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Squire's Gretsch

June 14 2017 at 10:26 PM

pumpo  (Login pumpo)
IAWS2

 
I spent quite a lot of time thinking about John Squire's Gretsch and, specifically, how it sounded like it did.

At first, I just thought that was what Gretsches sounded like and it was due to the pickups or the tone switch, having not really got too close to it with Gibson semi acoustics or strats, I ended up getting a Country Gent and going so far as to get hold of a SuperTron front pickup for it - it wasn't any of that. Mine had proper f holes, not painted on ones, so I thought it was that, tried one and it wasn't that, either. I thought it was probably the amps. I had a Fender Twin and it wasn't that. I thought it might have been the combination of the Mesa and the Fender, then I heard that and it wasn't that, either. Then I thought it must be the pedals and went through various permutations and setting before again realising, none of them were actually it either.

I read what the guitar player out of one of the tribute bands wrote on Paul McAuley's site - he had all the gear, but he struggled to get the Gretsch sound that Squire got. He decided eventually that - and this is where it gets a bit much - the pickup selector switch was wired wrong and when it was in the middle position - which is usually both pickups on - actually, he must have had the neck pickup on, something like that, I might be misquoting him, I can't find his article at the moment - it was on Paul McAuley's Thisisthedaybreak.co.uk now a hotbed of Militant Catholicism, sadly. Anyway, that's not it, either.

What it is, I've realised, is that his Gretsch was wired incorrectly, but not like the Squire-alike bloke from Ian Brown's band thought; they're wired out of phase.

I'd been faffing about with my strat and, without going into specifics, had an out of phase option. I switched it on and there it was - Squire's live sound from about 1989.

I looked into out of phase wiring on the YouTube and whilst most of the examples are horrible, occasionally one of them picks a few notes and that's what it is.

The question, I suppose, is whether Squire was aware of what it was or not. Or, rather, when he became aware of what it was. His One Love Jaguar alike guitars had an out of phase option. Whether any of his Les Pauls have, or did, I don't know either.

Anyway, for anyone who wants that 1989 Squire sound, don't worry about the guitar, the amp or your pedals. Get a guitar with at least two pickups, wire them out of phase and in your middle position, you have the 1989 Squire guitar sound.


    
This message has been edited by pumpo on Jun 15, 2017 9:01 PM


 
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ac3
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Re: Squire's Gretsch

June 14 2017, 11:17 PM 

just watched a few videos on youtube and i reckon your spot on mate well done, going to do this asap

 
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cheekymonkey
(Login chipsandrice)
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Re: Squire's Gretsch

June 15 2017, 8:01 AM 

I'll be testing this out, nice one.

 
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David
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this is the one

June 15 2017, 9:24 AM 

you hear this sound on the picked part on This Is The One, always wondered how he got that sound too...nice one

 
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DC
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I can't profess to have any detailed guitar knowledge*

June 15 2017, 3:47 PM 

but I remember interviews from 2004/5 era where he said he could have been a better player and did not know a lot about guitars during their first phase. So it may be accurate that he wasn't aware of it and chanced upon the sound "The question, I suppose, is whether Squire was aware of what it was or not." If I had the time or energy I'd dig out the old articles but I think he was self-deprecating about his 1989 knowledge and ability.

Nice post anyway Pumpo. Fancy letting us hear your skills? Soundcloud and a nice cover of a squire solo

 
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pumpo
(Login pumpo)
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Re: I can't profess to have any detailed guitar knowledge*

June 15 2017, 5:03 PM 

My guess - and that's all it is - is that it was like that when he got it.

Apparently, Peter Green's Les Paul was wired out of phase mistakenly, the sound of which he liked. Not that it sounds anything like Squire in 1989, but that's the way Squire played.

Robbie Krieger said that it's not a wah-wah on Peace Frog but out of phase wired by mistake again.

I expect that whoever had it before him had either done it on purpose to get the Peter Green sound, or it was done accidentally.

The thing that made me think it wasn't his guitars is because it was the same sound on his strat as well; listen to
Blackpool Live. That makes me suspect that he did find out that it was out of phase and had it done to his strat as well. Certainly having it on his custom made Jaguar things makes me suspect that he knew about it by 1989.

I'll have a faff and put something up showing the difference between in and out of phase pickups with some ham fisted Roses impressions la bit later on. Give us chance, I've not had my tea yet.


    
This message has been edited by pumpo on Jun 15, 2017 5:58 PM


 
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Me
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Re: I can't profess to have any detailed guitar knowledge*

June 15 2017, 6:33 PM 


It's very possible. Basically it scoops out a lot of the frequency.
Very much like the mixing technique you can use.
When you mix two Guitars together for example, (duplicate tracks) if you completely invert one of the Guitars, then pan one hard left and the other hard right, what you get then is an empty space in the middle of the mix, but whilst hearing the Guitars in both speakers. If you pan them both centre tho, the result is silence.
I think...not sure tho, but it's to do with the peaks and troughs of the wav.
So when one speaker is pumping out, the other one is pushing in.

Now it makes sense in my head but not sure about my explanation.

 
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pumpo
(Login pumpo)
IAWS2

Re: I can't profess to have any detailed guitar knowledge*

June 15 2017, 9:42 PM 

It's phase cancelling. You can get the same thing, if you wore your speakers up wrong. Skylarking, by XTC, was originally out of phase. If you listen to the version with the shit drawing on a greeny blue background, the sound sort of disappears from the middle. The one with the woman's fanny moustache and the daisies is in phase and it sound a lot thicker.


On a guitar, if you've got a Gibson, with volumes for each pickup and you're on the middle and they're out of phase, rolling back the volume on either pot will start to thicken it up. I can't do that on a strat.

Which means that when the two pickups are wired out of phase together, any frequency that both of them make is silenced and all that's left are frequencies that either pickup makes, that the other one doesn't.

It sounds sort of chewy. It's a little bit quieter than in phase, but he dealt with that using the master volume at the front of his Gretsch.

I gather Jimmy Page used it quite a lot, too. I'm not a fan of Led Zeppelin, so I don't really know what he might have used it on; maybe it was mainly a live thing - like Squire. I think he used it on Elephant Stone, The Hardest Thing In The World and "Groove (Black Magic Devil Woman)" in studio recordings - and that's about it, maybe a little bit on This Is The One and little bits here and there. Both of those recordings were pre-Leckie, who didn't want it because it was "wooly". I'd be surprised if Leckie didn't know it was out of phase.

Once you know what it is, you'll hear it everywhere. It's all over Axis: Bold As Love and Electric Ladyland.


    
This message has been edited by pumpo on Jun 16, 2017 11:08 PM


 
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pumpo
(Login pumpo)
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Re: I can't profess to have any detailed guitar knowledge*

June 15 2017, 7:53 PM 

Right, here y'are then.

All fairly hamfisted. It's a strat going into Garageband on an iPod via an iRig. No effects, on the Vox AC30 model, everything at 12 o'clock, presence up a bit. That's it. I put a chromocaster thing on it, which you just swap one of the tone pots for, making the other tone the master tone. The chromocaster gives you various options, including the neck and bridge together, which gives you that both pickups on, on a tele sound.

For those who are bothered, the in phase sound is the back and the front pickup together as one big humbucker. The out of phase is the same two pickups, but out of phase.

I've not played all the way through anything and I've just done first takes without a click, so it's pretty shonky. It's just to give an idea of what you'll get. Using proper humbuckers on a semi acoustic through a valve amp will get you even closer, but I don't have a semi acoustic wired out of phase at the moment and anyway, it's a faff to record amps.


https://soundcloud.com/middlerabbit/waterfall-in-phase

https://soundcloud.com/middlerabbit/my-song-7 (Waterfall - out of phase)

https://soundcloud.com/middlerabbit/my-song-8 (This is Mersey Paradise in phase. I don't know why it's shared it like this)

https://soundcloud.com/middlerabbit/my-song-9 (Mersey Paradise out of phase)

https://soundcloud.com/middlerabbit/my-song-10 (This is The One - in phase, then out of phase, just the opening riff once each)

https://soundcloud.com/middlerabbit/my-song-11 - A bit of Resurrection. 1st in phase, then out.



    
This message has been edited by pumpo on Jun 15, 2017 8:55 PM


 
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Martin Clunes
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Re: I can't profess to have any detailed guitar knowledge*

June 15 2017, 8:29 PM 

Add an old Ibanez CS9/TS9, compression and a lexicon/alesis reverb on that and you've got it nailed. Nice!

 
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Love Cuts
(Login LoveCutz)
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Re: I can't profess to have any detailed guitar knowledge*

June 16 2017, 8:15 AM 

Thanks Pumpo, enjoyed your post and your playing even as a non-musician, made me once again realise how much I love those songs.

 
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David
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great stuff

June 16 2017, 9:06 AM 

you can really hear that he used that on 'this is the one' in the studio, probably with an in phase guitar mixed in as well

 
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conspiracy theory
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Re: I can't profess to have any detailed guitar knowledge*

June 16 2017, 9:11 AM 

that's one weird trick ...

 
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DC
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lovely stuff

June 16 2017, 1:48 PM 

enjoyed them!

I can hear the difference. Nice playing Pumpo.

 
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pumpo
(Login pumpo)
IAWS2

Re: I can't profess to have any detailed guitar knowledge*

June 16 2017, 9:31 PM 

My pleasure, folks. I'm only mildly disappointed it took me nearly 30 years to work it out.

Anyway, having stumbled across it on my strat, I'm pretty confident that his 1989 sound was largely out of phase guitars - strats and the Gretsch. I dug out my spare Supertron pickup and put it in my Country Gent out of phase with the back Filtertron and had a play around.

It's tha alright. I suspect he might have had the tone switch in the up position some of the time, which is normally a very bass heavy sound, with his out of phase combination as you lose a lot of bass with the phase cancelling and that is exactly the sound you hear on, for instance, Sally Cinnamon live at the Hacienda.

So, yeah, a Gretsch with a bassy front pickup, wired out of phase, with the mud switch up is the sound of the Squire Gretsch and I'm 100% confident he had an out of phase option on his strat as well, but I think any two pickup guitar out of phase will get you closer than you've been before.

 
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