Check out the recent GEARCAST show on Kyle Bull’s YouTube channel where I had a great discussion about all things related to guitar tone and music.
I wanted to share an interesting story and historical piece for you, our dear readers. First some background on the Echoplex tape echo. If you haven’t played through an Echoplex, they are truly legendary tape echo units and should be experienced. In the 1960s and 1970s, when you wanted echo, tape echo was the way to do it. When smaller solid state echo pedals emerged during the mid ‘70s using Bucket Brigade Device (BBD) technology, they were convenient, but lacked the ability to produce long repeat times versus what a tape delay could offer (most analog solid state delay pedals were limited to just 300ms. of delay time). They also sounded different.
Most readers at this site understand I’m a big time “amp nut” – with a special love for old Marshalls in particular. Some readers have even complained, “Too much Marshall!” in terms of content and asked me to pay attention to some other amps out there.
Well, o.k., I’m going to move away from the Marshalls, but not too far for the moment as the Mojave AmpWorks Peacemaker and Plexi 45 certainly share the Marshall heritage – in the case of the Plexi 45, its circuit is as dead-on of a true JTM 45 clone as you’ll find in any new amp built today. The Peacemaker however, adds some twists to the legendary Marshall tone, which we’ll dig into shortly.
I’ll admit I really lagged on doing a feature on pickups. It’s so much easier to just plug in a pedal, or play through an amp, etc. rather than having to go through the process of installing pickups with all the guitar dismantling, the soldering and even restringing of the guitar which isn’t something I’m ever thrilled to do. In any case, I knew that I eventually would have to take a look at some pickups so I made a call to premier pickup maker Seymour Duncan first.
Edward Van Halen’s technique, tone, and style are legendary. Growing up listening to earlier-era Van Halen, I was awestruck by the raw, pure rock sounds that Edward produced from his guitars. In a period where rock guitar had become stagnant, Edward burst onto the scene like a fireball. As we moved into the 80’s, it seemed everyone had become an Eddie-clone, with their custom hot-rodded guitars strat-styled guitars and Marshall 100 watt tops. Edward’s sound from that era has been dubbed the “brown sound”. Let’s look into how what he used in the early days of Van Halen.