Neal Schon: How does he do it?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Diezelman, Jun 3, 2008.

  1. Diezelman

    Diezelman Member

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    OK guys-I've watched and listened to Neal for years (pre Steve Perry). The guys solos just "soar" for a lack of better words. I'd love to know what his rig is. I get pretty close with my Diezel amp, Neal Schon LP (w/sustainers which are a "secret" weapon), a Vox 847 (which he often leaves engaged), a Boss DS-1.
    But he uses a layering effect. I've never tried an echoplex or eventide so I don't know if that is close. I've used various delays etc. but can't nail it. Yes I know much of it is in his hands,soul,technique, tour after tour etc. .
    I'll be interested to see what you guys come up with as it never ceases to amaze me what shows up here. Aside from his endorsements,Neal NEVER talks about his set up other than the obvious.
    So what is his secret?
    A good solo I hear this "soar" on is at about 4:00 on "Faith In The Heartland" (Generations) and "Stone in Love". It's not just on the high crescendos but on the lower mid-fingerboard fills as well.

    Pics of his rig are definitely worth a good beer or 3!:BEER
     
  2. bandofthieves™

    bandofthieves™ Member

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    For Guitar The sustainor, he also has a midi pickup.. Amp and tone wise,There are secrets (under) the stage..
    Fairly recent pedalboard shot,one of them....
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Rocked Star

    Rocked Star Member

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    I am glad to know there's someone out there who loves and respects Neal the way I do. He would get my vote for being one of the best ever. I have read that he did the album "Voice" with nothing more than a Boss GT6 (and there it is on his board) into the board with minimal tweaking. He was also using a couple Cyber Twins for awhile live (which were behind his Marshalls or Hiwatts). Good luck in your search.
     
  4. zachman

    zachman Senior Member

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    Neal is AWESOME!!! :agree

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  5. re-animator

    re-animator Senior Member

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    I love neal too!! Took me a long long time to find a serviceable neal schon tone, but I think I found it.


    You'd be tempted to write off Neal's tone as a generic 80s hard rock/guitar wanker solo tone, but its a lot deeper than that. Its one of the things that makes him so unique.

    others:


    2. his phrasing and knowledge of melody
    - i don't think I've EVER heard any guitarist who phrases their solos quite the way Neal does. He somehow gets in 'between' the melody of the song and puts his solo right in the perfect niche. That's because Journey is not some band created solely for the advancement of some guitar wanker's career.

    3. His vibrato and attack. Its frantic, but even. Aggressive, but it sings. It reminds me of a cross between Michael Schenker, Jimmy Page's live tone, and BB King.




    Now I feel like I've been able to incorporate my favorite things about Neal's playing into my own music. My latest song (in my sig) I think puts a lot of it in play - at least the way i see it.
     
  6. sega

    sega Member

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    I had a ''guitar player'' magazine that showed Neal's interview and he used a lot of different gear on different album.

    Love the guy. he has some tasty licks cause he's a soul guy.He could easely play with Bobby Womack type of music and that would just be great.

    He started playing at a very young age, and was surrended by musician,

    I'll try to find the magazine and get back at you.

    My faverites are form all Greg Rollie albums.
    He should have never quit.
     
  7. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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    I love Neal Schon's playing - his melodicism is unmatched. But the key to his tone is a wobbly stick Les Paul Custom. There's an '83 for sale near me with a factory Kahler. $2k. Got to be good.
     
  8. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    Rather then gear I would look at how and where you hit the notes while playing, you can change things drastically by focusing on these simple things. BTW, I think he is one of the most melodic players around and really a great person to learn from in the art of creating a great guitar solo (that is hummable and memorable).
     
  9. Structo

    Structo Member

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    Man, the guy does have some gear, eh?
    Never would have guessed Hiwatts, but I never really investigated it either.
     
  10. Dr Git

    Dr Git Member

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    :RoCkInNeil Rules
     
  11. fizbin

    fizbin Member

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    At 4:00 (and elsewhere) the delay is turned up a bit - probably via the send off the board during mixdown. I hear no other effect, no doubling there - however there is a guitar note that hangs through the next phrase sort of in the background - probably two guitars (not doubling each other but playing complimentary parts) or the delay playing tricks on my ears.

    It's mostly just great distortion lead tone and delay. Oh, and Neil playing.
     
  12. bosstone

    bosstone Member

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    I have seen him with Santana and Journey. He is the real deal. He also does a fantastic cut using long delay on the Les Paul and Friends CD. I know he is a gear and pedal freak and saw him in Bananas At Large in San Rafael, CA going through pedals a few months back. I don't know if he still uses them but he has used 15" speakers in the past. He has an extremely thick and warm sound and a fantastic feel for melody and his leads do soar. His son ain't too shabby either. His son (can't remember his first name) sat in at a small gig in Petaluma with a friend of mine for over an hour.
     
  13. Lolaviola

    Lolaviola Supporting Member

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    I know Neal is great at phrasing, playing behind Santana all those years, and he always has a lot of gain and a touch of delay.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the solos from classic Journey cuts may be double-tracked.
     
  14. Jet Bycraft

    Jet Bycraft Member

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    Neal is one of my favorite players. I saw Journey (Pre-Perry) at Winterland........what a great show! :JAM
     
  15. Rocked Star

    Rocked Star Member

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    FYI, the new Journey CD is out today and Neal's playing does not disappoint!
     
  16. cber1517

    cber1517 Member

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    Amen! I started a thread for Revelation over in the Lounge but it's as quiet as a morgue over there! :messedup

    I will wait and give it some bumpage if I need to. One of Journey's best IMHO.

    :bow
     
  17. hudpucker

    hudpucker Supporting Member

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    Great player. I even liked the Schon guitars.
     
  18. EndOfSystem

    EndOfSystem Senior Member

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    The last time I saw Journey was the week they closed Winterland.
    The following week they played at the Oakland Auditorium with Steve Perry, I lost interest after that. Still have the first two albums in iTunes though, so cool.

    They had the space theme painted on the amp grill cloth if I remember (that's the real trick) I think he was playing through a number of quad reverbs. I know they were tall Fenders, not heads and cabs.

    The old black LP Custom and a Strat on a few songs, big hair and the Fu Manchu.
    They blew everyone away for sure.

    Journey, Manfred Mann and the Pousset Dart Band.
    Of course we all got "blinded" by the huge row of lights across the front of the stage at MM's encore.

    Crazy show

    WARNING: This post is subject to flashbacks and potential skewed facts

    - EOS :rolleyes:
     
  19. Franktone

    Franktone Member

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    Thanks Band of Thieves and Zachman for the awesome photos. Neal has great class in his playing. His is a highly seasoned guitarist and his early playing with Santana still makes me shake my head.
     
  20. Franktone

    Franktone Member

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    Of course Neal's playing in Journey is way out there in another dimension in terms of tone and playing the part that hits the heart.
     

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