Van halen brown sound

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by nitro, Jan 4, 2006.


  1. nitro

    nitro Senior Member

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    hello every one im glad i found this great site.Im sure the van halen sound has been talked about alot and i just want to share this with you.In the early to mid 80s i use to speak to jose arredondo on a monthly basis we would talk about amps and different types of tone. Joses shop was called arreco electronics.I asked jose about van halens sound and i asked im about modding a marshall for me to achieve the van halen 1 sound off the first album and to my surprise and i quote jose he said that on the first album i did not do any mods at all he said to me that ED did use a distortion pedal in front of the marshall jose was not sure which distortion pedal he used. Jose did say to me that on the second album VHII he did start doing mods for ED and on his main plexi marshall.Im sure we all can here the difference between VHI sound and VHII sound. To me the VHI sound is much more edgy and in your face then VHII. VHII sounds less edgy like something was takin away. Any way i wanted to share this with you and i thank you for your time.
     
  2. OldSchool

    OldSchool Senior Member

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    No doubt Eddie was the man back in the day.:AOK
     
  3. 83stratman

    83stratman Member

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    Funny, VHII is my fav VH tone.
     
  4. cvansickle

    cvansickle Member

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    When I hear VH1, I think it was recorded in a very live room, or with a lot more reverb than VH2. VH1 sounds like a live band, like a live album with no audience. VH2 is studio, big time. Not bad, just different.

    And they lost more of that live-ness with each passing album. By the time they got to Diver Down, it was almost phoned in. Things got a little bit better when Sammy came aboard, but they were using Johns and other producers to help too.
     
  5. alguit

    alguit Guest

    Years back Eddie Van Halen came out and said that Jose in fact had not modded his original Marshall. He said that he told Jose that it was ok to for Jose to say that he had done work in order to bring him more business.

    It was very nice of Eddie, but I shudder to think of how many great Marshalls were messed up by people modding them to nail Eddies "Brown Sound." I just read yesterday somewhere here that a few people had Harry Kolbe mods that ruined their Marshalls.
     
  6. electronpirate

    electronpirate Member

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    They have admitted in several interviews that much of the first album they were 'jumping around' alot. (That sais that a bottle of Jack was not far from hand...)

    I would think the reverby stuff was post production.
     
  7. nitro

    nitro Senior Member

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    I have tried many amps to achieve the van halen 1 sound, marshall plexis old and reissues, orange amps,hiwatt,bogner,diezel,roccaforte,peacemaker,soldano,5150,splawn,od100,the closest amp that i settled on and still play are the VHT 100CL head and the VHT50CL head great dynamics and feel .
     
  8. guitarplayaman

    guitarplayaman Member

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    ok if it is a Distortion box...which one could it be...back in those days you didn't have too many to choose from.. His tone doesn't sound like a fuzz...to my ears it sounds like a script era Distortion plus...same thing Rhodes used live. The tone on "tribute" is not too far away from Eddie's VH1 tone...
     
  9. ScottB

    ScottB Gold Supporting Member

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    mine too
     
  10. GuitslingerTim

    GuitslingerTim Member

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    If not an MXR then maybe a Ross.
     
  11. Randy

    Randy Member

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    There have also been pics posted of his pedalboard in '78 which included an MXR 10 band EQ set in a frown shape.
     
  12. brent

    brent Member

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    I've always suspected it was a solid state echoplex, the MXR10 band eq, a MXR Micro Amp and a really long cable run
     
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  13. johnny q

    johnny q Member

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    Must be an MXR Distortion +, which is the one Randy used to push his Marshalls.

    JQ
     
  14. bailnout

    bailnout Member

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  15. Randy

    Randy Member

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    Yup, more proof of how much of it is in the fingers. There was a guy called Mr. Twistyneck that used to have a webpage with clips of various stock Marshalls cranked to 10 - all different eras. He made every one of them sound very close to VH tones.
     
  16. bailnout

    bailnout Member

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    Yea, because that guy is getting older VH tones from a 5150 combo in some cases. And also, he gets what sounds to me like pretty much the same tone out of a few different setups. So the one consistent thing is his hands.

    I'm nowhere near that guy in my ability to PLAY like Eddie, but I think a get a really good early VH tone out of my Marshall Jubilee with a guitar that isn't one of my fixed neck carved tops. I have a friend that used to nail it with a Kramer Barretta running through an Ibanez Super Tube into a Marshall JCM800. The Spawn website has some clips of a guy using thier amp in a Van Halen tribute band. The Peavey 5150 is Eddie's signature amp so that would be a good pick. The 5150 was based on a Soldano so there's another one that should be able to get you in the ballpark.

    VHoholic says in that thread that it really is a combination of a lot of different pieces of gear that allows him to get that tone but Eddie has said many times that so much of it is in the hands. I'm sure Ed can get the "brown sound" out of just about anything short of an acoustic guitar! :)
     
  17. steve10358

    steve10358 Supporting Member

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    I have to agree with Randy. It's amazing how much speculation comes from guys that have NEVER played a plexi or great Marshall on ten.

    Ten and the hands. Thats all it is.

    S.
     
  18. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    Except that's not how Ed did it.

    He had a pretty elaborate setup back in the day, variac, modded Marshall that was hit with an MXR 10 band graphic, into a load box and reamped with HH solid state power amps.

    Yup, you heard right solid state!
     
  19. SFW

    SFW Member

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    Do the newer Distortion + pedals sound anything like the old script logo ones?
     
  20. SuperSoundMusic

    SuperSoundMusic Member

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    I've never actually heard one but ... I have a few customers who swear by the Blockhead amp for VH Brown Sound. Not sure exactly which model it is but Blockhead I guessed designed the amp specifically to achieve the Brown Sound.
     

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