Sitting on Top of the World?? How does he get that tone?

sanhozay

klon free since 2009
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I think it's done by cranking a good tube amp, cranking the volume to max on a les Paul with vintage type of pickups and using one's finger pressure to form the tone. Wish it were easier but this is what makes Clapton and others of his ilk so fantastic.
 

franksguitar

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3,684
It's the well known "woman" tone. Rolling off the treble on a Gibson and getting that kazoo sort of voicing with overtones and higher volume not a fuzz. I've done it on both a Firebird V & ES335 I own though both Fender & Marshalls and that's the tone as an experiment. I also once had an original 63-64 Firebird I "the log"
 

teleman1

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15,000
I think Frank might be correct here. I am surprised it wasn't the first suggestion. But, I haven't heard Disraeli Gears in ages and all that come up in my head is the live version.
 

keninsyr

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When they recorded in New York with Tom Down Clapton played thru a Twin in the studio. "Strange Brew" is a Twin on 10. There are alot of live recordings of Cream with Clapton using various Gibsons,335, SG, Firebird and photos of him using a Les Paul and from all documentation the only pedal he ever used was a Wah. Just good old cranked Marshalls.
 

GerryJ

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5,016
That is exactly what I believe he is doing on a few of those tunes...

Having recorded into tube consoles, one can get a very similar tone by slamming the front end with a guitar with humbuckers (like the SG LP or LP). It doesn't sound the same with single coils, either.
Wouldn't slamming the tube console with an overloaded mic signal be pretty much the same process as direct in? - in other words, both situations involve a gain signal that's much more than designed for.

The fuzz guitar on Beatle's 'revolution' was direct into the board, and it has that 'broken' sound (although you can get it with an old school silicon or germanium fuzz pedal too).

The Cream cut sounds like it has too much natural Big Wood Studio Room resonating from 1 (or 2!) Marshall stacks Sound to be a direct-in only.


Regardless, as mentioned above, it's a masterful, perfect solo; don't forget the rhythm section ;) pushing him with that syncopation also.
 

GerryJ

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5,016
Part of the reason it sounds unique to most of us - at least to me - is that, even in my younger days when I played way too loud, I wasn't about to routinely dime the amp and blow the speakers (or the amp itself). But yep, that's the tone.
 

BlueHeaven

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3,462
Yeah, I think EVERYONE has seen that one before...it's been linked to about 1000 times. I never get tired of watching it though. Cream period Clapton STILL does it for me!
Greg
 

Sir_Les

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49
Sounds like an early fuzz pedal to me, sort of like the tone Keef got on Satisfaction. They were experimenting a lot back then, my guess would be he used a fuzz pedal for the studio cut.
 

GTRJoe

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1,698
I've always thought it was Gibson guitar-cocked wah-cranked Marshall. But what I've always wanted to know is how did he got the lead sound on "Deserted Cities of the Heart"
 
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Definitely sounds like a straight into the board. Its common fact that heavily distorted full range guitar (no guitar speakers) sound like ass. But if you are right on that edge of distortion you can get some really cool sounds.
 

GTRJoe

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1,698
I've always thought it was Gibson guitar-cocked wah-cranked Marshall. But what I've always wanted to know is how did he got the lead sound on "Deserted Cities of the Heart"
I have always guessed SOTOTW was guitar-wah-marshall too. I would also love to know what was going on it "Deserted Cities Of The Heart". In particular there seems to be some sort of vibrato or tremolo going on, but it doesn't sound like he's doing it with his fingers. I assume it's amp tremolo, or vibrato set very fast.
 
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I just listened to DCOTH again and i'm still thinking direct into the board. But it also sounds like that lead may have also been recorded to a half speed version of the song, then EC would have played it at half pitch. Played back at normal speed that would definitely give the vibrato's that freakishly fast sound. They were definitely experimenting a lot back then, when there were no rules.
 

Seth L

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Just guitar and amp. That particular song and guitar tone are about as good as it gets.
 

71strat

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9,274
1966 Marshall JTM45/100. Cranked, the overdrive is better than the best low gain Germanium NKT275 Fuzzes. This was the Marshall amp Clapton used when most of the studio albums were recorded. Same amp that was Jimi's favorite

Another thing is the JTM45/100 had Alnico T652 Celestion speakers, and the Bluesbreaker Grill Cloth, which also attenuated Highs. EC Collins makes the same cloth.

My LTD ED Metro JTM45 has the same germanium overdrive quality vs my 2004 Analogmqn NKT275 Low Gain Wht Dot Sunface/Sundial.

When I first got my amp, and cranked it, that was the 1st thing I noticed about it.
 

45RPM

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485
Yeah I sure miss EC's best of Cream tones especially live. Crossroads, Politician, Sitting; all I can say is wow. And the vibrato?

I think EC's old tone has become underappreciated because the general consensus of his tone througout his solo career has been on the uninspired side mostly. Also recently there was a post and almost everyone put Zeppelin above Cream(not me) and many stated Cream sounded dated to them. It has to be put in context. They recorded several LP's in a very short time so some was pretty lame. Pick the best and EC's at the top and Cream hold up really well. Some pretty great tones happening on Blind Faith as well.
In case somebody can't remember some of the best tone/playing EVER…

 

trisonic

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13,148
I was not at the Winterland but that sounds like the SG with both pick ups on, volume knocked back a tad on one of them (it doesn’t matter which). Simple sound that he used a lot at that time.... The second lead still astounds me with the interaction of Jack and Ginger/Peter. Some critics have suggested that it was edited - I would disagree - I’ve heard several versions of Crossroads (around that time) and they all clocked in within a few seconds of each other.

Best, Pete.
 

71strat

Member
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9,274
I lik this sound. RAW.


My favorite Sitting on Top of the World version. I believe ES335.

 
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