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Thread: Eruption: Take 1. Live Studio 1. Unmixed - Van Halen (1977) Sunset Sound

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    Eruption: Take 1. Live Studio 1. Unmixed - Van Halen (1977) Sunset Sound

    Just now on Sunset Sound's YouTube

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    I do have a vivid memory of when I first heard that, which was probably 1980. I was ten years old and was at the house of a friend of the same age. The friend had an older sister, maybe 16 or 17 at the time. A very hot older sister (this was right around the age when I was fully arriving at the realization that girls weren't by default 'yucky'), and she was huge into Van Halen. She played the album and when I heard the track I remember hearing the latter half of the solo - the fingertapped or two-handed tapped part - and thinking that sounded like an alien ship from Mars or something.

    A year or so on from that is when I first started taking guitar lessons, and at that point I was thinking the latter half was some kind of a trick using a synthesizer or something.
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    I always liked the sound of the Univox echo at the end. It really was a guy playing through a bunch of shit daisy chained together. Ed`s rig looked like something dug out of the trash. Some people can turn shit to sugar.
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    Which, when I first started playing...back then, you didn't have the rack gear...I mean, the three or four of us in my age bracket who started playing at the same time...we were upper-middle class kids but none of us had, like, $500+ guitars as our first instruments or a hundred-watt Marshall as our first amplifier. Back then, it was all stomp boxes for effects and most of us had maybe one or two stomp boxes at the most. This was 1981 or so. Back when you might pick up a used Fender Reverb amp second hand at a local music store because in those days they were cheap as in affordable...before such things became 'vintage' and overvalued and something to be bought as an 'investment'.

    Ed's gear when Van Halen recorded their first album by all accounts was cobbled together and stuff he could afford. He had modified that famous Frankenstrat guitar but it wasn't some expensive custom job. It struck me as weird in the early 2000s when that EVH line of gear was really being rolled out and whatever company it was began producing those $20k Frankenstrat replicas...around the same time I was looking to get a new electric and was looking at stuff in a Sam Ash music store and saw an EVH stomp box...it was...either a flanger or a phaser...I think it was an MXR EVH series pedal. Anyway, it had a button on it you could press and it would replicate the swoop from Unchained or some such thing. Going for a couple hundred bucks a pop. There were some EVH amps there as well, all going for a few hundred bucks per unit over whatever Marshalls and Peaveys were there.

    All claiming they could give you Eddie's sound. Like, you could buy the Frankenstrat replica, the EVH amps and the entire EVH pedal series and literally spend $30k on the whole package - keep in mind this was 20 years ago - and I remember thinking it was totally bonkers when remembering initially Eddie didn't have a bunch of expensive gear when Van Halen did those first couple albums.

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    Thereís a Steve Rosin interview with Ed where Ed is demonstrating some riffs on an unplugged guitar. All the Tone, harmonics and vibe are there. Ed had really strong hands and his fingers would hit the strings like a hammer on a piano hits a string. Ed was an excellent piano player and he kind of played the guitar like how a piano works. A piano hammers the strings.

    Anyways there was no magical amp or black box. Edís favorite Marshall was a stock 1968 Super Lead 100. He would run it on 89 volts and turn the bias all the way up and turn all the knobs to 10. He was trying to get all the gain he could at the lowest volume possible. At home ge would turn everything up on a Fender Bandmaster and plug into the extension speaker plug. This will blow up most amps but the Fenders at the time had really robust transformers.

    Ed would go on the road with twelve Marshal Super Lead heads. Running amps hard can blow transformers and British transformers blow pretty easy. He had 12 amps because some would blow and need repair. He was playing live through various amps. Was there a huge change in his tone?

    Edís sound is clipping tubes and having a circuit that compresses that sound. Thereís certain mid frequencies that need to be there. I can tell if I have a good Ed sound dialed in if I hit the A string in the third position and I get a certain Karang! sound out of an amp and speaker. It has to resonate a certain way.

    If you canít get the basic sounds on your guitar then you are fucked. The amp wonít help you. You want the amp dialed in nice and tight. You donít want some big flabby ass sounding amp or tinny or flabby sounding speakers.
    Last edited by Nitro Express; 11-15-2023 at 01:38 PM.

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    This recording is part of the unreleased materials/demos/alternate takes stuff that was set free several weeks ago and covered in the stickied thread here. It's the original track from the released version which included one mic tracked on Ed's speaker cabinet and this one captured from a room mic. The two are combined in the final mix with one track going to the right channel and this one sent to the left... Stereo in its raw form.
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    Yeah and mic placement and all that creates more variables. It’s going to change the sound. I don’t even mic speakers anymore. I will use a Friedman Mic No More or a Rivera speaker emulator which is an EQ set to whatever frequency response I want.

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    I’ve heard a lot of amatures get good Eddie tone using all sorts of things. One guy got a great classic EVH tone using a Strat with a Seymour Duncan 59 pickup into a Fulltone OCD pedal a analog delay with some slap back into a Epiphone ValVe Jr amp cranked and running into a Weber attenuator and a 2x12 MojoTone cab loaded with green backs.

    It sounded great but he could unplug that guitar and get most the sound playing dry. My advice is play unplugged and try and sound like Eddie and then use what equipment you have to project that sound. Be creative.
    Last edited by Nitro Express; 11-16-2023 at 02:10 PM.

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    I like the MXR 5150 Overdrive pedal. I keep one in my gig bag and use it for all sorts of stuff. It really makes all sorts of amps sound better. I always have a 5150 overdrive and a FUCHís Cream Extreme II pedal with me. I can get all my sound with those two with what amp is available. Sometimes you donít want to haul an amp over if there is one you can use.
    Last edited by Nitro Express; 11-16-2023 at 01:52 PM.

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    The Friedman BE pedal is good too.

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    I like the MXR because I don’t need a power supply. Having the battery option is still useful. Sometimes you just want to use individual pedals and not mess with a whole pedal board.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry View Post
    Which, when I first started playing...back then, you didn't have the rack gear...I mean, the three or four of us in my age bracket who started playing at the same time...we were upper-middle class kids but none of us had, like, $500+ guitars as our first instruments or a hundred-watt Marshall as our first amplifier. Back then, it was all stomp boxes for effects and most of us had maybe one or two stomp boxes at the most. This was 1981 or so. Back when you might pick up a used Fender Reverb amp second hand at a local music store because in those days they were cheap as in affordable...before such things became 'vintage' and overvalued and something to be bought as an 'investment'.

    Ed's gear when Van Halen recorded their first album by all accounts was cobbled together and stuff he could afford. He had modified that famous Frankenstrat guitar but it wasn't some expensive custom job. It struck me as weird in the early 2000s when that EVH line of gear was really being rolled out and whatever company it was began producing those $20k Frankenstrat replicas...around the same time I was looking to get a new electric and was looking at stuff in a Sam Ash music store and saw an EVH stomp box...it was...either a flanger or a phaser...I think it was an MXR EVH series pedal. Anyway, it had a button on it you could press and it would replicate the swoop from Unchained or some such thing. Going for a couple hundred bucks a pop. There were some EVH amps there as well, all going for a few hundred bucks per unit over whatever Marshalls and Peaveys were there.

    All claiming they could give you Eddie's sound. Like, you could buy the Frankenstrat replica, the EVH amps and the entire EVH pedal series and literally spend $30k on the whole package - keep in mind this was 20 years ago - and I remember thinking it was totally bonkers when remembering initially Eddie didn't have a bunch of expensive gear when Van Halen did those first couple albums.
    My bass rig is still in a rack. I’m never giving up my Alembic pre amp. Everything has gone back to the floor. Hardly any rack gear is being made anymore. We can make pedals smaller now. But my bass rig has saved the day a few times. I have an extra power amp and it’s ran the PA a few times when it went down. If I run my bass in mono there’s three 500watt channels available to use if needed. I could go DI and there’s four channels. My rig sounds great. I have no desire to upgrade it.

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    The old stomp boxes were sometimes problematic because they were not true bypass. If you had too many or long cable runs it could get interesting. Now we have true bypass, low impedance buffers and clean signal boosters. I use a FUCHS pedal pusher and buffer what’s going in and out of my effects. I use the boost for solos. Makes a huge difference even with modern pedals.

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    A few pedals, a silver face Fender Champ and an Ibanez or Memphis Gibson copy was the standard kid rig when I started playing in 1978.

    One kid in our town had a Strat and a fawn 50 watt full Marshall stack. He never would let anyone else play through it. Another kid had a silver burst Les Paul. Most of us had our lawsuit guitars, Champs and Peavy bandits with the MXR or Boss pedals.

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    I think it was Alembic that started the whole rack thing in the early 70’s. The Grateful Dead were using the preamp of a Fender and using a McIntosh power amp. It was a pain hauling all these Fender heads around and so the guys who started Alembic built a rack sized preamp with two Fender circuits. Racks were used for computer equipment and they figured just put all the amps in a rack and put the rack on wheels.

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    I can remember going into music stores and pawn shops and seeing these old raggy tweed amps and thinking who wants this old shit? One kid played through some old Gretsch amp. It looked like it was from the 50’s. I remember it had red plating tubes but nobody knew what that was or how to fix it. He would blow tubes and just plug new ones in.

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    Eddie’s main guitar for years was a Les Paul Jr. Still one of my favorite guitars and more versatile than you would think. I’m sure a lot of VH chops were honed on a Les Paul Jr. He went to a Strat because he wanted a whammy bar. He hated the thin sound so he slapped a Gibson pickup in one.

    Dave Friedman played the original Franken Strat up at 5150. He said it was awful. Not anything like a nicely set up EVH factory guitar. Ed said he had no idea why he played that piece of junk for so long but he was used to it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nitro Express View Post
    I’ve heard a lot of amatures get good Eddie tone using all sorts of things. One guy got a great classic EVH tone using a Strat with a Seymour Duncan 59 pickup into a Fulltone OCD pedal a analog delay with some slap back into a Epiphone ValVe Jr amp cranked and running into a Weber attenuator and a 2x12 MojoTone cab loaded with green backs.

    It sounded great but he could unplug that guitar and get most the sound playing dry. My advice is play unplugged and try and sound like Eddie and then use what equipment you have to project that sound. Be creative.
    Had sold off most of my equipment in the early-to-mid 1990's, when it became clear that I wasn't "going to make it, man!" as a professional musician. Hadn't had a ton of equipment to begin with, but I let my two Fender Twin Reverb amps go, along with virtually of my pedals, two of my electrics...the band we had (inasmuch as it was 'a band') stopped playing, the PA system we had and the mixing board we had reverted back to the keyboard player, who owned the gear from the start. The PA was a pair of tall Ampeg speaker columns, the mixing board was this relic from the 1970s that looked like an antiquated piece of shit but it worked...I think the Ampeg speakers were also manufactured in the 1970's, if memory serves. None of it was then state-of-the-art gear, THAT much I remember. All I kept was my 1990 Charvel San Dimas and a cheap acoustic.

    Anyway, for about ten years I didn't play much. Was going to school, working, wasn't in a band anymore, wasn't home a lot, didn't have a lot of leisure time to play and just plain didn't feel like it much anymore, anyway. The Charvel and the acoustic sat in their cases, largely gathering dust.

    Maybe 2002 or so, I started feeling like playing again. Just for the sheer enjoyment of it, which it had always brought me. Got the Charvel worked on - replaced the input jacks which had deteriorated along with the volume knob circuitry which had also rotted away - and went out to several local music stores pricing amps. Ended up with a 15watt Peavey Rage Blazer 158 Transtube Series, simply because I liked the way it sounded. Over the next few years, scooped up a Pro-Co Rat, an MXR M-104 Distortion +, a BOSS DD-3 Digital Delay, an MXR M-101 Phase 90 and a BOSS PH-3 Phase Shifter. The amp was...I dunno, a couple/few hundred bucks? The pedals around $100 a pop. Around 2010 I ended up getting an Ibanez Gio N427 series strat-style with double humbuckers and an Edge 3 locking tremolo based/patterned on the Floyd Rose design (functions virtually the same as a Rose, may well by licensed by Rose though I'm no longer 100% sure of that). The guitar was made in Indonesia, cost $500. Ended up with it simply because I played one in a music store and liked it.

    The 'long-way-'round-the-barn' point being I can take the home gear I listed above and plug in either my Ibanez or my San Dimas (the San Dimas having only a single double-coil and a single volume knob) and get "the brown sound" in terms of the tone with a minimal amount of fiddling...realistically with nothing other than either guitar, the RAT pedal and the 15-watt Peavey amp, all for under $1,000. And none of the equipment is 'official EVH-licensed' gear or what have you.

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    Honestly, I'm thinking of selling off all the electric gear and getting a Spanish-type nylon stringed acoustic, and even then it'll be something merely decent enough. Something in the $300-$500 range; I don't need one that costs thousands.

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    The San Dimas is a decent guitar. I have a flamed maple one with the Six Pack wiring scheme. The Manuel Rodriquez classical guitars are decent. They have a starter end to a high end.

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    I only have one acoustic. A Gibson J45 I picked up at the Gibson factory in Bozeman, Montana years ago.

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    I mostly play dirty blues songs on it around the campfire.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nitro Express View Post
    The San Dimas is a decent guitar. I have a flamed maple one with the Six Pack wiring scheme. The Manuel Rodriquez classical guitars are decent. They have a starter end to a high end.
    The San Dimas has held up very well for me. Only things replaced on it were the electronics of the input jack and volume knob. Not bad for a 30 + year old guitar.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nitro Express View Post
    To paraphrase you, dirty campfire blues.

    I likes it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry View Post
    Honestly, I'm thinking of selling off all the electric gear and getting a Spanish-type nylon stringed acoustic, and even then it'll be something merely decent enough. Something in the $300-$500 range; I don't need one that costs thousands.
    I picked up one of these ESP TL-6N Thin Line nylon string for $350 used on ebay last year. Fishman electronics sound great and it plays like an electric.


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    Our daughter is a classical guitar player. She kept upgrading guitars and now plays a $10,000 one she loves. We have all her old ones she never plays. Occasionally I will play one. I took four years of classical guitar lessons and amazingly I still can PIMA pick pretty well.

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    Alvarez makes decent acoustics. Their lower end stuff is pretty good.

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