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Don Rich's Tone

Discussion in 'Music to Your Ears' started by golfnut, Nov 20, 2020.

  1. golfnut

    golfnut Friend of Leo's

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    I've really been liking Don's tone lately as I've been watching lots of him and Bucks videos. the tone is so clean. It sounds a lot like my 67 Pro Reverb but even cleaner and shimmery.
    It sounds like my amp when I play it completely dry from effects except some amp reverb. But his playing sounds almost staccato at times or maybe even I hate to say a bit sloppy for lack of a better work. Even though I don't think his playing is sloppy.
    Could his tone have been improved a bit with some compression and made the playing a bit smoother or would that have just wrecked it.
    I assume thats a Fender Twin he's playing through.



    In this video you can hear Don's playing is crystal clean and the steel player has a good amount of distortion.

     
  2. golfnut

    golfnut Friend of Leo's

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    On the solo in this song it sounds like Don is struggling a bit. I would to on such a clean sound. For me I'd prefer a bit of compression to smooth it out and a touch of edge break up. It would make it easier to play and sound smooth.

     
  3. beanluc

    beanluc Tele-Holic

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    To me the dynamic oddities in these recordings don't sound Don is struggling a bit, to me they sound like problems with capturing the sound for recording. Dead spots in the frequency response which the mic heard. This could have been due to a number of different things - I'll bet you anything there were just area mics for the soundstage and his amp wasn't miked to its own channel and professionally mixed with the rest.
     
  4. Telecastoff1

    Telecastoff1 Tele-Afflicted

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    Don Rich was my guitar hero! Still is!
     
  5. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    The first instrumental is called Chaparral.
    My friend Chris Reeves has a great version on YouTube.
    DR had the definitive Tele tone, IMO
    I’ve been playing Teles, and country for 45 years, but I’ve never come close to getting Don’s tone
     
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  6. JRapp

    JRapp Tele-Holic

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    I remember an interview with Buck and he said they used a tweed Twin or Bassman in the studio well into the 60s. I bet that Twin Reverb in the TV vid has JBLs in it.
     
  7. golfnut

    golfnut Friend of Leo's

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    If you pay attention to the beginning of the solo in the third video I definitely see a bit of a fumble and a bad note. I'm clearly a Don Rich fan and I'm not trying to knock him for it. I think these shows were live so anything could happen. I once saw my country hero and legend Merle Haggard rip in to the solo for Working Man blues in the wrong key and it took him a bar or 2 to straighten it out.
    I'm more or less wondering if his playing might have been smoother with some compression on that super clean twin sound.
    I find I'm the same way if I'm playing on a twin with super clean sound. It feels a bit awkward. But then I've been playing with compression and edge of break up on my clean sounds for so many years I wouldn't be use to a clean dry sound.
    Or it could be the quality of recording like someone mentioned.
     
  8. golfnut

    golfnut Friend of Leo's

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    Its hard to tell the quality of the tone of any instruments on Buck Owens recordings. Whenever I play the recordings I have its like all the bottom end has fallen out of my system and it sounds like an old 50's transistor radio. Of course I'm playing it on audiophile stereo systems and when it follows something more modern that I've listened to before it, its hard to compare. I still love those old recordings though.
     
  9. JRapp

    JRapp Tele-Holic

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    Well, they recorded at Capitol, which was a pretty modern studio at the time. I would bet they used a room mic and may have been 'mixed' or EQ'd to play well on a car radio. Motown came along a little later and they (quote) 'blew up the bass' on their records---before that, it wasn't really a prominent thing. Kessel and Bryant talked about a real trebly tone as what the country/pop producers considered a commercial sound. You can hear it starting in the mid-late 50s and allofasudden amps had presence controls, bright channels, more scooped-mid tone stacks between mid-50s tweeds and later ones, JBLs, etc.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2020
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  10. Shango66

    Shango66 Friend of Leo's

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    When I think country tone I think Don Rich.
    In the same era, the sitcoms and cartoons (get smart, road runner etc)
    had that same bright tele tone.
    I try to replicate it by playing as close to the bridge saddles as possible .
     
  11. bottlenecker

    bottlenecker Friend of Leo's

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    I think that would ruin it. It's bakersfield music. I don't want it to sound smoother. It sounds like honky tonk, not commercial nashville.
     
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  12. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Doctor of Teleocity

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    I'd guess that Don made the most of the equipment that was available at the time and in that situation.
     
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  13. hepular

    hepular Tele-Holic

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    at the risk of heresy, and yeah. dwight's a disciple & pete anderson updated the tone: & looks to be playin a deluxe

     
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  14. Teleguy61

    Teleguy61 Friend of Leo's

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    People!
    This is church--Don Rich playing live on TV!
    Don played a Twin with JBLs, and had a very bright sound, that's how it was.
    In person, they were much louder--Don liked it on the edge of breakup.
     
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  15. golfnut

    golfnut Friend of Leo's

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    I hear absolutely no edge of break up. His clean tone in those videos inspired me to play all night tonight with my pro reverb super clean and bright, no effects. Can't quite get it like his but its got that spirit.
     
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  16. Teleguy61

    Teleguy61 Friend of Leo's

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    I assume they were playing quietly in the TV studio.

    Buckaroos were known as quite loud for their time.

    Joe Maphis wrote Dim Lights Thick Smoke and Loud Loud Music after seeing the Buckaroos one night.
     
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  17. Randypttt

    Randypttt Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Sounds to me like certain frequencies were overloading the mic and causing some squawk and a little distortion. As mentioned above they liked to play loud so whatever they were using was placed too close or maybe not the right mic.

    They were still learning about technical aspects of recording or live performances back then during this transition of big amps.

    And Teles just have a way, don't they? :D (take an eye out if you're not careful)
     
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  18. Ronzo

    Ronzo Tele-Holic

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    This is live recording for TV. Even though this was recorded about 1966 with a two-camera shoot in color, you’ll notice that there is one microphone - looks like an E-V, can’t remember the model number - that was used for the parts where Buck and the Buckaroos were on stage. One.

    Buck and Don (and Don and Troy in the other clip) sang into the same mic, and used the distance between each of them and the distance from the band’s amps and the drum kit for overall balance. The single mic was likely used for that purpose. TV recording at that time wasn’t as sophisticated as movies, much less today, because the TVs of the time were poor at sound reproduction. Note well that no close micing was used for either vocalist. Nor were any amp or drum mics evident in any of the Buck Owens Show clips we see today. Sure, the engineer may have separately mic’d Kay Adams when she sang near the “old well” set, but when she sang with the Buckaroos in the main set, they put her in between Don and Buck, and got the balance right by distance to the mic.

    The “Chaparral” clip probably used the same mic, placed outside the camera frame. The band balance had been predetermined.

    Seems primitive by today’s standards, but for an independent TV production in 1966, it worked. And the sound is pretty good when I put those videos on my home theater system.

    One more thing: the cost of reshoot was very high back then, from the cost of recording media to union labor fees for the stage staff. Don made a minor flub under pressure? As long as it wasn’t a full-stop crash, it went to tape. Same with every one of those excellent, very professional musicians.
     
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  19. Jay Jernigan

    Jay Jernigan Tele-Holic

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    Read a Buck Owens interview, posthumously published in Guitar Player magazine I believe, where he stated that his records were intentionally devoid of bottom end. The idea was that on the car radios (read:AM) of the time this would sound better.
    They were most assuredly playing live in the clips. Most likely using the same backline as in concert and being admonished by the tv studio engineers to "turn it down."
    Also willing to bet that Don was playing a generic Tele with a sparkle finish straight in to a Twin Reverb with JBLs. He and Buck had matching ones in concert. Heck, they taught each other to play, didn't they?
     
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  20. golfnut

    golfnut Friend of Leo's

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    That was kind of a fun fact I learned while doing some research on it this weekend. Apparently Don Rich originally joined Bucks band as a fiddle player. Some gigs it would be just Don and Buck. Eventually Buck taught Don what he knew on guitar and when Don was ready he took it to stage as Bucks lead player.
    As far as the tv studio being on Don to turn down the volume I can see where the tone would suffer. It would be thin and a little harder to play making it sound smooth. I know as I've been in the very same boat in some clubs where I've had to turn it down on a mid to high powered amp.
     
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