Robbie Robertson's gear on The Last Waltz

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by tjs, Mar 9, 2006.

  1. tjs

    tjs Senior Member

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    What was Robbie Robertson using on The Last Waltz? I'm particularly interested in the strat (did he remove the middle pickup and put a HB in the bridge, or did he just move the middle pickup next to the bridge one?), as well as whatever amp(s) he was using. How did he get that gorgeous snarling crunch sound on The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down?
     
  2. A440

    A440 Silver Supporting Member

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    he moved the mid pickup next to the bridge. easier access for his use of fingerpicks :)

    ampwise, I believe you'll see some old fender tweeds if you review the movie footage. there are some musicmans up there too, but think those are clapton's (??)

    supposedly, they shut his vocal mics off. lol
     
  3. erksin

    erksin Member

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    Seymour Duncan did the mods to his Strat, IIRC - yes, essentially moved the middle pup next to the bridge - not a humbucker.

    Amps were tweed Bassmans, I do believe...
     
  4. 1959burst

    1959burst boogieman

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    yeah that strat was also BRONZED ....................like what they do with baby shoes!
     
  5. e h e

    e h e Member

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    I think the amps were by Music Man. This said, very little of that record was unadulterated live recording, at least according to Levon Helm. The tone may have been obtained in a more controlled, studio environment
     
  6. tjs

    tjs Senior Member

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    Do you know if he kept the wiring the same or if it was modded?

    Hmm...assuming that the wiring was not changed, the bridge/middle position would essentially be a beefy bridge HB wired in parallel, while the middle/neck position would be similar to the bridge/neck setting that many people mod their strats to get.

    This might just be better than the traditional strat setup for people who don't like quack or the middle pickup by itself.
     
  7. jtw

    jtw Member

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    if you look closely, i think Robbie has a Music Man and a tweed fender of some sort. not sure if they're being run in parallel or via an A/B box, but he has one or two of each there in his "amp pile". I always thought the tweeds were Deluxes. Great film, glad someone brought up Robbie's gear.
     
  8. tjs

    tjs Senior Member

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    True, but he has the same tone in other live recordings I have, so I doubt there was too much studio trickery involved in achieving it,
     
  9. Mac Daddy 355

    Mac Daddy 355 MilkBone Supporting Member Silver Supporting Member

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    Clapton is playing the Music Man , back then he was endorsing them
    I think RR is playing Bassman's
     
  10. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    I agree - RR sounds like he's playing through a Tweed Bassman to me, and he had a reputation for using those anyhow.

    Sounds pretty good to me too!

    Dana
     
  11. fugazi

    fugazi Member

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    I don't mind when bands 'clean up' a live record in the studio. It is very hard to capture the whole band live and transfer the sound to record accurately. Plus, bands have sloppy chord changes, etc. live.

    The Last Waltz sounds good to me, too.
     
  12. Phil M

    Phil M Supporting Member

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    Thanks for bringing this up. I'm sure it was "improved" in some way and Levon Helm does not strike me as a liar, but I have some live Band material from the Rock of Ages album and his tone is pretty cool in there too.

    "Adulterated" or not, I love the sounds of Up on Cripple Creek and Don't Do It (among others) from The Last Waltz.

    I would love to have a Strat like that bronze one he's playing in the film. I'm kind of surprized that it isn't a custom shop model yet.
     
  13. tjs

    tjs Senior Member

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    I was thinking the same thing. Maybe Fender just figured that nobody would want the moved middle pickup.

    I'd get one in a heartbeat if they ever made one.
     
  14. Antero

    Antero Member

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    Hey, if people will buy ARTIST SIG STRAT THAT IS EXACTLY LIKE A NORMAL STRAT NUMBER FIFTY THOUSAND you'd think they'd go for something cool. ;)
     
  15. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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    Robbie's bronzed strat is very heavy. He got tired of playing aprt way through "Last Waltz" and donned his sunburst 57(?). Cool.
     
  16. jmohr58

    jmohr58 Member

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    I see that this post hasn't been active for several years, but I just found it recently and was interested in the Strat in question myself. And for informational purpose I am adding a link to a 2004 Stratcollector article reprinted from "Fender of Europe" which lists seven historical Stats. Robbie's is one of them and they mention that the strat was retired then bronzed after the concert and is unplayable in this condition. It has also been on loan by Robertson to the Rock and Roll hall of Fame since 1995 in Cleveland, OH.
    http://www.stratcollector.com/newsdesk/archives/000108.html
    But now I have found another article from 1987 from "Musician Magazine" - "The Return of Robbie Robertson" which has a sidebar that Robbie is telling the story of having the Strat Bronzed before the show.
    Quote from the article:
    "I've had this souped-up old Stratocaster quite a while. It has 'Number 254' on the back. You can tell it's old 'cause the neck's a little thick. Before I used it in Last Waltz I had it bronzed, like baby shoes. That gave it a very thick, sturdy sound. A Stratocaster has three pickups; I had the one in the middle moved to the back with the other and tied them together. They have a different sound when they're tied together, and I don't like having a pick-up in the middle, where you pick. I've got a Washburn whammy bar on that guitar.
    Full Article is at http://theband.hiof.no/articles/rr_musician_sep_87.html
    By the way thanks to everyone else for other information on this subject.
    jmohr58
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2010
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  17. JJ Jackson

    JJ Jackson Member

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  18. John Hurtt

    John Hurtt Supporting Member

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    J.J.....dude! How is Martha Quinn these days? :D
     
  19. Washburnmemphis

    Washburnmemphis Member

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    Here's some more info on the strat. In case you haven't seen this.

     
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