What is the history of compressors and country guitar tone?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Buffalo0993, Dec 12, 2019.

  1. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity

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    It really helps if YOU learn the Science behind Compression.
    ADSR is what it is based on.
    How you Manipulate it is what it is all about.

    After that, just turn the dang knobs until it sounds right.
    YEP!!!
     
  2. Buffalo0993

    Buffalo0993 Tele-Holic

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    Right! i almost mentioned it. Listen to workingman blues style or rockabilly. The compressed choppy rhythm is very similar
     
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  3. dswo

    dswo Tele-Holic

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    Nothing to contribute, just waiting for someone who actually knows the answer to the original question.
     
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  4. dlew919

    dlew919 Poster Extraordinaire

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    That’s what we’re all here for.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  5. artdecade

    artdecade Poster Extraordinaire

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    Country has two types of compression. The first is from a pedal that is trying to emulate amp compression that might not be possible if the amp can't be cranked. The latter is compression as an effect that certainly is part of the Brent Mason tone vocabulary of 80s/90s charts.
     
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  6. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    people liked to hear as much twang in their guitars as they did in their voices
     
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  7. getbent

    getbent Telefied Silver Supporter

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    There is a lot of 'cross influencing' in music. Genres are more for how to put records on shelves than anything 'real' so folks who desire fierce differentiation often end up chasing their tale because so many things in different genres influence others. Sorry for the preamble.

    I think the question is really about the use of outboard, pedal compression versus studio compression, so I'm approaching it that way.

    With the advent of the recording business and all the acts criss crossing the country in the 60's and then the development of 'studio cats' and record sales going nuts, we probably WON'T find ground zero for who brought the high compression sound to country music... BUT... I'm gonna share a couple of things that may get the conversation going to the question asked.

    The argument that compression helps finger style players get a more consistent sound is a good one.

    I'd lend this as well. in California, lots of pop records were being recorded AND lots of very popular country records were being recorded AND country rock was getting going. In the studios, smaller amps were always preferred and the sustain of a driven amp became a popular thing... The extreme of this would be something like Santana on 'Europa'... Rock guys like Lowell George even got to linking multiple compressors to increase sustain.

    As the after market parts business started getting going in the early 1970's... lots of those items were for increasing sustain... Compressors fit the bill.

    Okay, so, who would I say is ground zero? I'm gonna choose Reggie Young. He was doing ROCK and country dates and had access to what everyone was using on hits and he was inventive and willing to try stuff that NY and LA guys were using. His background was on RB stuff and had moved more toward country and moved to Nashville from Memphis to follow the work.

    His work on JJ Cale's 'Cocaine' used tape saturation for the solo. You can hear a variety of textures and sounds on this track.. the solo is Reggie going direct and saturating the tape to get that even drive sound...



    This album (other tracks like river runs deep) I'd also credit with being ground zero for the sound Mark Knopfler evolved for his first record.

    Because many country artists played telecasters and gravitated (with fashion and following hits) toward the edgier, more brittle telecaster sound... the need to fill out the sound led them to desiring ways to accomplish that... the two main choices were the phase shifter (also very popular in the rock world with acts like Joe Walsh) and the compressor.

    The orange squeezer became a regular 'trick' for NY and LA studio guitar players like louie shelton and tommy tedesco and the nashville cats listened and brought those sounds into their studios because like a Michael McDonald background vocal, people heard the sounds in pop and rock music and wanted to be hip and draw it in.

    Reggie Young played on many many many country hits in the 70's and 80's and 90's https://www.vintageguitar.com/2837/reggie-young/

    Kind of the apotheosis of compression is Reggie on 'Thats the way love goes'


    If a hitmaker like Reggie was using compression extensively, you can bet all the other guys would go get one... and if a guy had a hit with a hint of an effect... you can bet someone else would kick it up.. until it got crazy and a Reggie Young would go find a new sound and make new hits.

    I think the compressor sound got its birth in the studios of Los Angeles on pop and rock records, was exposed to someone like Reggie Young (and maybe Reggie) and he took it, applied it to country records and that sound was so infectious... the rest of us had to have it.

    Waylon may not be ground zero for the use of phase shifting in country, but when a lot of us hear phase shifters in country, we think of Waylon...



    Listen to the use of phase shifting here... Waylon and Joe are the reason I never leave home without a phase shifter and Reggie and Lowell and David Lindley are the reason I always have a compressor around...
     
  8. That Cal Webway

    That Cal Webway Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Thank you.

    I was going to cite Reggie Young in the song That's the Way Love goes,

    especially his lead solo part at times it sounds like a saxophone, wonderful texture and tone even though it's a very simple part


    .r.i.p. RY

    .
     
  9. getbent

    getbent Telefied Silver Supporter

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    I think Reggie played a couple of parts in 'Cry like a baby'


    funny how much the singer is just like Eddie Money!

    The electric sitar is Reggie... and I think there is tube compression on it... my point being that 'Thats the way' was LATE compression... in the extreme, when they were using milder doses prior...

    it is the inelegance of Alabama guitar parts (and some Hank Jr) that made the effect a 'star' of the song... the corny drum effects, phaser on earth destruct, and compression to the point of flatulence ha ha in the early 80's.
     
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  10. That Cal Webway

    That Cal Webway Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Yes!! That's RG in "CLaB!!"

    And his wonderful wonderful guitar parts all through dobie Gray's, drift away.
    Always thought that was a Tele,
    a p90 equipped Les Paul!


    .
     
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