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Steve Hackett/Robert Fripp tone chasing

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  • Steve Hackett/Robert Fripp tone chasing

    Hello all!

    I play most Les Paul guitars through amps with built in, sort of Marshall-y or generally British drive tones. Two of my favorite players are Steve Hackett and Robert Fripp, I’ve been chasing their tones with my gear but I’m
    finding I’ve got too much grit and grunt with amp distortion. I know both of them used Hiwatts, or, in Steve’s case, Marshall’s set clean with a fuzz pedal, usually some British manufacturers variation of the Big Muff. I’ve only ever used a Big Muff with a single coil guitar and got some great Gilmourish tones, but I’m looking for that silky more violin like sustain Hackett and Fripp got out of theirs. Has anyone had any success with this and have any advice on how to dial it in? Thanks!
    "We look forward to the time when the Power of Love will replace the Love of Power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace." Sri Chimroy, 1948

  • #2
    I am a big fan of both. Any fuzz into a loud, clean amp will do it. Turn the tone knob down, and don't play blues licks. These days, both players make a lot of use out of Sustainers built into their neck pickup. I know Fripp has been using an Axe-FX for years for his sound (which is much smoother than his 70s sound). His patch is a Hiwatt (clean) with a Big Muff model.
    Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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    • #3
      Maybe wire the pickups with parallel coils, or split the coils
      Originally posted by Demanic
      Incompetence is widespread in a world that rewards mediocrity while punishing excellence.
      Originally posted by GuitarFanatic
      I am currently using Skullcandy headphones I found in the garbage.
      I did find the DS-1 in the garbage.
      I once found a guitar amp in the garbage, a Peavey Studio 110. It caught fire at the first gig I played it at.. But it was at the end of it, thank god.

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      • #4
        Actually, I never read either of them doing that to get their classic sounds. One other thing- Fripp is really a very clean technical player. His strange style of crosspicking is really dynamic, and he regularly controls the amount of gain with how hard he picks.
        Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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        • #5
          Thanks for the tips! I thought about just trying a EHX Ram’s Head reissue into the clean channel of my Triple Crown or Super Countess as both have high headroom and flexible EQ, and those EHX reissues are pretty cheap. My main concern was whether or not I needed a more British flavored clean to nail those tones but I can see what I can drum up with my existing gear.

          I think maybe I’ll avoid the parallel suggestion just because they both have a very humbucker flavored sound and I think a coil split or something similar would add too much attack to the note.

          And I agree Fripp has a very distinct style. It’s not something one would arrive at naturally, more something one has to work at, with Discipline perhaps?
          "We look forward to the time when the Power of Love will replace the Love of Power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace." Sri Chimroy, 1948

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          • #6
            I would try the Rams Head, which is about the closest to Fripp's Burns Buzzaround fuzz. Any clean amp should do, but he played loud...so volume might have something to do with it, perhaps more than the style of clean. I mean, he did all the Bowie sessions through a Princeton, so there is that, too.
            Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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            • #7
              To post a totally unhelpful comment, I love Fripp's stuff on Bowie's Scary Monsters album. Slightly different from his other tone, including earlier stuff with Bowie. Worth a listen.

              Sorry, didn't intend to hijack the thread.

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              • #8
                No worries, I agree, I thought Scary Monsters was the beginning on him leaving his 70’s tone behind and inching toward what we’d hear from him and Belew in the early 80’s incarnation of Crimson. I notice he didn’t start to return to traditional Fripp tones until his collab with David Sylvian in the early 90’s which is a great great album and I feel is unjustly overlooked.
                "We look forward to the time when the Power of Love will replace the Love of Power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace." Sri Chimroy, 1948

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by ebagjones View Post
                  No worries, I agree, I thought Scary Monsters was the beginning on him leaving his 70’s tone behind and inching toward what we’d hear from him and Belew in the early 80’s incarnation of Crimson. I notice he didn’t start to return to traditional Fripp tones until his collab with David Sylvian in the early 90’s which is a great great album and I feel is unjustly overlooked.
                  The Fripp/Sylvian studio album, and the resulting live album still gets regular play around here.
                  Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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                  • #10
                    The Fripp/Sylvian studio album, and the resulting live album still gets regular play around here.
                    Not to go further off subject but Trey Gunn does some masterful Chapman Stick work on that album, I feel like he almost deserved equal billing the way he holds everything together while driving it forward at the same time.
                    "We look forward to the time when the Power of Love will replace the Love of Power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace." Sri Chimroy, 1948

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ebagjones View Post

                      Not to go further off subject but Trey Gunn does some masterful Chapman Stick work on that album, I feel like he almost deserved equal billing the way he holds everything together while driving it forward at the same time.
                      Trey has such a beautiful tone all over that, as well as his solo band recordings. Seeing Trey's band in Philly was the best concert I had ever seen in my life.
                      Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mincer View Post

                        Trey has such a beautiful tone all over that, as well as his solo band recordings. Seeing Trey's band in Philly was the best concert I had ever seen in my life.
                        Seeing Trey’s group in Feb. ‘00 was a lifetime highlight for me.


                        Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
                        >Matt

                        http://www.soundcloud.com/mattherman
                        http://www.soundcloud.com/stormdoor
                        http://www.soundcloud.com/disonova

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                        • #13
                          If you don't have them, check out Sunday All Over the World, and the Fripp/Gunn/Reiflin release, The Repercussions of Angelic Behavior.
                          Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Mincer View Post
                            If you don't have them, check out Sunday All Over the World, and the Fripp/Gunn/Reiflin release, The Repercussions of Angelic Behavior.
                            I have both! I like to think of Repercussions... as retroactively fitting in to the ProjeKcts series.

                            And, when I saw Trey, Seattle’s Land opened (the show was in Seattle), w Rieflin drumming. I was front & center.


                            Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
                            >Matt

                            http://www.soundcloud.com/mattherman
                            http://www.soundcloud.com/stormdoor
                            http://www.soundcloud.com/disonova

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                            • #15
                              Almost any humbucker guitar with a distortion pedal will get you into Frippland. That whole thing seems to be an amalgam of Clapton 'woman tone' and Clara Rockmore's Theremin, which enjoyed a certain popularity in modern music circles in the 60s.

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