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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
b0b


From:
Northern California
Post Posted 20 Dec 2017 11:19 pm     Reply with quote

Does anyone know of a box that can get the effect that George Harrison used on the intro of "What Is Life" on All Things Must Pass? It's similar to the sound in "Think for Yourself" on Rubber Soul, and I'm sure there are other examples.

I'm not talking about the phasing - I mean the distortion effect. It's like a big fat squarewave with no dynamic range. I don't think I've ever heard anyone but George use that sound.
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-b0b- (SGF Admin) a.k.a. Bobby Lee ♪ CopedentsRice & BeanWine Country SwingStella


Last edited by b0b on 21 Dec 2017 8:21 am; edited 1 time in total
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Jack Stanton


From:
Somewhere in the swamps of Jersey
Post Posted 21 Dec 2017 4:15 am     Reply with quote

b0b,
Pretty sure the effect on think for yourself was McCartney playing fuzz through his bass. I'll bet if you can locate a copy of the book Beatles gear it will tell you what type of fuzz
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Jerry Jones


From:
Nashville, Tenn.
Post Posted 21 Dec 2017 5:46 am     Reply with quote

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


Last edited by Jerry Jones on 21 Dec 2017 6:07 am; edited 1 time in total
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ajm


From:
Los Angeles
Post Posted 21 Dec 2017 6:03 am     Reply with quote

Not to be persnickity, but the name of the song on "All Things Must Pass" is "What is Life".

George did have a song called "This is Love" on the album "Cloud Nine".
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Tim Heidner


From:
Port Arthur, TX
Post Posted 21 Dec 2017 8:19 am     Reply with quote

Silicon FuzzFace?
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b0b


From:
Northern California
Post Posted 21 Dec 2017 8:21 am     Reply with quote

ajm wrote:
Not to be persnickity, but the name of the song on "All Things Must Pass" is "What is Life".

George did have a song called "This is Love" on the album "Cloud Nine".

Corrected. Thanks.
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-b0b- (SGF Admin) a.k.a. Bobby Lee ♪ CopedentsRice & BeanWine Country SwingStella
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b0b


From:
Northern California
Post Posted 21 Dec 2017 8:26 am     Reply with quote

Mark Lewisohn's book says that it was an Abbey Road custom fuzz box on Paul's bass on "Think For Yourself". The effect is cleaner on "What Is Life", so I don't think it's the same box or instrument.

I'm wondering if there's a modern fuzz box that can make that sound. I think it would be fun to play with.
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-b0b- (SGF Admin) a.k.a. Bobby Lee ♪ CopedentsRice & BeanWine Country SwingStella
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Tim Heidner


From:
Port Arthur, TX
Post Posted 21 Dec 2017 8:40 am     Reply with quote

It sounds very similar to the fuzz on Satisfaction, which interwebs say was a Maestro FZ-1.
Shouldn't be too hard to find a modern version of it.
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Tim Heidner


From:
Port Arthur, TX
Post Posted 21 Dec 2017 9:15 am     Reply with quote

I would try the Analogman Peppermint Fuzz if I was going for that old school fuzz, he makes great pedals.
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b0b


From:
Northern California
Post Posted 21 Dec 2017 12:00 pm     Reply with quote

The difference that I hear is that most fuzz pedals have that ragged edge on the attack. The demo of Peppermint Fuzz at https://youtu.be/QzrpT_0Zh-8 has it. George's effect doesn't.

Also, it's a very different tone. Maybe it's a combination of effects. Here's George:

https://youtu.be/fiH9edd25Bc
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-b0b- (SGF Admin) a.k.a. Bobby Lee ♪ CopedentsRice & BeanWine Country SwingStella
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Jon Light


From:
Saugerties, NY
Post Posted 21 Dec 2017 12:08 pm     Reply with quote

From some researching I did earlier, I'm surprised that this is not settled knowledge, with all the Beatles gear geeks out there.
The most frequently cited fuzz type on this question seems to be the Tone Bender. But everyone seems to be guessing. I have no experience with this. You can google 'Tone Bender clones' for some options.
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Tim Heidner


From:
Port Arthur, TX
Post Posted 21 Dec 2017 12:09 pm     Reply with quote

With the Peppermint Fuzz you can adjust the bias of the germanium resistor, that knob in the middle. It has a big effect on the overall sound of the fuzz. They don't just have one sound, you can tweak it.
Also, different guitar and amps as well as recording at Abbey Road Studios have an effect on the tone.
It just sounds like a basic, old school fuzz to me. Did you compare it to the Satisfaction fuzz tone? They sound almost identical to me, with just a bit of difference in the eq.
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b0b


From:
Northern California
Post Posted 21 Dec 2017 12:21 pm     Reply with quote

It's similar to Satisfaction, but it doesn't sound as ragged to me. It's cleaner. Maybe it's just studio pixie dust or something.
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Tim Heidner


From:
Port Arthur, TX
Post Posted 21 Dec 2017 12:25 pm     Reply with quote

You can adjust the amount of fuzz on them. Haven't you ever fooled with a fuzz pedal?
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Tim Heidner


From:
Port Arthur, TX
Post Posted 21 Dec 2017 12:30 pm     Reply with quote

They don't really sound all that great with pedal steel anyway. Mr. Green
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b0b


From:
Northern California
Post Posted 21 Dec 2017 1:19 pm     Reply with quote

I've used tube amp overdrive a lot and I have an Earth Drive on my pedal board, but those things sound completely different. I used to have a BossTone - didn't like it.
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Michael Brebes


From:
Northridge CA
Post Posted 21 Dec 2017 1:20 pm     Reply with quote

Here's a link to the recording of the basic tracks for the song. No delayed signal panned hard right so you can hear what the fuzz pedal really sounds like.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UIQTKrKFkY
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Tim Heidner


From:
Port Arthur, TX
Post Posted 21 Dec 2017 1:22 pm     Reply with quote

That sounds pretty gnarly! Mr. Green
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Jon Light


From:
Saugerties, NY
Post Posted 21 Dec 2017 1:37 pm     Reply with quote

There are fuzz freaks out there who hear things that I just don't hear. For them, there are so many variations of fuzz on the market. For me, I can find pretty much anything I want out of a fuzz on the only one I have--a newer EHX Big Muff Wicker. It can do smooth, raspy, rude or refined. I just came close enough to this guitar sound we're talking about (on steel) to satisfy myself. I know that there will be skeptics. Nothing I can do about that.
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b0b


From:
Northern California
Post Posted 21 Dec 2017 5:16 pm     Reply with quote

Tim Heidner wrote:
That sounds pretty gnarly! Mr. Green

Yeah, the raw sound is a lot rougher than what you hear on the record. Studio pixie dust at work.

Here's George's original track. Sounds like it's on the verge of feedback in places. I wonder what they did to smooth out the roughness on the attacks.

https://youtu.be/Ptlw52PvhHs
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-b0b- (SGF Admin) a.k.a. Bobby Lee ♪ CopedentsRice & BeanWine Country SwingStella
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Tim Heidner


From:
Port Arthur, TX
Post Posted 21 Dec 2017 5:43 pm     Reply with quote

I hear a little reverb on it. You only hear two lines, then about thirty other instruments come in and half bury it, so that makes it sound a bit smoother.
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Paul Arntson


From:
Washington, USA
Post Posted 21 Dec 2017 7:48 pm     Reply with quote

I only hear one note at a time. Could that have something to do with it?
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gary pierce


From:
Rossville TN
Post Posted 21 Dec 2017 7:52 pm     Reply with quote

To me it sounds like a real tight fast vibrating fuzz, almost like a blown tweeter, not like the Boss Tone which is harsh sounding to me.
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Jon Light


From:
Saugerties, NY
Post Posted 22 Dec 2017 6:05 am     Reply with quote

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.
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Steve Pawlak


From:
Arizona, USA
Post Posted 22 Dec 2017 7:13 am     Reply with quote

I used to own a Vox Super Beatle Amp The one with the speakers supported in a metal stand. The amp was solid state and had a built in fuzz effect that nailed the "Beatle Fuzz Sound"
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