Q - Do you know what gauge and brand of strings Allen used? Did he have the action high or low the Firebirds and Explorers?
Joe: I think Allen's set was 10, 12, 16, 26, 36, 46. His action was moderate, not too low but not high at all, maybe a little on the low side. It's been 30 years you know. He liked to get a little meat for the bends. He liked Showbud strings in particular but we got a deal on Ernie Ball strings in bulk and he liked them just fine. We bought in bulk because there were 5 or 6 guitars that got new strings every or every other night.
Last Edit: Nov 30, 2009 17:01:22 GMT -5 by ekforum
Joe: First, cables were secured at both ends. At the guitar end, they were looped back over the straps. On the amp end, they were passed through the handle. Rigorously enforced so there were no cord failures. Also, I made all of their cords with heavy duty switchcraft ends and heavy belden cable. Failure was not an option.
At Knebworth, we made special cables so they could reach the end of the tongue. I had a 250 ft roll of cable and we used it all up for Allen, Gary and Steve. I didn't have enough to do one for Leon. I hated it.
Cords that long are not a good thing. It cuts the highs and the signal strength. But for that show we did it.
Q - Lemon Pledge. Isn't that what Leon sprayed on his neck?
Q - When the band went overseas, did their amps and PA travel with them or just the guitars?
Joe: We took guitars and amps, basically the entire stage set up. You would have seen the exact same stage set up in the UK as the US.
The English PA company provided a transformer and a variac to power the amps. The transformer was about a foot and 1/2 tall and a foot square. It weighed about 300 pounds it seemed. I wired that into our stage power system I had built and from there, heavy duty extension cables to the amps. We had all sorts of custom things like that that we built. Our goal was to have a very dependable stage set that we could depend on.
Q - I can say that Lynyrd Skynyrd had the best sound of any band in 70's. Any comments you can give us?
Joe: Give Kevin Elson credit for the house sound. Of course most of it was for the vocals and drums, the band was loud as sh*t on stage and probably didn't need much boost from the PA. Now it was loud but it was a musical and clean loud and it sounded GREAT. My favorite thing was when every thing was working with no problems of any sort, I had to stay focused on every thing but what a great performance. They would really get your adrenaline pumping.
Last Edit: Nov 30, 2009 17:06:49 GMT -5 by ekforum
Q - I was wondering how long a set of tubes lasted in those amps back in the 70's? Any special brand/type of tubes? Did you guys have problems with the transformers giving out?
Joe: Pre amp tubes were the worst. They got changed when they got microphonic. Power tubes got changed every 4 to 6 months whether they needed it or not. When we got the PVs, I got a whole box of 6L6's from PV. Those Maces only had tubes in the power section so no more worries about pre amp tubes.
Back then men were men and tubes were tubes and they were all good.
Never blew any transformers while I was there. Of course, if a power tube glowed funny, it got replaced. Speaker cables were well made and the plugs wouldn't short unless they were practically destroyed. If the plug was damaged, it got replaced. Good maintenance prevented a lot of problems.
Q - Did you guys ever cut holes in the back of the guitar cabinets to get rid of some of the bass?
Joe: Yes. With the Marshall cabinets, I removed the backs and cut about 8" from the middle, then I turned the cur side to the edge of the cabinet so I had a nice finished edge in the middle. When we got the PV 4X12's, I just used a saber saw and cut a slot with big round ends, again about 8" wide. Nothing scientific, I just have the touch to make it sound good.
Q - Joe did you change the speakers at all in the Marshalls or PV's, I seem to remember someone mentioning JBL's?
Joe: JBL's in the Marshall cabinets. We moved them to the PV's when we got them.
Q - Is there's an amp or guitar out there that will give you an exact tone to Allen or Gary without some modifications in your opinion?
Joe: Which tone?
Marshall with Celestions Marshal with JBLs HIWATT with JBLs (Gary for a short period) Twins with JBLs PV's with JBLS
They went through all of these combos at some time or another.
So what do you want??
I'd advise starting with a Marshall, a 50 watt would be fine. Then try to find JBL D120s, they're on EBay for around $200+ each if you watch, or just work with Celestions.
If you're shooting for Gary's sound, find a nice LP.
If you're going for Allen's sound, find a Gibson model with a P90 in the bridge position or a Firebird and replace the mini HB at the bridge, then put a humbucker in the neck position and add a whammy bar. There are a couple of reissues that would be great for that. Don't bother with an Explorer, they're great and flashy but Allen did most of his work with the Firebird.
Then, practice, practice, practice. Practice in the morning, practice on the head, practice watching TV. Practice until you can play their parts note for note and then start working on the nuance, the wiggle of the whammy bare, the one note sustain...
Keep in mind that when they wrote a song and when they wrote a part, they payed it exactly the way they wrote it. Even Allen's wah wah part in N&S was played exactly the same every night. Consistency is the name of the game.
Pay extra careful attention to the original arrangements, all the little stops and tricks that make the songs special instead of ordinary.
While you're doing all that, listen to Cream, from Fresh Cream through Goodby Cream. Listen to Hendrix and Free, go back and listen to some of the country greats from the 50's and 60's. These will all give you some insight into their songwriting influences.
Practice, practice, practice some more. Now keep this routine up for 7 to 10 years and sooner or later you'll find that you're nailing Allen or Gary's tone and style. More importantly, you may have learned that this has given you a foundation where you can expand into your own tone and style and have kids trying to emulate you.
You know, most of the tone is in the fingers and if you really want to get that tone this is the way to do it.
And I answered.
Joe: Allen and Gary went through a series of amps in the very early days, Started with a shared Super Reverb, then Gary got a Vibrolux Reverb. They had Super Beatles for a while but I think when they saw Cream and/or Hendrix they started saving up for their Marshalls. They used those until they went to the Twins then PVs. So they used Marshalls longer than any others. An original circuit style Marshall 50 or 100 is always a good choice.
There are folks out there that are making clones of the old 50 and 100 watt marshalls that really nail the essence of the original sounds. The circuits are out there and a cottage industry has developed around the Plexi cult. I'm not sure how pricey they are because I have no reason to shop for an amp that size but I bet they could really sing.
Last Edit: Nov 30, 2009 17:14:51 GMT -5 by ekforum
Joe: Continental Design was our first lighting company when we started headlining. Scott Parsons was the owner, Bob O'Neil was lead and Carl Parker was crew. They built a system on Rohn Tower that would span the stage. They would hang and wire each Par can on the tower and they would raise it with these crank up lifts. It seemed pretty labor intensive but it worked pretty well at the time.
We were getting ready for a new tour and they were ready to make the big jump and start flying the lighting rig. Then Scot OD'ed. There wasn't enough time to get a new light company and Scott's Dad stepped in and committed to do the tour. When we got there for the first show the light rig was assembled on the stage and they were getting ready to raise it with TWO Lifts!!! Two Chain lifts, one on either end with these wide nylon straps going from the lift to the corners of the Rohn tower framework that was loaded with lights and wiring. It went up and after it stopped wobbling it did OK but every night I was sweating it.
shaw: I wonder if Zap is around.I found a guitar someone was throwing out and it has Zapp on the headstock. Turns out its one of those Law Suit era Les Pauls. I'm putting it back together it was only the body & neck, with no hardware but I got all the parts now.
Apr 8, 2018 12:09:40 GMT -5
Zap: No relation to me, LOL, but you can gift it to me when you are done restoring it if you like! LOL!
Apr 17, 2018 6:34:05 GMT -5
rebel1222: Whats the point of having a forum if noone can reply to, or create threads?
Nov 28, 2018 8:49:07 GMT -5
gman620: @ rebel1222: Anyone is free to start a new topic or reply to any thread, anytime he or she desires. You've been a member for over three years now, with zero posts, so what's stopping you?
Nov 29, 2018 21:48:09 GMT -5
rocker2462: Looking for info on Ed's red Strat with the tele neck? point me in the right direction please.
Feb 19, 2019 0:47:14 GMT -5
stevecamp: I believe it was was a Warmoth body, aftermarket pickups, an old tele neck.
Mar 5, 2019 16:59:18 GMT -5
stevecamp: Pick ups may have been "lindy Fralins"
Mar 5, 2019 17:00:08 GMT -5