Any more info on Dickey Betts' "One Way Out" tone?

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Any more info on Dickey Betts' "One Way Out" tone?

Postby Ogoki on Fri Jul 11, 2008 3:42 am

Hey fellas,

This has been covered before, but I'm wondering if there's anything that anybody can add.

From what I can gather, he was using the goldtop Les Paul with removed Bigsby, a 100-watt Marshall head and 4x12 cabs with JBLs (D120F?).

I think that someone mentioned that the amp was a SuperLead. Any guesses as to which particular circuit?

Also, which pickup specs are recommended - DC resistance, magnet type, coil balance, etc????

Any responses are greatly appreciated!!!

Thanks.

Kevin
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Postby stoo on Fri Jul 11, 2008 7:14 am

Ahh!! A kindred spirit!! This, for me, is THEE tone! Much debate about the speakers..JBL,EV. open vs closed.. I bought some WCR "betts set" pups which I totally love and do come close to that sound.
Dickies sound is a lot cleaner that Duanes ( IMHO) which I figure was the 100 watter vs Duanes 50 (jtm 45?) but still has that edge. I think it's all in the amp and not so much the speakers.. clean..which might raise the hackles of the Celestion folk.
I really don't know..but if you figure it out.. let me know!!
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Postby shakti on Fri Jul 11, 2008 8:20 am

Contrary to popular belief, Dickey also used 50-watters during the Duane era. At leats that's what we can see in photos. Some people claim that he used 100-watters for a period, specifically during summer '71. This is of course entirely possible, but I'd love to see photos.

There were some new photos recently circulated which showed the backs of both Duane and Dickey's cabs. The shot was taken in early-mid 1970, so by the time of the 1971/06/27 Fillmore East show the setup may have changed, but it clearly showed both Duane and Dickey with one closed back bottom basketweave cab and one open-back slanted basketweave cab each. Both the open-back cabs had JBL D120s, not telling which speakers were in the bottom cabs. I personally belive Duane changed speakers at some point and ended up with a mix of Cerwin Vega ER123 and Celestions (Don Butler aka Toneman backs this up, and he knew the guys back then) by the time of that particular show. I know that this setup positively nails Duane's tone at that show. For Dickey, I have yet to see anyone claim anything else than JBLs during the Duane era, and with at least the slanted cab open-back. But again, we don't know which speakers were in the bottom cab, we don't know if it was closed or open by mid-1971.

That guitar he had was just extremely toneful - if you've seen the photos of the German guy, Udo Pipper, playing it with a JTM45, the honk and snarl is all there.

Jim Wagner of WCR copied those particular pickups for his Bettset, so that would be the way to go.
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Postby Sonicboom on Sat Jul 12, 2008 2:05 am

Ahh, my favorite topic - Betts tone. :D From all the reading that I've done, Betts was/is stuck on JBLs. In fact, he has a stash of brand new ones (true NOS) in case anything happens to his.

I love his One Way Out tone, too. With my setup - '79 custom, 1987x, 2- JBL D120s in an open back combo cab - I can get very close to that tone. I tried the WCR BetSet, which got me even closer. I'd say about 80% of the way there. I say 80% with the belief that even using Dickey's rig, I could never get his tone. The DCR on the BetSet was 7.64K neck and 7.58 bridge. I'm not sure what mag type is used on these. I read somewhere that it was Alnico 8. That doesn't seem right though.

I can't quite get an exact duplication of the clean lead tone. The rhythym tone is spot on because I've matched it with the recording. Of course, I'm also playing at heavily attenuated levels, which may account for the diff. in the lead tone - screaming Marshalls and all.

Another factor is that my custom has a thin ebony neck, so I'll never get the same fat rosewood neck tone. BUT, I can get close enough that no one would mistake the tone for anything other than Dickey's.

Amp settings are important. Here are Dickey's amp settings. Back then he used a Marshall 100; today he uses a 50w 1987.

Note the lettering by the indicator light and the markings on the front panel. This is his rig. In interviews, Dickey states that his amps are stone stock 1987 reissues biased to his taste. He said that he only used the 100 with the ABB, not Great Southern. In fact, I bought a 1987 because I figured it was the cheapest and easiest way to get close to his tone. Now, I just love the Marshall tone for what it is - all Marshall.

This should give you a starting point. I took the markings on his amp and adjusted from there.

Hope this helps.
Last edited by Sonicboom on Tue Jul 15, 2008 3:21 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Postby Sonicboom on Sat Jul 12, 2008 2:46 am

A couple of other changes I made to get Betts' tone were to remove the cap from across the high treble vol. control on the 1987x. This warmed up the tone on that input just a little, but enough to sound nice. I also upgraded the electronics in my Custom with 500K pots (the factory put 100Ks in for tone controls) and PIO caps.

Next, I'll try some vintage glass. I have some XF2 double getters and ECC83 Mullards that I can't wait to put in there. What's in it now are the stock tubes it shipped with. I figure vintage tone comes easier with vintage glass.

Gawd, I just love playing around with tone. :lol:
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Postby shakti on Sat Jul 12, 2008 10:45 am

I still haven't seen any info on what circuit/type his amps were around the recording of One Way Out (summer 1971). So they could have been shared or split cathode, with or without volume 1 bright cap.

With regards to JBL D120s, I have a love/hate relationship with them. I've had a pair in an open-back 2x12 for a few years, but I'm struggling to make them sound *really* good. They are very articulate speakers, very touch-sensitive, and there's nothing to hide behind. They reproduce what you put into them. That's the love part. Unfortunately I think they have a tendency to get a little harsh with a distorted signal. But I do think a full 4x12 would provide some more woodiness to offset that. A 2x12 can sound a little too boxy for that airy, yet snarling Betts tone.

BTW, one thing to try is this; in the below photo you can clearly see that Dickey is plugged into both top inputs on his Marshall. I don't think you can clearly see a "Y" cord, but Duane definitely has one (actually Duane uses three "Y" cords to split the signal to all four top inputs on his two amps). This produces a different effect than simply bridging inputs from the bottom left to top right. Something about the impedance, which gives a different resonant peak and different loading of the pickups. I've tried it with a passive A/B/Y box, and the resultalt tone is definitely different from bridging - iny particular case, it gave the tone a slight nasal, honky character. Definitely something to try, maybe it takes you even closer?


Image
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Postby shakti on Sat Jul 12, 2008 10:48 am

BTW, the above photo was taken by Don Butler at the Whiskey A-Go-Go in October 1971. Note that you can faintly see the aluminum dustcaps of (probably) JBLs in Dickey's top cab.
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Postby Ogoki on Tue Jul 15, 2008 1:20 am

Wow, thanks for all the info, guys. It's great to see the interest in this tone; I can listen to the solo over and over again. It almost sounds like a harmonica at the beginning of the second half, eh!?

Do you guys think that the Goldtop finish (vs. a typical burst) played any role in the tone?

Thanks again for the responses!

Kevin
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Postby shakti on Tue Jul 15, 2008 12:31 pm

The fact that it was a Goldtop doesn't mean much, but the wood and the pickups most certainly do. The PAFs in that particular guitar are very low output, something like 7.6k for both the neck and bridge (in fact, the neck was apparently ever so slightly higher value than the bridge).

But a lot of it is in that guitar too. Check this out - it's a German guitarist named Udo Pipper (I think he's a member here, or at least over at the Metroamp forum) playing *the actual* Goldtop Betts used in the Duane era. It was since refinished to sunburst in the 70s. Anyway, he's playing through a block logo JTM45 with RS output transformer through a '69 4x12 with G12M20 speakers, wired at 4 ohms (amp setting 16 ohms). You can hear some of that very, very dry, snappy and snarling tone even there with a different setup and player.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8kfI8H-XOg

WCR has made a set of "clone" pickups based on the PUs in that very guitar, which Jim Wagner was able to go through and compare directly to this very guitar. Pipper himself has said the clones sound just about spot on.
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Postby Sonicboom on Tue Jul 15, 2008 3:13 pm

Add the D120s and Pipper's off to the races with close to the exact tone.

Color won't have any bearing on the tone. Dickey refinished one of his Goldtops to red, but it still sounds like Dickey. Get JBLs. They account for a lot of his tone.
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Postby Ogoki on Tue Jul 15, 2008 4:21 pm

Yeah, the tone at the end of that video - where he's got the guitar volume up - is surprisingly close, despite a different amp and speakers! It's kinda funny: I think that the tone on those videos where he's plugged straight in is closer than the clip where he plays the "One Way Out" solo with the overdrive pedal.
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Postby Sonicboom on Tue Jul 15, 2008 8:36 pm

Ogoki wrote:Yeah, the tone at the end of that video - where he's got the guitar volume up - is surprisingly close, despite a different amp and speakers! It's kinda funny: I think that the tone on those videos where he's plugged straight in is closer than the clip where he plays the "One Way Out" solo with the overdrive pedal.


Which video are you referring to? I don't recall the one. Please post a link. One significant reason for a tone difference in the clip from the link in the previous post is that Pipper is using the bridge pickup. Dickey very rarely uses the bridge by itself. In One Way Out, he uses the middle position for the lead and the neck for the rhythym.
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Postby Ogoki on Wed Jul 16, 2008 2:10 pm

http://www.silvermachine.de/en/msdnews.htm

Scroll down and download the "Bonnie Blue.wmv" file. :)
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Postby PeterS on Wed Jul 16, 2008 3:00 pm

Here are Dickey's amp settings.


Any idea what year that photo is from? He's got an Ibanez DM1000 delay, primitive digital, very tricky to get good sound out of it because of the poor dynamic range--- too little signal and it's noisy, too much and it clips...
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Postby Sonicboom on Wed Jul 16, 2008 3:53 pm

PeterS wrote:
Here are Dickey's amp settings.


Any idea what year that photo is from? He's got an Ibanez DM1000 delay, primitive digital, very tricky to get good sound out of it because of the poor dynamic range--- too little signal and it's noisy, too much and it clips...


No idea on the date of the photo, but he uses the same rig in the DVD where he plays at the R&R Hall of Fame (2005).
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