The black Squier Precision Bass first appeared on Roger Waters FB profile in January 2017. Judging from the picture below, Roger played it when he was in studio recording his new album. It's hard to tell if he used it on any particular track, or if he was playing it only because at the moment there wasn't any other bass around.
Fender introduced this fairly inexpensive instrument in 2007 as Squier P-Bass Special Edition. The very first thing that attracts attention is its black glossy finish, accentuated by the chrome hardware and mirror pickguard.
This bass featured an agathis body with a maple C-shaped Jazz Bass neck, the rosewood fretboard with 20 medium-jumbo frets and a 9-1/2" radius.
A split single-coil pickup in the center and a Jazz Bass pickup in the bridge were added for tonal versatility. The both pickups had its own volume control.
This cross-stitched chocolate suede guitar strap in question has perhaps become as famous as its owner's black stratocaster. This strap was owned by Jimi Hendrix, and in 2006, it had been given to David by his wife Polly Samson. From that point on, we, Gilmour fans, had wanted to own such strap, too.
The first guitar strap manufacturer who seized the opportunity here was Jeri designs. Their replica looks beautiful, but the price is insane. So I did a small research to see, what other manufacturers have to offer. Soon, I had found that most of their copies were surprisingly lame. Some of the manufacturers simply din't bother to copy it properly. Either colour, or shape, or both were wrong. Wouldn't it be cross-stitched, you perhaps wouldn't recognize the strap at all.
Finaly, certain Greek manufacturer Paul Minotaur got the design adequately right. And the price seems to be within the reason, too.
The only drawback is that their strap should be a lot more flexible on its length adjustment. And another issue is that it doesn't look very secure to use. It takes just one(!) cap rivet to keep everything together, and I have absolutely no doubt about what will happen, if I jump on stage too much. If you need to shorten your strap a lot more to ensure the best playing position, you will have to plant another rivet in it. I also recommend replacing the leather end of the strap (the end where strap button goes) for something made of a material you can trust. Applying a buckle-like-something that will prevent your strap to go loose whenever the rivet fails, won't hurt either. I wouldn't dare gigging with my priceless Strat like that before I do the above.
Here folows the break down of a Gilmour Hendrix straps available on the market at the time of writing this:
« 1) Paul
Minotaur / The Legend
Price: $66 (59 EUR)
2) Jeri designs / Replica Price: $250
« 3) Jeri
designs / Modified
« 4) Tundra Leather Price: N/A
» 5) Dave
Brown / Another design inspired by Jimi's strap by Minotaur
Price: 38 USD (34 EUR)
« 6) Basso
straps / DG-02
Price: $16 (R$ 45,90)
Pryce Leather / Gilmour replica strap
Price: $120 (79 GBP)
How to come close to Andy Summers tone without buying expensive equipment.
A low-priced tube Marshall amp won't deliver the tone of a Marshall JMP that you are after. In fact, it won't deliver a decent tone at all. The CUB series by Laney offers a range of a nice low-wattage clean sounding combos with slightly marshallish character. Available are the 5, 10 and 15-Watt tube models, and one 15-Watt amp head with a matching cabinet. Highly recommended!
Squier Telecaster Custom would be a good starting point for your own take on the famous Fender Telecaster Custom of Andy Summers. You might find handful of ideas in the article Squier Andy Summers Tribute Telecaster project.
However, if you want to stay on the safe side, it will be much better to follow Andy's red 61' Fender Stratocaster. You will only need a Squier Classic Vibe '60s Stratocaster, or MIM Standard Strat, with rosewood fingerboard. Its stock pickups should be replaced with the period-correct Fender 57/62 pickups.
MXR Dyna Comp
A quite nice compressor based on the classic Ross circuit. The vintage "script logo" reissue has a nice smooth tone, but can only be powered by battery and costs twice as much as a the cheaper "box logo" model.
FYI: I personaly use the Warden by EarthQuaker Devices, which seems to work very well. It's clean, neutral sounding compressor with studio-style controls and features. And it's deadly silent, too.
Mooer Ninety Orange
Mooer Ninety Orange is a copy of the MXR Phase 90, produced by now popular chinese manufacturer. It might be less smooth sounding than a "script logo" original, but still an excellent alternative for people on tight budget.
Although this pedal doesn't work with distortion as good as the original, it's considered to be the best sounding clone of the Electric Mistress available. Very Summersish and highly recommended!
EHX Micro Q-tron
Type: Envelope follower
The Q-tron was designed for the EHX by Mike Beigel, the inventor of the Mu-tron III and former owner of Musitronics Corp. By using the same analog circuitry as the original, he managed to keep the sound as close to it as possible.
MXR Distortion+, EHX Bass Big Muff Pi
Type: Fuzz / Distortion / Overdrive
In my opinion, there is no great sounding budget Muff on market. Fortunately, Andy's tone isn't based on that at all. However, if you really need to own one, try the Electro Harmonix Bass Big Muff Pi.
The MXR Distortion+ or any similary sounsding dirt pedal set to mild overdrive will suffice. Most of a budget clones will do equaly well, too. You even might want to use a boost pedal to simmulate the mid-boost circuit built in Andy's Telecaster. (The solo in So Lonely, for example, uses both pickups out-of-phase plus the on-board booster.)
FYI: As for me, my Xotic SL Drive works perfectly for Andy's overdriven tones. It faithfully delivers sounds of the Marshall Super Lead and Super Bass amps. But it doesn't come cheap, of course.
EHX Memory Toy
The Memory Toy is a nice sounding analog delay that won't cost you a fortune. However, if you want to go serious, get an excelent TC Electronic Flashback, Flashback X4, or Nova Delay. They are reasonably priced and offer a simmulation of various types of delay, such as "tape" and "analog". (Andy have used the Flashback in his Circa Zero pedal board.)
EHX Pitch Fork
Type: Pitch Shifter, Guitar Synth substitution
Rather than to buy a second-hand Roland guitar synth on eBay, you might want to combine a pitch shifter with flanger and delay. Set the pitch shifter to the 5ths, play "strange" chords, and you may get close to the synth sound you are after. Don't forget fidling with the tone (yes, the tone!) knob on your guitar, too.
FYI: I use the EHX Pitch Fork in conjunction with the Eleclady and Flashback. The result is very, very convincing.
Danelectro Tuna Melt
Originally, back in the 70s/80s, Andy haven't used tremolo effect at all. It hadn't become part of his rig until the Police reunion tour in 2007 (see Andy’s Reunion Tour rig). He emloyed the Empress Tremolo on stage to create deep tremolo effect in Walking in Your Footsteps. The Empress Tremolo is an excellent pedal, but definitely not a budget one, so if cost is the issue you will have to look elsewhere.
The Boss TR-2 Temolo is perhaps most obvious (and safe) choice to go with. However, you may want to check eBay for an extra-cheap, but surprisingly nice and warm sounding Danelectro Tuna Melt, or, sadly, now discontinued, Line 6 Tap Tremolo, featuring a tap tempo function. The Super Pulsar by EHX is a truly creative tool that will satisfy even the most demanding player.
BTW: Think of Gilmour's tremolo in Money, or Roger's in One of These Days.
At the very beginning of the birth of The Police, Andy Summers' rig was rather sparse. To Guitar Player magazine he revealed: “I had simple tools: a Telecaster, a Fender Twin, and maybe an MXR Phase 90. The next thing I got was a chorus, and that, along with the Echoplex, became very characteristic of the Police sound. I probably got up to four pedals taped to the floor before I could afford a custom Pete Cornish pedalboard with a MuTron, a couple of fuzz boxes, an envelope filter, chorus units, and phasers, all of which I’d combine with the Echoplex.”
Times have changed though, and so has Andy's equipment: "Onstage I've been using the same set-up for about the last three years," he explained to Musician magazine in 1984, "which is two reworked, souped-up Marshall 100-watt tops, two 4x12 cabinets, (I'm not sure what the speakers are because my faithful roadie changes them all the time). I use them at about half-volume, with not a lot of presence. I also record occasionally with a Bolt amp. I also have a Peter Cornish custom-made pedalboard which contains an MXR Phase 90, an MXR Analog Delay, a Mutron III envelope follower, a fuzz, an Electro-Harmonix flanger and a Dyna-Comp compressor. I carry two Echoplexes on tour, both of which are about fifteen years old. I combine the analog delay and the Echoplex to get some double rhythm effects. The board has a master effects on and off button, so you can pre-program effects together without having any effects on, then just hit one button and have them all come on together."
During the Police years, Andy Summers played two 100-Watt Marshall heads, acquired in the late '70s, with two 4x12 Marshall speaker cabinets. Those amps either could be the Marshall JMP 1959 Super Lead, or 1992 Super Bass. It's hard to tell which of them exactly as they both look the same. The Marshall Super Bass was initially designed for bass players, but many guitarists decided to use them too. They had slightly less gain and were smoother sounding than their Lead counter-parts.
"I like to use two Roland JC-120s, because they’re real clean and hard. They suit guitar synthesizers almost more than the regular." (Guitar Player magazine, 1986)
The main guitar of Andy Summers' then, was his old battered, heavily modified Fender 61' Telecaster Custom that he purchased from his student in Los Angeles. The Telecaster was closely followed with the red Fender 61' Stratocaster that seems to be his main guitar today.
The other Andy's guitars include several models of Hamer that he endorsed in the De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da music video, Aria Pro (Next to You, live at the Old Grey Whistle Test) , Guitarman 12-string (Synchronicity I, Synchronicity concert video), Gibson 335 and Les Paul (both Ghost in the Machine album), Roland G-303 guitar, used to control his Roland guitar synth (Don't Stand So Close To Me), and many other guitars. Perhaps too many to mention.
In 1978, Andy acquired a Pete Cornish custom build pedal board. It contained an MXR Dyna Comp, MXR Distortion+, MXR Phase 90, MXR Analog Delay, EHX Electric Mistress, and Mu-Tron.
MXR Dyna Comp
Songs: Deathwish, Bring on the Night, Message in the Bottle, Walking on the Moon
MXR Phase 90
Songs: Hole in My Life.
Andy's prominent modulation effect on Outlandos d'Amour: "sort of scotch-taped to the floor". Also used by Sting on his bass (live recordings of Shadows in the Rain, Bring on the Night).
EHX Electric Mistress
Songs: Walking on the Moon, De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da, Driven to Tears, When the World is Running Down... to name a few.
Althought often mistaken for chorus, the Electric Mistress flanger(!) has always been an essential part of the Police sound.
When Andy used the "real" chorus, he seemingly used a unit built-in the Roland JC-120 solid-state amplifier. (This circuit was later "repacked" into a single pedal, known as a Boss CE-1.)
Another chorus effect Andy Summers acquired was the Boss CE-3: Released in October 1982, Andy had used it soon after, on the Synchronicity concert in Atlanta. Since the CE-3 was just sitting on his pedal board, meaning it wasn't built-in, it can be assumed that he was just trying it out.
Musitronics Mu-Tron III
Type: Envelope follower
Songs: Hungry for You, Flexible Strategies, Every Little Thing She Does is Magic
A touch-controlled funky-sounding effect, easily mistaken for normal wah-wah.
MXR Distortion+, EHX Big Muff
Type: Fuzz / Distortion / Overdrive
Songs: Fall Out, Next to You, Truth Hits Everybody
In fact, I didn't find any verifiable proof that Andy Summers used any of those. So this is purely based on my, and other people's hearing. Hence subjective. That said, the MXR should have been identified correctly though: "I have an MXR Phase 90, Electro-Harmonix flanger, MXR fuzz, an analog delay, a Mu-tron III, and a compressor." (Guitar Player magazine, 1982)
MXR Analog Delay + Maestro Echoplex, Roland Space Echo
Songs: Reggatta de Blanc, Deathwish, Can't Stand Loosing You, Tea in the Sahara ...and many more
Delay has always been instrumental for Andy's tones. In Can't Stand Losing You he got a double rhythm effect by using of two Echoplexes. Tea in the Sahara was all done with a Stratocaster and an Echoplex. For a certain period of time, he also used a Roland Space Echo.
Roland GR-300, GR-100
Type: Guitar synthesizer
Songs: Don't Stand so Close to Me, Secret Journey, Darkness, Oh My God, I Burn for You, Once Upon a Daydream
By the Regatta de Blanc, Andy acquired a Roland GR-500 guitar synthesizer. The band was working so hard on the road, that he haven’t had a chance to get acquainted with it. Later on, he used Roland GR-300 for a couple of songs, such as Don’t Stand So Close to Me, on Zenyatta Mondatta, as well as for material from the Ghost in the Machine album.
Andy usually used the Echoplex and flanger in conjunction with the synthesizer. To achieve the same effect, which is in the middle of Don’t Stand so Close to Me, he used a "Duet" switch, which adds an extra interval - typicaly the 5th - to any note that's being played. Additionaly, he has being opening and closing the foot-controled filter of the synth, to get the setup working as intended.
In his Police Reunion Tour rig, he replaced his old Roland synth with the Eventide Harmoniser.
Source: Guitar Player magazine, AndySummers.com, ThePolice.com
I read many positive reviews about Squier Cabronita Telecaster that I have decided to buy one. However, playing it, I hadn't been overly excited with its tone. To my ears, it sounded like a couple of wires attached to a piece of wood strummed with a crumpled newspaper. Really bad!
Later, I replaced Cabronita's maple neck with a rosewood one from my Squier Telecaster Custom to see what will happen (I needed a maple neck for my Squier Andy Summers Tribute Telecaster project anyway). I wasn't surprised that the guitar still sounded like shit, but at the same time the new neck gave it a beautifully long sustain. Interesting, what could be achieved by replacement of the guitar's neck. Well, then it was time to improve Cabronita's overall tone.
You might have heart about "play-in" simulators. These devices are based on the theory that the more your instrument is played, the faster it reaches its full sound potential. And believe me or not, it works! I tried it myself so based on my own experience. After 100 odd hours on ToneRite simulator, the guitar started showing some musical quality that weren’t there before. Of course, the ToneRite won’t make a poor instrument great, it’s only designed to bring out the best in it. I would definitely recommend it being used for budget instruments, but maybe for others too. Pity that the price of this useful yet somewhat single-purpose device is so "boutique."
When it comes to spec of Jeff Beck's main guitar, it's quite surprising to find that it doesn't have anything in common with the signature model that Fender produces (2014). The story of Beck's White Stratocaster begins in 1987, when he had asked Fender to make him a `62 Vintage model painted in the same yellow colour as his 1932 Ford Hot Rod. Fender took this as the opportunity to talk him into having a namesake Stratocaster model, and has put together the prototype with Jeff in mind. (Hence its yellow finish christened Graffiti Yellow.) But Beck temporarily turned down Fender's proposal and the Stratocaster came eventualy out as the Strat Plus.
In 1990, he finaly acceppted Fender's offer and they released the Jeff Beck Signature Strat, Version 1, based on the Strat Plus. It did not come in Graffiti Yellow, but in Midnight Purple, Surf Green and Vintage White.
A years after, in 2001, the signature Stratocaster was upgraded to the Jeff Beck Signature Strat, Version 2, and the Custom Shop version had been introduced in 2004. The most significant difference between those two versions was the replacement of the active Lace Sensor pickups with the Hot Noiseless Dual-Coil Ceramic pickups. The Version 2 also features a slim C-shaped neck instead of the chunky U-shaped neck found on the previous signature model, LSR roller nut instead of the Wilkinson, and a straightforward five-way pickup selector and standard tone controls instead of the prior guitar's TBX tone circuit and coil-splitting functions.
Jeff Beck Signature Stratocaster (Version 1)
1990 - 2001
Midnight Purple, Surf Green and Vintage White colour - Alder body - Rosewood fingerboard - C-shape neck - Wilkinson roller nut - 2-point tremolo - Lace Sensor Gold single-coil pickups and HB Lace Sensor Dually at bridge - TBX tone circuit affecting the middle and bridge pickups and a mini coil-split push-push button for the bridge-position humbucking pickup
Jeff Beck Signature Stratocaster (Version 2)
2001 (2004, Custom Shop) - present
Olympic White and Surf Green colour - Alder body - Rosewood fingerboard - C-shape neck - LSR roller nut - 2-point tremolo - Fender Hot Noiseless Dual-Coil Ceramic pickups - Contoured heel for easier access to upper frets - Deluxe Staggered Cast/Sealed Locking tuners or Sperzel Trim-Lok Staggered (Custom Shop)
About Jeff Beck's main Stratocaster his guitar tech Stevie Prior reveals: “The main, white one is a ’95 basswood-body made by J.W. Black, with a J.W. Black neck from ’93, and John Suhr pickups, which there are really only two sets of in existence – that main guitar and then the Surf Green spare. Obviously, Fender would like to get those back so they could try to replicate those pickups, but that’ll never happen, because you’d never get the guitar out of Jeff’s hands long enough. But I’m now using Fender Custom Shop Alnico N3 pickups made by Michael Frank-Braun in all the other [backup] Strats. They’re much more true to the Strat-like tone, in that they’re Alnico II, III, and V – that’s neck, middle, bridge – although they’re Noiseless, which we obviously rely very heavily upon. He hates that 50- to 60-hertz buzz with single-coils. They’re probably a bit brighter, because the Surf gets a quite dark midrange sound. He quite likes that brilliance and shimmer he gets from the N3s.”
John Suhr (who is currently running Suhr Guitars, suhrguitars.com) was the original pickup designer for the Fender Custom Shop. He made the Beck pickups when he worked there as a master builder, so here is what he had to say: "It was a dare from JBlack who was re-working Becks 3 main guitars and was having some feedback issues with them. So J asks if I could make something and I said I would give it a go!
They are stacks and are very tall (under the pickguard), definitely flat pole pieces flush with the cover or close to that. 100 % handmade pickups, bobbins and all and the used stock covers. They are dark sounding and warm which really worked for the gain and brilliance of the amps he was using making a brittle overdrive sound fat and smooth. Bill Turner then came on board and Bill Lawrence shortly after was doing some more work for Fender. Then I left. After the Fender Noiseless series was created Beck wanted something more like the prototype sets I built for him and Bill Turner used the existing new noiseless bobbins to come come up with something hotter as a Jeff model pickup, at that point I had one foot out the door. I had assumed Beck had switched to those but later found out that Beck was still using 2 of the original sets for special occasions loaded into a pickguards he used for special shows and recording.
I might make some pickups like the original Beck sets but the guitar would need deeper cavities if I were to do it exactly the same, so it wouldn't be easy to market.
These pickups have a unique character and even though stratty they are pretty far away from an authentic single coil tone."
Jeff Beck's White Stratocaster (main guitar)
1987 - present
White colour - Basswood body - Rosewood fingerboard - Wilkinson roller nut - 2-point tremolo - Custom-wound pickups by John Suhr - Wiring that allows to adjust tone for all pickups
The Reverse Headstock Stratocaster
The Fender Custom Shop White Stratocaster with reverse headstock á la Hendrix debuted on the Beck / ZZ Top tour in 2014. The reverse headstock affects how the tension increases as player bend the string. The more non-vibrating length a string has, the less effect on pitch a given deflection along a fret gives. So a reverse neck will give considerable bends on the high E and B strings, compared to a typical Stratocaster.
Source: Xhefri's Guitars, Vintage Guitar mag, A. R. Duchossoir - The Fender Stratocaster
The Soul Food was released by Electro-Harmonix as a part of their series of cool overdrive and distortion stomp boxes.
It's no secret that Soul Food is a clone of the Klon Centaur, the pedal that has become a legend. For its tone, as well as for its price.
It was really clever for Mike Matthews of EHX to take on the Klon, and release its clone. And as I understood from most of the reviews, a very good one. I never played Klon myself so I don't know how these two compare. What I do know is that Soul Food I bought gets me the Klon sound for less. Only quite surprised when I plugged it in.
The original Klon, as been no longer produced, sells for ridiculous sums of money on eBay. So to buy a Soul Food for a tiny fraction of cost of the Klon made a perfect sense to me. Even if it was like buying a pig in a poke.
That being said, the real question should be, why are people obsessed with the Klon so much. Is it mostly due to the hype? Maybe.
To be honest, I am not overly excited with it. The pedal sounds boxy, like being played inside of a cupboard, and anything over 10 o'clock on the gain mushes your tone to a dull, mid-rangey something. It cuts nicely through a band mix though, but doesn’t sound much of its own. I know that these things are down on to ones preferences. People mostly love it, to say the least, and that's fine. Unfortunately, the Soul Food is not my cup o'tea. So be prepared that there is a slight chance that you might not like it neither.
(I have tested the pedal with a few different Strats and Teles pluged in the VOX AC15 C1.)
- It’s a clone of the Klon, isn't it
- Cuts easily through a band mix
- Boxy, dull, and heavy on midrange... that's about it
- Doesn't sound much of its own
Looking at David Gilmour's rig from The Wall tour 80-81, I noticed an interesting piece of equipment that I was unsuccessfully trying to figure out for some time. The identical device was on display at the Interstellar Exhibition in Paris, France. Firstly, I though it was a tape deck. But I couldn't be too sure, as all images of it were not very clear. Then I accidentaly had come across a Pater Cornish status on Facebook...
This mysterious device in question was in fact a Cornish Delay Time Controller. David used it - as you may imagine - to set time on his MXR Digital Delay unit with more comfort.
Source: Wikipedia, Peter Cornish (photo)
I wasn't very happy with my Boss CS-3 compressor for it was a bit noisy and added a typical squishy effect to my tone. Hence I started looking for a pedal with more even and smooth compression. I found a Mooer Yellow Comp which imitates the Diamond CPR-1. I haven't had an opportunity to play the Diamond, so I can't say how it compares. The Mooer offers mild optical compression with no squishy effect and no added coloration. It could better be described as a transparent tone enhancement. Just nice for improving my cleans.
All compressors will more or less raise the noise level depending on how they are set. My Boss CS-3 for example got noisy whenever Sustain knob was turned past 12 o’clock. The Mooer Yellow Comp has hardly any noticeable noise at all, even with its Comp control all the way up. Of course, all pedals on your pedal board will affect the overall noise that the compressor would amplify, but in my rig, the noise was perfectly bearable.
If you are after a nice sounding budget compressor with smooth attack and decay, then don't look any further. That being said, I wouldn't recommend it for country, where you usually want noticeable compression as an effect.
I bought this pedal because I wanted to nail this nasal, vocal tone of Mark Knopfler's guitar from Money for Nothing. Funny, even Mark can't remember how he got that sound on the record. Only thing he remembers is that he played a Les Paul through a Laney amp with some mysterious microphone setup. To re-create that tone, he uses a rack-mounted Cry Baby wah with fixed settings today.
Even though my Vox V845 wah worked fine for this purpose, it filtered certain frequencies that I wanted to be part of the tone. The last but not least, the foot-pedal position was susceptible to accidental bumps, so I had decided to look for something more practical. Soon, I found out that there weren’t many budget alternatives available on market. In fact there was just one. Dunlop KFK Q-zone, a limited reissue edition of already discontinued stomp box of the same name.
The Dunlop KFK Q-zone is so called fixed wah, so it's like if you were to set a wah foot pedal in one position and leave it there rather than consistently manipulating it. It features the same controls as a Dunlop 95Q Cry Baby: The Volume (up to +18 dB), Q-Zone (frequency breadth), and Peak (frequency center, serving the same function as the wah foot pedal, to sculpt and set the sweet spot).
The Q-zone might not be the most frequently used pedal of my rig, but it does the job very well. It's more pedal board friendly than a standard wah.
The Guitar Player Vault magazine (April, 2012) published the interview with Knopfler's guitar tech Ron Eve, where he's describing how to get Money for Nothing tone:
1) Get Soldano 100 Watt head and Cry baby wah-wah
2) Adjust the Soldano's normal channel as follows:
- Put the Clean/Crunch switch in Crunch position
- Turn the Bright switch off
- Set the Gain to 6, Bass to 9, Mid to 8, Treble to 3, Master to 7.5, and Presence to 6
3) Set your wah-wah to the most "vocal" position, and leave it there
4) Add a touch of Reverb