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the black crowes guitar tones

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by brendan780, Jul 12, 2006.

  1. brendan780

    brendan780 TDPRI Member

    82
    Jul 7, 2006
    louisiana, USA
    my band just started playing some black crowes songs out...alot of people seem to request their songs. thought i would ask if anyone knew maybe what kinda overdrives pedals to use to get the lead guitar sounds from a song such as "hard to handle". i personally dont know much about their lead guitarist. any ideas?
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2006

  2. Smokin' Joe Picante

    Smokin' Joe Picante Tele-Holic

    515
    Dec 22, 2004
    Winnipeg, Canada
    The Crowes ALWAYS have great guitar sounds, both live and recorded. Most of thier tones are from cranked Marshalls, Matchless, Fender's and/or Harry Joyce (essentially a HiWatt) amps. That sound is very much linked to the power tubes not pre-amp tubes bieng driven a fair bit. I saw them a couple months back and they didn't step on much in the way of pedals. Rich had a rack with a few Harry Joyce heads in it that were definitely working all night. I couldn't see exactly what they were using, but I know Rich Robinson has used a Klon Centaur off and on.

    That said, If you're setting your amp a bit crunchy (not heavily overdriven with pre-amp gain), then pretty much any nice, full range sounding, semi-clean drive pedal should get you in the ballpark. Try a BOSS OD-3. Several of us around here have been raving about this pedal for a while. It's cheap, sounds great, and though it sounds fantastic bone stock, there's an easily reversable mod that takes all of about 15 minutes total to do that makes it sound insanely good! HIGHLY recommended for what you're trying to do.
     

  3. kmcypress

    kmcypress TDPRI Member

    15
    Jul 11, 2006
    Southern California
    TBC is my favorite band and I've been obsessed with their sound and gear for quite some time. I could go on about them forever but I'll keep it short. Check out the thread below. It was compiled by me and a few others on the amorica messageboard. I know that it might seem like overkill for what you are trying to look at but maybe someone will be interested.
    http://www.amorica.org/showthread.php?t=18160

    Here's some info on the guitarists:

    Rich Robinson has been with the band throughout their career. But the crowes have had 3 different "lead guitarists" (if that's what you want to call them). On the first album, Shake Your Money Maker, it was Jeff Cease. In 1992, Marc Ford joined the band, replacing Cease. He recorded SH&MC, amorica, Tall (unreleased album), and Three Snakes and One Charm. In 1998, he was replaced with Audley Freed (studio musician who was in Cry of Love). Audley play with the band for that tour and then the Crowes recored By Your Side (with out him though...Rich Robinson did all the guitars). Audley then toured with the band through 1999, 2000, and 2001, where they released "Live at the Greek with Jimmy Page" and "Live". In late 2001, they recorded Lions. Soon after the band went on Hiatus, persuing solo careers.

    March 2005 marked the return of TBC, with what many refer to as the original guitarist...Marc Ford.
     

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  5. JTM45blues

    JTM45blues Tele-Afflicted

    May 14, 2003
    Iowa
    When it comes to the Crowes think: rugged, trashy, strutting type tones, like the Exile era Stones and the Faces.

    Here's a general description to get you in the ball park

    Marc Ford:

    Guitars: Les Paul with PAF type pickups, or a good sounding strat
    Effects: Vox wah, a Fuzzface or Tone bender type for leads, analog delay, a treble booster
    Amps: Marshall 50 watt style non-master volume

    Rich Robinson

    Guitars: Tele with HB in neck tuned to Open G, 335, Zemaitis
    Effects: Fulldrive 2, Fulltone 69, analog delay, a Vox wah
    Amps: Hiwatt style turned up loud, Tweed twins also work well, Marshall Jubilee for the 1st record tones.

    Most importantly for the Crowes is the volume, they crank up LOUD!!! I saw them a while back and Marc only kicked on and off from his wah and the fuzz box all night, it was really loud, but REALLY good. Rich also is one helluva player, he does a lot of Keef type riffing, but he's much more than just that. He's got a real soulful, Steve Cropper type vibe working too, that goes unnoticed a lot of the time. Both of these guys are great players first and foremost. I'm probably one of their biggest fans on the planet, and could go on and on, but I won't.
     

  6. TB72

    TB72 Tele-Holic

    738
    Mar 21, 2004
    Ottawa Canada
    One thing I noticed....

    When I saw the Crowes a couple months back, I couldn't get a view of Rich or Marc' pedalboards. But I did notice that they were both using Fulltone Tape Echos (perched on their cabs). Those things cost a lotta scratch, but they sure do sound fine. The guys really exploited the "sound on sound" feature of the units during one particularly psychedelic jam.

    Later...
     

  7. brendan780

    brendan780 TDPRI Member

    82
    Jul 7, 2006
    louisiana, USA
    thanks guys. i been hearing amazing things about the bad monkey, and for $40!! for their songs ill probably mostly be playing a semi hollow body through a cranked up DRRI. anyone recommend the bad monkey over the OD-3 or fulltone fulldrive 2?
     

  8. kmcypress

    kmcypress TDPRI Member

    15
    Jul 11, 2006
    Southern California
    I have heard great things about the badmonkey. And as an owner of a FDII, I can tell you that it's perfect for Crowes too (I'm acuatlly selling my FDII...I know that you aren't supposed to buy/sell anything here on the forum but maybe we can workout something outside here...send me an e-mail if you are interested).
     

  9. oltimeyrider

    oltimeyrider TDPRI Member

    97
    Jul 27, 2005
    Los Angeles
    Last fall I checked out Marc Ford's pedalboard and he had a couple Roger Mayer "Page" boxes - that's it.
     

  10. DougieLove

    DougieLove Tele-Afflicted

    On the new Black Crowes DVD, Marc Ford is playing through some Roccaforte amps.

    He also has a sweet looking Tele that he uses on a few of the tunes.
     

  11. Wayne Alexander

    Wayne Alexander Friend of Leo's

    The main thing you're hearing in those juicy tones is a good tube amp voiced for nice gainy tone with the power section cranked. If you've got a gainy tube amp that sounds good cranked all the way up (Vox, Marshall, some tweed Fender types, etc.) but you want those sounds at lower volumes, get an attenuator. Weber Mass and THD Hotplate are both good, there are other good ones too. I don't think you'll be able to get there with a Fender Blackface type amp, wrong power section architecture (though my Allen Encore can get close, given the Raw control and the master volume, even though it's based to a great degree on a Blackface Vibrolux).
     

  12. PdL

    PdL TDPRI Member

    33
    Dec 29, 2005
    It really depends on if you are trying emulate the tone(s) you hear on the Crowes albums, or the tones you hear when you see the band live. The lead on Hard To Handle (on the record) sounds like its played with a humbucker equipped guitar, maybe a Les Paul, through a Marshall amp. Probably an older Marshall, not one of the super hi-gain ones that came about in the mid 90's. The solo on Hard To Handle was played by Brendan O'Brian, who was the producer of the album. I would bet he also played the leads on Jealous Again and Twice As Hard because the guitar tones and style are very similar. The Crowes lead guitar player at the time of their first album, Jeff Cease, was not very good. They actually let him go before they recorded their second album. Prior to recording their 2nd album the Crowes hired Marc Ford to play lead. He really took the band to a new level during the 2nd, 3rd and 4th albums. Back to guitar sounds - on the first four records a lot of the tones sound like they are coming not from overdrive or distortion pedals, but from amps that are cranked. Probably very basic amps too, like older Fenders and Marshalls, just wide open. There are a couple tunes where Marc Ford used a Fuzz Face, but for the most part I think its primarily guitar straight into the amp.

    I think the Crowes' current live guitar sound is no where as good as it used to be. Rich Robinson's amps are way too distorted to begin with, and then he piles on tons of effects via pedals. Rich's sound is just distorted and mushy. Marc Ford's tone is much better than Rich's although I think Marc's is too distorted as well. I think their best live tones were circa 1996 when Rich ran a pair of Matchless amps and Marc used one Matchless amp and one Marshall amp.
     

  13. calibre2001

    calibre2001 Tele-Meister

    124
    Feb 17, 2005
    The 'Hard to Handle' solo reminds me alot of Joe Perry.
     

  14. Smokin' Joe Picante

    Smokin' Joe Picante Tele-Holic

    515
    Dec 22, 2004
    Winnipeg, Canada
    To each his own, but I gotta diasgree with PdL about the current guitar sounds Marc and Rich are getting. I saw them earlier this year on their current tour, and if you watch/listen to the recently released DVD of the band performing live at the Filmore, the guitar tones are stellar. I was impressed by how close some of the live tones were to the recorded versions on more than a couple songs. I guess it IS all in the hands, right?
     
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  15. kmcypress

    kmcypress TDPRI Member

    15
    Jul 11, 2006
    Southern California
    Well...I agree with PdL on some things.

    Marc did have a few sound problems early on in the tour. But he has just began to settle in with his current sound. (He switch gear from January all the way until June trying to find a sound). He always kept the Roccafortes but also added a Scheyer (sp?). His current sound is killer.

    I will agree with Rich's tone to some extent.....his Matchless tone in 96/97 was one of the best guitar tones that people have had. It really shows on the bootlegs too....it's just phenominal. His current tone is no where near what it was back then...I'll agree with it being too distorted/overdriven and somewhat nasty. But that's comparing it to his tone in 96/97. I think what he's got is still pretty damn good! I wondered why he dropped them and in a 95/96 article he said that "they are some of the best amps he has ever played but they are a pain to deal with."

    I personally think Rich should look into BadCat amps. With the many sounds he has to deal with, the'd be perfect. I think they are a little better than Matchless...at least when cranked (the Matchlesses now-a-days produce a little too much high-end to be able to handle the Open G tuning)
     

  16. JohnnyCrash

    JohnnyCrash Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 12, 2005
    Fullerton, CA
    Aside from a lot of "Keith"ing with riffs, Rich and company like to use Open G, Open E, and other open tunings Keith Richards "borrowed" from his favorite blues players.

    "She Talks to Angels" I believe is in Open E tuning.

    I'd say dig into their influences as well as gear to get you on that wavelength... old soul (Otis Redding obviously, with Steve Cropper of course), Rolling Stones, etc.
     

  17. JohnnyCrash

    JohnnyCrash Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 12, 2005
    Fullerton, CA
    Oh, and Rich on them Marshall Jubilee amps is great sounds.

    That's the same EXACT amp Slash chose as his "signature amp" from Marshall. Same circuit, different colors/cosmetics.
     

  18. PdL

    PdL TDPRI Member

    33
    Dec 29, 2005
    Rich's tone with the Marshall Jubilees was good, but I think it was even better when he added an old Fender head. (Bassman, Bandmaster? - not sure what it was.) Anyway, it helped to clean up his sound a bit and give it more of a classic rock tone. I believe this amp configuration was used during some tours in 1993.
     

  19. todd richman

    todd richman TDPRI Member

    28
    Mar 19, 2006

  20. davidge1

    davidge1 Friend of Leo's

    Nov 13, 2006
    USA

  21. Geoff738

    Geoff738 Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    53
    May 11, 2007
    Toronto

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