03 Feb Introducing the “Wizard Modern Classic 100W” with Black Robot’s “Cocaine” Cover
Update note: We just received a kind email of Mr. Rick St. Pierre (Wizard founder, owner and maker) who has informed us that AC/DC started using Wizard amplifiers exactly during the 1990 Razor Edge tour.
I think it doesn’t get more accurate than this, since he is the man who provided, serviced and maintained the amps for AC/DC!
Wow. Been a long (too long) time without an update here. Missed you guys, but been busy on several fronts after the Xmas and New Year Holidays.
Back to work now.
And get this!
Took the chance with this almost unknown song (very much in the AC/DC style if you ask me) from a band called Black Robot. The song is JJ Cale’s “Cocaine” (thanks to Constipation Blues for the heads up), covered by them in a cool fashion.
Really wanted to try and show (off) one of my brand new two Wizard Amps. This one is also in the possession of Angus Young (see/click link below), and I do believe this is the model he toured with and recorded Black Ice with, not the “Vintage Classic”.
That is, this “Wizard Modern Classic“, basically (I may be wrong!) it is a spiced up 2203. And boy, what a sound. Hear it now, then more details.
A few months ago, I got in touch with Mr. Rick St. Pierre – Wizard Amplification Owner – and inquired about a Vintage Classic. Mr. St. Pierre (terrific guy and AC/DC’s current amplifier tech, been so for the last 20 or more years he told me) also suggested that I bought the Modern Classic, since both Malcolm and Angus had these. So got both. Took some time to get them here, and took me some time to have the time to test them. Only one week ago circa I started testing these. The Vintage Classic really has low drive, it’s mostly a Clean amplifier. It is probably even cleaner than a 1959 Marshall model, to which maybe it is related.
The Modern Classic instead can go from clean – really clean – to overdriven. It has a number of knobs some of which are also push/pull knobs, that will let add more drive (including the treble knob that turns into a treble boost!).
These are TOP notch construction. The sound… well, you decide. I was blown away by both, but ended keeping on my stack the Modern Classic as it seems to be more versatile for what we do here. Will also test the Vintage Classic naturally.
For the two parts (rhythm and solos) I used the same channel, the hi-sensitivity channel, but with different “gain” levels. The Master was always at 8-9, and the gain was maybe at half for the rhythm and 6-7 for solos (never raised it too high here as I was using the SVDS system too, which would boost the channel anyway).
While you already know the 1962 Gibson SG Standard Custom you see here for solos, the Black Les Paul Custom is a months ago purchase, and it is a stock 1971 Gibson Les Paul Custom.
The cabinet used is the beloved 1978/1979 G12-65s loaded one, stock from that era. It’s no secret that for a number of reasons, G12-65s have become my most favorite speakers ever.
The microphone is also an older purchase but a new member here at solodallas.com, since it is a vintage, stock original Neumann U87 (NOT the Neumann U67, which has been put back to its case for this tune). The Neumann U87 is powered directly with phantom power and this one here sounds really well. The vintage U87 looks very similar if not identical to the U67, but they do sound very different, with the U87 being brighter and with a different tonal character.
Regarding the song itself, as usual it sounds (and likely looks) so… simple. But remember, “simple ain’t easy”. Took me quite a while to get in the right timing, especially for the rhythm part. It’s definitely got that “Malcolm’s touch” to it, so much that I wanted to use the Gretsch on it (I will use the Gretsch on Wizards in the imminent future). I naturally panned myself to the left, as on the right one of the two guitar players from Black Robot had a very nice and present sounding guitar part which is in fact the one I replicated.
Solo is nothing easy either, and definitely in the Angus Young ballpark too. Timing, timing and timing. Maybe not as tight as Angus’ (and not as precise) but a nice (likely) “one take” solo.