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Albert King Tuning Tone etc

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by Backbeat8, Aug 14, 2018.

  1. Backbeat8

    Backbeat8 Tele-Holic

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    I just read up a bit and I realized he actually played upside down. He played left handed, but used a right-handed guitar, so all of his bass strings were on the bottom.

    He also allegedly used a
    CFCFAD tuning

    and apparently he was known to drop his "low" string as low as C, so then that would mean instead of three perfect 4th intervals + one major 3rd + one perfect 4th

    he would have
    one perfect 4th + one perfect 5th + one perfect 4th + one major 3rd + one perfect 4th

    Although it would still be upside down:eek:

    Any way that is his tuning...

    But the other peculiarity I noticed is that he didn't even use a proper "Tube" Amp....he used SS acoustic amps, namely the Roland JC 120H.

    So how was he getting that "fat" distorted tone, without even using a Tube Amp and no actual breakup?

    There is a "Fuzz" switch on the 120H with a Level knob, or it switches to Reverb, so he must have been using that Fuzz? Or what...

    I mean, this kind of puts things into a totally different light, when you talk about getting that "spanky" bluesy, "overdriven" tone, it's not overdriven, but it doesn't sound like a completely clean guitar tone.....

    or does it?

    I think if you listen close, you hear this level of Fuzz actually...So I think was using that Fuzz. Also clearly a phaser as has been indicated through reading. A wah pedal too.

    The Flying V has HBs so that will give some natural "hot" sounds, but he is still playing through a completely solid state amp....at the end of the day!

    I don't think you could get away with that if you wanted some "obviously" overdriven sounds, but I think it just shows how it's more about the playing and the actual source tone of the pickups themselves...But that fuzz I think is a clear component
    [​IMG]
    I guess this means I don't even need to waste a G on an AC30 after all.
     
  2. ScribbleSomething

    ScribbleSomething Tele-Holic

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    Thanks for the info. I’m always down to try a new tuning. I’ll have to use some thicker strings for this one.
     
  3. Thin white duke

    Thin white duke Friend of Leo's

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    Rolan jazz chorus a King amplifier for a King bluesman. :):):):)
     
  4. Backbeat8

    Backbeat8 Tele-Holic

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    And if you listen herer and watch, his Tone is practically indistiguishiable from SRVs, SRVs is simply louder. And he is also using a pick, so he has way more attack transient.

    Funnily enough, AK mentions this at a certain point in the session, and clearly, is feeling a bit overpowered since he doesn't use any pick.

    But close your eyes, and their playing is quite similar, and the tone also.

    And I know SRV is probably using some Tone pedal, and Marshalls? or Fenders, the point is, he using some Tube Amp with some "Drive" to it, yet AK's tone sounds just as "Crunchy" and "Alive", even though it is a SS simple Roland amp.

    Then again, idk....maybe I am just stretching this. Because how could a SS amp possible be just as good and "lively" as a Tube Amp...that's crazy thinking:confused::)
     
  5. Outcaster

    Outcaster Tele-Holic

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    Be careful with what you read on the net. Roland didn't exist until 1972 and the JC120 was introduced in 1975. All that great Stax stuff couldn't have been recorded with a JC120. Likely wouldn't have been recorded with any solid state amp although Standel had introduced as least some amount of SS (pre-amp only I think) as early as 1961. It's also a misnomer to think that solid state can't distort. It can and does, just not usually the same way tubes do. I can't make out what he's playing in the session with SRV but it doesn't matter. Any one of a several dozen amps could do that. The trick isn't the gear, it's playing like either of those two.
    Can't help you with King's tuning - I always thought it was standard, just upside down.
     
  6. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I remember reading in Guitar Player years back that Albert used more than one odd tuning.
     
  7. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I hear a solid state amp there when King plays. It does not sound anything like a tube amp to my ears. And therefore I hear a great difference between his sound and what SRV was getting.
    Here is something more to my liking....ommv....but the trebles are not as thin and strident as with the Solid state amp in the video above....I think that amp was an Acoustic Amplifier for the thing with SRV.
    I prefer the big Dual Showman here.....
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
  8. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I heard that AK used Acoustic SS amps in the 70s.
    They made a model with a hgh frequency horn.
    He used them for awhile.
     
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  9. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    All solid state amps are not created equal.
    King def used Acoustic '360' model w/2-15" cabs a lot throughout the 70s and 80s. Sometimes he'd disengage the horn.
    Before that - Dual Showmans and Twins.
    Here's some 360s ...
    ak.jpg

    As for tuning - I've heard so many different things and from many respected sources. All the tunings mentioned above as well as all of those refuted by other respected sources.
     
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  10. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    His signature move A GE D E DA (playable in a number of similar configurations) fits well with standard tuning fingerings.
     
  11. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    I should also mention that he often plays in a lower pitch.
     
  12. Teleguy61

    Teleguy61 Friend of Leo's

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    Saw him in 1968 in NYC, Larry Coryell opened.
    Albert played through an Acoustic.
    His tone on this cut is absolutely perfect--
     
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  13. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    A buddy of mine was one of his best friends. had a lot of interesting stories about him, but on the topic of strings and amps, he indicated a Dual Showman, and then the Big Acoustic Control in the early 70s. My pal said Albert often tuned to an D minor chord (could have been Dm7), so that all he had to do was sharp the third string with a full barre to get a 7th, but sometimes he tuned to an E minor. This is coming from a Blues musician who doesn't think about details of theory, so I interpret the chord info with a grain of salt.
     
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  14. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Wow!
    Great picture!
    Albert must have been a giant of a man.
    He sure was a gigantic talent!
     
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  15. PCollen

    PCollen Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Seems that the BIGGER some blues players get, the less they have to play.

    Albert King rarely went outside of his "box", i.e. standard chord forms and riffs, since he wrote the majority of the songs he plays live. Sort of like Keith Richards, who at one point could play 90% of a Stones concert tuned to open G. BB King also, who could play in Bd using a few pentatonic "box" patterns nearly the entire show. When you are THAT good and entertainer, you can do that and be wildly sucessful.
     
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  16. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Yes, I did notice he could use some tuning.
     
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