Why do I think I love Fender distortion?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by dlwalke, May 24, 2020.

  1. Surgeon

    Surgeon Member

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    Isn’t that the unofficial TGP moto? ;)
     
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  2. HotBluePlates

    HotBluePlates Member

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    They had Harvest, as well as CSNY albums. So mostly acoustic playing.

    Again, if you 40 years old or younger "Neil Young" and "distorted guitar" mostly registers if you're young enough to have heard Keep On Rockin In the Free World when it was relatively new. And my 70 year old parents liked & had the broader-appeal acoustic-based albums.

    Their record collection (mostly from the 70s into early 80s) went to different bands for electric guitar.
     
  3. Ry@n

    Ry@n Member

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    Well, I am younger than 40 years old, but generalizations like the one you make often don’t apply to me, as I’ve done a lot of digging into music that is older than I am, so maybe I’m not representative in my perception. I will concede that the electric version of “Rockin’ in the Free World” has more of what may be thought of as a modern distortion sound than his previous records, but even “Alabama” on Harvest has a version of the distorted tone people are talking about when they associate Neil Young with overdriven tweed tone. The CSNY song “Ohio” also showcases it. It’s far more prominent on other albums, especially the work with Crazy Horse, so maybe you’re not familiar with what people are referencing. Or maybe you’re not classifying that tone so much as “distortion” because it’s more of an extreme natural overdrive and not cascaded gain stages like a modern high-gain sound?

    I just found it puzzling that anyone would argue against associating Neil Young with distorted tweed. It seems like a very common benchmark for something people chase, or at least recognize as a distinctive tone.
     
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  4. HotBluePlates

    HotBluePlates Member

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    My personal perception (arguably having nothing to do with anyone else's reality) is that I can't name a single person born after 1977 from all those I've encountered at work or when I was in the military who even knows who Neil Young is. I wouldn't hardly know who he is, except my parents had a few albums & I saw him on MTV Unplugged in the early 90s.

    So it just seemed so odd to me that around the time-period this thread started, every thread that talked about a distorted tweed Deluxe also talked abut Neil Young as some kind of benchmark for that sound. So that observation (plus noting how many appear to believe "tweed" is a single characteristic sound) lead me to believe strongly that the example was read about somewhere and then repeated ad nauseum.
     
  5. Jamie_Mitchell

    Jamie_Mitchell Member

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    assuming you're not talking about master volume or cascading gain stage amps, the clean/gain thing is going to exist on some sort of continuum related to volume, guitars, which speakers and tubes you have in there, the power, etc.

    i think you could be creating a mental division which is not necessary. i have a 63 Vibrolux w/ a Showman transformer. sometimes it's a clean amp, too clean. sometimes it's a distorted amp - my settings on that thing vary from barely on to every knob at 10, bright switch.
    same w/ my little 5 watt Alamo. it's a great clean amp in the studio. great blowing up amp in the studio, or live - slaved into a louder amp.

    if you're attached to a 'loud' amp sound from a Fender and need to move it around volume-wise, then you'd be running it on a lesser amount of less efficient speakers, maybe w/ an attenuator, variac, on the floor, pointed at the wall with a pedal board case/gig bag blocking the front or back of the cab.
    if you're trying to use the less-loud sound of that amp, you'd be using two of them, or pointing it at your face, on a chair, in the monitors, a higher number of higher efficiency speakers, or slaving that into a power amp on an additional cab.

    so you can push the same quality of some volume level on that amp around, just with those moves. or, you can also just accept that there's probably a relationship between the needed volume to keep up with the band, and the amount of distortion you'd want to be hearing anyways. usually if the band is really quiet, a clean sound is going to fit better, just stylistically, right? and as things get louder dynamically, there's more distortion, stylistically.
    i know around the internet you see a lot of talk about clean boost vs gain, how do you boost volume w/o gain, and the other way around, etc. etc.
    i'm just a little skeptical that it actually works that way in the real world. do you really need a whisper quiet absolutely blowing up amp fuzz box sound, and then a deafening loud squeaky clean sound on the same gig? idk, maybe you do. then you're back to the stuff listed above - a big amp w/ some other stuff to blow it up. if i really needed that i'd be slaving the Alamo into stereo Fenders, and then skipping the Alamo for the clean stuff.

    you just don't really see that in other instruments: a drummer saying "i need to be able to hit the drums as hard as i can w/ sticks and have it be quieter than the fingerpicked flattop acoustic guitar, but i also need to be able to play brushes over the loudest electric guitar solo in the set."

    idk. ymmv. you don't have to listen to me, that's just my 2 cents.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2020 at 2:44 PM
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  6. LPMojoGL

    LPMojoGL Music Room Superstar Supporting Member

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    I just recently discovered that Ted Nugent's sound on the old tunes came from cranked Fenders. He had good tone!
    Didn't George Thorogood use Fenders in the studio?
    Eagles used cranked Fenders.
    Guess I liked Fender dirt, too.
     
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  7. fjblair

    fjblair Silver Supporting Member

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    No you are no boomer, lol. Obviously never listened to much Neil Young or ever saw him live back in the day because there was definitely distorted guitar. You are guilty of making the same mistake with generalizations that you are criticizing other for.
     
  8. HotBluePlates

    HotBluePlates Member

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    Fair enough!

    (It's sometimes hard to get past "I think this way and had these experiences, so everyone had similar experiences & thinks the same way)
     
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  9. twotone

    twotone Member

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    I had a mid-1970s vintage Big Muff fuzzbox and it did not sound like that.
     
  10. Tiger Ted

    Tiger Ted Supporting Member

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    I am a boomer and have been playing since 1963. And maybe the worst example of Tweed Deluxe tone to me is Neil Young. Yeah, it's a Deluxe, but he runs 6L6's in it so it's not really like a stock Deluxe. But the totally maxed out gain is too much for my ears, it hides a lot of the complexity in tone you can get from that amp. But it's Neil's thing so there you have it. Other people rave about his tone. Go figure, guess people are different in their tastes. Who'd have thunk it?
     
  11. Ry@n

    Ry@n Member

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    This does seem to be the case, as it does with other types/eras of amps (the various Blackface circuits are not really just different sizes of the same amp, either, for example).
     
  12. Ry@n

    Ry@n Member

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    Plus he runs the signal some weird ways, such as tapping the speaker output on the Deluxe and feeding an attenuated signal into the front of other amps (I’ve seen pics of his stage setup that look like a crazy pile of various tweeds and assorted other amps, and I’ve read descriptions of the signal routing that seem fairly insane but somehow kind of make sense). He’s clearly chosen the amp for what he found he could get from it by doing whatever he does to it, not because he just loves the sound of a tweed Deluxe.
     
  13. Laced Senses

    Laced Senses Member

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    Some Marshall amps can be super clean. Try plugging in a 200 watt Marshall Major into a full stack of 8 stout 12" diameter speakers of high efficiency. Those are some VERY big cleans if the amp is functioning right. Sure, you can get distortion without a pedal with most pickups, but the ground will be quaking and any fragile objects in the room are at risk by that point and one should wear hearing protection suitable for a jet engine test. Try overdriving an Ampeg SVT or Hiwatt DR201 or DR405, and it's a somewhat similar experience with different tonal character in each case.

    Some Fender amps can achieve very filthy somewhat low headroom dirt/distortion such as some of the lower wattage tweeds, brownface/blondes, and blackface amps. Even some silverface Deluxe Reverbs can generate much dirt. So much depends on type of pickup(s), pickup(s) height relative to strings, picking dynamics, knob settings, tubes, bias setting, speakers, etc.

    Very bold Fender cleans can be achieved from the 400 watt 400PS to the 135watt Twin Reverb (or 100 watt or 85 watt Twin Reverb), 135 watt Bassman 135, 100 watt Quad Reverb, 100 watt Super Six, 100 watt Bassman 100, and to a lesser extent lower wattage amp combos (Pro, Vibrolux, Bandmaster, etc. silverface generally being cleaner, higher headroom relatively speaking if not modified).

    For many years, more Fenders were cleaner, greater headroom amps compared to contemporary Marshalls of the time. So, there is a general trend that's true but many, many exceptions exist.

    For me, I prefer Fender among the vintage population since they tend to be more reliable (not always).
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2020 at 9:58 AM
  14. ballynally

    ballynally Member

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    Cinnamon girl by Neil Young (1967 i think)



    grew up w that sound (late boomer 1964). I thought all tweeds sounded like that until i played a Bassman.
     
  15. HotBluePlates

    HotBluePlates Member

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    Blackface amps are very nearly a single preamp circuit with different output sections (and other details like transformer/speaker size) tacked on.

    The tweed era had demonstrably the widest variation of circuits & sonic results, converging some in the brownface era, and arriving at one basic answer in the blackface era.
     
  16. Daniel Travis

    Daniel Travis Supporting Member

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  17. GenoVox

    GenoVox Member

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    Funny... when somebody says “Great Tweed Deluxe tone”... Neil Young’s sludge is one of the last examples I’d think of

    YMMV
     
  18. Ry@n

    Ry@n Member

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    Good point, but playing a Princeton Reverb is not really the same as playing a Twin Reverb but quieter. And they sound remarkably different. I would agree tweeds are even more varied, especially in terms of the circuits themselves being different, though.
     
  19. jimijimmyjeffy

    jimijimmyjeffy Member

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    I tend to think he chose the Fender for practical reasons, like the nature of the gig; and it could just as easily been a Marshall or whatever. I'm not hearing that the tune itself demands a Fender sound. I thought a couple notes were not as ideal on that amp, but overall it was fine.

    I feel like Billy Gibbons will play anything, even though he still has a bit of a trademark, swampy sound. A lot of it is knowing what you want to hear and milking that out of whatever.
     

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