

dave s

Member
Messages
6,434
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
 

Jahn

Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
28,929
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.
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?
 

AL30

Member
Messages
3,001
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
 

dave s

Member
Messages
6,434
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
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
 

loudboy

Member
Messages
27,316
Strings would also be the first place I looked.

McGuinn says he never changed the strings on his Rick.

Loudboy
 

pgissi

Member
Messages
2,481
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
 

909one

Member
Messages
2,197
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.
 

909one

Member
Messages
2,197
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!
 

dave s

Member
Messages
6,434
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.
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
 

dave s

Member
Messages
6,434
You might have to borrow a blackface or tweed fender amp from someone and see if that works.
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
 

drbob1

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
28,095
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...
 

reeced

Member
Messages
567
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.
 

Kurzman

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,252
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.
 

thefyn

Senior Member
Messages
675
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.
 

DGDGBD

Member
Messages
7,014
Has anyone mentioned choice of speaker? That can make the biggest difference of all.
 

scottcw

Low rent hobbyist
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,230
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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