INSTRUCTION STRINGS ACCESSORIES MUSIC LINKS
 Visit Our Catalog at SteelGuitarShopper.com for Steel Guitars, Strings, Instruction, Music and Accessories 
Forum Index
where steel players meet online
The Steel Guitar Forum

Post new topic Which amp for a vintage recording tone?
Reply to topic
Author Topic:  Which amp for a vintage recording tone?
Jonathan Shacklock


From:
London, UK
Post Posted 8 Sep 2017 6:02 am     Reply with quote

If you were recording pedal steel in an all 1950's vintage gear studio, what amp would you use for that smaller, thinner, less clean, classic country sound? What would Buddy, Jimmy et al have used to record?

When you hear a little steel guitar distortion on those old records is it coming from the amp, the mic, or how everything goes down on the tape?

I'm not going to be a total purist about it but it seems a shame to go into this with a solid state amp. Everything is recorded live at low volume with the room miked up so I want the right sound to come out of the speaker. I'm after that high, wirey, but warm sound from back in the day. What sort of power and speaker size should I go for - low and small? I'm thinking about renting something for the session so it might have to be easy to source. Playing an E9th Sho-Bud.

Any other advice for recording the old school way is much appreciated. Thanks!

Jonathan
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Bill Hatcher


From:
Atlanta Ga. USA
Post Posted 8 Sep 2017 8:36 am     Reply with quote

you are chasing the impossible.

the sound of those old recordings has multiple things involved in what you hear. the room, the amp, the tape deck, the mics, the console, the mastering amps, eq, multiple transfers etc. and the player!

we have talked about all this before. good luck.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Jonathan Shacklock


From:
London, UK
Post Posted 8 Sep 2017 9:12 am     Reply with quote

Thanks for your comment Bill. Sorry if you don't think it's worth discussing.

I make no claims for the player. As for the rest of it, this is where we're recording: https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/recording-50s-style

Hence the question. It feels a bit wrong to turn up with a Peavey.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 8 Sep 2017 9:34 am     Reply with quote

Back then the amps were around 15 and 20 watts, 6V6 powered. Fender and Gibson tweeds with 12 inch speakers or so. They were bright and had some early breakup. No Blackface Twin Reverbs yet !
_________________
<b>Steel Guitar music here >>> http://www.tprior.com/five.htm</b>

Emmons Steels, Fender Telecasters
Pro Tools 8 and Pro Tools 12
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Georg Sørtun


From:
Mandal, VA, Norway & Weeki Wachee, FL, USA
Post Posted 8 Sep 2017 9:58 am     Reply with quote

Somethink like a Peavey 112 with more or less flat eq setting, preceded by a lightly set Sarno Earth Drive, shouldn't sound too far off.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post Posted 8 Sep 2017 10:22 am     Reply with quote

I agree with Tony. You need a low power tube amp with a 12" or a 10" speaker. No more than 20 watts. And No reverb. You want a little breakup in the sound. A 1950s Fender, Gibson, or Valco would be ideal.

Jonathan, that "50s Style" studio where you're recording must have some vintage amps there...? no?
_________________
My Site - Song Books for lap steel & pedal steel guitar
My YouTube Channel / Blog / Soundcloud
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Jonathan Shacklock


From:
London, UK
Post Posted 8 Sep 2017 1:20 pm     Reply with quote

Doug, that's kind of what I expected given the attention to detail on everything else. But I think their stance is that the band brings the sound, be it modern or retro, and they record the room. That said, they apparently have a 15w Fender (might be perfect but I don't know the details yet and I won't get to try it in advance) and a Peavey Delta Blues amp.

I'd like to get close to the old sound, doesn't have to be strictly 50's but something small and pre-twin reverb as Tony says.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Tom Wolverton


From:
San Diego, CA
Post Posted 8 Sep 2017 2:11 pm     Reply with quote

I love the tone of Buddy Emmons' Steel Guitar Jazz album. Circa 1963.
I have heard is was a tweed or brown Princeton he was playing thru. Or possibly a Deluxe. Sounds devine.
_________________
To write with a broken pencil is pointless.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post Posted 8 Sep 2017 2:40 pm     Reply with quote

Quote:
I love the tone of Buddy Emmons' Steel Guitar Jazz album. Circa 1963.


I like it too, but Buddy was not happy with it. Here's what he said:

Quote:
I had planned to fly commercial but Ray Price was making a trip to New York City and offered to take me in his small plane. He said to travel light, so I took a Standel amp with a 12" speaker. When I set up, I couldn't find a warm sound for chords without distorting the amp, so I ended up with ear splitting highs.

_________________
My Site - Song Books for lap steel & pedal steel guitar
My YouTube Channel / Blog / Soundcloud
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Jonathan Shacklock


From:
London, UK
Post Posted 8 Sep 2017 3:30 pm     Reply with quote

I suspect the Fender at the studio might be a blues junior, I don't think it's anything vintage. I was wondering if one of the new tweed 57 custom deluxe amps might sound about right. I'll try to get hold of something more authentic if possible.

I love the funky sound Buddy has on this record with Shot Jackson. Released in 1971 but it sounds like it was recorded earlier. https://youtu.be/tVAHaObmJiA
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Godfrey Arthur


From:
Philippines
Post Posted 8 Sep 2017 3:42 pm     Reply with quote

Try an Echosonic



Scotty Moore demos his Echosonic which had a built in echo.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5I3rWiseBU

Keep in mind power and clean were not part of the old recordings, everything was mostly tube.




But, Farina Sleepwalk tone is a Fender Twin.



Above, here's one used by Stephen Stills to this day
but for guitar.



Not the same amp but the rear of the circa 50's Twins.


So basically an old vintage amp will get you that retro sound. Or something small and under powered compared to today's choices.

Rental? Deluxe, Vibrolux, Vibroverb, 4x10 Bassman reissues?




A 1964 Supro will get you there too

Steel through a Supro:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDP_oMXFtCs


Reissue, not cheap but cheaper than vintage Fender.

A 35 watt 2x10 1690T Coronado should get that "thin" tone you're looking for.



Great Sound On Sound clip!

Recording 50's style...
_________________
From the Bronx via Manila
ShoBud The Pro 1
YES it's my REAL NAME!
View user's profile Send private message
Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post Posted 8 Sep 2017 4:48 pm     Reply with quote

Yeah, I think that Buddy/Shot album was recorded earlier than 1971. I'll bet Buddy was playing his tube Standel on that record.

I've done a couple of sessions with my 1959 tweed Deluxe and my push/pull. The amp is only 15 watts so it breaks up fairly early, but there is enough clean volume for recording. The tone is a warm midrange, not much low end, but a nice vintage sound. No reverb, but I use a Holy Grail reverb with it. Playing steel through an amp like this is a unique experience if you're used to a 200 watt solid state steel amp.



My favorite '50s steel tone is Buddy Merrill's live recording of "Steelin Home":

-----> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHGpPr2xXG4

Another great example is Santo's tone on SleepWalk, playing through a Fender Twin, tweed, 1959.
_________________
My Site - Song Books for lap steel & pedal steel guitar
My YouTube Channel / Blog / Soundcloud


Last edited by Doug Beaumier on 9 Sep 2017 4:51 am; edited 1 time in total
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Bob Hoffnar


From:
Austin, Tx
Post Posted 8 Sep 2017 8:49 pm     Reply with quote

Check into what Deke Dickerson is up to. He has that scene completely together. Also look into Daptone studios in Brooklyn. Since everybody can make world class digital recordings at home a very large percentage of recording studios exist only to create that sound and vibe you are talking about. There is an unending supply of youtubes and articles about how to get the sound you are looking for.

With that I would bring in a Fender Princeton with a 12" if possible.

Sounds like a fun project.
_________________
Bob
http://liminalsoundseries.com/
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Jonathan Shacklock


From:
London, UK
Post Posted 9 Sep 2017 1:43 pm     Reply with quote

Thanks for all the ideas and pics guys! Lots of inspiration here, I'll see what I can track down. Smile
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website

All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Jump to:  

Our Online Catalog
Strings, CDs, instruction,
steel guitars & accessories

www.SteelGuitarShopper.com

Steel Guitar Music
Instrumental steel guitar CDs for your permanent collection
www.SteelGuitarMusic.com

Please review our Forum Rules and Policies

The Steel Guitar Forum
148 South Cloverdale Blvd.
Cloverdale, CA 95425 USA

Support This Forum


BIAB Styles
Ray Price Shuffles for Band-in-a-Box
by Jim Baron
HTTP