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> Gear To Get Dan Auerback (black Keys) Sound
Southern Gent
post Mar 27 2012, 01:30 AM
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So, Dan Auerbach is not the greatest guitar player who ever lived, but his playing style/tone/approach has influenced me maybe more so than any other guitar player besides Jimi Hendrx and Tom Morello.

Any suggestions on how to get closer to his amazing guitar tone, especially from their older material? Specifically the awesome overdriven tube amp sound on albums like Rubber Factory and Magic Potiion, and his out of this world fuzz tones?

A few examples:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8CP2qvYg-4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLCrgQ7DR44&feature=fvst

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Br9yZssfUQw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-XqCchThbA...feature=related

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_yThO4h-NM...feature=related

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQHJsDOeiJg




So any suggestions as far as amp/pedals/guitars? I want to start a Black Keys cover band.

My current gear:
Vox AC4TV head and cabinet, Big Muff (which I want to trade for a fuzz pedal with more low end and...umph?), Washburn HB32DM hollowbody, PRS SE Standard.

I'll probably need a higher wattage amp to play over a drummer. Please offer your opinions. Thanks


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derper
post Mar 27 2012, 02:49 AM
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Finally, a tone question that is "up my alley" somewhat.... Also, I'm basing my response on this video:





Ok, in my opinion you can either get "close enough", and let your inner-"rock god" fill in the rest. That's my suggestion. For example, many have tried to go to great lengths to re-creat Stevie Ray Vaughn's exact tone. But SRV sounded like SRV through several diff guitars and amp setups. Sure he had his "favs", but with any strat and a tube amp, you'd KNOW it was SRV by his attack!!

OR, you can try to go full gear-nerd, and re-create the gear setup perfectly. For this band/style, it's really not necessary in my opinion. Right now, with my Parker Nitefly, Fender Hotrod Deluxe 40watt tube amp, and my HBE Power Screamer (boutique tube screamer) I could get damn close. I'd tweak the eq a bit on my screamer (and gain settings) to "fuzz it up" a bit, but again....it'd be "close enough". Then it's in the fingers, the attack and the 'tude!!


My biggest suggestions are:

Tube Amp. At least around 40 watts. My "little" fender deluxe hotrod will blow the door off of smaller venues, and will be mic'd at larger ones. I think it has great tone (for the $$....prefer a Mesa Boogie Combo tube amp), and versitility. You can use the gain from the amp (very usable) or pedals. I used to do both, but ran over my channel select pedal....now it's "clean" channel, and pedalboard. Looks like homeboy is playing a Marshall head/halfstack, and may not be using any pedals.

Pickups: Looks like a P-90/soapbox style pickup.

In the vid, at 7:07 he stomps a pedal. Listen to the difference in tone. Here's a still photo of that moment, and I think he's stomping a vintage sovtek (russian) Big Muff. I'm guessing your Big Muff is the modern silver case with red/black writing, and not the HUGE army-green tank of a pedal pictured! Try the vintage muff, you may like it. But vintage isn't always "best".




In my opinion, the "heart" of his sound is the most important. It's vintage TUBE tone, and rock. I wouldn't spend too much time and effort stressing on it, but I would stay away from digital effects pedals and solid-state amps. Also, the PRS SE may not be the best guitar for that sound, but if you're comfortable with it then stick with it.

Hope that helps, even a bit.




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Gabriel Leopardi
post Mar 27 2012, 04:43 AM
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Derper gave you very interesting information about this.. let me add this link where you will find an article with all his guitar rig detailed:

Guitar Rig


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derper
post Mar 27 2012, 06:17 PM
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I forgot to mention, that you could probably "google" and find out EXACTLY what gear he's using!! Thanks Gab!


Looks like I was correct on the Big Muff!! (+10pts for ME!!)


Also, I want to comment on the Twin Reverb..... EXCELLENT amps!! But they are LOUD, so unless you're starting off in this band playing big shows, it may hold you back a bit because you won't be able to crank it up enough to get the proper tone, without KILLING people in the front row!! Play around with maybe a Fender Deville or Deluxe for a more manageable tone at reasonable volume. Plenty loud enough to rock big venues!!


QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Mar 26 2012, 08:43 PM) *
Derper gave you very interesting information about this.. let me add this link where you will find an article with all his guitar rig detailed:

Guitar Rig



--------------------



Check out my awesome Nintendo Cover-band, EMULATOR!!
http://www.reverbnation.com/emulator

Now.....go practice!!
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Southern Gent
post Mar 28 2012, 12:18 AM
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QUOTE (derper @ Mar 27 2012, 01:49 AM) *
Finally, a tone question that is "up my alley" somewhat.... Also, I'm basing my response on this video:





Ok, in my opinion you can either get "close enough", and let your inner-"rock god" fill in the rest. That's my suggestion. For example, many have tried to go to great lengths to re-creat Stevie Ray Vaughn's exact tone. But SRV sounded like SRV through several diff guitars and amp setups. Sure he had his "favs", but with any strat and a tube amp, you'd KNOW it was SRV by his attack!!

OR, you can try to go full gear-nerd, and re-create the gear setup perfectly. For this band/style, it's really not necessary in my opinion. Right now, with my Parker Nitefly, Fender Hotrod Deluxe 40watt tube amp, and my HBE Power Screamer (boutique tube screamer) I could get damn close. I'd tweak the eq a bit on my screamer (and gain settings) to "fuzz it up" a bit, but again....it'd be "close enough". Then it's in the fingers, the attack and the 'tude!!


Thank you so much for all the great information and for taking the time to respond.

The video you posted is a great example of the tone I'm looking to get close to. On the last song in the vid "Same Old Thing" from 7:45 minute mark on, man that is just absolutely tone heaven as far as I am concerned.

I have done extensively googling on trying to find his gear, and I would say I am not looking to buy the exact amp or pedal he uses for this album or that album, etc, I am more looking at what would be the most cost-effective gear that I could get to approach his sound. I think his tone is so versatile too, it's HUGE and gritty but still has that classic overdriven tube sound (except when he is going full on fuzz obviously)

I am no expert on gear so please correct me if I am wrong, but wouldn't a tube screamer be more for the high-end? His sound has a lot of low-end..well "balls" is the word I would use, but it still has clarity which I think is great. I think that is really my biggest question, what would be a tube amp that is affordable, but has enough low-end for his sound, but has a good natural distortion sound that I could enhance with a nice boutique fuzz pedal to emulate the Russian Soviet Big Muff.

And yes, I have the standard Smashing Pumpkins-type Big Muff, the silver one, and it just doesn't work for this application. There is a local guitar shop here in Birmingham where the guy makes his own fuzz pedals, they sound great and I am thinking about trading in my Big Muff for one of these. Here is the link in case anyone cares:

http://sitorisonics.com/sitorisonics.com/harem_fuzz.html

I can't really find a demo of the pedal.

So do you think a P90 guitar would help? Would the Fender amp have enough low-end? Sorry i know its a lot of questions.

I mean I know I can find the exact amps and guitars and pedals he uses, but that's not financially feasible obviously. I just want to get as close as possible to his sound in the video you provided with more or less one amp, one guitar, and one fuzz pedal kind of thing, because that is honestly what I want to be my standard set-up from now until eternity. I mean just listen! And practice, attitude, your fingers, all that obviously plays the biggest role, but I think a good solid set-up can get you pretty damn close if you have the attitude (which I like to think I do) and the chops (I'm working on it...)

luckily most of their music isn't the most technically demanding guitar music out there, it's all about the tone and the attitude.

QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Mar 27 2012, 03:43 AM) *
Derper gave you very interesting information about this.. let me add this link where you will find an article with all his guitar rig detailed:

Guitar Rig


Thank you very much! I have done a lot of research online about his gear but this is probably the best and most comprehensive list I have seen.

Like I said, I can't afford to go out and buy $10,000 worth of gear, I just want to find a good fit for his general sound that I can use as my normal set-up. I think my Washburn hollowbody sounds really good playing Black Keys stuff because it has a lot of warmth, but I have never played a P90 guitar so I am curious to test one out and see what type of qualities I hear in them because I really know nothing about P90s.



QUOTE (derper @ Mar 27 2012, 05:17 PM) *
Also, I want to comment on the Twin Reverb..... EXCELLENT amps!! But they are LOUD, so unless you're starting off in this band playing big shows, it may hold you back a bit because you won't be able to crank it up enough to get the proper tone, without KILLING people in the front row!! Play around with maybe a Fender Deville or Deluxe for a more manageable tone at reasonable volume. Plenty loud enough to rock big venues!!


I'm not looking for anything that is super loud at this point. I basically feel like I am reaching/at that point where I feel comfortable going from being a bedroom player with a little 4-watt tube amp to venturing out and finding a drummer to play with and upping the power of the amp a bit.

But I think cranking a tube amp is crucial to getting Dan's sound or really just good rock sound from a tube amp in general, so I think sometimes more is less and I would really only want something that is as loud as needed if that makes sense... I want to be able to crank my amp and get a great tone that is loud enough to play with drums, but I don't want the neighbors in the next town over calling the cops if you know what I mean.

This post has been edited by Southern Gent: Mar 28 2012, 12:21 AM
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derper
post Mar 28 2012, 02:08 AM
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QUOTE
I am no expert on gear so please correct me if I am wrong, but wouldn't a tube screamer be more for the high-end?

Yes...and no. "Regular" screamers do tend to have that higher end, but they have a "tone" knob. On my (Home Brewed Electronics/HBE) "Power Screamer" I can "fuzz" up that sound quite a bit!! It wasn't that expensive new, and I find it to be WAY better and more versatile than a ibanez tube scremer personally.


QUOTE
So do you think a P90 guitar would help?

MAYBE....maybe not. I used to love them years ago, but haven't played them in a while. I hear that they are noisy. Since you're playing a PRS SE, perhaps go play their (I think they make one...) P90/Soapbox version. Although I don't like to buy stuff there usually, a good ol' trip to guitar certer can really help out when you're in this situation. You can try P90's, 5 different tube amps and several pedals, all without being confined to a "booth", in which you can't crank the amp to feel the tone! I usually buy local or used on craigslist, and pick up some strings on the way out so I don't feel too guilty.

QUOTE
Would the Fender amp have enough low-end?

Some would. My Deluxe perhaps would not (1 12''). A Deville (4 10'') probably is more of the tone you want.....BUT....

QUOTE
I'm not looking for anything that is super loud at this point. I basically feel like I am reaching/at that point where I feel comfortable going from being a bedroom player with a little 4-watt tube amp to venturing out and finding a drummer to play with and upping the power of the amp a bit.

....the 60watt Deville will give you the tone/power/low end you want for a good price (around $500 US used, or way too over-priced new). But it's gonna blow your doors off!!

QUOTE
But I think cranking a tube amp is crucial to getting Dan's sound or really just good rock sound from a tube amp in general, so I think sometimes more is less and I would really only want something that is as loud as needed if that makes sense... I want to be able to crank my amp and get a great tone that is loud enough to play with drums, but I don't want the neighbors in the next town over calling the cops if you know what I mean.

Correct. Maybe try a blues Jr. But you're at a "standoff" here. If you want the real tone, attack and low end....it's gonna have to be a fairly loud amp. You can play with the settings to get it sounding decent at a more manageable volume, but it's still a trade off. A Blues Jr can sound pretty awesome, and at lower volumes. But, it's not going to pack the same PUNCH as a bigger rig if you end up playing larger shows.


Get out there. Try some. Crank 'em. Try 'em quieter. But always keep the end result in mind, and the tradeoffs.... for example, if you won't be playing BIG venues, you can get away with a smaller amp and just fuel the show with your ROCK and ENERGY. But yeah, a Deville will certainly give you more of the sound you want, over a Blues Jr. Don't even stop "in-between" for my Deluxe. I'd say go big or stay small. They do make a 2 12'' version of the Deluxe that MAY work for you as well, but I haven't tried it. The 1 12'' is great for me (a bit smaller because I gig alot, but great affordable classic tone and LOUD enough for anything!) but now I wish I had gotten the Deville. Slightly bigger, not much heavier, but the 4 10's give it much better tone in my opinion. I still won't get rid of my Deluxe since I had the board re-soldered by a pro, and it's SOLID for life now.


Again...I hope that helps.


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Check out my awesome Nintendo Cover-band, EMULATOR!!
http://www.reverbnation.com/emulator

Now.....go practice!!
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Southern Gent
post Mar 28 2012, 02:32 AM
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QUOTE (derper @ Mar 28 2012, 01:08 AM) *
Again...I hope that helps.


It helps immensely. I assumed my topic would just go unanswered because the Black Keys tend to be too bluesy for the rock/metal guys and too rock for the pure blues guys...so nobody has ever really given me a good thoughtful answer. I mean they have a great bluesy rock sound, but Dan (the guitarist) has a way of getting these huge sounds that are hard to really replicate without it sounding too distorted. So I am very thankful for the help. I look forward to going to a couple places and trying some of your suggestions. I can't really afford to do too much right now as far as buying stuff, but I can start saving and trying stuff in the meantime (and practicing of course) and when the time comes I can hopefully get some good upgrades because like I've already said, Dan has a sound that I don't think will ever sound dated or out of style.

If you something else pops in your head later please feel free to let me know. Thanks again very much for the advice.
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