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PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 8:16 am 

Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2014 5:18 am
Posts: 23

After researching and reading up on SRV and his gear/ethos/producers notes, I patch together a (hopefully) similar sounding rig to the unobtaneum Dumble/Fender combo.

There is a common theme when it comes to his tone and I share what I think is the main aspect that has to be in place to get close.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 12:53 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2003 4:58 am
Posts: 976
Location: Southern Indiana
Nice! Man, that took a lot of work. It is kind of long, but you said that yourself so you know that. But you do have a lot of things you cover. I am likewise long winded in my posts. I can't help it.

Those amps he used were big and clean, so he must have cranked the hell out of them. But a tube screamer is a huge part too. He used big strings. He must have been a strong dude too, those bends he does with those relatively heavy strings. The heavier strings do sound good with the strat though, maybe a bit fatter and more full tone. Those speakers he tended to use (from what you said and I heard also) tended to be very clean speakers as well.

The fender Texas specials were designed for his SRV guitar. I don't know if his were really that hot or not, but the TS are definitely toward the hotter side of "vintage" tone. I confess I am a pickup snob and I still like them. I never played a dumble, but they are big and clean amp wise, but the preamp has all kinds of gain options.

Tube screamers can be modded to sound like the earliest versions. Don't spend the bucks on a REAL one. Really very little difference - essentially 3 changes between the 808 and the TS9, and early TS9s to later are exactly the same except for the opamp chip. Guess what? The TS7 and the TS5 versions are the same circuit, just put in different boxes as well (cheaper construction, so I advise getting a TS9 reissue because they will hold up better). On my newer one, I swapped out the two resisters that changed value, and put a socket in the op amp chip. Then I bought many different versions including some old stock, new stock 4558s and TL072s and such. I removed a toshiba chip in mine as I recall. I can pop them in and out of the socket and put the one I like the best. They DO sound different. Actually, the one I have is a TS9DX, with the mods above and in the TS9 mode it is spot on. The other 3 modes offer a little variety (more or less distortion). What is the difference in the reissue vs. old design? A subtle difference in midrange possibly and the old circuit was a little more "natural" sounding (sounded less like a pedal and more like a pushed amp to me).

You can get pretty close pushing a moderate output fender amp (Like a deluxe reverb or a bassman head), and then use a tube screamer in front of it using it for more boost/slight compression and less for distortion. It is the SRV formula in moderation without the deafness from a Dumble and a Vibroverb (80-100W or more amps). I appreciate you got pretty close with very high watt output amps. Pushing super reverb sounds amazing on about 6 with the (4) CTS alnico speakers (they are not very efficient so the amp is not as loud and you might think, and they compress the tone slightly making the strat notes sound less ice-picky and fatter while still retaining clarity). Too low wattage like a deluxe and they just don't have enough headroom. They crunch up a bit and you lose the clarity (still sounds great but not the same). But TS9s sound great with moderate output fenders (heck it sounds great in front of almost anything). You should try it with a super if you have access to one. Oh, a super reverb reissue or even a super reverb with oxfords won't sound the same.
Listen to Ian Moore's early stuff as an excellent example. That is what he did, I saw him live and he has enough pictures of him with his super. Stevie and him were clearly both fans of Hendrix. But Hendrix used a lot of fuzz pedals in his tone as well as some of the ice picky highs are attenuated with those coiled and lossy guitar cables. Oh yeah, it helps to be able to play like those guys. I admire them, but I don't hold a candle to them in those classic recordings.

I have celestion blackbacks in my mid-to-late 70s marshall, yeah, those sound amazing. I don't think stevie used them, but they were certainly more common during that time and good all around speakers. I never got to see him live though to understand how loud he was playing. So all speculation on my part. Still, great sounding speakers. Nice moderate coloration when pushed but not a huge deal of distortion. I'd say quite similar to greenbacks. I think same frame and magnets, so probably different coil and possibly cone. I am not a celestion guru. I am certainly a fan.


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