Other Amps

1st nerdy Chuck Berry gear question

1

Well it hasn't even been 24 hours -- lots to discuss -- the man, myth, legend, influence, and legacy, etc.

But --over to gear --it appears he adopted the Dual Showman reverb with 2-15 JBLs when it first came out in 1969 and was his amp for all the 70s touring. It was in his contract -- that's what the promoter had to provide.

Did it stay his choice in following decades or did he move on to something else?

2

I know several people involved with Chuck Berry shows in NYC starting around the mid-80s. I'm pretty sure he always required a Twin Reverb.

3

The brother-in-law played piano for Chuck at a show in Prague a dozen or so years back. He has a very clear photo taken from the back of the stage showing two Fender Twins. Apparently they were not exactly what was ordered and Chuck was not slow to point this out -- presumably he wanted Showmans. An 'agreement' was obviously reached because he used the Twins.

4

Yeah, Chuck was known for traveling light-his repertoire never really changed or got updated, so not only did the venue have to provide the specified sound equipment....they had to provide the band, a Mercedes S-Class, and $200 cash (in addition to 90% of the funds 10 days before show, and the remaining 10% 3 days before the show. No cash, no show.

Chuck would just walk in with his guitar and start playing. The band had to keep up.

http://www.thesmokinggun.co...

...and by the way, NEVER touch Chuck's guitar.

5

Two Dual Showman Reverbs, all knobs on 8...even on the channel he wasn't using.

6

In this pix looks like he had two heads stacked up

7

When I saw him at the Fillmore West back in the late '60s he played through two JBL-equipped Twin Reverb Amps, one on each corner of the drum riser. He was playing a Gibson Stereo ES155 IIRC. I spoke to him briefly backstage. He remarked that I looked like a musician. I said, "Guitar." and offered him a joint. He looked tempted but paranoia got the better of him and he apologetically refused. I told him that I understood which brought a little chuckle from the man. I told him I had seen him at the Berkeley Community Theater a few years before when he'd been backed by Johnny Talbot and De Thangs. He broke into a broad grin. I said it was the best show I had ever seen. Chuck nodded and said it was probably the best show I ever would see. I can truthfully say that he was right.

8

Two Dual Showman Reverbs, all knobs on 8...even on the channel he wasn't using.

– Billy Zoom

But whatever you do, never make the mistake of touching Chuck's amp settings.

https://www.liveleak.com/vi...

9

So what amp was used on the early recordings?

10

He's playing a Marshall stack here, still sounds like classic Chuck. It's unclear what exactly Yoko was going for...

11

He's playing a Marshall stack here, still sounds like classic Chuck. It's unclear what exactly Yoko was going for...

– Otter

He should have fired the backing band.

12

He's playing a Marshall stack here, still sounds like classic Chuck. It's unclear what exactly Yoko was going for...

– Otter

He should have fired the backing band.

13

Yeah, Fender Twins and Dual Showmans in later years...with mixed results about the quality of his stage sound. Sometimes good, sometimes not so good. Cheeky trick of keeping his guitar volume way down and diming those amps. Obviously that left him with what could have been a sonic nuclear weapon when turned up.

BUT, what about the amps used at Chess on Johnny B Goode and all those great early recordings? Those are the ones he's famous for.

14

From a1972 BBC tv session backed (natch!) by a Liverpool band.

15

lookit those Elephant's Memory hippies back there.

Painful.

16

My Chuck B. experience happened at a "Rock Expo" in which I'd already seen a beautiful Roy Orbison set, seen Gregg Allman so drunk he fell off his organ bench and passed out.

Chuck was backed by the local " Wichita Linemen" band whose bassman showboated stagefront with Chuck far too often for his comfort. The pianist missed his solo chuck repeatedly threw at him due to cranial rectumitis. Then Chuck noticed someone in the audience had a video camera (circa '86) and stopped the show until the offender relenquished the video tape. (heaven forbid bootlegs turn up at record conventions and break the bank) Generally his backing band pissed him off and he just seemed to be a grouchy old egomaniac.

The music; classic, the guitar; flawlessly wonderful. After the concert my wife trashed her knee running to get an autograph, as all the artist (conscious ones) had been signing in an area of the arena after sets) Berry had fled the building in deference to the Colosseum of below par audience presented to him. Check that off the bucket list and wish I had a better bucket list....

17

lookit those Elephant's Memory hippies back there.

Painful.

– DCBirdMan

I don't know what Lennon was doing with that mediocre bunch. The bass is particularly lackluster. He must have just liked them, because he certainly had the clout to put together a seriously elite backing band if he wanted to.

18

He should have fired the backing band.

– Vince_Ray

I have always found this video to be very entertaining. I often have wondered what Chuck must have been thinking to himself when he first heard Yoko making all that wacky vocal noise that she made. "Wait! Stop, stop. What is that weird noise that I heard? Did anyone else hear that? What in the hell was that?"

19

It's just plain weird. Lennon's harmony seems....random. Plus, what about chucks face at the beginning? His expression seems to be 'oh no' when the band come in

20

in 1962, Lennon was doing Sweet Little Sixteen at the Cavern, and it was unbeatable... 10 years later, also seen at that Madison Square Garden show, he doesn't have the pipes he did before... and he was only 32.

21

Maybe the "Primal Scream" therapy John and Yoko did hurt his voice.

22

in 1962, Lennon was doing Sweet Little Sixteen at the Cavern, and it was unbeatable... 10 years later, also seen at that Madison Square Garden show, he doesn't have the pipes he did before... and he was only 32.

– DCBirdMan

During the "lost weekend" period he and Harry Nilsson would have these screaming contests where they would scream at each other till their voices gave out. Harry's voice never really recovered from it. Lennons was probably pretty shot as well

23

I think Lennon's later singing was never about his pipes. It was a stylistic choice. He started doing it in the mid '60s. On "Help!" he was doing the whimpy voice on "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" and bringing the thunder on "Dizzy Miss Lizzy." After a while he just seemed to stop using his old rock voice.

24

During the "lost weekend" period he and Harry Nilsson would have these screaming contests where they would scream at each other till their voices gave out. Harry's voice never really recovered from it. Lennons was probably pretty shot as well

– Billy D Light

Revisiting Harry Nilsson was an unexpected positive outcome from this thread.

25

Revisiting Harry Nilsson was an unexpected positive outcome from this thread.

– Otter

Great documentary on him on Nertflix


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