Clapton tone

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by Axegrinder77, Sep 15, 2020 at 4:07 PM.

  1. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    So from what I understand, he's got some active mid boost going on, built into the guitar.

    I just notice that when he's jamming, his tone shines through so sweetly compared to others on stage etc.

    I have a Blues breaker pedal (snouse bb2) and it's great, but not really what I'm referring to.

    Is my Maxon od808 the best option? Or is there another way to get close to that sweet smooth Clapton tone? Short of having his signature guitar and expensive amps?

    My Strat has cs69 neck and middle, and I just threw in an ssl5 to replace the fs1 in the bridge. Going into a 68 custom Princeton modded.

    Thanks!

    Ps. I do realize his ridiculous talent plays a big part.. I'm working on that!
     
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  2. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Oh boy there were a lot of Clapton tones!
    Mid boost was IIRC the noiseless pickups era?

    I'd say his sounds were 50% him, 40% amp, and 10% the other gear.

    So for gear IMO the amp the amp and the amp are number one for that sort of great sound.
    After practice.

    68 CPR has a mid boosted Bassman like channel?
    I think you really need a tweed or Marshall type circuit, his sound was not BF Fender and a BF Fender with boosted mids is still not a tweed or Marshall.
    His mid boost was more for getting both 335 and strat sounds from one guitar.
    Not really a tone enhancing or improving part of his signal chain.
     
  3. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    Would el84s do a better job?

    Maybe I can justify getting a pro junior. I would run a cab live anyways. I like the 10 inch speaker and attenuator for home use.
     
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  4. LAPlayer

    LAPlayer Tele-Meister

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    Chasing "Clapton tone" or "Santana tone" or "Bonamassa tone" or anyone else's tone is impossible and endless. Clapton sounds like Clapton whether he's playing a Martin 000 or a Stratocaster or Telecaster or........ Likewise Santana, Bonamassa, Satriani....have their own sound and feel that doesn't matter if they change guitars or amps. When I play Clapton (or others') music, I play it with "my tone" and the song remains the same. I've been doing this guitar thing for around 40 years and learned a long time ago to play the music with the same feel and ability that the original was done with. No one listening cares or has a clue. Even if you think you've hit on the secret-sauce, you won't.
     
  5. Chicago Matt

    Chicago Matt Friend of Leo's

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    The onboard boost is a clean midrange boost that overloads the front of the amp when desired. I don't believe Clapton uses a distortion or drive pedal live. The distortion comes from the amp being turned up and then loaded up further with a bigger signal. It's a different sound than a pedal, with different compression characteristics. Very touch sensitive. You can probably tell from my avatar that I like this admittedly "old school" approach as well. I still sound like me, but it sounds like a better me (TO ME) than me with a drive pedal. :)
     
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  6. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    I get what you're saying, and i'm glad that approach works for you. For me, when i hear a tone i really love, i will gravitate to it and strive to emulate it. Doesn't matter that it happens to be Clapton. In fact, I guess we can conclude that my approach is the complete opposite of yours - I don't even attempt to play like Eric. That would be futile. If i can steal his tone (just a little), i'll chalk that up as a win.
     
  7. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    "Woman Tone" was his signature before the mid boost guitars came out. I think they wanted to build a "Clapton Strat" so he probably said: "well make it do this regardless of anything else in the signal path". But I will say (I have the boost in both my Strats) that it's a direct path to that tone, and some other things, regardless of the amp. It's there with just "plug and play", no pedals.
    My opinion is the 808 type of pedal will get you there but with even a bit more mids than EC's normal tone. The guitar mid boost soften the upper highs for you. More at 10 less at 2.
     
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  8. Greggorios

    Greggorios Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    They make a kit for that:

    upload_2020-9-15_18-27-38.png
     
  9. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

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    You can achieve exactly the same with an EQ pedal. Just. Post the level and mids to taste.
     
  10. Cali Dude

    Cali Dude Tele-Meister

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    Clapton had several signature sound throughout his career. A low powered tweed Fender, or Marshall amp would be one place to start. Since you already have a cool set up, I would think that your only recourse ( other than changing equipment ) would be to look into a pedal for an OD, and perhaps an EQ. Or a an OD pedal with good EQ. I am sure there are many options. Having said that, working on technique, phrasing, and that sort of thing can help. I think we can approximate our hero's sounds. There are many players out there that can do it quite well.
     
  11. BryMelvin

    BryMelvin Friend of Leo's

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    For me. Overdrive the the amp and pull tone back on guitar treble way back on amp. Amp on low input. post amp gain cranked. Usually neck pickup.(I use JCM 800 and 18 Volt Livewire active singles). Use output stage overdriven not preamp.
     
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  12. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    This gets discussed a lot and there is a grain of truth to the power tubes influencing tone.
    But I bought an 18w Marshall TMB built with 6v6 instead of stock el84 and the sound really is the circuit, not the power tubes.

    pro Jr might get you closer though because the circuit is AFAIK more tweedy and not at all black face mid scooped.

    As far as an EQ pedal making a BF amp sound like a cranked Tweed or Marshall, I really don’t agree with that at all.

    But I’ve owned actual tweeds, BFDR, BFSR, and Marshall’s at the same time so I’ve compared the real things too much to feel good about sorta close enough.

    I also spent years trying to get BF Fender amps to sound more Brutish and finally asked myself why I don’t just buy amps with the sound I want to hear.

    Maybe a pro jr, maybe an H&K Tubemeister 18 or 18w Marshall clone, made an Egnator tweaker etc etc.
    Part of Clapton’s sound usually revolved around a simple tube circuit that would distort if he picked me way or stay cleaner if he picked another way.
    The classic Blues players sound was really about player expressiveness.
    BF Fender amps got circuitry to prevent distortion.
    They still distort but the player connection isn’t as wide open as more primitive circuits.

    I’ve wanted a pro jr but never owned on so I’m not really sure what to say besides that should be a little better.
    Many players love BF amps and don’t agree with my feelings about them.
    Most would likely agree though that Clapton Blues sounds are generally Marshally or Tweedy.
     
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  13. black_doug

    black_doug Friend of Leo's

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    He gave the reason for the mid-boost in his recent documentary. He wanted to emulate the sound of a harmonica, to sound like Little Walter.
     
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  14. Cali Dude

    Cali Dude Tele-Meister

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    Another thing to remember, is that Claptons' tone came from different guitars at different times. He used a Les Paul, an SG, and various ES3-- guitars off and on for years. So, a guitar like that into a tweed or Marshall amp is another place to look.
     
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  15. burtf51

    burtf51 Tele-Holic

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    who is this clapton feller?
     
  16. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    Just another Brit with soul.
     
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  17. Squier by Squier

    Squier by Squier Tele-Meister

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    Erci Calpnot, a Faroese fisherman's son and famous lutenist, became known of his unique tone and technique using seal leather plectrums and mackerel oil for fingerboard. Thus the nickname Erci 'Slickfinger' Calpnot.
     
  18. RLM69

    RLM69 TDPRI Member

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    Jeff McErlain does an hour long You Tube video on the Clapton sound and how to get it. This centered on the John Mayall and the Blues Breakers era. I thought it was very interesting. Check it out.
     
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  19. M2roadwarrior

    M2roadwarrior Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    Maybe my ears aren’t what they used to be or I‘m just a peasant but after only playing electric guitars for a minute I can imitate most of my favorite artists with a half a dozen guitars averaging 1000 dollars each, 3 amps averaging 500 dollars each and maybe 8 pedals averaging 100 dollars each, granted this is not cheap but would defy every non musician desire to argue tone and anyone not as good as you if you are a musician.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2020 at 10:09 PM
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  20. deytookerjaabs

    deytookerjaabs Friend of Leo's

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    Don't really get the premise here.


    You watch a video, if he's playing a sig strat then look up the model, then look up the amp you see. If he's playing an old 335 through a pinstripe 100W stack...well you get the point, that's the sound.


    And, no, he doesn't sound exactly the same with all this different gear. In fact, he, like many improvisers, even phrases differently when his gear sounds differently...bluesbreakers Clapton is a different take than Lace Sensor era Clapton.
     
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