Guys, I’m primarily an acoustic blues and roots player – but I play electric blues, swing, etc too. I have not played with a large band for many, many moons. I just recently got hired to fill-in for the guitar player in a band called Blue Lunch – from the Cleveland area. They are an 8-piece band with a horn section – very good.
Here’s the question – I have a 59′ Fender Bassman Reissue amp and a 63′ Fender Reverb tank. What can/should I do to get a great, vintage-sounding tone with the gear I have? I would like a T-Bone Walkerish type tone – they also play a lot of old BB King and other old blues stuff. Any advice I can get would be appreciated!!!!
PS – I do have a small budget to purchase some more gear if needed.
What guitar will you be using? Does it have a phase invert switch to help get into the T-Bone Walker zone? For BB King, I would think you want slightly thicker mids, then throw your phase invert switch to cancel out the low mid and do the T-Bone thing. All this is separate from the amp. As I recall, the amp you have is on the bright side. On the Fender website, 75% of the demos of the amp they show have the treble down and the mid up. But that’s playing with bright Fender guitars, so it goes back to what guitar will you use. You might find and EQ pedal useful if you have to cover a tone you aren’t getting easily with one amp and one guitar.
I’ve got a Joe Pass Emperor II – Epiphone hollow body. I’ve also got an Epiphone 56′ Les Paul Gold Top. Thanks!
You have all of the gear you need. For some of the true T-Bone Walker tones, like Grez mentioned, you would need something to put your guitar pickups out of phase with each other in the middle position. You would have to go on-line probably to find it, but I just take one of my tone or volume pots and replace it with a push pull pot that is also a DPDT switch. Then you just have to pull the pot up to to go out of phase. this site has a lot of wiring diagrams http://www.1728.org/guitar.htm You definitely have the right style guitars. The two volume and tone controls will really help you shape your out of phase tone if you decide to go that route. Adjusting the volumes and tones of the different pickups will change how that sounds, because it changes the frequencies that get cancelled out.
As far as how to set up your amp I have no good way to tell you. That is just something you have to experiment with. The way we play is the biggest thing that affects tone, and then there is many other outside factors that will also affect it. So we all have to EQ a little different to get the same sound. How you pick, how hard you fret, what you pick with all affect the tone coming from the guitar. Then you have the type of guitar factors, build type, woods used. When I go out to play with Tommy I have to set his amp different to get the same kind of tone out it that he does. I do not just plug into his amp and get his sound. I predominantly play with my fingers and not a pick like Tommy. So that makes my tone a little darker than his on his set up. When I do play with a pick, I pick differently so my tone becomes brighter than his. Just play around and see what suits you.
Sounds like you know what your going for. The gold top bassman and a reverb tank you can do about anything with that in my opinion. Humbuckers aren’t ideal for what your going for but that just my opinion again. One thing to keep in my mind is in my experience with horns they don’t like to have the band be very loud. Quieter then I was used to playing anyway and now I prefer to play as low as possible even when we dont have a horn. I don’t think you would able to crank your bassman up to where its going to sound sweet so maybe you might need a good overdrive to get things happening at a lower volume.
Thanks for all the replies to my question! I’ve got some ideas to pursue and experiment with in the next month. This is a great forum Tommy H!
With your gold top all your have to do to get out of phase is take one of your pickups (it doesn’t matter which one) and rotate the magnets in it (there are two and both need to be rotated–you are changing polarity). Not flip the. But rotate them. Take the sides that are on the 6th string side and rotate them to the 1st string side. The surface that is facing up, leave facing up.
If you do the method Craner mentions you must be very careful. You have to take the cover off the pickup and take the bar magnet out that the pickups sit on. This is the magnet Craner is referring to. Then just rotate, slide the magnet back in, replace cover, and good to go. Easy enough right? It is harder than it sounds. A lot of people get Gung-Ho thinking it will be simple, then they end up out of a $150 pickup. Two things you need to be careful of. A lot of pickups covers are soldered just a little to hold the cover on. To get them off you must either de-solder it with a solder gun, or cut the solder. If you do this with a soldering gun, or decide to cut it with something like a Dremel, you have to be careful not to get the cover to hot. IF so it will melt the wax potting and cover the magnets. Not a big deal but they will have to be cleaned. The other thing, and the major one, is the two small wires on the base of the pickups. Very easy to cut, because they are very thin, when either removing the cover or the bar magnet. If you cut this it will ruin your day. This can be repaired, but requires a lot of patience, good eyes, and a steady hand. The pickup will no longer work until this is repaired if cut. Once you do this, if you were to decide on this route, it is permanently out of phase until you repeat the process to redo the magnet. I Googled to see if anyone has done a video on this, because I figured someone probably had. Here is one I found demonstrating the described above method if you are curious.
Ah Peter Green was good. I never knew why you never hear people speak of him more like they do Clapton and the others from that time. Him and Bloomfield.
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