Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by BryanMatthews, Jul 12, 2010.
Here we go again!
I own a 71 Marshall Smallbox 50 and a 62 Fender Bandmaster among dozens of other amps,,i've been collecting 1000's of tubes for 25+ years, there IS a difference in the gain and tone of 12ax7, on top of that, you bias a pair of big bottle Sylvania 6ca7 very hot say 75% dissipation (they are stout tubes you know), the sound can change significantly.
I can vary the gain just with the V1 and V3 slots in my 71 Marshall or my 62 Bandmaster with different 12ax7 in my collection
EVH used a blonde Bandmaster like mine early on, they are gainy amps (nothing like Blackface Fenders) that are sensitive to tube changes same as my 71 Marshall,,,,you put a Dimarzio super distortion in front of either of these amps and it is a way different tone than a PAF, much more gain.
I dont know exactly what pickup was in the Ibanez Destroyer used for the rhythm parts on VH1, but i would bet it was a much hotter pickup than a PAF or T-Top Gibson.
I am saying certain 12ax7 distort more on the top end than others, this along with hotter overwound pickups set closer to the strings is going to give more gain.
Plus with EVH running a 100 watt Marshall into a single 4x12 you will get more speaker distortion than a pair of 4x12s.
All of these little things add up, plus some non master Marshalls are gainier than others, just the slight differences in component tolerances can make a difference.
Great post jcs!
For the record, most of the songs on VH1 is one take live, solo and all. Yup, Ed was a monster back then.
Echo plex?Xotic says him,Eric Johnson and several other people swore by them to drive the front of their amps.
Indeed, but the boost from an EP3 isn't that much at all really.
The first time I saw VH was right when the first album came out. I didn't even know who they were and it sounded like that live. I saw them many more times in the early 80's and I thought their tone sucked. That first time though he sounded just like that album live. It was at the Spectrum in Philly.
I think if you want to hear the answer, get hold of a real vintage plexi, crank it, and drop the line voltage a tad with a variac. You'll hear it right away. I've ever had a few come through the shop that would do it just fine without a variac, including a '68 I rebuilt for someone. Best sounding Plexi I've ever heard. That amp showed just over 400v at the plates of the EL34s, so it had the low V thing going stock. Original Xformers etc., but it had caught fire due to lack of screen grid resistors (something Marshall corrected right after that) and I had to replace the tube socket and most of the wiring, though not components, from the PI onward. I added screen grid resistors and grid stoppers so the problem didnt recur and it didn't ring. Absolutely killer sounding amp, it nailed the VH tone and about any other plexi tone you would want.
Also remember that those old Celestions were not efficient speakers; maybe 94-96db tops. If you are running one of those heads through modern speakers, that often push 100db efficiency and beyond, its going to be MUCH louder.
You don't need to goose them with anything on the front end, but if you do you can probably drop the volume knob a bit.
This borders on heresy, but I think Pete Thorn's recordings of himself playing along with Van Halen... actually...um... sound better than the original tracks.
Pete's an amazing player and big VH fan. He and Al Estrada are great at that style.
I guess it makes it just a tad hard to believe all you "Marshall experts" when you just go around saying stuff like that. If you want to be a LITTLE more convincing, you would have to give us the info just HOW did those few Marshalls sound great and HOW do the others not sound great.
Do you have any idea just why did that '69 had so much gain? Is there pixie dust in it? Coincidence? Alien technology? Modifications? I mean you say you kept it, do you ever wonder what makes it special? How about you find out and tell us.
Otherwise, all I can say is your opinion is just an opinion without merit.
What I mean is: all those old songs have a single guitar track, unless there were overdubbed solo parts. Hearing old VH songs with twin guitars panned left and right playing exactly the same thing was awesome!
All I can say is that you obviously have NO EXPERIENCE with old Marshall's. What he said is dead on accurate. Anyone with ears can tell that they werent all created equally. The problem is that there really isnt a specific one thing as to "why" some are magical and some are not. I have a '68 and a '69 also that will get those levels of gain easily. I have owned others with the exact same components and and stated specs and they were like night and day. Some have "it" and some dont. All the parts in the amps have tolerances, which can drift over time, the "why" would really be in the sum of the parts...everything used in the building of that particular amp. The amps arent equal becuase the components, despite what thier stated values are, are not exactly equal. So, what you have in those magical ones is really everything used in the amp coming together in a very special way. EVH , at least to him, had a very special Marshall that did what he wanted it to do. He has commented on this many times. If they were all the same, why would he go to all the trouble to get this amp back to it's former glory when all he would have to do is just use another one. Before you start saying that all us "Marshall experts" are just spewing out opinions without merit, maybe YOU should get some experience with them first.
I really don't care to convince anyone anything. Why should I do any research to benefit you?
Try and find some old marshalls and do your own research....then you'll understand.
I'm just very happy and lucky that this particular '69 found it's way to me. There are other great ones out there too, hope you find one.
It's really cool when you come across the good ones isnt it?
Yes , it is!! You realize why some these guys went to such great lengths to protect and preserve thier amps. You dont come across the magical ones everyday.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest he had some kind of a distortion pedal circut hidden inside his amp.
I have always said,and also it was said to me by Jose Arrendondo that when Van halen recorded the first album(Van halen 1),a overdrive-distortion unit was used,thats why van halen 1 is the most aggressive and distorted then any of the van halen recordings,Eds so-called magic marshall sounded different from album to album(recording to recording),it was not consistent.
VH1 is notably more gainy because the EP3 echoplex and phase90 was used more prominently and Ed I think was using hotter pickups. All the other classic VH albums are actually not that high in gain at all - particularly from Fair Warning to 1984. On a few solo's from Fair Warning, Diver Down and 1984 you can actually hear Ed fighting against the lack of gain. He has to really dig out the notes and if Ed had extra gain delivered by pedals he would never get the volume roll-off needed on so many songs.
Paulscape,the phase 90 is not a drive effect its a coloration pedal,its not going to add gain as for the ep3 echoplex its not going to add the type if gain-distortion that Ed achieved on Van halen 1.