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Clarence's tone
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Bob Warford



Joined: 24 Aug 2006
Posts: 97

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oops - also forgot to reply to a couple of questions:

rballister: The white Tele was the one Clarence used on Sweetheart of the Rodeo, and continued to use as his main guitar until the bender was completed in the sunburst Tele.

Bill Hisle: I could probably count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I have played Buckaroo in any 5-year period, so there is nothing I know of to post for comparison of styles on that song...

Bob
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Brian



Joined: 22 Aug 2006
Posts: 1361
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 1:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bob...Gene and yourself played Buckaroo during the outro of Gene's instructional Bender record right?
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Silverface



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 324
Location: Hermosa Beach CA

PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Something Phil said is very, very important, and constantly confused (much worse on the pedal steel forum than guitar forums):

Tone is NOT in the hands. STYLE is in the hands.

Players hear some name player play 4 different guitars, say he sounds the same on all of them, and proclaim it's all in the hands.

Insert huge, "are you people morons or what?" eyeroll here.

OF COURSE they sound the same - a seriously good stylist will sound like himself no matter what he's playing. Case in point - Jerry Garcia. Jerry sounds like Jery on guitar, banjo or pedal steel. There are differences due to the physical qualities of the instrument, but he STILL plays "Jerry-style". You KNOW it's him.

But it is idiotic when players say "tone is in the hands" and claim that, say, Buddy Emmons sounds the same Blade" guitar or the Zum he plays now; it's *precisely* what's heard in these examples
(thanks Bob - those were priceless and I'd like to use them as examples in some discussions if you think it'd be OK, since it's simply to prove a technical point) - same player, same amp, same general techniques, two completely different guitars (I've played both, and they are NOTHING alike...Bob's has those weird unobtanium frets that are almost flush with the fingerboard but have no wear after 50 years or so, and definitely have a significant affect on tone....as does body wood, chambering, body routs...and one of my favorite subjects, pickups.

I won't drive it completely into the ground again but there is a big difference between the VH sound with Red's harness and the relatively stock setup of the guitar when Marty got it, Clarence obviously having tinkered (as he was apt to do) and switching the bridge pickup and simplified the wiring in very late '72 or early '73. The VH dual-coil bridge pickup, which was described by both Clarence and Red to me and is NOT the one Fender found when they dismantled the guitar, would be the Tele part find of all time IMO.

I'm aware of Brian's pickup tests and respect the effort, but there's a lot to the whole interactive harness that reflects more than just the one pickup, and later ones made by the family were really inconsistent (even some of Red's were not quite the same - when you figure he was scatterwinding two different-sized, interleaved coils on a single bobbin there were bound to be "flavor" differences. For pickup comparisons, listen to Fillmore, Boston Tea Party and Palladium - there is no comparison in clean tones; they sound like different guitars. And the distortion sound is totally different as well, with the "boost" coil (a misnomer, since it's more a "normal" coil and the starting point a lower-output coil) on the Palladium recording taking the place of the later Klons, MXR Micro Amps, ZVex SHO's and such.

I'm pretty well-known for sounding like myself, for better or worse. Razz But I don't have the same TONE on my NW, my Trussart, My '63 Jaguar or my homebrew '60-ish Shoreline Gold Tele. And I certainly don't have ax 500 - a technology the "tone is in the hands" people totally ignore and refuse to reply to questions about.

Hey Bob - I'm gonna be home for a month, so if you have to make a trip to the office on the west side come on by and bring your guitar - we can measure the pull on some of these things...
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Silverface



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 324
Location: Hermosa Beach CA

PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Something Phil said is very, very important, and constantly confused (much worse on the pedal steel forum than guitar forums):

Tone is NOT in the hands. STYLE is in the hands.

Players hear some name player play 4 different guitars, say he sounds the same on all of them, and proclaim it's all in the hands.

Insert huge, "are you people morons or what?" eyeroll here.

OF COURSE they sound the same - a seriously good stylist will sound like himself no matter what he's playing. Case in point - Jerry Garcia. Jerry sounds like Jery on guitar, banjo or pedal steel. There are differences due to the physical qualities of the instrument, but he STILL plays "Jerry-style". You KNOW it's him.

But it is idiotic when players say "tone is in the hands" and claim that, say, Buddy Emmons sounds the same Blade" guitar or the Zum he plays now; it's *precisely* what's heard in these examples
(thanks Bob - those were priceless and I'd like to use them as examples in some discussions if you think it'd be OK, since it's simply to prove a technical point) - same player, same amp, same general techniques, two completely different guitars (I've played both, and they are NOTHING alike...Bob's has those weird unobtanium frets that are almost flush with the fingerboard but have no wear after 50 years or so, and definitely have a significant affect on tone....as does body wood, chambering, body routs...and one of my favorite subjects, pickups.

I won't drive it completely into the ground again but there is a big difference between the VH sound with Red's harness and the relatively stock setup of the guitar when Marty got it, Clarence obviously having tinkered (as he was apt to do) and switching the bridge pickup and simplified the wiring in very late '72 or early '73. The VH dual-coil bridge pickup, which was described by both Clarence and Red to me and is NOT the one Fender found when they dismantled the guitar, would be the Tele part find of all time IMO.

I'm aware of Brian's pickup tests and respect the effort, but there's a lot to the whole interactive harness that reflects more than just the one pickup, and later ones made by the family were really inconsistent (even some of Red's were not quite the same - when you figure he was scatterwinding two different-sized, interleaved coils on a single bobbin there were bound to be "flavor" differences. For pickup comparisons, listen to Fillmore, Boston Tea Party and Palladium - there is no comparison in clean tones; they sound like different guitars. And the distortion sound is totally different as well, with the "boost" coil (a misnomer, since it's more a "normal" coil and the starting point a lower-output coil) on the Palladium recording taking the place of the later Klons, MXR Micro Amps, ZVex SHO's and such.

I'm pretty well-known for sounding like myself, for better or worse. Razz But I don't have the same TONE on my NW, my Trussart, My '63 Jaguar or my homebrew '60-ish Shoreline Gold Tele. And I certainly don't have the same tone anywhere on my Variax 500 - a technology the "tone is in the hands" people totally ignore and refuse to reply to questions about.

Hey Bob - I'm gonna be home for a month, so if you have to make a trip to the office on the west side come on by and bring your guitar - we can measure the pull on some of these things...
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davidge1



Joined: 18 Dec 2006
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, it's great to hear these clips... it answers a lot of questions I had about Clarence White's tone. Clarence's tone on Nashville West is such a great sound... it's a big part of the reason I play a Telecaster.

Like the person who started this thread, I was also wondering why the Nashville West/ Byrds Live at the Filmore guitar tone was much fuller than I was able to get with my own Telecaster. It seems obvious to me now that the pickup was much hotter than a vintage Tele type of pickup... it's not only fuller and darker sounding on these clips, but it's also overdriving amp and/or the recording equipment slightly.

Was the pickup re-wound to make it hotter? I know that Red Rhodes re-wound lots of pickups at that time to make them hotter. And from what I read here, it sounds like that's not the pickup that's currently on the guitar?

Of course, I'd really love to hear more of these recordings! These are amazing...you can really hear every note he plays here so clearly.
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Silverface



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 324
Location: Hermosa Beach CA

PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
And from what I read here, it sounds like that's not the pickup that's currently on the guitar?


Correct. And when you hear Marty playing it (I have ACL tapes and live recordings) obviously his style is different - but the tone is not even close to the late '69 or so - '72 sound Clarence got. Someone - either Clarence before he died, a family member or friend screwing around with it, or Marty (and I seem to recall the guitar was NOT playable when Marty got it) changed the pickup.

It's also possible the wiring was changed. Brian has done a great job with the Nashville West Schematic and shown that the phase-switch wiring doesn't do anything...but some of the other stuff does. That leads me to the thought that possibly the dual-coil Velvet Hammer was wired slightly differently than the way Red laid it out for Mike Nihen ("stringpull"). As sooon as I get my hammer back in my NW (it's in my gold Evans-bender Tele right now until I can get the Fralin "Hammer Clone" repaired) I'm going to do some experimentation with the wiring - make the phase switch active but have a second switch for the "boost" coil (or coil tap, or whatever you want to call it if you have to be technically correct.

That's always been a wild-card to me, and something confusing when I go the wiring layout from Mike for my first VHTBX (now in Utah in my TVJones Tele) - both Clarence and Red mentioned something in passing about a push-pull switch, but there's no such switch on the current configuration of the guitar - however, at the Palladium gig, standing stone-cold sober at he front of the stage a few feet from Clarence, I swear I saw him pull up on the volume control at a couple of points, with resulting huge increases in gain. Essentially a pickup-based overdrive, if you will.


There are several mysteries to Clarence's tone that will never be completely "decoded" - there's no evidence that what Fender found when they dismantled it (which was a wonderful thing to have on record) was how the guitar was configured when Clarence was playing it (something Ritchie Fliegler specifically stated but was never printed in any of the articles); It's well-known Clarence had a tube Echoplex, but not confirmed (only rumored) that he had it on stage behind amps using it as a preamp (it's a house Echoplex at a saloon in the Antelope Valley - with his name on the case); It's not known if his stateside amps (specifically the Super Reverb) had any of Red's modifications (the Showmans were, supposedly, right off the CBS assembly line, and several were used so one big amp did not have to be transported); his effects and the use of switches on the hunk of wood on the stage in front of him are still unknown (except the unfortunate Fender Blender uses...and when he used, what the circuit was and the current whereabouts of the Valley Arts design fuzz/distortion device; and his Vibratone wiring (to me it sounds like the correct setup, with the stock crossover that send highs.lows to the Super and mids to the Vibratone, as having ownedone the sound was very similar and totally different from the thinned-out "extension speaker" type wiring used by guys who have lost the crossover/switch.

The last set of variables is WHEN he used WHAT - as his tone was not consistent. Fillmore sounds like clearly stock Tele bridge sounds most of the time; Tea Party sounds like everything's coming out of a tin can speaker; Palladium and the newer Ash Grove recording sound thicker, fatter and completely different that those other two examples.

The only thing for sure is that changes were made along the line...when and what they are is the mystery.

I do get a kick when people ask Gene or Roger about Clarence's amps, effects, pickups, etc. They will...and do...have NO idea. Anyone who's played in a band with the same guys for several years concentrates on his OWN equipment and usually has no idea what the other players are using, other than generic stuff - "A Telecaster"; "A Twin Reverb, I think"; "a bunch of stuff on a pedalboard". Ask someone about current bandmates and they may have a vague idea of major items; ask 35 years later and good luck!
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Brian



Joined: 22 Aug 2006
Posts: 1361
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 10:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Silverface wrote:

I do get a kick when people ask Gene or Roger about Clarence's amps, effects, pickups, etc. They will...and do...have NO idea......snip.... ask 35 years later and good luck!


Consider this...no one has spoken to Clarence since his passing in 1973 ...35+ years.... Since anyone's recollection is at least 35 years old...it then just boils down to a contest in degrees of senility Cool

My personal belief is that no one on this earth would know more about it than the people that played and lived with him every day for years. Since nothing can be proved, there will be no definitive answers...just some more definitive than others. Everything else is personal conjecture.

It would be interesting what Michelle has to say about the condition of CW's Tele when MS got it.
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Silverface



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 324
Location: Hermosa Beach CA

PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2008 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I seem to recall she was asked a while back but really didn't know; I think she was still pretty young when Marty got it.

Interestingly, I'm talking to Mike DeTemple who worked with Red for a while and has a pretty intimate knowledge of the VH and Red's wiring harness. I'll post what I can as I get more info.

Quote:
My personal belief is that no one on this earth would know more about it than the people that played and lived with him every day for years.


Well, we'll agree to disagree on that one - my personal experience of 40+ years in and out of various bands is that almost no one in any band was intimately familiar with any other player's equipment, unless they were the band's tech AND a player (my role a few times). I've known bands that have played together for decades and players often can't even remember what amp their bandmate uses, unless he's like Bob Warford and only uses ONE amp...forever!

Also, Red's not been gone for 30 years and was making the same electronics mods for decades...so there's not a 30-year "blank slate" to fill.
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Murr



Joined: 24 May 2008
Posts: 384
Location: http://www.youtube.com/user/skydogz1

PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2008 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

'
Clarence made it sound like a dozen different guitars.

    Nashville West cd

    Bakersfield recordings with Paxton, Gib, Wayne Moore, etc.

    clean tone on Byrds Younger Than Yesterday

    fuzz and clean tones of Dr Byrds Mr Hyde

    various direct and tube amp sounds on Easy Rider

    White's Lightening

    twangy overdrive on Live At The Fillmore

    unique sounds on Untitled

    and still another at Queen's College
And others I'm forgetting.
'
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davidge1



Joined: 18 Dec 2006
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are there any Tele players who are getting a good "Clarence White tone" with their current equipment? ...not necessarily an exact duplicate of the tone, but something approximating the Nashville West or Live at the Fillmore sound?
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Murr



Joined: 24 May 2008
Posts: 384
Location: http://www.youtube.com/user/skydogz1

PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep, I am. And on acoustic as well.
'
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Dogbear



Joined: 23 Jun 2007
Posts: 275
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

davidge1, you can listen to Mur on this track. Clarence was in the channel that was panned out with Mur now playing the lead. I think you can see, he does a exceptional job of nailing Clarence's tone. I have no doubt that he can nail the live sound as well.

http://www.clarencewhiteforum.com/mp3/MursTulsa.mp3

This url was pulled from the Tulsa County (Blue) thread in this forum.

http://www.bbenderguitars.com/CWforum/forum/viewtopic.php?t=307
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Drake



Joined: 22 Aug 2006
Posts: 89
Location: California

PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mur gets the live sound. The punchy clone guitar and a 6L6 amp turned up very loud.
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Savalas



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 268
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lovely, forgot how accurate 'Murs tulsa' sounds..
Mur, do a youtube video version of that when you get time, be neat to see it being played up close..
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Murr



Joined: 24 May 2008
Posts: 384
Location: http://www.youtube.com/user/skydogz1

PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 4:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll get a digital camcorder sometime and post some stuff.
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