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Attention all SRV Tone Experts!

dspblues

Regular
You've got it all wrong. He used 200 watt speakers to get zero speaker distortion.
Not 100% sure if he was using EVs in the El Mocombo days... but you're right in the sense that he was all about clean head room. His Fenders were modified w/higher wattage power transformers to give him that loud & clean tone w/plenty of head room. He wanted to be in control of the distortion. So, that's where the TS-9's came into play (2 of them). Later in his career he moved to the Dumble SSS & Marshall Major (both high wattage amps w/plenty of headroom & 4x12s loaded w/EVs. He also used very heavy strings to get that "thump" and that was very hard on the speakers/amp.
 
correction- looking back on the vid it appears there is 1 super, 1 vibroverb and a marshall combo on the far left that is not powered on?? I never noticed that one before.
 

dspblues

Regular
By the way, I started playing with a blues/SRV type patch and once I added the TS9/808, I wasn't happy with the tone. I didn't spend much time with it, but it sounded more compressed than what I wanted or expected.
 
You've got it all wrong. He used 200 watt speakers to get zero speaker distortion.
Do you mean 200 watt speakers being used for the El Mocambo show? That would seem odd, unless you mean the total wattage in one Super equaled 200 watts.

At 40 watts per combo, even 4X10" 50 watt speakers in each combo totalling 200 watts would seem like a mis-match?
 

LVC

Fractal Fanatic
By the way, I started playing with a blues/SRV type patch and once I added the TS9/808, I wasn't happy with the tone. I didn't spend much time with it, but it sounded more compressed than what I wanted or expected.
From what I understand he had a clean chip in it and used it as a clean boost to hit the front end of the amp.
 

dspblues

Regular
@Laz -- Hmmm, that's a new one to me. From what I heard he just had the level all the way up and the drive all the way down.
 

LVC

Fractal Fanatic
@Laz -- Hmmm, that's a new one to me. From what I heard he just had the level all the way up and the drive all the way down.
Need to get back to work but if you google it I am sure you will find some reference to it. I think the chip was the RC45?? can't remember the exact model off the top of my head.
 

luke

Fractal Fanatic
He ran his 808 with gain at zero, output on full. Essentially turning those vintage pups into EMGs.
 

Gamedojo

Forum Addict
SRV didn't like speaker breakup. That's why he used 200w and 300w JBL and EV speakers with his 50 watt fenders.

In fact, He didn't really like distortion at all and was always battling trying to get the sustain and thickness but with a clean tone (Hence his tendency to move towards Dumble 200watt amps later).

The trick to his tone is that He played a heavily distorted amp and a 100% clean amp all the time. Thats why his tone is so difficult for most because you simply can't nail it with only one amp. If you have a distorted amp, there is no clarity and no punch. If you only use a clean amp you get no harmonics or sustain/compression.

He also used a LOT of treble. Its a hard balance to control. FWIW, I think chasing El Macombo tone is a fool's errand. That tone relies heavily on the room along with the possibility that his amps were probably mic'd from behind (which would need a special IR capture).... but its the room vibe that gives that tone most of its sound. I bet if you look at the master recording, 80% of the tone you hear is the bleed from the other mics on stage especially his vocal mic.

Other important tricks:
•mismatched output transformers
• Solid state rectifiers (much less supply sag)
• TS9 (no famous recordings are of his 808 years...)
•*No gain on TS9 max level and tone control
•*JBL speakers ARE his tone. His tone suffered greatly when he moved to EVs in my opinion

Here are a few of my SRV tone attempts with the AXE:

FW10 Tin Pan Alley

FW7.0 Coldshot

FW7.0 Couldn't Stand Weather

FW6.0 Voodoo Chile

Hi, let me first add a disclaimer, I am not a SRV tone expert.

I have a couple of questions about SRV's tone - closest to El Mocambo and focused on a Super Reverb:

1) My understanding is that much of his stellar break-up tone was achieved by pushing his fenders very hard and loud. My understanding is also that the break-up came from a complex mix of power amp and speaker break-up (a la unplugging two of the speakers in his Super Reverbs to push them harder).

Is there a sonic tonal characteristic that would help us distinguish between amp and speaker break-up? In other words, is tone eminating from amp break-up, different and readily identifiable compared to speaker break-up?

2) The Super Reverb model in the Axe FX II sounds superb to my ears, but am I missing something akin to speaker break-up, i.e. is there some tweaking I would need to do to the IR used in order to simulate the speaker being pushed hard to break-up state?

Shout out to the TGs and LVCs of the world...

Thanks in advance and all the best!

Jean.
 
Last edited:

goodkungfu

New here
SRV didn't like speaker breakup. That's why he used 200w and 300w JBL and EV speakers with his 50 watt fenders.

In fact, He didn't really like distortion at all and was always battling trying to get the sustain and thickness but with a clean tone (Hence his tendency to move towards Dumble 200watt amps later).

The trick to his tone is that He played a heavily distorted amp and a 100% clean amp all the time. Thats why his tone is so difficult for most because you simply can't nail it with only one amp. If you have a distorted amp, there is no clarity and no punch. If you only use a clean amp you get no harmonics or sustain/compression.

He also used a LOT of treble. Its a hard balance to control. FWIW, I think chasing El Macombo tone is a fool's errand. That tone relies heavily on the room along with the possibility that his amps were probably mic'd from behind (which would need a special IR capture).... but its the room vibe that gives that tone most of its sound. I bet if you look at the master recording, 80% of the tone you hear is the bleed from the other mics on stage especially his vocal mic.

Other important tricks:
•mismatched output transformers
• Solid state rectifiers (much less supply sag)
• TS9 (no famous recordings are of his 808 years...)
•*No gain on TS9 max level and tone control
•*JBL speakers ARE his tone. His tone suffered greatly when he moved to EVs in my opinion

Here are a few of my SRV tone attempts with the AXE:

FW10 Tin Pan Alley

FW7.0 Coldshot

FW7.0 Couldn't Stand Weather

FW6.0 Voodoo Chile

I lived in Austin for a couple of years, worked at Antones, saw Jimmy play a bunch and Tyrone as well. Used to watch Doyle Bramhall II and Charlie and Will Sexton and Storyville with David Grissom etc. Loads of people in Austin at the time i was there were still chasing that tone, not the guys I mentioned necessarily, but loads of guys would come through with a TS9 and a SR cranked and they all sounded close.. My room mate had a SR at the time and I still have the TS9 that i bought off him.. I worked at the new Antones and the sound there was pretty good, Grissom sounded amazing in there, but different in Steamboat on 6th, as you would expect..I cant speak to the old place, they had moved by the time I got there...

I have heard that tone so much, and so many guys wanted to play like that when I was there, so many Stevie clones, it was like a Mecca for SRV.. Nothing wrong with that, he was awesome...

IMO Tylers tones here are as close as dammit to the real thing that its down to the hands. I can't really tell a difference. Peoples tone changes all the time with regards to the room etc. And I'll wager that if Stevie came back from beyond the grave and played through the tones listed above, hardly anyone else could tell either..

Marvellous machine this thing... Awesome work Tyler..
 

pdup

Veteran
SRV just loved the twang of JBL/Fender D 120 and 130'ties with the alu-dome and old Alnico's to blend-in.
 

barhrecords

Axe-Master
Doesn't a stock Super with 4 speakers present a 2 ohm load to the amp?

I wonder if using the Dumble EV 4x12 producer mix IR would have the same effect on the Super model or would it even matter as far as the AxeFx goes?
 

mikeyg

Inspired
The best SRV tone I've gotten is a pre CBS Fender with a 15" JBL. Then use a TS for the grit.

Man that speaker will give you some major WHOMP!
 

dspblues

Regular
My best SRV tone was a chained up 64 Vibroverb & 65 Super w/2 tubescreamers. 2 Wahs and I had the ultimate "Say What!" tone. Woot!
 
SRV didn't like speaker breakup. That's why he used 200w and 300w JBL and EV speakers with his 50 watt fenders.

In fact, He didn't really like distortion at all and was always battling trying to get the sustain and thickness but with a clean tone (Hence his tendency to move towards Dumble 200watt amps later).

The trick to his tone is that He played a heavily distorted amp and a 100% clean amp all the time. Thats why his tone is so difficult for most because you simply can't nail it with only one amp. If you have a distorted amp, there is no clarity and no punch. If you only use a clean amp you get no harmonics or sustain/compression.

He also used a LOT of treble. Its a hard balance to control. FWIW, I think chasing El Macombo tone is a fool's errand. That tone relies heavily on the room along with the possibility that his amps were probably mic'd from behind (which would need a special IR capture).... but its the room vibe that gives that tone most of its sound. I bet if you look at the master recording, 80% of the tone you hear is the bleed from the other mics on stage especially his vocal mic.

Other important tricks:
•mismatched output transformers
• Solid state rectifiers (much less supply sag)
• TS9 (no famous recordings are of his 808 years...)
•*No gain on TS9 max level and tone control
•*JBL speakers ARE his tone. His tone suffered greatly when he moved to EVs in my opinion

Here are a few of my SRV tone attempts with the AXE:

FW10 Tin Pan Alley

FW7.0 Coldshot

FW7.0 Couldn't Stand Weather

FW6.0 Voodoo Chile
Thanks for all your insight Tyler and yes, I already have all your patches and find them to be a very realistic representation of his tone at low volume. I am now working on getting a strat that is closer to his specs...not sure if I can do 13s though, already find 11s quite a challenge...
 
SRV didn't like speaker breakup. That's why he used 200w and 300w JBL and EV speakers with his 50 watt fenders.
Just to be clear, are you saying that in one 40 watt SR, he would have had at least 4 200 watt speakers(possibly more if using 300w JBLs), totalling 800 watts or more? That seems like quite the mis-match?
 
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