Follow us on...
Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Facebook Watch us on YouTube
Register
Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    Baluchitherium
    Join Date
    09.24.02
    Location
    North Central OKC
    Posts
    4,582
    Favorite VH Album

    VH, WACF, FW, 5150, OU812
    Favorite VH Song

    Dreams/Unchained/InASR/5150
    Last Online

    11.25.17 @ 04:30 AM
    Likes
    290
    Liked 298 Times in 161 Posts

    Default Tom Scholz's Guitar Sound

    Trying to get Tom's guitar sound. I looked on the internets and found some good starts, but no 100% success. I know it's not just a studio thing because I've seen and heard Tom get that sound live. Any tips? Ideas?

    BTW, I own a Boss GT-10.

    --- --- ---

    Side note: God blessed me with a killer ear for music, but my playing ability doesn't match it and it doesn't seem to be able to allow me to duplicate guitar tones.

    "The shit I read on this site." -- Dave's Dreidel (Nov 6th, 2013)

    "Don't ever confuse talent with fame." -- Bob Lefsetz

    "There's very little greatness in this world, but in the crucible of quality there's a special corner reserved for Van Halen." -- Bob Lefsetz

  2. #2
    Good Enough vanzefflin's Avatar
    Join Date
    08.17.04
    Location
    Oklahoma/Texas border
    Posts
    1,527
    Last Online

    10.26.17 @ 04:07 PM
    Likes
    69
    Liked 104 Times in 58 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Metal Marc View Post
    Trying to get Tom's guitar sound. I looked on the internets and found some good starts, but no 100% success. I know it's not just a studio thing because I've seen and heard Tom get that sound live. Any tips? Ideas?

    BTW, I own a Boss GT-10.

    --- --- ---

    Side note: God blessed me with a killer ear for music, but my playing ability doesn't match it and it doesn't seem to be able to allow me to duplicate guitar tones.
    Les Paul, Rockman everything, Marshall.
    EDDIE IS THE ULTIMATE ROCK DOG!

  3. #3
    Eruption donkost's Avatar
    Join Date
    03.28.08
    Age
    54
    Location
    Eastern PA
    Posts
    1,350
    Last Online

    12.10.17 @ 08:16 PM
    Likes
    174
    Liked 93 Times in 37 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by vanzefflin View Post
    Les Paul, Rockman everything, Marshall.
    You covered all Boston eras in one response there.

  4. #4
    Eruption donkost's Avatar
    Join Date
    03.28.08
    Age
    54
    Location
    Eastern PA
    Posts
    1,350
    Last Online

    12.10.17 @ 08:16 PM
    Likes
    174
    Liked 93 Times in 37 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Metal Marc View Post
    Trying to get Tom's guitar sound. I looked on the internets and found some good starts, but no 100% success. I know it's not just a studio thing because I've seen and heard Tom get that sound live. Any tips? Ideas?

    BTW, I own a Boss GT-10.

    --- --- ---

    Side note: God blessed me with a killer ear for music, but my playing ability doesn't match it and it doesn't seem to be able to allow me to duplicate guitar tones.
    First two albums, '68 Les Paul w/Dimarzio Super Distortion bridge pickup (still uses that guitar today), attenuated Marshall 100 watt amps. He designed the Power Soak attenuator. He was also a master of EQ and used them in multiple locations in his signal chain- pre and post distortion, and I believe I have read that he reamped the Marshall into an Ampeg head. Also had a number of home made effects in the early years one of which was a doubler/chorus type of effect. Had an EchoPlex modded with an expression foot pedal to make that pick slide/explosion effect (his "HyperSpace" effect). His EQ has a ton of upper mids with low and high frequencies rolled off. Sounds odd by itself but sits perfectly in the mix with other instruments. You can find an image of his MXR 6 band EQ settings from the old days on a number of sites.



    Beginning with the Third Stage album he began using the solid state Rockmodules to achieve his sound. These gave him control over all aspects of his sound such as varying degrees of clean/distortion, EQ, chorus, echo, compression, etc. He still tours with racks full of this gear to this day. His development company was sold to Dunlop in '94 and he has buyers looking for clean, used Rockmodules to be serviced/rebuilt for his backups. The Rockmodules were not meant to be played through normal limited-range guitar amps and speakers. They were meant to be played through his solid state power amps and full range speakers.

    It's best to read as much as possible on the following sites to get a feel for his sound Third Stage album and beyond.

    http://www.rockman.fr/Menu/Menu.htm

    http://www.rockmancentral.com/

    another great site:
    http://www.perfectsoundrockrefurbs.com/

    Also, the Rockman X100 headphone amp was never really meant to give the signature Boston sound. It was a cool product nonetheless and I hope to pick up a completely refurbished unit someday (my original was sold eons ago). With some creative external EQ work you could probably get close with the X100. I have very little knowledge of modern amp modelers, but I'm sure people have developed plug-ins which get pretty darn close. I have a Guitar Rig Mobile unit with the accompanying software that was free with another purchase but I haven't spent a great deal of time with it.

    Not sure if I helped all that much but at least I gave you some reading material to better understand the sound!
    Last edited by donkost; 07.24.12 at 08:26 PM. Reason: added mxr image

  5. #5
    Romeo Delight
    Join Date
    01.16.12
    Location
    Over The Hills And Far Away
    Posts
    73
    Last Online

    07.16.15 @ 07:54 PM
    Likes
    0
    Liked 1 Time in 1 Post

    MORE THAN A FEELING: TALKING LES PAULS WITH BOSTON’S TOM SCHOLZ

    Less surprising is Scholz’s choice of guitars. That’s because he’s used the same pair of 1968 Les Paul Goldtops both on stage and in the studio throughout Boston’s entire history.

    For an inveterate inventor and tinkerer who created his own Rockman line of electronic amps and effects and is always tweaking Boston’s sonic arsenal, Scholz’s unshakeable devotion to his Les Pauls’ dependability is astonishing. So when we spoke recently, we opted to talk guitars.

    What first turned you on about Les Pauls?

    They sound great―period. The first time I saw somebody play one was Jimmy Page and then I heard Jeff Beck use one on Truth. Then, I heard someone play a Goldtop in a bar and I thought it was the sweetest sounding thing. “Where do you find a guitar like that?”

    A couple years later that guy had to sell his equipment and offered me that very guitar for 300 bucks. It’s the same one I use today. Now it has a Mighty Mouse on it. That was a bumper sticker I cut out and stuck on, then buried under 14 layers of lacquer. It’s been there for 22 years now so it’s not going anywhere.

    So you still play your first Les Paul on-stage?

    Yes, this is my Les Paul story. After I got a deal and had a chance to go on the road, I realized I had to get a second guitar in case I broke a string. So I went to a local shop that had some used and consignment guitars. They had a Goldtop that looked exactly like my first one and they were selling it for three-fitty. I bought it and had my two guitars.

    Fast forward to 1978 and I’m getting ready to go out on the road again and I’m thinking, “I use both of those guitars in the studio. What would happen if the equipment got destroyed or the truck got stolen or something.”

    Both of these guitars sound very, very similar, so I thought I could get just another back up and leave one of them at home.

    By then we were a big deal so I sent a guitar roadie down to the music store. He bought a beautiful brand new sunburst Les Paul and brought it to sound check. I picked it up and started playing and said, “This isn’t anything like my Les Paul. It’s not like my neck.”

    The roadie said, “Of course it is, they’re all the same.” So I grabbed mine and we compared, and the new one was much, much thinner. The guitar tech was surprised. He said he didn’t know there were different model necks for Les Pauls.

    He went back and played every Les Paul in the store, about 50 of them, and none of them were right. Somebody at the store told him that in ’68 there was a reissue that had a fat neck, and they only made it for about six months. It turns out both of the used guitars I bought were built within six months of each other in 1968 and both had the fat neck, and I couldn’t find another like it. Apparently the original ’57s also have that very deep neck.

    Have you tried the Custom Shop Reissue ’57 Goldtop?

    I have not. I will go check it out. I still don’t have a back-up guitar that I can use, and I don’t like bringing both of these guitars on the road with me, although I do that. The differences between my two guitars are very slight.

    You’re famous for having gigantic tone. How much of that comes from your Les Pauls?

    They do have a huge sound. It’s tough to quantify that. I’ve compared them in great depth to lots of other guitars, and I couldn’t even put that into technical terms. But the sound is big with lots of character, and if you want a chunky sound it’s there or if you want a pure, crystal clear tone it does that. I just don’t get that range from other guitars.

    What did you have before you got your first Les Paul?

    I had a really cool Yamaha beginner’s electric guitar made out of balsa wood. It weighed about a pound-and-a-half. I would play it though a transistor radio and that sucker would feed back, but it was quite useless for a real stage with actual amplifiers.

    Other than the Mighty Mouse sticker, are your Les Pauls stock?

    No. I do a lot of messing around. That year and model came with the big soap bar P-90s pickups, which I love, but I had a lot of trouble with them in the ’70s. The lighting systems back then made everything buzz. They put out tremendous amounts of RF. I had to take out the bridge pickups and install humbucking pickups so I could get on stage.

    On one guitar I have a tuning device that changes the tension on all the strings by the same amount, so I can go up or down incrementally. We do a lot of outdoor playing so temperatures affect the strings. With a quick one-knob adjustment I can bring the guitar up or down a half step. It is purely a mechanical system. I was going to build an automated tuning system for the market―a one-button system that would tune all your strings to a programmed, pre-determined tension. But in general my Les Pauls stay in tune so well I never bothered to develop it.

    I have another device that lifts the string so there’s very little friction up at the nut, and a custom built roller bridge so there’s no friction at the bridge. It’s mostly things that make the guitar easier for me to play.

    The open strings on a guitar are never going to be quite perfectly in tune. And what size string you use and some other factors affect this, but in general the G is often a little flat, the high E will often be sharp. So I changed the shape of the nut and added pieces of steel to the neck to lift the string. I even have a fake fret behind the second fret on the high E string, so when I play an open D chord the F-sharp will be a little bit flat, which puts it into mathematically perfect pitch for a D chord.

    What gauge strings do you play?

    I use .08, .11, .15, .24, .34, .44―which makes for pretty slinky high notes and pretty resilient low notes. I have to put some muscle into it to bend the lower strings and be pretty careful pressing down on the high strings. I like it that way because it gives me enormous flexibility for controlling pitch in the top end and I can muscle down on the rhythm parts without having to worry. I have to be careful to use two different touches: a firm, heavy touch on the big three notes and light as a feather on the top. It took a little getting used to.

    What about your amplification?

    Our live stuff is all Rockman gear. I have added some tweaks, which make my amps sound a little bit more like a tube stack. The Rockman sound is a smooth distortion so I added a couple of boxes that allow me to dial in the amount of buzz-saw roughness that I want. I’ve been using those distortion boxes in the studio and just started using it in the live gear.

    In the studio I use my live rig in combination with some tube amps. I use Marshalls. I’ve used Mesa-Boogies over the last few years that I really like. And sometimes I’ll try an old Fender. I have a couple of old Rockman prototype amps and speakers that I like to use. It’s a collection of junk.

    Do you have to do anything special to recreate the sounds of those hits, like “More Than a Feeling” and “Foreplay/Long Time”?

    All of the equipment we’ve had has been tailored just to produce Boston sounds. The reason we use what we use live is that it would be impossible to present a Boston performance without amps you can repeatedly make instantaneous changes in tone, sound, and effects on.

    I could plug into a regular guitar amplifier and play you the lead part to “Peace of Mind” or the rhythm to “More Than a Feeling,” but to play the whole song would be impossible. You’d have to make a half-dozen changes in EQ, gain, output level, and effects, and there’s no way to do that with standard amps. With the Rockman stuff, we can do anything we want. It’s all programmable and you can run through every sound you need while you play each song. It becomes second nature after a while.

    That’s why when people say, “Why don’t you come down to our party and play a couple songs? We’ve got an amp here,” we just can’t do it. There’s no way it would sound like a Boston song unless you had three engineers in the house running a mixing board to change all these settings.

    Every great guitar player has an immediately recognizable tone―and you set out to invent your tone from the first diode on up. It has to be a lifetime preoccupation.

    I’m not sure if that’s a blessing or a curse, but it is true. And I’m always on the spot, because if something doesn’t sound quite right I know it’s because something I built, designed, or decided to do didn’t work.

    But it does enable us to create all the crazy things you hear on a Boston album live, and it wouldn’t be possible if I didn’t have my engineering background. And my experience at Polaroid, because strangely enough that was my apprenticeship for getting into rock and roll. That’s where I got my background for understanding the physics of music and musical instruments and tape recording.

    Well, do you miss the road when you’re not out?

    I’m usually entertained with other projects. But playing Boston songs on the road … Well, it’s an extravagant sound and it’s moving. But it’s very difficult. The parts you have to play and sing are very difficult. Even though all six people are excellent at what they do and have drilled and practiced and rehearsed, it’s still right at the edge of your abilities.

    That’s why you don’t go into bars and hear people doing Boston songs all that often. They’re hard to sing; they’re hard to play. It’s difficult. And in getting the sound out into the house, because of the many sounds that happen during the course of a Boston tune, there are a lot of technical issues. So everybody has to do their part and it all has to pull together at each moment for the audience to be swept into it. It’s like going out to compete at a free style ice skating championship: you’ve studied, worked, and conditioned for it―and then a moment comes.

    So, on one hand it’s very high pressure, but on the other you’re going through it with a bunch of people who are very talented that you really like, so you have a great time despite the difficulty of what you’re trying to do. And you get the warm fuzzy feeling of being one of the people that gets to do it.

    It’s both a blast and very hard. With that sort of intensity it’s not the sort of thing you’d want to be doing 50 weeks out of the year. But when we do go out and do it, it’s very exciting.



    You can hear the HyperSpace effect and original demos here

  6. #6
    Baluchitherium
    Join Date
    09.24.02
    Location
    North Central OKC
    Posts
    4,582
    Favorite VH Album

    VH, WACF, FW, 5150, OU812
    Favorite VH Song

    Dreams/Unchained/InASR/5150
    Last Online

    11.25.17 @ 04:30 AM
    Likes
    290
    Liked 298 Times in 161 Posts

    Default

    Thanks, guys. I appreciate your time. I have a tough time duplicating guitar tones.

    You know, I could Google this shit, but I find better/more distilled information in this subforum than if I had Googled it.

    "The shit I read on this site." -- Dave's Dreidel (Nov 6th, 2013)

    "Don't ever confuse talent with fame." -- Bob Lefsetz

    "There's very little greatness in this world, but in the crucible of quality there's a special corner reserved for Van Halen." -- Bob Lefsetz

  7. #7
    Good Enough nobozos's Avatar
    Join Date
    02.16.00
    Location
    Pekin, Il U.S.A.
    Posts
    1,745
    Last Online

    12.12.17 @ 03:16 PM
    Likes
    22
    Liked 724 Times in 341 Posts

    Default

    The easy answer is Rockman.

    You can get close if you use a VOX AC30 with a tube screamer in front of it, and a Cry-Baby wah pedal set to about 2/3rds of the way up.
    "Having an opinion that people disagree with doesn't make you a Douche, arguing with the people who disagree with your opinion and calling them stupid does!" -Me.

  8. #8
    Sinner's Swing!
    Join Date
    11.26.10
    Age
    46
    Posts
    3,353
    Last Online

    11.25.17 @ 09:06 AM
    Likes
    1,679
    Liked 1,374 Times in 803 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by donkost View Post
    First two albums, '68 Les Paul w/Dimarzio Super Distortion bridge pickup (still uses that guitar today), attenuated Marshall 100 watt amps. He designed the Power Soak attenuator. He was also a master of EQ and used them in multiple locations in his signal chain- pre and post distortion, and I believe I have read that he reamped the Marshall into an Ampeg head. Also had a number of home made effects in the early years one of which was a doubler/chorus type of effect. Had an EchoPlex modded with an expression foot pedal to make that pick slide/explosion effect (his "HyperSpace" effect). His EQ has a ton of upper mids with low and high frequencies rolled off. Sounds odd by itself but sits perfectly in the mix with other instruments. You can find an image of his MXR 6 band EQ settings from the old days on a number of sites.



    Beginning with the Third Stage album he began using the solid state Rockmodules to achieve his sound. These gave him control over all aspects of his sound such as varying degrees of clean/distortion, EQ, chorus, echo, compression, etc. He still tours with racks full of this gear to this day. His development company was sold to Dunlop in '94 and he has buyers looking for clean, used Rockmodules to be serviced/rebuilt for his backups. The Rockmodules were not meant to be played through normal limited-range guitar amps and speakers. They were meant to be played through his solid state power amps and full range speakers.

    It's best to read as much as possible on the following sites to get a feel for his sound Third Stage album and beyond.

    http://www.rockman.fr/Menu/Menu.htm

    http://www.rockmancentral.com/

    another great site:
    http://www.perfectsoundrockrefurbs.com/

    Also, the Rockman X100 headphone amp was never really meant to give the signature Boston sound. It was a cool product nonetheless and I hope to pick up a completely refurbished unit someday (my original was sold eons ago). With some creative external EQ work you could probably get close with the X100. I have very little knowledge of modern amp modelers, but I'm sure people have developed plug-ins which get pretty darn close. I have a Guitar Rig Mobile unit with the accompanying software that was free with another purchase but I haven't spent a great deal of time with it.

    Not sure if I helped all that much but at least I gave you some reading material to better understand the sound!
    All true from what I recall. I remember a couple guys, EVH included, who have seen him work in the studio, and live, and he's a true technician. Right down to measuring his mic placements.
    I know his Rockman Distortion Generator was a big part of his tone, but I have no idea how he sounded so good through them. I've tried them, and they just seem real cheap, but whatever....Tough to argue with one one the most recognized guitar tones around. It works for him.

  9. #9
    Eruption donkost's Avatar
    Join Date
    03.28.08
    Age
    54
    Location
    Eastern PA
    Posts
    1,350
    Last Online

    12.10.17 @ 08:16 PM
    Likes
    174
    Liked 93 Times in 37 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by we die young View Post
    All true from what I recall. I remember a couple guys, EVH included, who have seen him work in the studio, and live, and he's a true technician. Right down to measuring his mic placements.
    I know his Rockman Distortion Generator was a big part of his tone, but I have no idea how he sounded so good through them. I've tried them, and they just seem real cheap, but whatever....Tough to argue with one one the most recognized guitar tones around. It works for him.
    Actually the Rockman "Sustainor" RockModule was the heart of his live clean/distorted tone after the Third Stage album. There were several models of the course of time and the later model 200 is the one to get for the best sound/features. These units have a much smoother sound when compared to the "Distortion Generator". You're correct that there was a RockModule with that name but as far as I know Tom never used that one. It has a more gritty, raw sound and would need a lot of tone shaping. Of course in true Tom-style you could run a 32 band EQ ahead of the unit and another one on the back end to get the tone you are looking for. ha I haven't played around with any of these things in decades, and in certain music stores there used to be a display with all of the RockModules there and you could plug in and fool around with them. They were actually quite expensive back in the day since you really needed to use a number of the RockModules together. Much more expensive than a good tube amp plus a few basic effects.

    Of course in my opinion Tom's best sound was on the first two albums, and he was using Marshalls on those with of course all of his other tricks, homemade effects, EQ tweaking, possible reamping, etc. With all of the RockModules he is still able to dial in the live guitar tones of those first two albums even though those boxes weren't around back then. I believe they are actually on a short tour right now so there are probably some new youtube videos out there. Hmmm, just like another guitarist that we know and love, perhaps Tom's best tones were from his first two albums.

  10. #10
    Sinner's Swing!
    Join Date
    11.26.10
    Age
    46
    Posts
    3,353
    Last Online

    11.25.17 @ 09:06 AM
    Likes
    1,679
    Liked 1,374 Times in 803 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by donkost View Post
    Actually the Rockman "Sustainor" RockModule was the heart of his live clean/distorted tone after the Third Stage album. There were several models of the course of time and the later model 200 is the one to get for the best sound/features. These units have a much smoother sound when compared to the "Distortion Generator". You're correct that there was a RockModule with that name but as far as I know Tom never used that one. It has a more gritty, raw sound and would need a lot of tone shaping. Of course in true Tom-style you could run a 32 band EQ ahead of the unit and another one on the back end to get the tone you are looking for. ha I haven't played around with any of these things in decades, and in certain music stores there used to be a display with all of the RockModules there and you could plug in and fool around with them. They were actually quite expensive back in the day since you really needed to use a number of the RockModules together. Much more expensive than a good tube amp plus a few basic effects.

    Of course in my opinion Tom's best sound was on the first two albums, and he was using Marshalls on those with of course all of his other tricks, homemade effects, EQ tweaking, possible reamping, etc. With all of the RockModules he is still able to dial in the live guitar tones of those first two albums even though those boxes weren't around back then. I believe they are actually on a short tour right now so there are probably some new youtube videos out there. Hmmm, just like another guitarist that we know and love, perhaps Tom's best tones were from his first two albums.
    Totally agree. Yeah...I wasn't sure what his chain was with the modules.....I just remember being in the studio years ago that had a bunch of 'em, and I just couldn't get into the sound of the D.G. "Gritty" is how you described it, and I'd go further in saying it was downright harsh and brittle sounding, plus the little slider selectors had dead spots and you had to wiggle them, and that was in a smoke free studio. I just could not get a good sound out of it. Never tried the other Rock Modules. I was interested in a Power Soak until my amp tech freaked out when I mentioned I wanted one. He said it was the worst thing I could do to an amp. At that time I was still using late 60's/early 70's Marshall's. He said I needed a reactive load, and the type of attenuation in the Power Soak was real tough on the output transformers, so I never did try one.

 

 

Similar Threads

  1. My ideal guitar sound
    By The Mighty Watcher in forum Guitar Room
    Replies: 29
    Last Post: 06.06.12, 12:00 PM
  2. So, why was Vai's guitar sound with DLR so BAD
    By Stevolives in forum The Diamond One
    Replies: 52
    Last Post: 02.19.07, 09:18 PM
  3. Ed's Guitar Sound...
    By BradS in forum VH Songs/Albums/Videos
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 05.24.06, 08:32 PM
  4. guitar software???---sound like vintage ....
    By hain23x in forum Guitar Room
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 01.03.03, 08:51 PM
  5. Eddie's Guitar Sound? Has It changed? I think so!
    By lazyman in forum Main VH Discussion
    Replies: 27
    Last Post: 11.06.01, 10:13 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •