Posts Tagged ‘Telecaster’

Pickups :: EMG White Tele Mockup

I’m thinking this is a pretty hot look. White on white is too white, ivory on white looks like a crappy relic job. I also discovered recently that Fender actually manufacture a Telecaster with an SG-style jack and a single volume control – it’s a bit embarrassing, though.

 

 

Tone :: xotic BB Preamp + Telecaster + Silverface Princeton

Even though I’ve had the xotic BB Preamp for a couple of months now, I’m pretty sure I haven’t played it with my white Telecaster before yesterday afternoon. The tone was, I think, pretty tight, and even with a relatively lo-fi audio recording I think you can still hear how just how clear and transparent the BB is, with the full tone of the guitar shining through. I’d love to get a TS808 set with a super thick, lower gain tone, and stack it with the BB in this rig for a big lead tone.

 

Keneally :: EMGs

I think choosing new pickups just got much easier.

 

Tone :: My Mark IV & Me

With so much programming required for my current project, I’ve been at my desk pretty much non-stop recently. That means basking in the glow of up to four screens at a time, which has started to occasionally induce headaches, eye strain etc… – symptoms of computer vision syndrome, a kind of studio tan for your eyes and brain.

I always have an amp by my desk for practice and warmup exercises, but in an effort to tempt myself away from working I’ve shelved my trusty Roland JC-50, and replaced it with the amp I bought with a year of shelf stacking money when I was 15 years old – my Mark IV Mesa/Boogie.

This amp provokes thought more than any other. I’ve had it for the best part of a decade, and played it just about every day through school and when I was at music college. I’ve played it with Strats, SGs, my Squier Esprit (in the picture above), and most of all Telecasters. I’ve played it with meters long pedal boards, in stereo rigs, and simply jacked into the front. When I played gigs in my teens, this was the amp that came with me.

Playing the Mark IV this evening, I wasn’t quite happy with my tone on any of the channels. Yes it’s a stadium amp, with more headroom than basically anything else out there, but I know from experience that it can kill at low volume too. For whatever reason, I just wasn’t feeling it this evening. Any tweaking session on this thing is at least a half hour tonal excursion, but spending time with my eyes off the screen is the aim of the game here so I dived right into it, and for about the millionth time I ended up in the same spot – T/M/B @ 7/4/4, gains at 7-8, lead drive at 8. Slightly scooped 750, edge off 6.6k, and a boost on 80 & 240.

How much of my life have I already spent tweaking this amp?!

The thing is, it always ends up sounding awesome. But next time I plug in, it’s just not going to feel quite there.

I love tweaking amp settings, so I’m cool with that aspect, and I do love the tones it spits out. Maybe it’s just that I know there are some real solid gold tones in there that makes it so frustrating. I’m so conscious of the fact that whatever tone I can get dialled in is, say, 85% as good as I’ve heard it at its best. For a 1 channel amp, 85% of a Boogie at its peak is still a cut above. But take that 85% times 3 channels and you get the niggling sense of ever-so-slight disappointment I feel every time I plug in.

I’ve had it crunch and sing like nothing else, and cleans which would kick the ass of a Twin (seriously). But in nearly 10 years I’ve never been able to get all three kicking in sync, and there’s a frustration that I’ve absolutely nailed how to get the amp sounding nearly as good as it can, but never achieved perfection.

As an aside, I could write for days about every aspect of the Mark IV that makes it the most powerful and versatile amp I’ve ever owned, and there’s no doubt that it’s my ‘desert island amp’…but damn! I feel like really mastering it it requires an approach that borders on the academic, so this can be considered as ‘entry one’ in the logbook of my quest to own the amp I’ve owned for so many years. 

 

Tone :: Mark I MESA/Boogie 15″ + xotic BB Preamp

This afternoon I plugged the xotic BB Preamp pedal into my 1977 15″ MESA/Boogie Mark I amplifier for the first time.

Although the audio quality isn’t perfect, having an iPhone handy makes it way easy to take snapshots like this (no surprise that there isn’t anyone buying point-and-shoots, camcorders, Flip cams etc… any more), so here’s a minute with the Mark I.

You can hear the Mark I on its own before I click on the BB, which has its EQ set totally flat, a small boost in volume, and drive at about 10:30.

With so much gain in the tone already, I liked using the BB to just push it into saturation, and it seems to naturally raise the upper-mid range a little, too. In the room, it starts to get into Mark II territory — maybe with a slightly British twist? — although the effect is not as pronounced on video.

I’d love to try out the xotic AC Booster with this rig: the BB’s lower drive cousin is even more transparent, although in my A/B test the BB was quite a bit more versatile.

 

New Pedal :: xotic BB Preamp

I visited Regent Sounds Studio in Denmark Street earlier this week to test out a few pedals and was totally blown away by the BB Preamp by xotic effects, USA.

Testing with a Telecaster, and straight into the front of a Fender Princeton reissue, I was originally comparing the xotic AC Booster and Wampler Paisley Drive. I loved the tone of the Paisley in a YouTube clip I’d watched the night before, and was particularly excited because that clip had been recorded with a Tele and a ’70s SF Princeton (just like mine). When it came to testing it out ‘in the flesh’, however, the xotic pedals came up trumps. One of my highest priorities in choosing this stompbox was transparency, and it’s perfectly possible to set the AC and the BB where you just won’t notice they’re on. The Wampler, on the other hand, had a bit of an EQ agenda. I’m sure it’s a really, really clear pedal, and it definitely has a great drive sound…but man, next to the xotic boxes it was way, way too colourful.

When it came to deciding between the AC and the BB it was a pretty tough choice, but the BB, with more drive on tap, just seems a bit more flexible. So far I’ve been enjoying it into the front of my Princeton, but the rig in the picture above is waiting to be experimented with. This thing is a total chameleon, so if I get some time I’d love to do a video of it with a few different amps. For now, it’ll be rocking in conjunction with my 1981 Mark IIB and ’09 Deluxe Telecaster.

 

Tone :: Telecaster / Overtone Special

Over the past dozen weeks or so, the Mark IIB Boogie has sidelined the rest of my gear, taking centre stage in almost all the rigs I’ve been playing with. Unfortunately, that amp has an intermittent problem with the channel switching relay which I have yet to rectify, and I was forced to bench it the other day when the problem returned.

One amp I haven’t played too much in a few months is my Ceriatone Overtone Special 50 (a 50W Dumble Overdrive Special clone), so I broke out an EVM12L-loaded Mesa/Boogie 1×12 cabinet and decided to give the OTS a go.

And I was super disappointed. All the settings I tried were pretty much failing. Of course, I blamed the strings, the room, the cables…but my Mark series amps were still sounding sweet in the same setting. I was getting pretty frustrated with myself at this point – why was it so difficult to set this thing up?

I asked myself:

‘Why did I buy this amp?’

And therein lay the answer: Larry Carlton.

I play in a very different style to Larry (and a very different guitar, too), but his tone is something I’ve admired for as long as I’ve played the guitar. If anyone has a decent bank of settings for a Dumble it’s going to be him.

A friend of mine actually went to see Larry when he did a gig with Robben Ford in London a few years ago, and had taken a few pictures of his Dumble rig. I knew they’d have the settings I was after, so I headed straight for Facebook (the, err, home of tone?!).

I punched Larry’s settings into the OTS and…yeah, I was totally right – he nailed it. This sound kind of begs for a bit (or a lot!) of spatial FX, so I stuck a BOSS DD-3 in the loop and I was away!

So enamoured was I with these new settings that I made a short clip of some very lonely lead playing so I’d remember. The playing is kind of inspired by Yo’ Mama, but there’s no backing.

That clip (including many, many mistakes – but great sounding mistakes, I guess) is embedded up top, along with the settings I used in the picture below. (You might have to right-click-> ‘Open Image in New Tab’ to view the large picture.)

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More Roland Jazz Chorus JC-50

One of my YouTube clips from late 2009 of the Roland Jazz Chorus JC-50 amp. There’s really not that much content on this amp about online so I’ll be recording some more samples soon. For now, enjoy.

Fender Princeton versus Pedals

The Princeton is always a fun amp to come back to – torturing the poor 10″ speaker with a thick Muff fuzz and getting trippy with the Small Stone and the amp’s built-in tremolo…it’s all great stuff. Obviously, as a Fender amp, it’s got a great clean sound, but this one seems particularly fun to dirty up.

Roland JC-50 Jazz Chorus Amplifier

Footage shot on the kitchen floor sometime last summer. Amazing clean amplifier with a legendary chorus sound and killer reverb.