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Buck Owens - Don Rich tone

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by nashd, Jan 16, 2015.

  1. nashd

    nashd TDPRI Member

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    I heard some of their tracks the other day, and really like Don Rich's tone. It's noticeable on the track named "Act naturally". It's what I think of as 'real Tele' tone, with a really deep and twangy bass, but I don't think my two Teles sound like that. One of mine has humbuckers, so I wouldn't expect it to, but the other has single coils. I'm playing through a Fender Deluxe Reverb Reissue. I'm wondering if that tone requires thin gauge strings (I use 11's) or different pickups etc.
     
  2. bluescaster72

    bluescaster72 Tele-Holic

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    Don Rich from what I understand played straight through a Fender Twin amp. Don and Buck both tuned down to EB most of the time. and you are correct Don once he discovered light gauge strings slapped em on and didn't look back his gauge was 46-9
    You got the right amp . Not sure what to do about the pickups as no two guitars sound alike and a vintage tele will sound different from a modern one. They may sound similar but you can still tell the difference
     
  3. fendertx

    fendertx Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free + Supporter

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    There are a lot of Don Rich aficionados and I am sure they will come along offer better advice. My opinion is the tele with single coils and the DRRI should put you in the ballpark. The rest will be up to you to practice the technique and approach of Don. It's cliche, but a lot of it really is in the hands.
     
  4. nashd

    nashd TDPRI Member

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    Thanks, Bryan.

    I don't play the Tele with single coils very often, plus it's currently fitted with flatwounds, so I'll change strings and see how it sounds. From memory it's almost like it has too much resonance and tone. I think I'm looking for an excuse to try/buy another guitar! I wondered if something even more basic, with a particular pickup and with 9's or 10's would be better for that sort of tone.
     
  5. bo

    bo Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Use the bright switch on your Fender amp.
     
  6. nashd

    nashd TDPRI Member

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    My amp doesn't have a bright switch - just bass & treble controls. I'll fiddle around with them when I get the single coil guitar ready. I think treble is currently around 6 and bass is around 4, which works well with the humbucker Tele for most things including country. My amp is one of the early DRRI's with the Eminence speaker, which some people used to say was very bright - sounds great to me.
     
  7. SPUDCASTER

    SPUDCASTER Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    You'll need the white coil cord too!:)

    I saw Buck and the Buckaroos in the early/mid sixties. Both with the sparkle casters, Twin amps and the infamous coil cords.

    Couldn't have been more Tele/Twangy.

    Like has been stated, technique is the answer.
     
  8. pmcgee

    pmcgee Tele-Meister

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    Don also from what I can tell from the video's used a Twin reverb with JBl speakers. They could be ordered with them at the time. I believe they were E-120. Chrome dust caps and very bright sounding. Sounds to me like he had the bright switch on too.
     
  9. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I think the choice of amps that Buck and Don used was a large part of their sound. I sold a Tele to a really nice guy who got an amp from one of Don's relatives that Don used when Buck and Don and the boys would play around Bakersfield.

    It was bar none the best sounding amp I've ever heard, it just reeked twang, and growl at the same time. It weighed about 65 or 70 lbs, had a 15" and an 8" speaker in it and had what looked like a refrigerator or range oven handle on top of it. The guy had it worked on here, then took it to the Amp Hole in L.A. to have it fine tuned. I know Don went on to use Fender amps, but I'm sure when he was listening to them he was looking for something that sounded like that old tank.

    I'm dead serious it made my DRRI, and Blues Deluxe sound like those little transistor radios with a leather jacket you used to buy at the swap meet for 10 bucks back in the 70s.
     
  10. bluescaster72

    bluescaster72 Tele-Holic

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    Don also played a Gibson ES 355 too !
     
  11. sbpark

    sbpark Friend of Leo's

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    He also played through tweed Bassmans.
     
  12. Lerb21

    Lerb21 Friend of Leo's

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    Don's playing typifys the sound of Blackface Fender amps, although there was a good bit of Tweed usage, such as the aforementioned Bassman.

    But let's start at the top of the chain shall we?

    1. Play like Don. Easier said than Don (hehe). Hybrid picking, etc.

    2. Don used thin picks. I can imitate Don pretty well, but I've found that doing it with even a medium pick makes it much harder. The natural compression and smooth attack of the pick are not to be discounted.

    3. Pickups. It's a 50's vs 60's argument. I prefer Don's sound on the Buck Owens Ranch Shows, so I'm going to go with the 60's bell tone Tele pickups. FWIW the pickups they put in the 62RI's absolutely nailed that tone.

    4. Wiring. I firmly believe Don has a 1 meg in the volume in the position. His tone was so bright that putting a 1 meg into my rig made my tonal chain as close to Don's as I could get it, and it was definitely in the same neighborhood.

    5. Fresh Strings in the "right" gauge. Heavily subjective. Mind you that they guys were tuning down a whole lot, so a heavier gauge of strings was normal. In standard tuning Don was probably using .009-.046 as he said in some interviews. I'd use the same gauge but I snap .009s too often, so standard .010-.046 it is for me. Other than that, keep them bright, either by cleaning your strings regularly, or buying coated strings. I'm lazy and use Elixirs for example.

    6. Amp. Twin with JBLs can't be beat for tone. I have a basic Twin Reverb Reissue that gets that sound pretty close to what it needs to be. But Don also used a Super at times, and a Bassman. It suffices to say that if you get a Fender Amp with large enough speakers and wattage to hold up the bottom end of the tone, you'll be set. A Deluxe'll take you a long way.
     
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  13. Modus

    Modus TDPRI Member

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    I saw them around 1970 here in Vancouver. Great band. Don and Buck were so well matched both instrumentally and vocally. I wouldn't worry about getting exactly the amp sound you hear on the recordings. As others have said here, what counts most is the playing (and the singing, the tunes, the arrangements, the band interplay).

    Anyone here know David Keenan's Seattle band Buckaroosters? Haven't heard them but I bet they do a great job of nailing the whole Buckaroos sound.
     
  14. Eric Ellis

    Eric Ellis Tele-Meister

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    I'll go along with what Clint (Lerb) said. When Don and Buck tuned down to Eb, Don used 9-11-16-32-42-52. He went to the 9-46 when they went back to tuning to E. Also "Act Naturally" was probably cut with that mid 50's Telecaster (probably with strings that had a wound third because Buck said Don didn't go to the lighter strings until about 1965) Don played on that youtube clip from the Jimmy Dean show. He was tuning down a step for it too as you can hear he was playing out of the A position and the rest of the band is in G on the record. On their road shows their amps varied. A lot of that tone is Don's hands in my opinion. It's also hard to beat the tone of a Tele through a Fender tube amp too.
    Eric Ellis
     
  15. nashd

    nashd TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for all the great info. Plenty to try and to look into.

    I actually bought and fitted a set of Elixirs to replace the flatwounds. The tone still isn't there, so I need to play around with the amp settings. I suspect the heavy-ish strings don't help - it does sound to me like Don used thinner gauge strings as others have said. I'll try tuning down to see where that gets me.

    I'm not looking to play the same songs - it's just that I'd love to have that tone for some things. I thought it was just a standard Tele tone, but it seems there's more to it than that.

    I'll need to find out what a 62RI is, and if any dealers close-ish to me have one I could try. I don't want to change my current guitar too much, so it might be an excuse to buy a Tele to have set up differently.
     
  16. FredDairy

    FredDairy Friend of Leo's

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    The '64 RI is actually closer to what Don and Buck used on the Raunch shows. You can get a set of the '64 RI pickups off eBay for probably close to if not less than 100 bucks.
     
  17. nashd

    nashd TDPRI Member

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    Not sure I'm looking at the right guitars (I'm in the UK) - do the 62 and 64 reissues have rosewood fretboards and steel saddles?
     
  18. bblumentritt

    bblumentritt Tele-Afflicted

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    In stead of Elixirs, try some nickel strings for better twang. They didn't have Elixirs in the 1960s.
     
  19. Telemarkman

    Telemarkman Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Indeed they have.
     
  20. Flakey

    Flakey Friend of Leo's

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    Not E120s but D120s more accurately D120F the F stands for Fender special design. They were an option for a long time. The ones that were put into Fender amps at the factory had orange frames and the JBL label said Fender Signature speaker.

    As long as the model say D120f on the label you'll be good to go.

    The rider in the contract for the Buckaroos stated that the venue should supply the amps. Twins and Showmans were the preference. These two circuits are almost identical but often they would Super reverbs and whatever Fender amp from 40 watts on up to play through. This is according to an old interview I read with Tom Brumley. They really weren't that picky as long as it was a Fender amp 45 watts or more.
     
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