Lucille sounds bright to me

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by thx712517, Dec 15, 2019.

  1. thx712517

    thx712517 Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    104
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    I've been listening to B.B. King recently, especially his ten minute song about Lucille. Once I stopped to think about it, Lucille doesn't sound like what I would expect.

    Her most common incarnation is a big Gibson semi-hollow with humbuckers. I'd expect a big warm tone from that, something throaty and dark. However she seems to have a more piercing, bright, single coil sound to her like a big Telecaster.

    Is that a result of amp settings, playing style, or are my expectations of what a semi-hollow with Alnico humbuckers should sound like simply wrong?
     
    String Tree likes this.
  2. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    22,687
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2012
    Location:
    Montana
    His guitar comes with a Veritone rotary switch for additional sounds that make his signature tone.
     
    stnmtthw, dodona, ponce and 4 others like this.
  3. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,903
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2014
    Location:
    UK
    I use a 345 with a varitone. It cops the BB sound. I think he used the second position.

    Varitones cut a lot of mud and bass.

    i think he also used the stereo output to drive a warm and a bright amp and the middle pickup position let him dial in either.
     
    telleutelleme likes this.
  4. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    20,044
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    If you have not heard 1950s BB King or the 1966 album “blues is king” you have not heard BB King.

    Many tones to be found in both of those places. Particularly the 50s stuff of which there are numerous collections.

    His playing is also a little more, dare I say it, what we would refer to now as Texas flavored.
    Actually when I think about it, it’s more that this was the stuff that a lot of the Texas guys copied - the 50’s era BB style.
     
    El Tele Lobo, stevemc, dented and 3 others like this.
  5. Paul G.

    Paul G. Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,757
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    1. ES335/345/355 guitars, with their thin body, large center block and maple laminate construction are not dark at all. As a matter of fact, they are quite bright.
    2. Add in the Varitone, which is an RC network that cuts quite a bit of bass
    3. Add in the fact that BB tended to play in the middle position which is quite spanky
    4. Add in bright Fender or LAB series combo amps, and...
     
  6. AJBaker

    AJBaker Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,236
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    Location:
    Switzerland
    I imagine that the varitone has an impact, but the other thing to remember is that a PAF style humbucker isn't muddy, but can have a stinging 'hot tele' vibe on the bridge pickup.

    Plus, didn't he play through a cranked twin with the treble all the way up?
     
    reckless meanie likes this.
  7. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    20,044
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    No thin tone here

     
    kuvash and Mjark like this.
  8. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,058
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2003
    Location:
    Augusta, Maine
    Sounds okay to me.
     
    Hammerhead likes this.
  9. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    9,204
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2013
    Location:
    Horn Lake, MS
    Those ES models used a lot of Maple in their construction that made them bright toned and BB's signature guitar didn't have F-Holes. That also contributed to that bright tone. Then the electronics also made it bright. Later he started using the smaller gauge strings too.
    I believe that's what led to Gibson making the all Maple solid body L6-S guitar for Santana. He was a big fan of BB King.
     
    Hiker likes this.
  10. jimbo735

    jimbo735 Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,186
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2011
    Location:
    Michigan
    Lucille has CUT!:)
     
    thx712517 likes this.
  11. jamesepowell

    jamesepowell Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    227
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2019
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Agreed. I would add Live at the Regal to the essential BB King list.
     
    stevemc likes this.
  12. dickey

    dickey Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,418
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2010
    Location:
    Florida
    No matter how I tried, I could never understand the love for his playing or his tone, I mean it's OK, but nothing to rave about. Just kinda meh. Although I do like his music & his singing.
     
  13. E5RSY

    E5RSY Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    52
    Posts:
    10,116
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2009
    Location:
    Georgetown, TX
    Also, don't forget that Lucille does NOT have "f"-holes like a regular 355. That may have something to do with it.
     
    Hiker likes this.
  14. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    14,573
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2010
    Location:
    Up North
    The overall sound is simply how he thought it should sound.
    I agree with you about it being a little Thin on the Tone.

    But hey, maybe that is what gave him the Blues!
     
    graybeard65 likes this.
  15. Peegoo

    Peegoo Tele-Holic

    Age:
    59
    Posts:
    726
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2019
    Location:
    USA
    Listen so some Roy Buchanan first. Then give a listen to BB.

    His tone will be warm and drippy like butter and syrup on a steaming plate o' blueberry pancakes.
     
  16. urbandefault

    urbandefault Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    391
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2016
    Location:
    Yukon OK
    big_BBKingTheModernRecor[1].jpg

    :cool:
     
    Hiker, thx712517 and LowCaster like this.
  17. thx712517

    thx712517 Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    104
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    This is what I love about this place. I post an observation and get a ton of knowledge and song suggestions.

    I knew BB was a Tele player for a while, which made me wonder if he favored that tone with later guitars.
     
    Jerry_Mountains and El Tele Lobo like this.
  18. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    8,392
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2003
    Location:
    northwest
    My take on all that type: Lucille, 335's, various Sheratons, Ibanez and Epis is that they are mostly "sparkly & very woody" sounding. Not what many of of think at all. When you drive them hard and loud, then they get that sweet tone we think of.... like when Clapton plays his red 335 on a big stage dimed. But that is way beyond where most of us play at home or in clubs. However if you can live with a soft round warm tone, the tone pot can do it.
    Don't try to get there with changing various pickups, you won't ... trust me. If the tone knob or a pedal wont do it, move on.
     
    Obsessed and 50ShadesofOrange like this.
  19. dented

    dented Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

    Posts:
    10,072
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2006
    Location:
    I-10 East onramp
    That is my favorite BB, voice and guitar. Just a little cranky and not as smooth.
     
    Mike Eskimo likes this.
  20. Hiker

    Hiker Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,413
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    Location:
    Alabama
    No large gauge strings on BB’s guitar. He seemed to prefer 10’s for many years
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.