Van halen tone!

Discussion in 'The Tone Zone' started by stormer83, Aug 9, 2014.

  1. stormer83

    stormer83 New Member

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    I know this is probably a worn out topic in any forum, but I would love some helpful info none the less.

    Quite simply (not that simple) I'm aching for a van halen 'aint talkin bout love' tone. I'm playing through an original 87 marshall jcm 800, 50 watt mk2 (4 input) and it has a master volume installed on the back as I wanted more gain.

    I have a stock epiphone sg 400 pro and im running it straight into the amp with no pedals.

    Where should I go from here?

    Cheers guys
     
  2. blues_n_cues

    blues_n_cues Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    MXR vintage Dist+ or ts-808 and flanger.:wave:
     
  3. sinner 13

    sinner 13 Well-Known Member

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    Son, use the search function....
    As you are currently...

    :deadhorse::deadhorse::deadhorse:

    This has been a hot bed topic amongst gear nerds since VH I hit stores...

    Nobody but Ed Knows and he ain't talking.

    Welcome to the forum :yesway:
     
  4. stormer83

    stormer83 New Member

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    Thanks mate! I figured as much, I thought I might get lucky and try my luck at finding a wormhole straight to a perfect solution.

    If only it were that easy huh :)
     
  5. Ed Hunter

    Ed Hunter Well-Known Member

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    get yourself a carl martin "plexitone" for more boost and a old MXR flanger for the parts where eddie kicks it on in the intro.
     
  6. Ambrosius

    Ambrosius New Member

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    There's a thread literally called "Early Van Halen Tone" just a few posts down. You should check it out.

    Otherwise, probably a "plexitone" or a Wampler Pinnacle and a flanger.
     
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  7. Tone Slinger

    Tone Slinger Well-Known Member

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    First, check your circuit. You are gonna want to make sure that you have the v1 and v2 cathodes bypassed. I think your JCM 800 1987 has pretty much got the proper spec stock, though I'm not sure about the v1b plate value.Yours 'might' be a .022. Ed's, and most all the late '60's to early mid '70's 1959's and 1987's have a .0022 there. Also, the v2a cathode resistor (typically a 820) needs bypassed with a cap. Anything from .68uf to 25uf can be used. The right value cap here is important,cause it helps in voiceing the mids/upper mids. Your MV on the back is most likely a ppimv, which is great when used in conjunction with an attenuator. Bias your tubes as hot as you can, then use a variac to lower the wall voltage to the amp to around 90v. You have to bias those tubes hot, or otherwise this lower voltage is gonna make everything too 'cold' on regular 40ma.Thats why you set the bias hot. You gotta always remember to use the variac though with the bias set like this.

    So, check your preamp circuit, and tweak it to plexi spec (the v2a cathode bypass cap is the exception. Gotta try a few values there imo), get a variac and a nice attenuator.

    This is the recipe that is used by just about everybody who has gotten the best results (numerous Metro Amp guy's, Pete Thorn, Al Estrada, etc).


    If you want a pedal, then your off course from the start, but having said that, the Carl Martin Plexi-tone is the best I've heard.
     
  8. Ed Hunter

    Ed Hunter Well-Known Member

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    TS:wave: what is a good site to learn about the internals of marshall amps? you seem to have a good grasp of whats what and how it works . where did you learn the stuff?
    I have knowledge of caps,resistors and know how to solder but dont know much about the internal design of a amp like a 100w Super lead
    I dont want to have to participate or post threads just read and learn?:cool:
    I know stuff like what a PPIV is but dont know about how mods make the amp have more break up(gain) or the ways to service your own amp
    or at least mod a few things in it?
    I have a stock plexi 50 watter sitting i want to use as my guinea pig so to speak
    my 100 watter is a YJM also stock but i aint touchin her!:D
     
  9. diesect20022000

    diesect20022000 Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    i don't have a computer atmo but there's a site that's up you can find if you run a search that has every marshall amp and the schematics (or at least pretty close anyway) including the variations of the same circuits. something like "marshall amps, every marshall ever made" but it's been awhile so i can't be a better help... if i had my computer up and running i could just link it as i have it favorited but i can't remember the name off the cuff.

    but it has schematics galore. not quite the subject of EDDIE's tone and so on but it's a great place to get general and specific marshall circuit info if you can manage to find it or someone else knows what i'm talking about (there are a few people here that do so i'm hoping someone can help you if they read my post).
     
  10. Dogs of Doom

    Dogs of Doom Moderator Staff Member

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    There is dr tube, but he had a lot of links to marshall's site. Marshall has hosed most of the links. There's still some there:

    Marshall Schematics

    the roadhouse has most schematics on-site...
     
  11. Ed Hunter

    Ed Hunter Well-Known Member

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    Diesect thanks bro!:yesway:
     
  12. dreyn77

    dreyn77 Well-Known Member

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    greenback speakers.

    MXR EQ pedal. stock gibson pickup. the epi could be miles away and I suspect it is.

    You're pickups are over cooking the sound and your speakers (the 70's) are making a too thin and bright.
    If you're going to buy a pickup you'd just buy the 'franky'.
    If you're not going to buy speakers the turn the guitars tone pot to '7'.
    the Mxr Phase 90 will give you hours of enjoyment!
    you sould be able to adjust the amps EQ to compensate for not having the MXR EQ pedal.

    Don't bother with any internal mods.

    malmstein got the sound with single coils on the album 'magnus opus'.
     
  13. blues_n_cues

    blues_n_cues Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    really? all of that just to get the tone for one song in the setlist? :scratch:
    :lol:
     
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  14. HOT TUBES 70

    HOT TUBES 70 Well-Known Member

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    We have forgot the main ingredient to Eddie's tone ...... and you will never have it !!!! EVER !!


    His Hands !!!!!
     
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  15. blues_n_cues

    blues_n_cues Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    come to think of it,the first time I heard someone truly nail Ed's tone was way back then what album was still new. a neighbor used to do Eruption through a Peavey Pacer,a board full of those old cheap MXR Commande series pedals-ya know, the plastic ones,& a baby blue Fender strat. he also played the sheeit outta it,and I mean hard.:shred:

    you can't to Ed w/out literally strangling the guitar.
     
  16. Ed Hunter

    Ed Hunter Well-Known Member

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    :lol: Nah Tone slinger was givin him the low down on coverin the whole record basically.
    for aint talkin the flanger and verb is the only actual "effects" needed and of course like already stated
    The touch!
     
  17. blues_n_cues

    blues_n_cues Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    I was talking about all the amp mods for one song.lol
    if someone really wants to sound like old VH & only old VH then David Bray is the man to see.
     
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  18. Ed Hunter

    Ed Hunter Well-Known Member

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    yeah his amps are bangin good!
    this guy has a bray plexi, a carl martin plexi tone pedal
    duncan 78 p'u, sounds real good!
    https://soundcloud.com/sean_mcfly/vh-i-plexitone
     
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  19. guitargoalie

    guitargoalie Well-Known Member

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    What kind of gain are you getting right now with the amp on full volume?

    Grab an evh flanger for the signature sweep, greenbacks help a bit but aren't necessary, and to be honest a pickup swap will probably help a lot. Something bright and cutting, evh makes the "frankenstein" pickup, there's also a couple duncans that will do it.
     
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  20. Tone Slinger

    Tone Slinger Well-Known Member

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    Ed, just go to the Metro forums. There you will find out everything about the older Marshall circuits. You want to understand 12ax7 (triode) tubes first (pins 1-9, ala, plate, grid, cathode, etc). Then, as you look at layouts or schematics, you will start understanding how things work. Metro is the PLACE for understanding the working of old Marshalls :yesway:. I'm just a begginer level, but I built my 12xxx and messed around alot with different specs, etc. If I can do it,then anybody can ;)

    Ed's amp was stock basically. The op has a jcm 800 4 holer. Ed's was a late '67 to early '68 era Plexi. There are a few cap value/discrepencies between those two era's. The *only* thing that wasnt stock about Ed's was an additional cathode bypass cap (250 to 320uf ?) that had been piggybacked over the .68uf on v2a. So that is a stock bypass cap (.68uf) with ANOTHER cap bypassing it (250 to 330uf?). Working out the math, you can get by with a LONE bypass there. A 25uf cap over the 820 cathode resistor works very nicely. This is a value that MANY guys use there (Rockstah rip, Bray, Suhr, our own Michael,myself, etc) This has been reffered to as a fat cap,it boosts the mid/upper mid frequincies/gain. As far as the pot on the back goes, it has never been confirmed one way or the other (external bias pot ?). One thing is certain to me though, and that is the fact that even if it WAS a MV, Ed didnt use it. There is a definate loss of sparkle and dynamic when you turn down the guitars volume pot on say a 2203 or 2204 (MV). Ed's sound cleaned up perfectly.

    The main thing about copping an authentic early Ed tone is the SET UP. That variac was key. You have to set the output tube bias as high as you can though, cause when you set the voltage (variac) to around 90v, this will bring that high bias down to around normal (40ma). You set the bias at 40ma and THEN lower the voltage with the variac, then your gonna have a REAL cold bias.

    You just cant 'Fake the volume', concerning how power tubes affect the sound and dynamics. Thats why a lower wattage amp is more practical/usefull for getting at the same 'Balls Out' type tone.
     
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