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Small amp for Luther Perkins SUN Records tone.

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by gdhow62, Jul 26, 2014.

  1. gdhow62

    gdhow62 TDPRI Member

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    I am getting into the playing style of the late Luther Perkins, who played with Johnny Cash from 1955 until his death in 1968. I would like suggestions on equipment (amps) to get his early SUN recordings sound. I have a Squier Classic Vibe '50's Telecaster, a Danelectro slapback echo pedal, and now I am looking for a small amp for home practice; anything from 1 watt up to 10 watts or so. I am considering two tube amps: a Fender Champ 600 or Vox AC4C1, and a solid state Fender Mustang 1. Any other suggestions? The tele has flatwound .12-.52 on it. Again, I am looking for that early SUN Johnny Cash/Luther Perkins twang.

    Don
     
  2. BiggerJohn

    BiggerJohn Friend of Leo's

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    Fender tweed.
     
  3. motwang

    motwang Tele-Afflicted

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    Peavey Bandit, Envoy, etc.
    Mustang, any Fender clean.
    Really any amp that has a good clean. I find that a palm mute and some playing behind the bridge pickup will get you closer than anything. As people say on here constantly, " The tone is in the hands " .
     
  4. Hollandcaster

    Hollandcaster Tele-Holic

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  5. Obelisk

    Obelisk Tele-Afflicted

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  6. olefudd

    olefudd Tele-Meister

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    VHT Special 6.
     
  7. tiskit86

    tiskit86 Friend of Leo's

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    So these are the basics of that Echosonic:

    It has a 12" University UC 121 speaker and powered by two 6L6, a 5e4 rectifier, several 12a7 and 12ax7 tubes. 25 watts.

    Add a little slapback, too.

    Not sure what modern circuit would most closely resemble that, but I'm sure someone here does.

    My sense is that even if you had the exact same gear, you'd still only be about 1/2 way there. Fingers, touch, and whatever the heck they did in the production room is the rest of the way.
     
  8. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    Tryin' to get that tone from 4 watts is takin' the long way around.

    You want big bottom.

    You want reverb.

    You want a big '60s Fender amp.

    .


    .


    .
     
  9. homesick345

    homesick345 Poster Extraordinaire

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  10. ryokan

    ryokan Tele-Holic

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    Luther played thru a tweed champ on those Sun recordings.
     
  11. DaveKS

    DaveKS Friend of Leo's

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    None of those little 8" speakers is gonna get you there.

    I'd get you this, 12" speaker, 12w of 6L6 pure clean on clean chan.
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/141358686945

    If you get a Mustang get the II with 10 or 12" speakers. Check pawn shops they show up quite often at good prices used. You'll be very happy with one of those.
     
  12. gdhow62

    gdhow62 TDPRI Member

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    I appreciate the suggestions. To reiterate, the amp I am seeking is for home practice, not a stage set up; thus needs to be low wattage so as not to piss off the neighbors.
     
  13. Del Pickup

    Del Pickup Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'd be guessing that his early recordings would have had to feature a Fender tweed amp of some description - given that they were made in the 50's! So that tone won't be found in any blackface amp as they hadn't been invented at that time.

    As for what amp you should get, that really depends on your budget as much as where you intend to play the amp. You say you want a low wattage amp as it's for home use. Have you tried any of the tweed settings on your Mustang and found anything even close to what you're wanting to hear? Some of these presets were reasonably good from what I remember when I tried one of these amps a while ago when I was looking at getting a small practice amp - I ended up with a Champion 600 instead.

    You could try a Champion 600. Although it's not a tweed circuit as such the small stock speaker is quite 'flubby' sounding which might get you somewhere close to the 'big' sound of a larger amp and speaker played at higher volume.

    If money's not an issue then have a look at either the EC Vibra Champ or Tremolux (used on the low power setting this sounds to me very much like a tweed champ with a 12in speaker).
     
  14. old goat

    old goat Tele-Holic

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  15. stax

    stax Tele-Afflicted

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    If it's just for indoors then any half decent clean amp, ss or valve will be fine, some of the suggestions here seem a bit over the top as does watching videos of Brad Paisley when you are interested in Luther Perkins.

    My suggestion if you are looking for something small is a Tech 21 TM10 if you can find one, analogue amp with great Fender sounds, pro quality that will come in useful for recording and even small gigs if need be.
     
  16. DaveKS

    DaveKS Friend of Leo's

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    Thing OP needs to wrap his head around is sound he's after doesn't really have anything to do with wattage. He needs clean headroom and probably a vintage sounding low watt alnico speaker. Even a Fender Twin could work at living room TV levels.
     
  17. Tele wacker

    Tele wacker Tele-Holic

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    Luther's amp

    I don't have a clue what Luther actually used but I was thinking a Tweed Champ on the recordings. Lots of records were recorded with Tweed Champs.
     
  18. bendingtens

    bendingtens Tele-Holic

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    Luther played a Silvertone 1300 on the Sun sessions.

    9.5" speaker.

    12-14 watts

    Here's a link:

    Luther's Amp
     
  19. 1955

    1955 Poster Extraordinaire

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    LP played pretty clean. Later on he used some reverb, (blackface id guess) some slap too with the echosonic, if I'm not mistaken. Carl P, Roy Orbison, S. Moore, C. Atkins (and LP too, but slightly later than his first recordings) all had a Butts amp, if i remember correctly.

    So having an amp with a nice full and round clean tone that is not turned up very loud will cover the most fundamental aspect of the amp side of things, considering that you are copping the essence of the recordings. Live, early on, I'd bet he was pushing the little amps hard to try to get volume.

    You can cover a lot of LP ground with the bridge pup through a clean amp.

    The other stuff is technique. You can get lost easily in a sea of tape delay/esquire/etc. stuff, but in reality, the most basic thing is the style and the technique.

    If you drench all the material in slap back and/or reverb as your base sound you are going to miss the mark.

    It's important to understand the difference from the Ampex tape delay at Sun as a production technique, and what LP's sound actually was live early on.

    As stated above, the gist of the LP sound has to do with pick attack and placement in relation to the bridge, palm muting, use of open strings/patterns around simple chord shapes/scale & quirky half tones, and economy of movement.

    You then embellish as you see fit, but as said before, you can do low volume LP with a Twin Reverb at home just fine. You just keep the volume down. You probably would do it deeper than the early recordings, because you'd have all the richness of the 12's and the big cab, all that power constantly on tap.

    There is no magic secret to his tone. For ex., you can reasonably cop an esquire bassy position for walk the line by rolling your tone knob down.

    You could literally play LP convincingly with a Marshall stack if you knew what you were doing.

    It takes a lot of time and listening and practice to get the feel of his odd style. But it is really simple. You don't need to capo or learn the songs in bar chords to bridge the sonic discrepancies of peculiar tunings on the studio recordings. You can do a lot of the stuff in E, G, etc.

    Do I deserve Hollywood-waist pink-pegged slacks for all my efforts in my younger days, deciphering pastels from old photographs? Nope. Because its just not right to wear them in Harris Teeter.

    The rockabilly police (I've been one - wait! im being one now, sorry:) have a technical field day splitting hairs about gear and microisms (Black and White Pomade anyone?) and how far dungarees are rolled up, but when it comes down to it, it's really a matter of actually hearing the music without all the baggage that gets toted around in chopped customs.
     
  20. wrathfuldeity

    wrathfuldeity Tele-Afflicted

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    this is you answer...ime...using low tube amps with old octal pre amp tubes (gives the big warm round...at least to my ears)... with 1 amp with an alnico and the other with a ceramic speaker...8/10/12" dependent on efficiency/or not....relative to your volume parameters. Something like an old/clone of 5c1 champ and 5a3 deluxe...set volume low and clean with bigger efficient spkrs in some oversized cabs will give you the big warm with hint of verb.

    In the basement via stereo volume pedal at the end of the board > both amps...a pp6v6 monoblock with 8" ceramic and a se6L6 with a 12" alnico in an oversize cab...mixing the alnico/ceramic gives articulation and warmth. Seperate amps/spkrs work great...gives big clean sound field without the volume.
     
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