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  1. #1
    The Joker BradS's Avatar
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    Default Ed's Guitar Sound...

    We all know that Ed’s guitar sound has changed from back in the day. Some have said it changed around the 1984 CD or the 5150 CD, but I even think it sounded different before then. To me, Ed’s guitar sound was the same for the first 5 albums…meaning his sound changed after the Diver Down CD.

    I think all the albums from 1984 to Balance would have sounded even better if Ed’s guitar sound was the same as it had been. What did it? Was it the change to the Kramer version of “franky”, or was it a change in amp setup? What?

    Discuss.

  2. #2
    Atomic Punk sixstring's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BradS
    We all know that Ed’s guitar sound has changed from back in the day. Some have said it changed around the 1984 CD or the 5150 CD, but I even think it sounded different before then. To me, Ed’s guitar sound was the same for the first 5 albums…meaning his sound changed after the Diver Down CD.

    I think all the albums from 1984 to Balance would have sounded even better if Ed’s guitar sound was the same as it had been. What did it? Was it the change to the Kramer version of “franky”, or was it a change in amp setup? What?

    Discuss.
    His sound, to my ears, has been different on every record they've done. I think it's a combination of a lot of things - different guitars, recording techniques, amp settings, etc., etc...

    I believe Ed was ALWAYS searching for the 'perfect' tone and never really hit it exactly the way he hears it in his head, so he was constantly tweaking everything.

    The only thing I think that DID stay consistant on the first six albums is that Ed primarily usd the same ol' Marshall amp throughout.
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  3. #3
    The Joker BradS's Avatar
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    See, to me that "sound" on the first five albums was the same. I don't mean that as a dig on the guy either...it was a good thing.

    To me, that rough thick sound was present, and it was the same. I just wonder what made it change.
    Last edited by BradS; 05.10.06 at 12:30 PM.

  4. #4
    Atomic Punk sixstring's Avatar
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    I see what you're saying.

    Well, if you're talking the first five albums versus the rest, the main difference would be the first five were recorded in various, different studios and 1984 was the first to be recorded in 5150. I'm sure Ed paid a LOT of attention to guitar detail when they did that one, purely because it was the first record at HIS joint.

    5150 (the album) and 1984 have a lot in common as far as guitar tone goes (at least to my ears - he's still using the same ol' Marshall amp at this point) but there are differences. The biggest of those being he started to use an Eventide Harmonizer on 5150 as sort of a high-quality chorus effect on damn near every guitar track. It's what gives the Sam-era sound it's trademark 'sheen', if you will. He would run the Eventide in stereo, one side being the 'dry' signal, and th other being the 'wet', slightly detuned signal. When you blend them back together in a stereo mix, you get that 12-string-like shimmer to the sound without having so much of the up-and-down modulation that you might get with a chorus.

    The next major thing that got changed equipment-wise was when he started using Soldano (and then, Peavey 5150) amps on a couple of the tracks on OU812 and thereafter. They have a completely different gain stucture (obviously a lot hotter) than that old Marshall.

    Does all that make sense and sort of answer your question?
    Last edited by sixstring; 05.10.06 at 12:52 PM.
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    "20 minutes (late to work)? Shit. Last year I woke up three weeks too late.
    My advice is to go for the alien abduction story. Look bemused, dishevelled and on the verge of tears as you recount your story of intrusive and degrading medical tests.
    Worked for me anyway. I still have colleagues asking me what it is like to fuck a green womanoid with seventeen breasts.
    Alternatively just walk in and inform everyone that alcoholism is indeed a disease and that they should be less judgemental and perhaps a little more supportive."
    - graeme on the addiction to this place.

    "something tells me that after the nuclear holocaust, there'll be twinkies, cockroaches, and a dave vs. sammy argument going on somewhere".
    - han valen, 6.11.04

    "in my best "saw" scary movie voice: "oh, yes, there will be beagles."
    - hatchetforce, 6.7.06

  5. #5
    The Joker BradS's Avatar
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    Yeah, thanks. Interesting perspective. I have never been that technically proficient with regard to instruments and the like. I appreciate it.

  6. #6
    Wear the fox hat... Filthy 150's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sixstring
    I see what you're saying.

    Well, if you're talking the first five albums versus the rest, the main difference would be the first five were recorded in various, different studios and 1984 was the first to be recorded in 5150. I'm sure Ed paid a LOT of attention to guitar detail when they did that one, purely because it was the first record at HIS joint.

    5150 (the album) and 1984 have a lot in common as far as guitar tone goes (at least to my ears - he's still using the same ol' Marshall amp at this point) but there are differences. The biggest of those being he started to use an Eventide Harmonizer on 5150 as sort of a high-quality chorus effect on damn near every guitar track. It's what gives the Sam-era sound it's trademark 'sheen', if you will. He would run the Eventide in stereo, one side being the 'dry' signal, and th other being the 'wet', slightly detuned signal. When you blend them back together in a stereo mix, you get that 12-string-like shimmer to the sound without having so much of the up-and-down modulation that you might get with a chorus.

    The next major thing that got changed equipment-wise was when he started using Soldano (and then, Peavey 5150) amps on a couple of the tracks on OU812 and thereafter. They have a completely different gain stucture (obviously a lot hotter) than that old Marshall.

    Does all that make sense and sort of answer your question?
    I was gonna say it was the 5150 studio and him having more money to buy better equipment, but yours sounds better.
    The Eventide Harmonizer is interesting. I always attributed the glossy(ala Cabo Wabo, SOI) sound to the Soldano. I'll have to check into the Tide.
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  7. #7
    Hot For Teacher
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    Now I think that his tone changed on 5150 and had the same tone on OU812, it was overprocessed velveeta cheese. Even in an interview for 5150 I remember reading that he was using the same shit as always but it sounded different even to him and Donn Landee. Now FUCK was obviously different but he was after different sounds for that one, I consider it and experimental guitar sound album cause he was using the marshall, soldano, peavey prototypes, as well as many different EBMM models and pick ups as he was developing, even used a preamp on Dream is over.

    And soldano's were NOT used prior to FUCK album, at least in no interviews I read leading up to it. That and remember Ed's sound changed because he also changed engineers and producers after OU812 also.

  8. #8
    Forum Frontman Double Down's Avatar
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    I think he sounds different on every album.

    Hell, even most of VH 2 is very different than VH 1. Just look at how much different Bottoms Up, Light Up The Sky, Women In Love, etc sound as compared to I'm The One, Ain't Talking Bout Love, Feel Your Love Tonight, etc. The VH 2 songs are not nearly as 'brown' as VH 1.


    IMO, Van Halen 1 IS the Van Halen sound. I don't think he ever got that particular tone again.
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  9. #9
    Atomic Punk sixstring's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pancho
    And soldano's were NOT used prior to FUCK album, at least in no interviews I read leading up to it. That and remember Ed's sound changed because he also changed engineers and producers after OU812 also.
    Sucker In A 3 Piece sure sounds like a Soldano to me. WAY different than the rest of the album. MUCH more gain on that one than his Marshall sound, or at least to my ears...
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    "20 minutes (late to work)? Shit. Last year I woke up three weeks too late.
    My advice is to go for the alien abduction story. Look bemused, dishevelled and on the verge of tears as you recount your story of intrusive and degrading medical tests.
    Worked for me anyway. I still have colleagues asking me what it is like to fuck a green womanoid with seventeen breasts.
    Alternatively just walk in and inform everyone that alcoholism is indeed a disease and that they should be less judgemental and perhaps a little more supportive."
    - graeme on the addiction to this place.

    "something tells me that after the nuclear holocaust, there'll be twinkies, cockroaches, and a dave vs. sammy argument going on somewhere".
    - han valen, 6.11.04

    "in my best "saw" scary movie voice: "oh, yes, there will be beagles."
    - hatchetforce, 6.7.06

  10. #10
    Eruption
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    Ed was using harmonizers long before 5150. He definitley used an Eventide 910 on 1984, and I'm 99% sure he used it a few albums prior. . .and definitely live.

    But, it was definitely more prominent starting with 5150 and sammy era stuff.
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  11. #11
    Baluchitherium mistere's Avatar
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    I think his tone was so much better when he was 'Frankenstein-ing' his
    own shit. The changes in tone have been interesting and you can't fault
    a guy (not least of which, Ed) for experimenting, but once he started
    farming everything out (Music Man!? Peavy!? Really?) his tone was
    nowhere near as satisfying, IMO. His sound varied thru the six pack
    (DD sounds much drier and far less saturated to me than say, 1) but
    it was always very warm and well, brown. 5150 sounds vaccuum packed,
    OU812 sounds like it's in a canyon and while FUCK and Balance fair better,
    his tone is almost kinda Rush-like. Fine but not the hot rodded tone
    of yore.

  12. #12
    Hot For Teacher
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    Now i'm not trying to be an ass, but I have a 1985 interview with Rudee Leiren and there is no mention of an harmonizer from the album or tour. It was strickly marshalls in secession and would always complain about the wireless making certain sides sound like shit. He got the harmonizer for 5150 to just split his signal into the stereo spectrum so he only had to use one marshall head and not have to deal with the multiple stack problems. So if he used it on 84 then there is no pics or mention of eventide on it. One mention of a Jose Arrendono amp still in the works though. 5150 album and tour he got the bradshaw rig and we have a ton of pics on that one.

  13. #13
    On Fire Rebel67's Avatar
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    You guys all make good points, but you are leaving out a few Key ingredients to the change in sound.
    When Ed first started out he was running his amp hot, meaning he was overdriving it further than normal and dumping the excess into a dummy load amp. He achieved an extremely overdriven sound for the 1977-1978 period ( even live- listen to 77 pasadena civic). In late 1978, when they went to record VHII, Ed returned to a more straight ahead, less overdriven straight from the amp approach, which explains how VH1 shreds in tone over VHII. Then going into WACF, he returned to the heavy overdrive, voltage regulator, dummy load setup. What started to happen around 1982 is that for a live sound, Ed switched to wireless. If you listen to "Largo 82'" or "US Fest 83'" you can hear that the tone is a little more treble brittle and Ed has to constantly fight off feedback and adjust his guitar volume (down) which kills the overdrive sound, and thins it out, making it more bluesy sounding. After 1983 Ed starts relying heavily on what I call "Processed Cheese Toys". His true and argueably best tone was acieved with his first 77-78 Supercharged amp and mxr simplicity. IMO.

  14. #14
    Sinner's Swing! jimmy's Avatar
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    And I thought it was just Ed moving the mic a few inches back and forth....
    Actually I think most of us are Dave, Sam, and Mike fans. There's just a small group of people who have strange allegiances and like to get into petty pissing contests that I can't believe everyone on this site isn't bored of. - Brett

  15. #15
    Hot For Teacher
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    Oh I agree with you guys totally on this, I mean it's obvious on every album Ed had a slightly different tone, and he never admited in any interview then or now that he ever went for something different (always claimed, same ole shit as usual) until 90. One thing we're also leaving out on Ed's tone as albums go is costs. I mean those first 3 albums went bang, bang, bang, one foot out the door literally. But that's cause Ed said they got off their first tour that took 11 months and sold a million albums to come home to finding out they were in debt to the record company cause of a bad deal. So they had to bang out a couple more albums to pay it all off. So no time in the studio affected alot and Fair Warning was the most time on an album they ever had until 84, and look at the tone he got on that when he had time. So I mean not only equipment on albums but recording time as well we have to look at.

 

 

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