Ring Modulator

PelliX

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OK, so just about any guitarist will agree that the ring modulator is just about the most useless effect ever created. It doesn't work for any "traditional" type of music. Blues? Hell no. Rock? Nah. Country? Are you kidding me? Even a progressive rock musician would be hard pressed to figure out any way of really introducing this to anything and making it sound good.

I don't know how I missed it all these years (probably because my ears were still ringing from the first 99% of the track), but I think I've found an actual example of someone using it. Deep Purple (presumably Blackmore, but maybe Lord) did it on Black Night. Listen to the last few seconds of the song. I think that's presumably him walking down somewhere on the fret board with a ring modulator engaged. I don't think it adds much to the track, but ... it's there. Either that, or he knows how to make a Strat do that... :shrug:

Maybe the Strat was just not holding tune because of the whammy bar wanking and he flipped it on as a sort of autotune/abstraction for the last few seconds, though he's too meticulous for that, I'd have thought.

Am I nuts, or do others agree?
 
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mark123

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Not hearing it. Which version of the song?
 

PelliX

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Album version, here's a YT link:



Starts at 4:44, last approx 2-3s. Panned quite hard left, but there's a fair deal of panning going on. I covered the track the other day and only came across this by accident really.
 

purpleplexi

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I bought one in the 70s when I was playing bass. Maybe used it twice. Don't recall what happened to it.
 

PelliX

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I bought one in the 70s when I was playing bass. Maybe used it twice. Don't recall what happened to it.

You're the first person I know who *paid* for one, then. Plenty of multi-FX kit includes them, but to purposefully go and buy one, wow. Not having a go at you, just marvelling at your choice. :)
 

mark123

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I'd say that's the keyboard into a Marshall. Don't hate me but I always cringe at that awful keyboard tone. It's so grating. Don't get me wrong, I love Deep Purple but the keyboards were always harsh. I've heard that Richie Blackmore loved to destroy the front row with his Marshall Majors plus treble boost but it was the keyboards that were torturous.
 

junk notes

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guessing as it could be that the Celeste tab is toggled on, with the drawbar pushed all in; on zero.
 

PelliX

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I'd say that's the keyboard into a Marshall. Don't hate me but I always cringe at that awful keyboard tone. It's so grating. Don't get me wrong, I love Deep Purple but the keyboards were always harsh. I've heard that Richie Blackmore loved to destroy the front row with his Marshall Majors plus treble boost but it was the keyboards that were torturous.

Hmmmm, obviously I've never heard them live, but the studio work, although "weird" in their own way seemed pretty controlled. I've pushed organs and pianos through various amps myself in the studio (there's nothing like a VOX for this, I gave up on Marshalls very quickly for that task). To me that just sounded very much like a ring mod, but maybe you're right. It's certainly one of the 'dirtier' tracks. I managed to snag a MIDI file (can't ALWAYS have a drummer around and my drumming would be about as good as my bagpipe skills), but the end is just a straight chop off. Of course, studio work is often a mystery, but that's not Jon's tone throughout the rest of the track, lacks the typical timbre too. Excellent examples of that on Perfect Strangers and so on. Who knows what those guys were up to.

EDIT: A bit of googling got me this: https://www.thehighwaystar.com/rosas/faq/equip/lord.htm

The money shots being:

I pushed Jon Lord to play the organ with more distortion the way he used to. We recorded it that way. I brought one of my guitar effects units and put it into his organ rig. That's what he still uses now. I programmed some effects for him. 'Cascades', for example, has a heavy organ and guitar lines like in the old days when Ritchie and Jon played a lot of triplet lines together.

>This is something that's been puzzling me for a long time.
>Since cirka 1972, Lord has had some sort of effect box on
>top of his C-3. This box produces the strange noice that f.
>instance can be heard on the intro to Lazy on Made in Japan
>or the intro to You Fool No-one on both California Jam and
>Live in London.

>My question is: What precisely is this? Any ideas who make
>them, what they're called etc.

The device you're referring to is a ring modulator. His one was made by Gibson (NOT the guitar company, we think) and is no longer available, certainly not a a 'stand alone' device. It was an ugly, square box secured (nailed probably!) to the left side of his C3

So, it IS a ring modulator, but Jon was using it, not Ritchie.... at least, it's not outlined to be used on Black Night, but I think this seems more than likely.
 
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PelliX

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I'd say that's the keyboard into a Marshall. Don't hate me but I always cringe at that awful keyboard tone. It's so grating. Don't get me wrong, I love Deep Purple but the keyboards were always harsh. I've heard that Richie Blackmore loved to destroy the front row with his Marshall Majors plus treble boost but it was the keyboards that were torturous.

The overdrive on the Hammond that you (not entirely unjustly) dislike... is actually seemingly the same device:

ring-modulator.jpg


It was constantly in the output chain and he would push the volume to get more drive. Long story short, I'll omit that horrid sound from the cover even though my GX-700 has a pretty configurable one. Brrr.
 

Eric'45

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OK, hopefully it's clear I was kidding, not everyone has to like the same things 😉 , but I'm a huge Jon Lord Fan, and Hammond Organist (By all means, NOT a Keyboarder), myself. The point where you hear him using it prominently would be the intro of Lazy on the Made in Japan LP.



Granted, he's just making noise here. But other notabe examples of a Ring Modulator used with guitar are the Solo of Paranoid, or LZs Houses of the Holy.
 

RLW59

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Ring modulator on ZZ Top's "Cheap Sunglasses". At each chorus they sing "oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah", then Billy punctuates it with with a weird, stangled, atonal chord that sounds more like a synth than a guitar.

Also, the South Park end theme by Primus heavily features a ring modulator. LaLonde switches from a pretty clean tone to a wacky weird tone at the ends of his phrases.
 
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PelliX

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Granted, he's just making noise here. But other notabe examples of a Ring Modulator used with guitar are the Solo of Paranoid, or LZs Houses of the Holy.

Wait... but the Paranoid solo (which I play(ed) dammit!) ... doesn't... ? I'm not a big Sabbath/Ozzy fan, but I appreciate some of their work, and Paranoid is one of those that every chick requests, right... ;)

Ring modulator on ZZ Top's "Cheap Sunglasses". At each chorus they sing "oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah", then Billy punctuates it with with a weird, stangled, atonal chord that sounds more like a synth than a guitar.

Fuck me, you're right. Never noticed, though I never went in for that 'style' of ZZ Top. I love them, but some of their 'directions' just didn't grab me. Texas blues and hard stomping rock - that's the ZZ Top I liked. No frills, get you head beard down and boogie...
 

RLW59

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Wait... but the Paranoid solo (which I play(ed) dammit!) ... doesn't... ? I'm not a big Sabbath/Ozzy fan, but I appreciate some of their work, and Paranoid is one of those that every chick requests, right... ;)



Fuck me, you're right. Never noticed, though I never went in for that 'style' of ZZ Top. I love them, but some of their 'directions' just didn't grab me. Texas blues and hard stomping rock - that's the ZZ Top I liked. No frills, get you head beard down and boogie...
The solo in Paranoid is double-tracked. There's his normal guitar tone in one channel and a ring modulator on the other channel.

Really a clever use given the context of the song. Clear and lucid, but with a shadow of madness and chaos lurking behind it.
 

PelliX

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The solo in Paranoid is double-tracked. There's his normal guitar tone in one channel and a ring modulator on the other channel.

Really a clever use given the context of the song. Clear and lucid, but with a shadow of madness and chaos lurking behind it.

I'd noticed the double tracking indeed... but, huh... I guess you live and learn...
 

V-man

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Seriously? We’re just going to gloss over Paranoid?

Ozzy’s opening line in Iron Man and that awful “blown speaker“ solo of Paranoid were both achieved by Ring mod, IIRC.
 

PelliX

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Ozzy’s opening line in Iron Man and that awful “blown speaker“ solo of Paranoid were both achieved by Ring mod, IIRC.

I'm not that deep into the Sabbath factoids, I just hit on a compressor, distortion and use the bridge pickup of any guitar - close enough for my intents... :shred2:

What I do happen to know is that the opening line on Iron Man was actually him talking behind a fan, mechanical FX, if you were.
 

V-man

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I'm not that deep into the Sabbath factoids, I just hit on a compressor, distortion and use the bridge pickup of any guitar - close enough for my intents... :shred2:

What I do happen to know is that the opening line on Iron Man was actually him talking behind a fan, mechanical FX, if you were.
What I read on the internet, I typically absorb in passing (like the subject at hand), but once I put it out there behind my name, (esp. on matters Sabbath) I am compelled to do some digging when the situation calls for it.

 


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