02 Jun AC/DC’s “Kicked In The Teeth” The Schaffer Replica Series (Updated)
Well it is about time to write some details in this white space no?
Here it is. I played this piece with two guitars, both with David Allen’s Powerage pickups in them (bridge and neck). I like these pickups much, and along with the Manlius t-tops these are my favourite replica pickups in absolute terms. The Powerage pickups seem to be less warm and a bit stiffer than the Manlius, but they do everything the Manlius do as well.
I used the two guitars as I also wanted to throw a vintage SG in the package with the Powerage Pus, not only a newer one (the Angus Young signature #37). By the way, the latter was completely revived with the Powerage pickups. It is now finally usable as a regular guitar – probably just as much as one of my older SGs. Good thing at last! And remember – for you guys that own an Angus Young sig of the second generation, the ones with the lightning bolts – to also re-wire the tone knob in that guitar – you definitely need it. We’re not Angus Young, and he has hundreds of SGs anyway. We “Only” have one or a few and we need to be able to use all the features in our guitars. The tone knob is one of those features that I use daily, both to record and to just rehearse, train, play and mess around.
Having said this, the first version of this take sported a different Console EQ (the wonderful API Vision channel strip from Universal Audio). Do NOT underestimate for any reason these plugins. If you even remotely think that I have been doing a decent job in recent years, this was solely possible to me thanks to these plugins – Universal Audio and Slate Digital. If you have either a Mac or PC with decent power and are serious about recording yourself (not only for the pleasure of hearing yourself back, but because we learn so much more by recording ourselves, a concept that I will be stressing immensely when solodallas.com goes pay-for in the future) you must consider acquiring a few plugins from either (or both). They’re not even that expensive anymore, and I assure you that you can start relying on these for true analog emulation that will give you immense satisfaction.
Matter of fact, I just bought me another plug-in yesterday, and I implemented it in the mix for this track today (the re-mixed track is now here for you to play; the youtube link will give you the older mix). Well for me it is night and day difference. Not because the API Channel Strip wasn’t good enough – it is excellent, nothing short of amazing really – but because the newer plugin that I got emulates what was actually used by George Young & Harry Vanda for a long, long time back then: a Neve 1073 channel strip. Try both versions and see (hear) if you spot a difference. I can hear it and it is a big one. But anyway. I must in fact re-stress the fact that the AC/DC kin have been extremely passionate about old Neve consoles for decades. Since the very beginning, in fact, when at Albert studios the two Young brothers went under the direction of their older brother George, who was already using such Neve console. They went on from 1973 to present day using Neve consoles for either tracking or mixing or both. Currently, it is necessary to remind the fact that AC/DC are in fact at the Warehouse Studio 2 in Vancouver, Canada, where one of the most stunning Neve consoles still resides to this day. Not a coincidence, naturally. The Neve 1073 module made the history of rock, nothing short of this very statement, and with AC/DC, you can hear the sound of Neve consoles clearly from the very first album to Highway To Hell, including the incredibly good sounding Powerage, Highway To Hell and even the amazing Let There Be rock (the album, not the movie). If You Want Blood (You’ve Got it) was instead only mixed with such console and yet, both guitars still bear clearly its characteristic sound. These are all excellent examples of a Neve console sporting the 1073 module or one of its derivatives. If you look at the pictures, you will be able to make out the original Neve console at Albert Studios and there, on top rows (just under the VU meters) you will spot the modules vertically inserted into the console. Another image below shows such authentic modules and under it, Universal Audio graphical representation (with workable controls) of such module, including the fader (that you would see further down the module looking at the real console). Great stuff.
I did record this track with the Neumann U47 FET, just like Down Payment Blues. All the tracks on this album – Powerage – were in fact recorded with this great Large Diaphragm Condenser microphone. I didn’t change the position of the microphone for this track.
This is a typical, AC/DC obscure treasure. I mean, obscure should be in quotes, since even Powerage sold millions of copies; but it is definitely not an FM track, not a song that we hear on the radio much – is it.
Yet, it’s a typical AC/DC rocking tune. I mean, damn, isn’t this real rock and roll. There are many influences directly from the blues in this one, and it is reminiscent of other AC/DC tracks as well, merely because it is in the key of A and it rotates much around A, C, D etc. It is definitely reminiscent of Whole Lotta Rosie, for example, and even the solo in it has a certain energy that was only found live and in the Let There Be Rock album of the previous year. Not to mention If You Want Blood (you’ve Got It) from Glasgow that came a few months after this studio rendition. Definitely around these months Angus was playing with certain types of scales that included notes that – even he admitted this – would sound like they are out of place in a pentatonic or major scale and yet, they sound beautiful in a rock and roll tune (insert name of mode or scale here!).
My takes were done with plexiglass panels against the cabinet, with the plexi facing the cabinet itself and reflecting the sound back into the microphone; something I should try and avoid in the future as plexi – the material, not the amps! – are not the best sounding, reflective surfaces known to exist. Wood would be definitely better and I’ll try to build a little baffle panel of some great wood type to reflect nicely the sound – when reflection is needed; otherwise, turn the baffles on the other side where absorbing material should be hot glued on.
The solo is evidently king of the scene here. For the rest, the rhythm pattern won’t present any major difficulties other than, proper timing (never to underestimate!).
The solo instead kept me busy for two entire mornings, mostly to debunk it. You do know that I don’t have much enjoyment playing solos that are not at least initially accurate. The “note for note” thing. Yep. Between this and being obsessive, I’d rather be not accurate, naturally, however there’s always a way in between and we must try to choose that path.
The trick for me was made by Audacity once again, where I went to slow down the solo initially by 40% and subsequently, just for the fast scale that happens almost at the start of the solo (and that most likely will draw some attention by the fast-finger-lovers) I had to slow down an additional 20%. That scale was really tricky; another typical Angus Young lick of the old days and yet, there’s nothing cliché nor to give for granted in those few, fast notes, as there is some intricate work that most likely was improvised by him, but in his unique style that escapes most of the guitar players trying to play AC/DC. I took note of the notes and I am now able to show you what was done; most certainly this will happen (and it’s worth it) when I will be starting my major “tutorial” program, which will be – in fact – a pay-for subscription right here on solodallas.com. Will just be a few bucks per month and will be totally content-worthy. You know I would never let you down.
Once the notes were known to me – but slowly – the problem of how to execute them remained; or actually, arose. In fact initially, I thought that the scale was played around the fifth fret, as usually we do our pentatonic thing there. But Angus these very years was playing much on the 7th, 9th and 12th position of the key of A pentatonic scale, too. After a few hours of failed attempts – mostly because I just couldn’t get the right speed for that scale, which thing threw me into despair for a minute or two – I was finally struck by illumination and saw how that scale had been done, which is how you see it on screen. Much easier in that fretboard position, as it actually becomes feasible at that speed only there.
The rest of the solo sees heavy, intense vibratos as an important part of the message, and I too wanted to be able to transmit the same message – and I mean, exactly the same, nothing less – through intensity and eventually, I did. My hands were sore in the end though. But what satisfaction: this is definitely the Angus’ style I like the most (including Back in Black). These very years, the end of the 1970s and the very first few years of the 1980s.
I was almost forgetting to mention guitar and amp settings, which are understandably requested. As said before, Angus used his Marshall 2203 on the whole Powerage album. Not only you can hear it clearly all along the recordings – at least on his side, the right side – but it is also documented in the AC/DC in The Studio book that we mentioned several times. It’s a fact. Surprisingly enough (is it?) despite the potentially gainy-er aspect of the 2203, not much more drive than previous (or subsequent) studio albums is used. Angus was under the strict direction of brother George and brother Malcolm (whom he admittedly would look up to continuously). So he had to give it all, maintaining his sound at a sweet, sweet spot where things start to cook but are never over cooked. Italian people when referring to their pasta – for example – would certainly mention “al dente”. Just cooked enough to be edible, but not overdone. The secret to great cuisine and evidently, a great sound (which makes music better, undoubtedly). That was our recipe, too. So despite the fact that my (and his) sound might seem quite driven, it really wasn’t. Both volume and pre-amp (the gain knob on a 2203) were set at 7. That’s the magic number, at least with Marshall, for volume level. All other controls were the usual presence 0, bass 2, mids 4 and treble 5. Now, even here on Powerage – as on Highway To Hell – the tone control of your guitar will have to be closed some for both rhythm and solo. I think I went down to 3, after trying several different settings. And it worked for me. You must understand that a Marshall 2203 is a very bright amplifier. When pushed up in volume(s) level – at least with a good quality Attenuator – the brightness will even increase. So – when recording, to make it more natural for recording equipment – they counter-acted almost always by decreasing the tone level knob on Angus’ guitar, thus making for a thick, naturally equalised sound from within the instrument itself. In fact, contrary to common belief, turning the tone knob down will not at all make you lose all the bright frequencies. Will kill some – really the excess – but will at the same time make for a very thick, solid body of sound that is also extremely musical. Almost like a human voice when played on single notes. It was always a good trick of the more knowledgeable, skilled guitar players of those years, from well within the 1960s when Eric Clapton himself started making it popular with his “woman tone” (that nothing was other than closing the tone down some or all).
For you, youtube’s older version of this mix; you should be able to make out how harsher it sounded.
lapata19Posted at 19:55h, 11 June
Hey people. Have you guys ever seen this video?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmoJ7httHAE
It`s just funny for me as a Portuguese speaker how I don`t understand a thing in Italian (especially when Fil starts to talk fast). But I do in Spanish.
SpellboundPosted at 22:30h, 11 June
Who the hell is Phil? 😉
GuillotinePosted at 00:34h, 12 June
I wish i knew what he was saying. Maybe Fil will see this and tell us what they were on about.
GuillotinePosted at 00:40h, 12 June
Speaking of videos, here’s one I found. Interesting.
SpellboundPosted at 04:49h, 12 June
That was excellent!!!
AngusRudd1019Posted at 07:25h, 12 June
That….was…..SICKK!!!!! People are assholes for giving him thumbs down, that is original and I think it did the song justice. His solo was sloppy but it worked. Kept the song driving and pumping
Julien666Posted at 09:44h, 08 June
Fantastic. All I always wanted to hear AND see.
go downPosted at 12:52h, 07 June
Having read what you said about the amp settings for Angus,would these settings apply for Malcolm’s tone for these years too? Besides using a super bass JMP would either the JMP 2203/4 or the early JCM(800)2203/4 be an alternative to go to achieving his tone in conjunction with a Gretsch/filtertron guitar? Or could you get away with a more modern marshall (JCM900 or 2000) if need be? Cheers! Sean in Oz
SoloDallasPosted at 13:17h, 07 June
Sean! Truth is – and truth be told, always – I don’t know (yet). I haven’t experimented yet with Malcolm’s sounds. I would think that a Super Bass (a 100 watter, not a 50) would take you there no doubt; but you know, even a plain Super Lead (1959 model, Ang’s favourite – and mine) would take you and keep you there “fo sho'”. More sensible is the situation with the 2203s (leave alone 2204s; while they are great amps, they are not “stiff” enough). Even an early 1981 JCM800 would do it, since it was the same circuit as the previous 2203 labeled master volume. Other than that, I know I would not go. Don’t go to more modern /recent stuff, with the exception of a Wizard Vintage Classic (also Malcolm’s amp as of recent). But I WILL be experimenting with Mal’s sound too when I am done with Ang!
lapata19Posted at 15:36h, 08 June
Fil you said that you prefer 1959 models. Any specific year?
DriesPosted at 18:35h, 08 June
Late 70’s ! New headshell type. Can be found pretty cheap, and they sound as great as the old ones (even better).
SoloDallasPosted at 18:41h, 08 June
This. Mine is a 1976 and it’s the best one I ever had.
Chris MoinyPosted at 19:08h, 08 June
Mine too, we are 1976 JMP bro’s 😀
But mine sounds just not right lol
go downPosted at 17:07h, 08 June
Thanks for responding,it is as I thought,Now I will need to be patient until a vintage JMP or JCM 2203 turns up for sale here in Oz. A quick question, are you going to cover tracks off the earlier albums up to & including LTBR with the Schaffer Replica? I reckon that would very interesting for everyone to hear.(So what if it they weren’t recorded with a SVDS originally)
Cheers! Sean in Oz
lautmaschinePosted at 00:01h, 12 June
Fil, I really look forward to your forthcoming experimentation on Mal’s sound. With my TV Jones Classic clone of the late 50s filtertron, I can get a decent Mal tone with a Super Bass type amp for sure. However, I cannot get it with a 2203/04 amp. Just way, way too bright. I know Mal used those amps (at least live) for a while. I simply don’t know how he got a good sound, unless his pickup was overwound, more mid-rangey than mine. I am interested in hearing from others on how to get a good Mal sound with a 2203/04.
DriesPosted at 20:13h, 14 June
I know what you mean. Tried many things a while ago, but if you listen closely you can tell Mal’s sound was really bright in the late 70’s. I also got better result with a original filtertron than with a TV jones (it was a classic plus though). I got a fairly nice sound with somewhat lowered mid pot settings on the 2203, as this one really controls those mid-high mids, that are a bit spiky. Presence 0, and treble and bass around 5. Make sure you have the good speakers and pre-amp tubes (don’t underestimate them). A good wiring, pots and tone cap on the guitar also do wonders, since the factory stuff was crap in my opinion. Hope I could help you !
KyleSGPosted at 19:42h, 05 June
Great Job! Guitar and Amp settings? Will also get that video to you soon Fil as been super busy as getting ready for a live show this weekend and first show to use the SVDS Pedal!!!!!!
SoloDallasPosted at 07:04h, 07 June
Good question Kyle, had forgotten about guitar settings. Added a whole section at the very bottom of the article – it’s there now, enjoy!
AngusRudd1019Posted at 10:09h, 07 June
What were your setting on TSR???
SoloDallasPosted at 10:52h, 07 June
Ooops!!! Should be visible in the video – hang on, forgot!
SoloDallasPosted at 10:53h, 07 June
Found: 75% compression, half boost 😀
DriesPosted at 17:46h, 05 June
The new mix sounds even a bit more scooped, am I right? But closer to the original 🙂 f*cking brilliant.
SoloDallasPosted at 17:50h, 05 June
You are so right that it hurts. Yes, more scooped. George and Harry were masters at this. Both of them. Listen to – for example – Let There Be Rock (album). THAT is Neve-ness. At the upper level. Scooping, cleaning up, cutting etc. Masters.
DriesPosted at 18:24h, 05 June
It sounds so recognizable. Do you have experimented with NOS preamp tubes in your 2203? I’ve got some new vintage mullard 12AX7’s a while ago, the same that most marshall’s of that era were shipped with (also brimars, ..etc ). I must say, the difference between this and JJ tubes for example were almost like it was a different speaker cabinet – in the good way -.
SoloDallasPosted at 07:05h, 07 June
Have not, and will eventually. I have the vulgar JJs in all of my amps basically! Will have to try good ole NOS sooner or later.
DriesPosted at 08:15h, 07 June
World of difference. Really, you’ll be amazed.
SoloDallasPosted at 08:44h, 07 June
Okay, like I don’t listen to ya (do I?) – where. Tell me where, gettin’ ’em now! ( 😆 ) (seriously though: source: want to buy now – and you – ALL of you – don’t say *I* make you buy stuff, ’cause you make me too – see?)
DriesPosted at 15:58h, 07 June
Lol ! 😀
Bong SnottPosted at 17:34h, 05 June
Fookin’ brilliant !
Omar RevesPosted at 17:19h, 05 June
Fil, could you post a pic of the new wiring on your AY sig please?
Omar RevesPosted at 17:20h, 05 June
Great video as always by the way 🙂
SoloDallasPosted at 17:35h, 05 June
Will do naturally
max1230Posted at 17:15h, 05 June
Fil; I’ve been recording my stuff for about a year. I too noticed/felt the “rightness” of the Neve 1073 plug from Slate. I felt vindicated when I read you experienced the same thing!
SoloDallasPosted at 17:39h, 05 June
Which one do you mean, the virtual console? I adore those. Unfortunately can’t use them currently as I switched (mistake!) to pro tools 11, which is now AAX only (64 bit) AND slate digital hasn’t updated virtual consoles yet; is that the one you mean? VCC is “only” USD99 right now, totally worth the investment. From Slate digital I am using the compressors, the tape emulation (fantastic) and I would be using VCC and the mastering tool, but the two latter only work in 32 bit on Mac so I am eagerly awaiting for the update! In the mean time, take into account the Universal Audio stuff. They have the disadvantage of having to use their own hardware – the UAD DPS accelerators – which is fairly expensive. But so worth it that it’s ridiculous. I mean, I think a Neve 1073 module – an original one, hardware one – costs several hundreds if not thousands of USD; I paid my SW version “only” USD149. And I am blown today. Blown away.
max1230Posted at 23:15h, 05 June
Yes, the Slate VCC. The Tape machine is killer too! I’m using them in Reaper.
dash8311Posted at 08:41h, 06 June
Great playing Fil.
As you suggested, and should be noted here for the members, a mention to Waves Scheps 73, the 1073 plugin (which is free for the first 30 days?) and only $99 thereafter. Quite a similar tone.
Clearly Fil has proven the external hardware & plugins from UA are the way to go, but some serious investment into this is needed. You have to pay to play with the big boys!
SpellboundPosted at 21:07h, 03 June
Fil, this was the best cover you have ever done. Looking forward to more videos! 😀
SoloDallasPosted at 17:09h, 05 June
Thanks! Two or more incoming shortly.
SpellboundPosted at 23:07h, 05 June
Can’t wait!!! 😀
MisterScaryPosted at 08:00h, 03 June
This is one of my favorite Angus solos and as always Fil, you nailed the entire song. I love your vibrato and (of course) tone. Cheers!
AngusRudd1019Posted at 07:16h, 03 June
I’m typing this from my phone, you caused my computer to explode….. -__- I honestly think that THAT WAS your fiercest cover ever Fil.
sellenPosted at 11:22h, 03 June
Yea that was almost unreal, the solo was smokin’ hot
rpatzeltPosted at 21:37h, 02 June
Yeah! I’m kicked in the teeth again 🙂 After the previous one in this “set”. I wonder if shaking Angus’s hand is involved somehow in this tone an playing…and I don’t wanna say here that the old ones aren’t great already, but this couple of “Powerage” songs got something…
And I’m hearing this after last Sunday when I took my little kids to their first Rock & Roll gig – an event organized by a local AC/DC tribute band who invited Dave Evans, you know, first AC/DC’s vocal. Let say that the attitude was right…but playing, playing – I had to leave earlier, cause’ the torture was too much for my year (fine tuned here on solodallas). The drums was too loud, maybe for covering mistakes and lack of exercise. Though, they have a not so bad Brian Johnson lookalike front-man.
After tasting the honey, nothing taste sweater for my ears 🙂
SoloDallasPosted at 06:31h, 03 June
Daddy Radu! So good to see you here again. It does. Shaking Angus’ hand did make something happen. I don’t know what dad – just some electrical buzz I still have in me, can’t get rid of it – but there’s some more spark in me now (to the point of it sounding childish at 46 – laugh!).
It happened to me many times; that’s also why I hardly watch any tribute band. It’s often more for the show and the costumes than for the music itself, Radu. I agree with you. Music is something else. I have always stressed immensely how AC/DC gave it all and the playing was exceptionally well done (though it wouldn’t even transpire, to the point of even musicians thinking that it’s easy to play AC/DC!). This is probably one of the core reasons – to drill down into this – that brought me here almost ten years ago (10! It’s 8 actually). And it’s also the reason to AC/DC’s success. Incredible quality and constance. So, the playing should be the number one thing, more than Angus’ costume, more than the attitude on stage etc. Playing guitar(s) well. But truth is that it can be hard, lots of discipline involved. I was checking a well known girls AC/DC tribute band the other day and I had to shut down the browser quickly when it came to the solo. Lifeless exercises. Not music… (hey Fil, tell us how you REALLY feel 😆 ). Nuff said Radu, I know you’re nodding. Strong hug – talk soon brother.
AngusRudd1019Posted at 07:21h, 03 June
The number of TERRIBLE AC/DC Tributes out there is thru the roof. Ya know, it’s FINE that they want to play all AC/DC and spread the music and have fun, BUT the bands really mess up when they call themselves “THE NEXT BEST THING” to the REAL DEAL. That is what ticks me off and I find it to be disrespectful to Angus, Malcolm, Brian, Phil, Cliff, and Bon.
GuillotinePosted at 21:14h, 02 June
Lovin the powerage stuff. Do you think you’d ever go back to the early stuff? (High Voltage/Dirty Deeds)
SoloDallasPosted at 21:27h, 02 June
Oh yeah – will do for sure. I just wanted to cover properly, appropriately and thoroughly the Schaffer-Vega years, that meant SO much for me, you know. There was also so much to demonstrate regarding how the Replica would do for these songs. So I covered a few albums so far – some songs from Highway, some from For Those About to Rock and now Powerage. I will go back to “Back in Black” with the replica, covering a few songs there as well. Then Flick of The Switch I suppose, which is the last of the SVDS era. Then, will move on to earlier stuff and later stuff as well. Still a lot of work to do!
GuillotinePosted at 21:55h, 02 June
That would be great to see some later stuff as well. I saw your Rock and Roll Train video on vimeo, great tone. And I understand completely the priority of the Schaffer. Wouldn’t be much sense in playing songs/albums that don’t have it after you’ve spent so much time building it. You seem to be getting more into the playing(faces, gyrations, etc) than before, and even before you were really into it. I think it might be affecting your playing for the better.
SpellboundPosted at 20:32h, 04 June
What about Video and Fly? I hear a lot of SVDS compression/boost on them in the solos – not sure about the rhythm tracks though.
AngusRudd1019Posted at 20:51h, 04 June
YESSSSSSSSSSSSS I CAN’T WAIT TO HEAR SOME FLICK MATERIAL!!!!!
BEDLAMMMMMMMMMMMM IN BELGIUMMMMMMMM!!!!!
wilsonPosted at 17:11h, 02 June
Superb Fil :). I’ve always liked a lot about this song on the Powerage album, pure POWER :)!. Delivering to you by Mr. Filippo Olivieri & THE Schaffer Replica 🙂 Rock On :)!.
SoloDallasPosted at 21:27h, 02 June
HEY thank you brother!
AntPosted at 15:19h, 02 June
That tone is soooo tasty!!! warm fuzzy and lots of bite! love it