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Post new topic George Harrison 'What Is Life' effect
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Author Topic:  George Harrison 'What Is Life' effect
J.D.White


From:
Lafayette, LA
Post Posted 22 Dec 2017 7:31 am     Reply with quote

Almost positive that they're using Automatic Double Tracking (ADT) to thicken the fuzz (could be a Maestro FZ-1 - or a VOX Tonebender mkI, mkII,...)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automatic_double_tracking

Probably could get close using a flanger with no sweep. You need a very short time delay - even shorter delay than slap back echo.

Analog synthesizers do something similar by "syncing" dual oscillators. (at 00:45)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwWzfcOHV-s
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Ed Pettersen


From:
Tennessee, USA
Post Posted 22 Dec 2017 7:42 am     Reply with quote

I'm pretty sure it was a Tonebender or at least that's what I remember someone telling me years ago.
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b0b


From:
Cloverdale, Northern California
Post Posted 22 Dec 2017 9:09 am     Reply with quote

Jon Light wrote:
If I were asked to reproduce this on steel for a project, I'd say that if I got the touch and the intonation a lot better (the little things, you know?) I'd be fairly satisfied that this sound (left channel).

http://picosong.com/wRcix


A large sputter vs. smooth saturation variable is the strength of the input signal. After tuning the Big Muff itself, I backed off the volume pedal and starved the steel's feed a little bit.

That's right on, Jon. A Big Muff, you say? Which model? What are your settings?
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Last edited by b0b on 22 Dec 2017 9:26 am; edited 1 time in total
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b0b


From:
Cloverdale, Northern California
Post Posted 22 Dec 2017 9:18 am     Reply with quote

Steve - I didn't know that the Vox Super Beatle amp had a fuzz effect. That might be what was used on the record.

J.D. - I agree. The Beatles got tired of doing double tracking vocal but they liked the sound, so the engineers at Abbey Road invented a circuit that did it automatically. To my ear, it sounds like the ADT is applied to George's guitar here to make that phat phasing sound.

Ed - A lot of people have speculated that it's a Tonebender, but I haven't found an authoritative source. Those things are pretty pricey now if you can find them. I'm seriously considering a Big Muff now that I've heard Jon Light's demo (above).
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Last edited by b0b on 22 Dec 2017 9:33 am; edited 1 time in total
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Jon Light


From:
Saugerties, NY
Post Posted 22 Dec 2017 9:31 am     Reply with quote

As I said, an important part of keeping it from being too smooth & creamy is to back off the volume pedal a bit so as to not saturate the input.

My recording, btw, was direct so there's no preamping or tone shaping involved.



You might seek opinions on this model--there are less expensive Big Muffs without the 'wicker'. I can honestly say I have no clue what it does or if it's worth paying for (I don't see much diff, on or off).
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b0b


From:
Cloverdale, Northern California
Post Posted 22 Dec 2017 9:34 am     Reply with quote

A history of fuzz:

www.kitrae.net/music/Fuzz_Big_Muff_Timeline.html
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Ed Pettersen


From:
Tennessee, USA
Post Posted 22 Dec 2017 11:49 am     Reply with quote

b0b wrote:
Steve - I didn't know that the Vox Super Beatle amp had a fuzz effect. That might be what was used on the record.

J.D. - I agree. The Beatles got tired of doing double tracking vocal but they liked the sound, so the engineers at Abbey Road invented a circuit that did it automatically. To my ear, it sounds like the ADT is applied to George's guitar here to make that phat phasing sound.

Ed - A lot of people have speculated that it's a Tonebender, but I haven't found an authoritative source. Those things are pretty pricey now if you can find them. I'm seriously considering a Big Muff now that I've heard Jon Light's demo (above).


It sure sounds like a Tonebender to me. The best one I've ever played (new) and own is the Faceless FX Marquis (now known as the De Sade). Around $300. I think?

I did get to play an original during my year in London and the Faceless is purty dang close.

Could very well be a Fuzzrite though. Catalinbread makes a great copy for less than $200.
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Mel Bergman


From:
Camarillo, California, USA
Post Posted 23 Dec 2017 10:31 pm     Reply with quote

+ 1 on the Fuzzrite. I’ve played various Fuzzrites continuously for close to 40 years, and it sure has that sound. Very compressed with quick note decay. It seems a stretch that one would be at Abbey Road, but who knows. If you are looking to replicate that live, the Catalinbread will get you very close. A Big Muff is an entirely different animal.

And regarding the aforementioned Vox amp w built in Fuzz, I have two Ventures model Mosrite Award amps w built in Fuzzrite, and that sound is better than any Fuzzrite pedal I have played.
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Michael Brebes


From:
Northridge CA
Post Posted 26 Dec 2017 6:44 am     Reply with quote

If you are looking for a fuzz that is smoother than the bare track, you might want to give a Foxx Tone Machine a try. It has a tone control to make it as smooth or nasty as you want. The Danelectro French Toast is pretty much the same circuit at a cheap price of $30-35. For that price you can't go wrong.
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Nic Neufeld


From:
Kansas City, Missouri
Post Posted 26 Dec 2017 8:25 am     Reply with quote

Jerry Jones wrote:
"What Is Life" on "All Things Must Pass" has got to be an Electric Sitar played with distortion. Smile


I'd never really given it much thought but I'd be willing to entertain that idea. It has a sort of decay sound that sounds a bit like the Coral electric sitar...just hidden behind a bunch of fuzz. Normally you hear it clean (Do it Again, Close to the Edge) but with distortion, harder to pick out its characteristics. But it could be just a fuzzbox... That said, George had the real thing and a pretty solid teacher (before he gave up sitar to go back to guitar) so I wonder why he'd bother with a faux-sitar.

PS, I had a Danelectro French Toast. Went dead on me though. Neat sounding for the price, though.
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ajm


From:
Los Angeles
Post Posted 26 Dec 2017 9:07 am     Reply with quote

There have been a few examples posted that are IMO very very close.

The other thing that I was thinking was that just about any old fuzz could be tweaked with a GEQ (Boss GE-7 or similar) afterwards to give it that little extra bit of "nasal honk" like on the record. Or maybe even a wah in a fixed position.
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Ed Pettersen


From:
Tennessee, USA
Post Posted 26 Dec 2017 11:11 am     Reply with quote

PS-Back in the day it wasn't uncommon, especially in the UK, to use a treble booster before fuzz. Frankly it's the "fuzz-tamer/secret weapon" to get fuzz to work and cut in a track.
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Rich Peterson


From:
Moorhead, MN
Post Posted 26 Dec 2017 6:31 pm     Reply with quote

To me, it sounds like the fuzz on "Satisfaction." And the Maestro was the only unit out at that time. I owned one. Wish I still had it.
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Ed Pettersen


From:
Tennessee, USA
Post Posted 28 Dec 2017 7:17 am     Reply with quote

Here's your sound for sure (though the Catalinbread is cool too). Check out the video:

http://www.hallmarkguitars.com/pedals/nu-fuzz.shtml
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Bob Hoffnar


From:
Austin, Tx
Post Posted 28 Dec 2017 8:59 am     Reply with quote

I have this pedal

Crazy Horse Pedal

http://www.durhamelectronics.com/product-page/crazy-horse-pedal-1

It does what you are asking about. It is a real beast !
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Bas Kapitein


From:
Holland
Post Posted 28 Dec 2017 1:53 pm     Reply with quote

Our Californian steel guitar hero needs a fuzz box. Is'nt there someone out there that has one of those pionering boxes that Red Rhodes made? Would be a great donation to the forum
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b0b


From:
Cloverdale, Northern California
Post Posted 28 Dec 2017 3:21 pm     Reply with quote

It's not something I'd use often! Laughing

I think Jon Light pretty much nailed it with his Big Muff Pi sample (above). Goes good with horns.
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Lefty


From:
Grayson, Ga.
Post Posted 25 Feb 2018 12:06 pm     Reply with quote

To me it sounds like my Maestro Fuzz tone made in 68 More specifically my bandmate's which was about 1966.
His had more single note definition, and mine mega fuzz. I would use his and he would use mine.
You can nail the "Satisfaction" riff also.
I believe they make repos now.
Lefty
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Godfrey Arthur


From:
Philippines
Post Posted 22 Apr 2018 2:02 am     Reply with quote

You might try a Boss Hyper Fuzz FZ-2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QW7Is1jIAe0


This is the original Hyper Fuzz circa '92-'97.

They made others under the same name, less features after the FZ-2. This was designed to duplicate the old '60's fuzz boxes. Like the Gibson Maestro mentioned or the Vox Tone Bender.

I like the gain boost on this and use it to drive small amps with just gain.

George's track sounds like it's double tracked, clean (dry) and distorted.
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John Goux


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 23 Apr 2018 11:31 pm     Reply with quote

I always thought that was an electric sitar, and on closer inspection, still do. I’ve got one and that is what it sounds like.
George was not the only guitarist on that album. Clapton is on most of the record as well.
It could be running through a fuzz as well. And the doubler effect in mixdown.
EH has a Sitar emulation pedal that has the electric sitar model in it.
That would be the ticket. Sitar pedal, light fuzz, light doubling effect. Maximum fun.
John
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Godfrey Arthur


From:
Philippines
Post Posted 24 Apr 2018 3:41 am     Reply with quote

John Goux wrote:
I always thought that was an electric sitar, and on closer inspection, still do. I’ve got one and that is what it sounds like.



A Coral? During the break in What Is Life it does have that "sitar"twang. But I can't find any mention of George playing a sitar on this track. It was produced by Phil Spector.

Coral electric sitar made by Vincent Bell .

Look at the bridge, it's a flat piece for the strings to vibrate like a sitar would over an ivory block.





The fuzz melody on Think For Yourself is Paul through a bass using a fuzz box in addition to his basic bass track.

Listen to the bass track along with the fuzz track. It is Paul doubling pretty much (not verbatim) his bass track.

Trivia:

Some of the guitar lick on What Is Life sounds like the trumpet lines in the song Suspicion by Terry Stafford.

The song was done by Elvis before Stafford made it a more popular hit.

Phil Spector claims to have produced Suspicion for Terry Stafford but did not get credit. Question

The song Suspicion with Stafford came out in 1963.

What Is Life came out in 1971 recorded in 1970. Again produced by Phil Spector at Abbey Road for Apple.

Suspicion by Terry Stafford:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUe7dMi2uLA

George's What Is Life;

https://youtu.be/fiH9edd25Bc
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ShoBud The Pro 1
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b0b


From:
Cloverdale, Northern California
Post Posted 24 Apr 2018 9:49 am     Reply with quote

The trumpet on Terry Stafford's Suspicion Sounds like a Mellotron with a volume pedal to me.

Stafford sound a lot like Elvis. Whoa!
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Godfrey Arthur


From:
Philippines
Post Posted 24 Apr 2018 11:26 am     Reply with quote

b0b wrote:
The trumpet on Terry Stafford's Suspicion Sounds like a Mellotron with a volume pedal to me.

Stafford sound a lot like Elvis. Whoa!


Good ears b0b. Actually its an Ondioline that was added to Terry's track:


https://youtu.be/rv8hbIkHeQY



The Ondioline is a synthesizer created from vacuum tubes. Was around since the 1940's. A Mellotron is recorded tape samples on a loop for each key.

Yes Stafford was an Elvis sound-alike on this song.
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