Whew. I can finally say it out loud; or scream it. Or simply, continue to whisper it…ppst, the Schaffer Replica – an act of love initially, now a serious element of my entire life – has been used by Angus Young across the whole recording sessions for the latest AC/DC album – out on the next 2nd of December 2014 – “Rock Or Bust”.
The whole story is being covered by Guitar Player Magazine chief Editor Michael Molenda, who has interviewed Angus and Cliff yesterday in NYC (Michael was in touch with Ken Schaffer as well).
We will be interviewed as well for our side of the story next week, and the two stories – AC/DC’s new album and our “Schaffer Replica twist” will be mixed together in a main article on Guitar Player Magazine.
You can read of sneak preview of the paper article, due out on the January 2015 Guitar Player Magazine issue (thus out for us next December 2014, usually one month in advance) here
It’s funny, if you stop and think about the following for a minute: my search for AC/DC (Angus) sound certainly started many, many years ago, but only got its more serious twist when I read that article on Guitar Player Magazine from 1984. It’s funny (strange) that I happen to be covered on the same magazine, exactly 30 years later.
(PS expect loads more of information and stuff from us; we were only working behind for all of this; tons of news and goodies to come in 2015!)
Dear Rocking Friends,
Every one of us has a dream. A gear-related dream, to be precise. A Marshall Super Lead maybe? I think I just said something magical there. But you know, you don’t have to have that kind of equipment to achieve (or at least approximate) the tone you’ve always been dreaming about, as I shall demonstrate with this post. Now to be clear, the aim of this writing is not to say that expensive gear can be replaced, but rather to show you that you can squeeze out a somewhat decent tone – something you didn’t quite expect – even from cheaper gear. To sum this up in a sentence:You don’t know
So let’s jump straight into the setup I have for this demo:
Nothing quite special as you can see, it’s a very straight-forward setup. The only thing I did to the recording you’re about to hear, is that I applied some reverb via software. Other than that, this recording is raw, and has not been enhanced in any way. Have a good listen:
One thing to keep in mind while listening to this, is that the MS-4 has very tiny 3″ speakers inside of a plastic cabinet that barely has any air in it. This is the reason for the boxy sound, and the lack of bass. But once you get over that, it sounds very decent, especially the Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution part! That one sounds frighteningly close to the original in my opinion.
Now let’s take this experiment a little further – in case you’re not impressed already. I added the following items to the rig:
In order to plug the MS-4 into the external cabinet, a modification is required to the amp. This consists of bypassing a resistor inside the amp that limits the output signal to headphone levels. After that is done, the headphone jack now becomes a speaker output jack – but make sure you don’t plug any headphone into it anymore! If you need exact instructions on how to do this, please let me know in the comments.
So after the amp was prepared, I hooked up everything, and I was very impressed by the results. The amp sounded surprisingly dynamic, lively, rich in harmonics, and enjoyable. I even managed to get a nice sustained feedback! I mic’d up the cab to make a second recording, here it is:
Now let me ask you something at this point. Could you possibly tell (without reading the article) that the amp used in the recording is a $50 1W solid-state pocket amp? If this was a blindfold test, I guess you would bet for something way more expensive, wouldn’t you? That’s fine though, I would do the same 😆
Before ending this article, let me address one more thing… The whole point of this article is to give you an idea on how to get a better tone from your existing gear. The answer is very simple: take your time! When you’re setting up your amp, miking your cab, or even just setting the knobs on your stomp boxes, remember this: if you think you’re done after a couple of minutes, you’re not!
Let’s say you’re miking up your cab. What you shouldn’t do is to try out a few major mic positions, and pick what sounds the best for you, or either use a position that you used earlier. In many cases, tiny adjustments (I’m talking about millimeters here) can make a world of difference. When I mic up my guitar cab, I usually spend at least about 30 minutes setting up the mic position every time. Even if I marked a previously used mic position with duct tape on the cabinet, I only use that as a starting point. You should always absolutely geek out every possibility before recording. I find that spending extra time on the setup after you think it’s perfect is almost always beneficial. Of course the same rules apply to all the setup that’s required for playing, and not just miking.
Another very important thing is that you should always think of your whole rig (from your hands all the way to the speakers) as one big instrument! I cannot emphasize this enough. You’re not only playing the guitar, and having an amp that only makes it louder. The whole rig is one big instrument, but most importantly an instrument that has soul (not literally of course). Every piece in the rig is equally important. You have to spend time with your gear getting to know it, thus being able to use what is has to your advantage. A good rig is not just something you play on; it’s something that helps you expressing yourself, and also makes you feel good doing it!
I hope you find my thoughts useful, and will benefit greatly from them, just as I did. As the title says: never underrate your equipment! 🙂
Finally, here are a few pictures I took during the recording session:
Have a good day!
SoloDallas featured in GEARPHORIA magazine: “JUST how much does Filippo at SoloDallas want you to sound like Angus Young? A lot. So much so that he has made it a mission to reverse engineer one of Angus’ trademark pieces of kit. Not an amp or pedal mind you… it’s his ‘70s era Schaffer wireless system. And we can attest, it makes a surprisingly significant difference. The SoloDallas Schaffer Replica gives both bloom and depth to your guitar tone… making a vintage Marshall sound more like three vintage Marshalls. It is a pretty impressive thing to hear in person. We suggest if you have the opportunity to hear one for yourself, do it. The replica does away with the wireless aspect, but not the punch it gave to Angus’ signature roar.”