Modern Gretsch Guitars

Where does Brian Setzer distortion come from?

1

I'd like to know too, apparently he just goes through the Roland Chorus/Echo into the half stack Bassman, and he doesn't even crank it, I saw the volume is kept half way, but he does have some heavy crunch sometimes..

2

I often think about that. He has all the dynamics of a distorted guitar but without the obvious distortion. So many demos on YouTube of Stray Cats guitar parts have overdrive, but I just think nahhh, not quite right.

3

Tavo has looked into this here in great detail and can supply pedals and amps to capture this, but I guess the rest is iin his fingers, or something like dat

4

From what I can remember (mostly from Tavo’s experimentation and research) Brian’s tone is the combination of Filter’Trons and a very long cable, with the pre-amp in the RE-301 slightly overdriving the amp.

And yes, fingers play a big part. Brian is properly trained and you can tell by watching him play he has a light touch. With the above set-up he only needs to dig in a bit harder and the distortion will increase appropriately.

6

Trust me, Tavo is going to post a Proteusean novel on the intricacies of what makes Setzer's Sound distinctly his.

7

As a preface to that, go here https://www.thenocturnebrai... and check out any of the Brain pedals, which are an optimized version of that Space Echo preamp. (They're Tavo's work.) Any of them - into an amp at the edge of breakup (or another pedal which emulates that) provides the secret-ingredient special sauce.

That is, a bit more pushengrit in very specific frequencies which translates as something Tavo calls grittttsch, as well as sparkle and clarity.

The Brain pedal becomes an always-on for most people who have it.

8

Wait...I thought all tone was in the fingers.

9

ALL of it - if what you're doing is snapping your fingers for percussion. I do find, though, that to make guitar noises, it helps to use a guitar and related equipment.

10

ALL of it - if what you're doing is snapping your fingers for percussion. I do find, though, that to make guitar noises, it helps to use a guitar and related equipment.

– Proteus

Words to live by!

11

ALL of it - if what you're doing is snapping your fingers for percussion. I do find, though, that to make guitar noises, it helps to use a guitar and related equipment.

– Proteus

ROTFLMAO!

12

I’m sure his Celestion speakers have something to do with it too

13

Its often said that tone comes from the GAPS between the notes. I read it on facebook. Try playing just the gaps, that works for me.

14

The Setzer tone formula is definitely the sum of the 3 main ingredients, 6G6-B Bassman circuit, preamp of Roland 301 Space Echo, and Filtertron Gretsch. I've seen Brian turn up/down/adjust the preamp gain on the Roland for more/less grit. Tavo's pedals will absolutely get you to Setz Tone Town! All that being said, having an amp that can take the full spectrum of frequencies that come from a Gretsch hollow body guitar, and keep the low end tight, is an absolute must! I've played through Fender Deluxe Reverb's, Hot Rod Deluxe's, Peavy Classic 30, non-6G6 Bassmans's, Fender Twins, etc, and nothing gives me the tone that my Blonde Bassman delivers.

15

Well, it's axiomatic that you need a guitar and its gear to make guitar noise; I guess the unstated corollary is that the details of guitar and gear probably make some difference to the end result...

16

From the amps. A Bassman on 5 with Filtertrons is pretty distorted. He also gets some extra gain from the SpaceEcho.

17

If Tavo knew that this discussion was going on without HIM, his head would explode. How DARE we pontificate on our own?? There's going to be hell to pay when he finds out.

18

Hey...I'm qualified to pontificate too! I serviced Brian's amps & SpaceEchos for 18 years.

19

Yes, sir. I understand that and you understand that and Brian Setzer understands that.

But Mr. Tavo insists on being THE almighty one-way conduit of knowledge relating to Setzer. The last time someone challenged his knowledge, he began snorting and grunting, puffed out his body har to appear larger, and began urinating in all corners of the GDP to mark his territory and establish dominance.

It just gets too messy.

21

Hey...I'm qualified to pontificate too! I serviced Brian's amps & SpaceEchos for 18 years.

– Billy Zoom

Billy do you have a particular current production 5881 tubes that you are fond of?

22

The most convoluted part of the formula seems to be the really long cord and space echo preamp that was designed for vocal mics, not guitar pickups. The rest of it is just guitar, amp, speakers. But there's something unique going on, plugging a guitar into a space echo with a really long cord (something about matching the impedance of the echo, or something? Both Billy and Tavo have spoken of this in some detail before... maybe those threads are lost to on of the forum's crashes?)

I've always wanted someone to do an A/B of 2 rigs:

Setzer's actual rig (6120 filtertrons, long cord, RE-301, 6G6B w/V30s).
-vs-
6120 filtertrons, normal length cord, Brain preamp, and a pedal echo, perhaps the Boss RE-201 (closest thing I can think of to a 301), 6G6B circuit w/V30s.

23

IIRC Guitar Slim used a 100' foot cord. Worked for him and that LPjr with P90s.

24

Another part of (probably the main part actually) to Seltzer’s tone is his fingers, technique, picking attack/dynamics mental approach to songs/soloing and note selection. Picking dynamics and pick type have a big part to distortion / breakup.

25

sheeze you guys... I waited... I held my tongue... and I get mocked. I am truly loved, and grateful for the friendship.


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