Author: SoloDallas

17 Mar Boston’s “Party” SoloDallas Cover

I love Boston. But right now I’m running, no time to talk.

And believe me, we have a lot to talk about Boston, Marshall tone and the like.

Please watch this for now; I’ll be back later and introduce you to a great researcher, he’s done what I did for AC/DC with Boston.

His name on our SoloDallas.com is “RockmanCentral“, and he literally uncovered all the known information, secrets, methods and gear to get “that” Boston “tone”.

Over the years, I remember going to his site to learn.

On this cover, I used a little “gadget” that I have been owning for maybe 15-20 years: a “Rockman“. It was given to me by my Italian-Canadian friend “Max” (Max, are you reading? Was finally able to put your Rockman to work, after all these years!). The “Rockman” is a product of Mr. Tom Scholtz himself, but I will let RockmanCentral talk to you about it when he is ready to.

I went straight into the Rockman with all guitars (clean and driven) and then, output the Rockman into the Wizard Modern Classic, with settings presence 0, bass 0, miss 0 (!), treble 6, master 4 and pre 2.

Really in clean mode, as the big part here had to be the Rockman’s.

Recorded with a SM57 and U87.

The EQ Plugins I used on this one were Neve 1081 modules, a classic in rock music.


Below: a Rockman Unit similar to the one used in this video.


Update, courtesy of our RockmanCenter.com Friend, we now can post this superb image of Mr. Tom Scholtz who appears to be in the studio probably recording (right mouse “open in a new window” to enlarge it).


Several things are worth a mention (as superb gear of that time and all times in recording history): A 1176 Urei Compressor, a DBX Compressor, two tape machines, several of his own Rockman units,  a Conn Strobe Guitar tuner (just like AC/DC’s, as seen in movie Let There Be Rock) and several others. Superb. Thank you Bob!



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14 Mar Thin Lizzy’s “The Rocker” SoloDallas Cover

Always loved this one, used to cover it with the band.

One thing I had never tried was to add more guitars.




Some tech details:

Had had this song in mind for years (to cover in video, that is). So went on.

Initially, I had only played one part with the Gretsch. But then the idea of “AC/DC-ing” it came to mind, and went for it (added the SG part, same as the Gretsch, same as the original Stratocaster part in the centre position).

Had to re-EQ a bit the original track, it was slightly dark. And added a bit more bass boost to it, too.

Guitars were both recorded with the 1959 and the G12Ms (pre-rola) cabinet, the one on the bottom. The song is from 1973, so G12-65s didn’t exist. I really wanted to re-capture that flavor ( love the tone of the Strato here) though with the inner characteristics of different guitars, such as the Firebird and an SG.

It definitely sounds a bit more “modern” in approach (soundwise)  with two guitars on the sides, a-la AC/DC. Though the sound is pure crunch.

The ’63 Firebird (identical to Malcolm Young’s main Gretsch, same production year, all original) settings were presence 7, bass 0, mids 1-2, treble 6, volume 6. At these settings, the Gretsch is just breaking up from true-clean. And you can hear the amp compressing. Very nice feeling.

The rhythm SG was similar settings, but with presence 0, bass 4, mids 4, treble 6 and volume 5. This SG has an original Di Marzio Super Distortion, powerful PU. This SG is a 1966 Standard, heavily modified prior to my purchase. I left it as I found it, since it has a magic vibe. Butter-like playability, really easy to play. Feather-weight guitar. Some trivia about this one: I brought (and played) this very guitar to Air Recording Studios for the training in November 2011, and this guitar was noted and briefly played by legendary guitar player Phil Manzanera (Roxy Music, Brian Eno) who told me “they don’t make them like these anymore, this is a fine guitar”.

The solo came to mind as I wanted to add something of mine to the song, but something that would still fit. Tried random stuff and all of a sudden, I had that phrase in my mind, wouldn’t leave me; so I played it.

Took me quite a few takes to play what I had in mind! Felt very strange. We come to a point where we “hear” things (and sounds) in our heads, and one would think that since it’s our creativity, it would come as-it is on the instrument.

Untrue. You still have to give it some time just like it was someone else’s solo. Very refreshing experience, it was the same as on the “Gimme a Bullett” solo. And it taught me – reminded me actually – that this “cover” thing is very good for learning.

Not that I didn’t know, but these are further confirmation of my theory and approach: we study history.


The solo guitar is my older 1964 SG Standard, that i had bought from a poor man in the USA, who had used it (and abused it) for many years. It had a broken headstock (split in two) and a broken heel; sent it to Germany years ago, came back after a month and it sounded and played excellently. Original bridge PU, a patent number.

Days ago – since I was never going to that guitar despite good sound and excellent playability, decided to re-install the Vibrola. The guitar had come to me with a stopbar already installed, Vibrola removed. No vibrola was sent: I installed an old one I had laying around here. It was instant love, now I haven’t been leaving that guitar alone.

The solo was played with beloved SVDS System. And by the way, Thin Lizzy were one of the several rock stars at the time who actually owned the SVDS. Played through the rear output, no boost, compressor only.

Microphones were one SM57 on one cabinet “hole” in the grill, probably in a very good spot on the outer edge of the dustcap; close up. The other one is a vintage Neumann U87, center of cab: wanted to capture a part of the sound of 4x12s I really like lots, which is off axis sound, weird harmonics, woody “hollow” tone. THAT I like a lot. So went for it. Not sure the result is what I wanted, it’s kind of a strange sound here, but it seems to more or less fit in the mix, so kept it.

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05 Mar The “Raiders Of The Lost Sound” And A Cheap Marshall: Your Schaffer-Vega Diversity On A Budget Amp.

This “test” has been missing for a long time. Too long.



With happiness your,

SoloDallas Team 🙂


Raiders from SoloDallas on Vimeo.


Technical Info



PS The more I think of it, the real thing I was willing to say was “The Touch Of The SVDS” (on any amp it goes into).

I will say it now.


The SVDS and its “magical touch”, © Ken Schaffer, NYC.

And you folks want to know what the SVDS user manual (and some ads) used to say? “We beat time and space”.

Boy, wasn’t it real for us. These units have beaten to hell Time and Space. Yes, because 30 years later, they’re still here and working, and making their thing. 

Wow. Just wow.


See for yourself!


[singlepic id=586 w=1024 h=768 float=none]






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03 Mar Franz, Fil & The Schaffer-Vega Diversity News

Sounds like the name of a band, really (Huey Lewis & The news, for example) but no, not really.

Listen to (and watch) this, and rejoyce, you people of the Schaffer-Vega Diversity Union!

Some updates and Goodies inside.




Franz & Fil (i.e., your SoloDallas.com Staff)


Raiders from SoloDallas on Vimeo.


Technical note. the Marshall 1959 used here had the following settings:


Presence: 0

Bass: 6

Mids: 4-5

Treble: 6

Volume: 7


That is, typical Angus Young settings.

The attenuator was still used, but less i.e., the amplifier loudness was definitely higher, finally breaking up a bit more the speakers (Speakers used were original 1979 G12-65s).

Microphones used were one vintage Neumann U67 and one vintage Neumann U87. L

A little reverb was added in post, as well as very mild equalization (some very mild mid-scooping on HMF and LMF, nothing else).

The guitar is a 1969 Gibson SG Custom, with a new, Angus Young signature bridge humbucker.


NO whatsoever gate was used. Nothing. What comes through the microphones is what you hear. Basically, no hiss on this unit. 

Out of the three, working SVDS units we have, this is definitely the best sounding one, in terms of almost not audible hiss. Almost not there! What you hear is what it is. 



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29 Feb The “Mystery” of Angus Young’s Tone in “Let There Be Rock” The Movie

Heh. Dont tell me – well if you’re passionate that is – that this thought /question hasn’t crossed your mind at one time or another?

Well, if it has, here’s some of Franz’s and mine thoughts.

Thanks to the recent “discovery” of an image grabbed, analyzed and posted by member Dries in this post (here) it was a clear fact that the Schaffer-Vega Diversity System (SVDS) was there and it was ON during the concert.

WHY keep it on and right next to the amps if it wasn’t being used? WHY? I would never keep expensive things that I am not needing nearby. Too much confusion, especially at a concert where a movie is being shot with thousands of people.

And WHY is it TURNED ON???


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12 Feb More Modern Classic Playing (Audio Only, LONG file)

So, fever’s gone.

I’m still down here in Dubai, will stay some more here until the snowing and freezing cold in home Rome, IT, ceases.

Prior to leaving, I had recorded a few files to study the sound of both the Modern and Classic Wizards. These were not supposed to be posted, but I thought you may be interested.

It is somehow boring, these are mere exercises of mine to warm up, be flowing etc.

This is the Modern Classic with a Les Paul, a newer one, one that I really love.

Settings on the amp are my usual settings, presence 0, Bass 5, mids 3-4, treble 5, gain 6 and master 8.

There is some post processing done to this, might get annoying in the end – sorry – but I wanted to play with this. It’s a stereo delay.

Wizard Modern Classic Les Paul


The second file is played with a 1969 SG, way below standard tuning. At some point, my 1965/1958 Les Paul Conversion “The Husk” gets in. Same settings, different guitars, to let you understand how the playing and different guitars act to the amp.

Wizard Modern Classic 1969 SG and The Husk


Edit please note: both takes were played with my beloved Schaffer-Vega Diversity.



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09 Feb Angus Young’s Guitar Style: It’s PHYSICAL

I remember telling myself (and everyone I talk to about this, been years) how I always though Angus’ guitar style was physical.

This struck me as an evident truth when I got better at it. It still strikes me when I have to play lead (try to) like his lead solo on “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” posted the other day. If you look at the beginning of the solo, there is a major (in terms of, intense) bend there, done on the D string. I am sure that that is how he did it on the album. It’s a freaking tough job and it’s completely physical.

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