Help! I'm lost. Still searching for my Les Paul tone

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by leftyaxeslinger, Sep 6, 2006.

  1. leftyaxeslinger

    leftyaxeslinger Supporting Member

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    I recently came to the realization that I love my Strat sound. I found the right combinations of pickups and pedals and all the years of research (and spending money!) have paid off.

    The same can't be said for my Les Paul sound. I've been searching for a combination of pickups/pedals/amps that will get me in the ballpark of a tone reminiscent of Page's The Song Remains The Same type tone. I feel if I can get this as sort of my "base" tone, it will be the jump off point for finding my own sound. I really need to do this at moderate volume levels too. I guess its just a classic LP rock sound I'm after.

    My LP is a 1994 Standard with a few mods - push/pull pots for coil splitting and neck pickup phase reversal, WCR Darkburst in the bridge/Crossroads neck, featherweight bridge, bone nut - all done by a pro luthier. Its a heavier LP - 10.5 lbs, Any suggestions? The guitar plays great, but I can't seem to dial in the sound.
     
  2. SFW

    SFW Member

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    I dont' have any experience with the WCR, but I think that the Duncan Ants can nail Page's tone. As far as amps go, check out the new Kustom Coupe 36. Great vintage voiced amp. I was highly impressed with the one I got to play. Just a thought...
     
  3. Mudder

    Mudder Member

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    The Bareknuckle Black Dog is as close to Page's sound as I've found.
     
  4. EricPeterson

    EricPeterson Member

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    You mean the song or the live concert/movie thing? for the song he uses a the double neck sg and plays it ona 12 string, for the concert i think he was using marshall stacks, a vox wah and some kind os fuzz box. for a early page tone you want to get a old supro bass amp and crank it plug in your pual and rip.

    over at led-zeppelin.org they have great resorces on pages equiptment and even have several articles detailing the methods he used for recording several songs, it is extremely informative.
     
  5. The Golden Boy

    The Golden Boy Member

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    IMO, the best thing you can do is to back off the gain. I like plenty of gain, but Page's tone, especially in TSRTS is really clean. If you're using a pedal for your gain, you need to find an OD pedal that won't compress your tone and still keep the bottom end together. If you're using a MV amp- back off the preamp.
     
  6. Festus

    Festus Supporting Member

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    You mentioned push/pull pots. I'd suggest taking them out of the circuit to see how that changes your humbucking tone. You might be surprised. I'm using WCR's as well, and really like the way those pickups sound.
     
  7. EricPeterson

    EricPeterson Member

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    He said he was looking for a page tone and he had push/pull pots in his paul.
     
  8. The Golden Boy

    The Golden Boy Member

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    And JP didn't have push/pull pots in his #1 guitar until the past 10 years or so.
     
  9. EricPeterson

    EricPeterson Member

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    Oh? really? my bad i thought he had that for a while. I retract my statement.

    :BEER
     
  10. The Golden Boy

    The Golden Boy Member

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    He had 2 switches mounted under the pickguard of #2- which he picked up around 1975 or so. Other than that the wiring has been pretty much stock until they came up with the wiring scheme for the Production JP LP in 95/96. I heard #1 was switched to that wiring scheme sometime afterwards.
     
  11. Johnnytone

    Johnnytone Supporting Member

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    Page has a very bass-shy tone that sits well in the band but is kinda thin on its own. Start by turning the bass and mids on 0, and treble on 10 and go from there.

    Turn guitar volume on the bridge pickup down to 6-7, the tone to 5-6.
    Neck pickup set to 5, tone to 10

    throw the switch in the middle

    inject some smack, and you're there!











    that's a joke
     
  12. CjRuckus

    CjRuckus Member

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    what kind of amp are you using?
     
  13. leftyaxeslinger

    leftyaxeslinger Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the advice.

    I've often thought that the wiring with push pull pots may be affecting the tone somewhat. I've thought about converting it back with a quality vintage wiring kit..

    Oh, and when I said The Song Remains The Same, I meant the album. And really, I just love his live tone from that era, say '72-'75. There's a certain sparkle and chime to his tone that just kills me, espicially in the neck and neck/middle positions. I concur with Golden Boy about the type of tone it is. I'm setting everything up real clean, but every OD I try with my LP seems to take something away from the clarity and definition of the notes. Are there any OD pedals out there that can give me light-medium gain plus a little of the at Pagey chime?

    I can get real close to the early Zep sound with my tele, my EMMA od and a Fulltone Soulbender.

    As far a s amps go, I've tried to get this tone with a couple of Marshall JCM 800's (head/cab and combo), a '71 Princeton Reverb (great practice amp that takes pedals real well), Louis Electric KR 12 (great amp, but sold it). I have a Fargen Dual Classic being built as we speak. I'm hoping the Tweed/early MArshall side of the DC might do the trick.

    It's that LP sound that haunts me!!
     
  14. pirateflynn

    pirateflynn Supporting Member

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    I was just getting ready to ask the same question.
     
  15. leftyaxeslinger

    leftyaxeslinger Supporting Member

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    Just answered above!
     
  16. 1radicalron

    1radicalron Member

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    I accidently found what I consider to be the Ultimate Les Paul Tone.
    I started with a 1999-1959 Historic Re-Issue -a very light 8 pounder.
    I added the RS Guitarworks Historic upgrade superpots and Hovland Musicaps. Put on a Aluminum Tailpeice and Tonepros ABR bridge.
    Then I Put in a pair of Tom Holmes 450/455 Humbuckers.
    I would bring this Guitar to any Les Paul Competition and expect to take home the gold every time!!!!

    Oh Yeah' - My amp is an Aiken 30 watt Invader loaded with a Pair of Mullard EL-34's Going into a Marshall 4x12 full of Celestion Heritage cones.
    [​IMG]
     
  17. leftyaxeslinger

    leftyaxeslinger Supporting Member

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  18. EricPeterson

    EricPeterson Member

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  19. leftyaxeslinger

    leftyaxeslinger Supporting Member

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    Yeah, I've seen that before. That's a great resource for sure. I guess my problem is that I'd like to approximate the tone without using all that wattage and obviously some of that old gear is hard to come by now.
     
  20. The Golden Boy

    The Golden Boy Member

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    I just re-read your initial post and also your amp list.
    Are you using the JCM800s?

    This is what I'd do-

    Presence- 10
    Bass- 8-10 (although Johnnytone also gave some seriously good advice/insight- give that some thought)
    Mid- 4-6
    Treble- 4-6
    Master-2
    Preamp- 5-7.

    I personally believe that a lot of that big sound is a 4x12. Try as I might, with a dozen or so quality cabs, I've never found a 2x12 that sounds like a 4x12, but just smaller in size. The JCM 800 heads are pretty decent and combined with a 4x12 and Les Paul- that should get you into a good rock and roll tonal area.

    As far as pedals go- in the mid 80s Page was using a Boss DS-1, SD-1, CE-2 and his Echoplex.

    Your LP has volume knobs and a selector switch- use them to your advantage. I've never had a need for channel switching amps, just because I can have a lower volumed "clean" sound by rolling off the volume on one of the pickups on the LP- it's just the flip of the selector switch that changes your dirty/clean- and then an OD/DIST pedal for solos or gain. What's really great about that LP/Marshall thing is that it's so organic. Backing off the gain on those amps allows you to have a sense of dynamic- not relying on the pedal for your sole source of gain will free some of that dynamic up.

    That being said, don't be afraid of using pedals to do what you need them to do. I personally think you should be happy with your guitar/amp sound for most of what you can describe as "your" sound, and use your pedals for "Bam!" and "Shimmer." Again, that's just my opinion.
     

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