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80's gear. A lament.

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by cmm71, Oct 21, 2020.

  1. cmm71

    cmm71 Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    I, like many others, enjoy watching articulate drummers on YouTube. With Neil Peart gone I've found myself cyber-stalking Stewart Copeland, former Police'man' and "articulate drummer." But this thread is not about him.

    Sunday, whilst viewing old footage of the Police recording on Montserrat, Stewart was fumbling around showing the interviewer his rack (even drummers had racks in the 80s). It was then that I suddenly felt so nostalgic for the 80s. I remember slobbering over Clapton's rack rig, designed by Bob Bradshaw, and thinking that someday I'll have a Clapton Strat, half-rack of effects and a Soldano amp stack. I can certainly have the strat, and Soldano is building amps again, but the rack is no longer relevant...or doesn't seem to be. I know Fractal does the rack thing and others do for limited items that thrive in a rack (compressors and equalizers), but rack mounted effects have mostly disappeared from magazines.

    Art, Ada, Digitech, Yamaha, BBE, Boss, Rockman and Roland all had delays, reverb, distortion generators, etc available as rack mount units. They're mostly pedals these days. As an adult male who now has the means to own a toy or two, I can own Strats, Teles, Les Pauls and I can buy blackface Twin ReIssues, Deluxe Reverb ReIssues, Vox AC15, even a Marshall JCM800 ReIssue (bless Marshall for finally figuring that out). The rack mounted craze is likely lost. Too bad. We have pedals, and this is a great time for pedals, but I miss seeing all those rack effects ads. ...and stereo hifi equipment, but that's another post.
     
  2. johnny k

    johnny k Poster Extraordinaire

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    copied and pasted from a deke dickerson post. you are not alone.

    Man, I know some people like these Peavey guitars and basses....but every time I see one of these, I remember one of my first jobs working at a music store in Columbia, Missouri, in the mid-1980s. Good lord, I'd see these old timers come in and trade in 1950's STRATOCASTERS AND 1950's GIBSONS on these Peavey bastardcasters AND the store owner would make these old guys chip in some cash ON TOP OF the trade-in. Then you'd also see old timers come in with 1940's MARTIN FLATTOPS and trade them in on those ******* Ovation plastic bowl guitars, again, with cash on top of the trade-in. I was a 16-17 year old schlub, at the bottom of the food chain, so I couldn't say anything to these old guys bringing in their classic American-made vintage guitars to trade in on this garbage. But every time it happened it felt like we had just perpetrated a crime, like the store I worked for was legally robbing these old timers. I literally would get sick to my stomach watching this store taking advantage of these people to push this crap new gear on them. I remember within the space of a 2-3 years in the 1980s everything changed from all this great old gear--Fenders, Gibsons, Martins, Gretsches, Mosrites, Rickenbackers, Kustoms.....to this wall of Peavey stuff. Every guitar picker south of the Mason Dixon line had this stuff, and those godawful black pebble-tolex covered Peavey amps too. 16 year old me just wanted a Fender Strat like Buddy Holly and a Gibson ES-335 like Chuck Berry, and a Fender amp. I guess the only vindication I have 30-something years later is that these Peavey guitars and amps really don't sell for any more than they sold for when they were new. Sorry, that's just my rant tonight after seeing this craigslist ad....brought back a flood of 16 year old memories. And hey, if you like Peavey guitars, that's cool....I just had a very different take on them, working at a music store when they took over America...
     
  3. Cesspit

    Cesspit Tele-Holic

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    I remember in an article Steve Lukather said he was unexpectedly invited to play in a recording session. The only gear available was a Marshal 50 and a Les Paul. At the time he usually played with a $10K rack system.
    He said he realised that he had just found the sound he was looking for with the guitar and amp, that he had searched for, for some years with his rack and it's multiple upgrades.

    80s generally, whilst I loved a lot of it, were not for me, particularly where gear was concerned.
     
  4. CCK1

    CCK1 Tele-Meister

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    Great post!
     
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  5. johnny k

    johnny k Poster Extraordinaire

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    Deke is an an awesome artist. He writes cool articles, plays great songs.
     
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  6. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Poster Extraordinaire

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    I remember in the late 80’s/early 90’s all the rock/metal guys from Dallas with these huge racks—from mini-fridge-sized boxes to full-side-by-side-refrigerator-sized setups...even some of the bands that were just playing clubs and small venues had them.

    Strangely, it never seemed to catch on in Fort Worth, only 50 miles to the west...

    Now, this was just my experience...but the bigger the rack, the worse the tone...and the lower the level of “articulation” of the sound. Their guitar sounds would be LOUD, but swallowed up in the band mix—you heard noise, but not the actual guitar.

    I had an opportunity to at an informal jam with an up-and-coming guy who everybody thought was going to be the next “big thing”—his name was murmured in the same breath as Vai, Satch and Lynch. He condescended to play simple bluesy rock songs, so I could keep up (he was a nice guy, really).

    He had a complicated rack system and a 100W Marshall half-stack...I had a Fender Bassman Ten and a SoundTank TubeScreamer...

    The guy could (and did) play circles around me. I simply played rhythm guitar...but you couldn’t hear him. His guitar just disappeared...but you could hear my simple rhythm line.

    I let him play my guitar (G&L Nighthawk) though his rig...still disappeared. I played his shreddy Ibanez guitar through my rig—sounded strong.

    When we switched rigs, my playing disappeared and he could be heard just fine.

    He couldn’t believe it...my simple old-fashioned rig worked better than his giant hi-gain machine...

    A few months later, grunge exploded and his whole scene was gone. He never made it any further, but still works in the music industry—at a guitar shop.
     
  7. Lawdawg

    Lawdawg Tele-Afflicted

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    I started playing synthesizer and electric guitar as a teenager in the 80s and fondly remember drooling over the gear ads in magazines like Musician and Electronic Musician. I loved the big effects racks and eventually got an ART SGE Mach II and thought it was the business. Within a few short years, I thought it sounded like crap (it did!), and went back to just using the chorus and reverb on my amp and a wah pedal.

    To be fair a lot of the high end rack effects from the 80s like Eventide, TC Electronic and Lexicon still hold and sound great. The cheap stuff like ART and Alesis, not so much.
     
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  8. Fearnot

    Fearnot Poster Extraordinaire

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    In the '80s, I had a board (literally) with 3 pedals on it... an OD-1, some cheap analog delay, and a DOD Chorus, plugged into a Fender Pro Reverb. (Eventually, I added a pedal tuner.) That rig ruled. I had zero interest in rack gear.

    The early 80s were a great time to buy vintage stuff... everyone was trading in terrific old guitars and tube amps on Roland JC120s and ludicrously pointy neon guitars. Bleaahhh.
     
  9. Ironwolf

    Ironwolf Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    The next time you start to rave about how great the Mom and Pop stores are, remember this post.
     
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  10. buster poser

    buster poser Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

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    And a monster Dukes of Hazzard fan. Met him once years ago through a mutual friend and we spoke for a few minutes before his show. Nicest guy you could ever meet.
     
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  11. TwangerWannabe

    TwangerWannabe Tele-Holic

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    As a kid born in the 70's and grew up in the 80's and 90's, I was never drawn to the "modern" gear. Had no interest in racks, super Strats, etc. Was never into area rock or metal, and maybe it was due to the type of music I listened to (punk, indie rock, post-punk, etc.). Also couldn't afford all that fancy, modern gear as a kid. Most of the bands I was into played "older" guitars. Lots of Les Pauls, SG's, Telecasters, old P-basses and Jazz basses, etc., pawn shop finds in many cases.

    In the early 90's you could still score ridiculous deals on silverface Fender amps (Twin Reverbs were CHEAP, and I was young and dumb enough to not care about the weight!). I remember buying my Marshall JCM800 50 watt head for like $250.
     
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  12. TwangerWannabe

    TwangerWannabe Tele-Holic

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    Fair enough (and I liked your post), but at the same time shops need to stay in business, and those bringing in and trading in their gear always have the option to say no to the deal. We're talking grown-a$$ men, not naive children they're ripping off (but who knows, maybe they ripped off kids, too).
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2020
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  13. Ed Driscoll

    Ed Driscoll Tele-Holic

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    In the late '70s, guys were ripping out original Gibson PAFs from their Les Pauls and putting in DiMarzio Super Distortions. Flannery O'Connor once said, “Push back against the age as hard as it pushes against you,” but it can be difficult to break away from what the crowd is doing.
     
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  14. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    i remember being mystified whenever i looked at guitar magazines back in the -80's. i didn't understand what rack stuff was or why it was needed. like a bunch of things about the 80's, i felt totally excluded from it. but there was SRV, who made it clear that one could still do it with a guitar and an amp and magic hands. alas, i didn't have magic hands.

    but i imagine Stevie probably used some of that rack equipment, too.
     
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  15. MarkieMark

    MarkieMark Tele-Afflicted

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    Yeah, I dunno...
    I've still got some of that old stuff from the 80's around here somewhere. Buried.

    My recollection is that most all if the affordable stuff was crap. My favorite was always minimalist. Maybe a couple pedals.

    But if more processing is what you desire, it seems there are far better ways to go now as compared to then.
     
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  16. loopfinding

    loopfinding Tele-Holic

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    i'd love to have my entire pedalboard in modules on a 3u rack, something like eurorack or API lunchbox, with a bypass controller on the floor. would make it compact, i could stick the thing on a stand for knob twiddling, and i could build pedals with everything board-mounted without having to wire up anything. re-routing would be a breeze with patch cables. it can all fit in a small pelican case. could mix it with synthesizer or mastering equipment with enough effort.

    as far as racks go, there's no need to take up an entire 1u or 2u when double-sided boards and surface mount components are the norm. and when clean external power solutions are the norm. i don't particularly feel like hauling stuff like that around, or hoping the manufacturer got the power supply correct on the first go. i always thought stuff in a rack that doesn't look like a fairchild or a pultec looked prissy, not glamorous. i prefer my racks to look like a switchboard or a server or test equipment.

    one thing is for certain though. early 80s roland is probably my favorite panel design of all time:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2020
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  17. TwangBrain

    TwangBrain Tele-Meister

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    Today guitars are way cooler than the 80s. This is the second golden age of guitar making. No doubt that the trends and ideas of that era have had a major impact on the current market. But there are soo many options, so many quality and stability improvements, it's damn near overload! Those qualities and improvements may vary wildly from brand to brand, but I see some of the guitar being produced or made NOW are the greatest yet!!!
     
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  18. srblue5

    srblue5 Tele-Meister

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    I agree for the most part and I prefer supporting smaller businesses. However, I do remember being ripped off by a small business when I was 16 or 17. I thought they were doing me a favour at the time but I soon realized they were taking me for a ride as a "dumb punk" (as I overheard one of them mutter). Never went back there but they are still highly regarded for some reason.
     
  19. WalthamMoosical

    WalthamMoosical Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    Around 1990 my wife and I collected some rack mount effects for our amateur recording (Alesis, Digitech, ...) and had our MIDI interface in a rack unit too. I built some EPFM and Paia gear into rack units as well. I never even bought a guitar pedal until a few months ago (though I have long had a lot of small Radio Shack boxes with DIY effects in them). My preferred setup is through the rack mount stuff ... but by force of habit and what I've already got, not because it is inherently superior. (But who wants to have to keep kneeling down to tweak something?)
     
  20. this_grackle

    this_grackle TDPRI Member

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    Nothing sounds like an ADA MP-1... such a classic preamp distortion tone. You'll have a hard time finding anything more "articulate" than that... that said, my MP-1 rack is just collecting dust and probably will for the foreseeable future...
     
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