Over in a thread about dual amping a couple of people asked me to post my current Rush patches, so I am starting this thread for Rush patches in general. I look forward to seeing what others have come up with.
Here are my two patches. They cover the progressive era of Rush that ran from about 1977 to 1982. Other than a few interviews in magazines, there is not alot out there that gets into specifics of the studio recordings, and those interviews are far from complete enough to get anything other than a few hints. What is out there though is 30 years of tour books with photographs and not necessarily complete equipment lists, and the descriptions of the last 3 rigs. Since these represent the compromises that Alex Lifeson had to take to bring the studio recordings to a live audience, I thought it a great place to start for general Rush patches for that era. Because photos and incomplete equipment lists can't really tell whats on the inside of the equipment and how it's hooked together. I've researched and uncovered other things on my way to these patches from other sources, but in the end I've had to make some educated guesses based on what other rock musicians were doing at the time.
For the development, I used a PRS SC245 with 1957/2008 pick ups and a PRS Hollowbody I with 1957/2008 pick ups. The SC245 was checked against a Gibson Les Paul R9 Historic that a friend of mine owned, and it turned out to be very close. It was actually a better sounding Les Paul than the Les Paul Custom that I used to own. I generally play my guitars not dimed for rhythm and turn up for solos. I am also using two FBT Verve 12mA's for amplification.
Each one these patches is a three channel set up which was based on Alex Lifeson's current set up for the "Time Machine Tour," but with the equipment for those eras substituted in. Those three channels were a dry channel, a wet channel, and a special channel that makes it sound like there is an additional instrument.
The first patch, "Permanent Waves 1977-1980," is my representation of the all HiWatt rig that graced the stages of the Farewell to Kings, Hemispheres, and Permanent Waves tour. My first Rush concert was Permanent Waves in which I was 14 rows from the stage, so I have heard that rig in person. It was loud, and it was shrill. There wasn't that much bottom to it, but Alex still ripped.
Since the HiWatts are a very loud clean amp, the distortion is mainly coming from a MXR distortion+. I have one HiWatt covering the high end and one covering the low end. The MXR distortion+ drives the kick on the low side while a triangle chorus representing the Roland Space Chorus is on high side adding some shimmer. The high side amp also has the effect of cleaning up the definition between notes for the more complicated runs. The cabinets are not stock which has been verified. It turns out that Alex's were actually loaded with G12M Greenbacks rather the Purple Fanes. I put the Electric Mistress Flanger and Roland Space Echo on the Wet Channel. It seems that Alex liked to kick both those in for every solo practically. The flanger can also be used to add some body to single note lines like the beginning of "Spirit of the Radio" and "Freewill." For clean passages like the interlude in "Trees," turn off the MXR.
The second patch, "Moving Pictures 1981-1984" is my representation of the HiWatt/Marshall 4140 Combo rig that graced every stage from "Moving Pictures" to "Grace Under Pressure." I heard this one live too. The first thing that I noticed when I first put on "Moving Pictures" was how much darker it was. That live rig is exactly what you hear in "Exit Stage Left" after the bass boost that Geddy Lee insist they do was applied.
The main hurdle with this patch was figuring out what the Marshall 4140 sounded like. The 4140 was Marshall's answer to the Fender Twin, so it was supposedly a loud, clean monster. From what I could glean from schematics, I thought it might sound a lot like a JTM45 with a blackface tone stack through some Brit speakers. Thankfully since SRV tried one, there are quite a few SRV wannabes on the YouTube demonstrating them. Of course, they were all playing Strats which was no help to me, but one of them did turn one up all the way in increments which allowed me to hear that it was much closer to a 1987XL going through a Brit flavored 2x12 cab than any hybrid JTM.
With exception of the 1987XL, everything else is pretty much the same as the last patch.
I'll close by saying I have enjoyed the journey to get here which started over on the Ultra, and I certainly hope that people will take these patches, learn from them, and make improvements.