Help With A Particular Type Of Marshall Sound

David Bone

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Hello - new to this forum, but not to playing! I don't consider myself to have a bad ear, and generally have been able to produce most sounds I need without too much trouble, however - this one is really bugging me. I can approximate it, but there's something very special about the 'grainy' decay sound when a power chord is hit that I just can't produce for some reason. I believe most or all of these artists were using a Marshall head of some description into a 4 x 12, but not 100%.

This is not an unusual sound, it can be heard all over the early 90's ACDC live album, as well as so many recordings - but escaping me!
One of the most exposed examples can be heard in the R.E.M track 'Drive' at 2:01;




Also, so you have a good idea as to the tone here are a few other examples, to hopefully give you an idea of what i'm after;


(from outset)


(from outset)


(from 0:14)


(from 0:30)


I'd really appreciate any ideas. As you can hear - it's not quite the full-mid classic growl a la Slash/Gary Moore etc and has this 'grainy' quality to it. It's almost verging on metal territory at times, but still very much in the rock world.

Many thanks in advance!

Dave
 

BanditPanda

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'Fraid I won't be much help on this however I notice in 3 of the 4 examples the guitar used is or was a Rickenbacker.
Better ears than mine will be able to discern the studio effects being used and dialing in a Marshall.
 

David Bone

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Thanks for your input, but I wouldn't take it as red that the guitars you see in the videos are the ones used in the studio. Nearly always they're just for show and these sounds are very 'un-Rickenbackery'! I believe the REM track was a Les Paul and the Roxette stuff I'm sure was Tele (from seeing 'the making of Joyride' short film). Just unsure on the amps.
 

Dogs of Doom

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What I hear, that distinguishes these sounds from, say, Angus' sound is the addition of a solid state overdrive device up front & lots of post EQ & processing...

Also, in the '80s, the dreaded start of using an SM57 mic started in w/ getting that hollow, nasal sound, which probably contributed to the mid-scoop of the '90s/'00s...

At that point, close proximity mic'ing became the norm, using pre-amp gain distortion, rather than finding a sweet spot in an open room, getting a cranked up amp...
 

BowerR64

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What I hear, that distinguishes these sounds from, say, Angus' sound is the addition of a solid state overdrive device up front & lots of post EQ & processing...

Also, in the '80s, the dreaded start of using an SM57 mic started in w/ getting that hollow, nasal sound, which probably contributed to the mid-scoop of the '90s/'00s...

Is that what im missing? what did they use before the 57 entered the scene? like say Free: all right now?
 

Wildeman

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JCM 900 maybe? It would fit the time frame and is not, as far as i know what slash used. The Dual Reverb i have has a different sounding distorted sound because of diode clipping, like it has a distortion box built in.
 

dreyn77

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These are vastly different sounds to my ears.
It seems like the first clip they're using Kramer type guitars from the 1980's. in the roxette vids they use the rickenbacker AND a dimarzio super distortion guitar, which is only shown for a short time.
Celebrities are more likely to use the actual guitar for the videos, cause its a historical reference for them as well. It's not just a fashion show.

I hear VOX amps in the mix too. So, you've got your researching work ahead of you. I noted the roxette distortion when it came out back in the day. I thought back then that it was a European type of sound.
Same thing with tears for fears, they liked to make a statement which was different to USA bands back then. They could easily use some strange amp from any time of manufacture, and it shows in the recordings.

Those sounds were strange and unique back in the 1980's. I don't envy you trying to find tears for fears sounds. I don't think they're even from Marshall amps. Good luck! You'll need it.
 

Dogs of Doom

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Is that what im missing? what did they use before the 57 entered the scene? like say Free: all right now?
tube mic's, especially Neumann. This is a little off topic for this thread, but maybe it helps in not what to do... :)...

Here's a modern Neumann:

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/co...REG&ap=y&c3api=1876,92051678282,&Q=&A=details

similar to what they would use. Like I stated too, things were done in the classic old days, where instrument isolation wasn't as important as getting the sound. The bigger issues were like phase of mic's - recording a room live performance, where you could possible get a crash cymbal coming through the guitar pickup on a stop, creating a feedback through the amp, etc.

I think, depending on what you are doing, you probably have a couple things working against you. To record a guitar properly, it takes 3 people. You, as the player. A proficient soundguy, in the other room, w/ the mic/cab (in the sound room) & an engineer, who can run the board & help dial in the head, which is in the control room w/ you.

That way, you only hear what is being recorded. You can dial in the amp while you are playing & the engineer can dial in the board/effects, etc. You should record dry, but being able to monitor the effects. The guy in the sound room, can move the mic around to get the desired "room" sound of the cab.

Then, thinking less gain, as the recording will end up showing more gain. In the old days, we would use a technique of "pushing the tape". That creates a saturation of the tape, which gives some added warmth. You can not do that w/ digital...

If using SM57 mic's, you should be using 2 mic's. 1 producer (IIRC Andy Johns) said that he used 2 of them, w/ 1 aiming direct & the other aiming at a 45º. Then mix to taste. I've been experimenting w/ M/S mic'ing, which puts 1 mic on axis, & the other @ 90º w/ a figure 8 pattern. This gives you a stereo field. W/ that though, I like to do the on axis mic at 45º & the other out of phase 90º from there. I like using condenser mic's myself...

If you have a carpeted room, maybe try putting a piece of plywood, say 3'x3', or 4'x4', underneath the cab & sticking out front, so the sound bounced off the floor to give a live reflection. Try having the cabinet in the middle of the room, vs against the wall. Try different distances of cab placement & also mic placement. Best bet though, is to have the mic's together creating a nodal point. The closer the capsules, the less phase issues.
 

BowerR64

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Well i never really thought that what i hear from my amp is never what i hear on record but i kinda forgot about the coloring of the microphone.

But i have recorded stuff before at a friends then brought it home and played it and thought to myself WTF! thats not how i remember it sounding and i never thought about the microphone and how it can add "honk" to the sound.

It makes sense but i just never thought about that.

Now i kinda want to get an ISO cab and an SM57 and fool around with trying to get sounds threw the microphone.
 

Jethro Rocker

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I think approximate is all you will get. Remember, live these artists will sound different as well. As pointed out, studio mics, processing etc all affect the tone. Listen to the same songs live by the original artist and see how different it sounds. Your playback speakers, guitar used, everything affects what you hear after the guitar amp speakers.
 

Dogs of Doom

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yes, many factors color the "recorded" sound. How many x's do you dial in a sound (like EVH) & nail it. You record it & say WTF! that sounds nothing like it...
 

Blueslicks

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They all sound more like a Vox with a great deal of processing to me.
 

David Bone

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Hey everyone - Firstly, thanks so much for taking the time to make suggestions etc.

Just to clear up a few things to maybe help a little. I have done a LOT of research as to the Roxette sound, for example.

I do not agree with the historical reference point of view with regard to the guitars used in promo videos (by these type of artists, at least). Per Gessle (the guy playing the guitar in the videos) was the songwriter/co lead singer and did not play any of the electric guitar sounds you hear in the recordings. They were played by a Swedish session player by the name of Jonas Isacsson, who mainly played Tele's in the studio, together with a couple of custom made (brand unknown) red humbucker and single coil equipped guitars.
I have heard him in the flesh live, have live recordings and footage of a couple of Marshall heads and 2 4x12 cabs behind him and the sound is still similar (and awesome).

Maybe it would help to post a live recording so you can hear that the sound he is generating, is similar to the studio recordings (albeit with an obvious live mix sound), but you can hear that the fundamental sound is the same:



I know the sounds are different from song to song and some have obviously been 'polished' in the studio more than others but they all share the same quality. I don't think that mic type/placement etc is the key hear - as I say, I've heard these sounds live too.

Peter Buck from REM did not achieve that sound (possibly the best example, from a not being buried in the mix point of view) with a Rickenbacker. It is extremely similar to the power chord hit in Roxette's Fading Like a Flower - it's not down to some black art in the studio - just listen to the live guitar above.

Thank you again for all your input, it is very much appreciated.

Dave
 

El Gringo

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Maybe i am wrong but to me the clip above (Soul Deep) i am hearing a cranked Marshall or two maybe thru a Vintage 30's loaded cab dialed in with a loud midrange growl with a good amount of gain and probably going thru rack mounted compression .
 

paul-e-mann

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Hello - new to this forum, but not to playing! I don't consider myself to have a bad ear, and generally have been able to produce most sounds I need without too much trouble, however - this one is really bugging me. I can approximate it, but there's something very special about the 'grainy' decay sound when a power chord is hit that I just can't produce for some reason. I believe most or all of these artists were using a Marshall head of some description into a 4 x 12, but not 100%.

This is not an unusual sound, it can be heard all over the early 90's ACDC live album, as well as so many recordings - but escaping me!
One of the most exposed examples can be heard in the R.E.M track 'Drive' at 2:01;




Also, so you have a good idea as to the tone here are a few other examples, to hopefully give you an idea of what i'm after;


(from outset)


(from outset)


(from 0:14)


(from 0:30)


I'd really appreciate any ideas. As you can hear - it's not quite the full-mid classic growl a la Slash/Gary Moore etc and has this 'grainy' quality to it. It's almost verging on metal territory at times, but still very much in the rock world.

Many thanks in advance!

Dave

Not sure what youre getting at, they all seem to be low gain tones and nothing more. What amp and guitar are you trying to accomplish this with?
 

BanditPanda

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Thanks for your input, but I wouldn't take it as red that the guitars you see in the videos are the ones used in the studio. Nearly always they're just for show and these sounds are very 'un-Rickenbackery'! I believe the REM track was a Les Paul and the Roxette stuff I'm sure was Tele (from seeing 'the making of Joyride' short film). Just unsure on the amps.

Sure.Not personally familiar with those bands. Did research R.E.M. and learned the early R.E.M. the guitarist was using Ricks.
I also noted that the sounds were rather " thin " or trebly which those sounds you provided seemed to be. However the sound seemed very distinctive to me and seeing the Ricks, for one thing, said to myself " O/D'd Ricky ? Maybe. lol
 

marshallmellowed

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I don't hear anything special regarding the distortion character of any of the examples. In all cases, I'm hearing a distinct mid-range boost, maybe in the 700-1000 hz range, with not much bass. To approximate these mic'd tones, I'd start with a good 7-10 band EQ, I like the 10 band MXR. You won't get enough tone shaping using only the amps bass/middle/treble.
 

David Bone

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I don't hear anything special regarding the distortion character of any of the examples. In all cases, I'm hearing a distinct mid-range boost, maybe in the 700-1000 hz range, with not much bass. To approximate these mic'd tones, I'd start with a good 7-10 band EQ, I like the 10 band MXR. You won't get enough tone shaping using only the amps bass/middle/treble.
Thanks Marshallmellowed - good points re a graphic eq to help the tone shaping.
 

johan.b

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Try an older 4x12 with g12t75..All these examples was before all the Internet tan pants basement tone gurus went crazy for the 12 inches of ear fatigue that is V30..(and insidently before every one started snip the bright cap out of their 2203...)
j
 
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