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.
Joab808Posted at 06:12h, 06 February
This is freaking awesome. It’s pretty much the EXACT tone I’m chasing. ESPECIALLY that rhythm tone. Really clean and clear, you can hear every note shine on through with that clarity, and it hasn’t got too much treble… but it’s still nice and heavy with plenty of grunt and tight low end. Don’t forget that dirty Marshall sound we all know and love.
That’s basically the sound of the Wizard Modern classic. That’s what I’m after, as close to that as possible. The Young brothers/Chris Cheney tone. I REALLY like the look of the Ceriatone Yeti 100watt, seems to be in a similar ballpark soundwise. Here’s a link…
Do you guys rekon I would get close with that bad boy? I’m running a Gretsch Chris Cheney sig and a Gretsch Black Phoenix.
NathanBrazilPosted at 05:46h, 06 February
Hey Fil , I`m going Rome next week in vacation , and it will be a pleasure to meet you personally!
Send me an e-mail if it’s possible , I’d be honored to meet you there.
AaronPosted at 04:31h, 06 February
Great tune. I always loved your soloing style. Sorry but I like the original BR video better ! haha
SoloBakersfieldPosted at 20:21h, 05 February
Glad to see your back Fil, theres one question I have been wanting to ask you I have a jmp 2204 head and a stock 1960a cab, I want to change the speakers in your opinion whats better for the 2204, G12M greenbacks or the G12-65 please help Im confused and if greenbacks which ones heres a link http://www.guitarcenter.com/New-Gear.gc?internal=1&browser=&src=G12M I heard the new 25 watt G12m are china made and the heritage are made in england thnks for all the help, banane told me probably G12-65s but Im still not sure for the 2204
Devil'Fingers"Posted at 19:39h, 05 February
Cool tune, really liked your playing Fil, especially soloing.
Though I must say that vocalist’s phrasing on word ” cocaine” kinda annoys me!
Hey, has anybody seen Scott Ian playing Angus’ bits on his SG and Wizard?? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtWrArkvrsA
AngusRudd1019Posted at 18:05h, 05 February
Any news on how the replica is coming along?
bananePosted at 18:31h, 05 February
Yes, please see here: http://www.solodallas.com/a-little-update-on-the-svds-replica/
AngusRudd1019Posted at 02:58h, 06 February
Ohh I didn’t know a post was made about it.My bad banane.
Back on topic though, Fil, you are one step closer to talking to the guitarists that we all love!!!You are in talks with the guitar tech and there is only two more people who you can talk to after that….Angus and Malcolm!!!
JohnnyPosted at 01:37h, 05 February
Hey fil, if u had the oppurtunity to help a band mix/produce one of their albums, would you??
SoloDallasPosted at 19:54h, 05 February
I would, but I would have to really like the playing, the songs, everything. I’ll be honest. Otherwise, I can give suggestions etc.
JohnnyPosted at 20:02h, 05 February
thanks for the reply fil 🙂 and would you do the same for an up and coming band ( like someones band from this site??) id assume the same rules would apply right??
HagusYoungPosted at 11:18h, 04 February
This is what Angus plays today. It is an awesome Amp, I ve played it and it didnt need really anything but a nice SG, no boost (no shaffer ^^, well maybe it sounds more vintage AC/DC with it). Its nature is like a kicked and fired up Marshall right on spot. Very responsive to the nice edgy mids, and still very ballsy.
Id like to hear some more of it, Angus stuff of course 😀
The only thing that keeps me back from getting one of those is my short college fund 😉
SoloDallasPosted at 11:27h, 04 February
Yes, exactly as you said, I concur fully. It is also true that by nature, Wizards amps are modified Marshalls the way AC/DC always wanted them. It’s no secret: Rick St. Pierre (AC/DC amp tech for the last 20 years or more) had built the first units to satisfy the requests of the Young brothers of “running hot” vintage Marshall amps that would be reliable and tone-plentiful. This has been the task. Both the Vintage Classic and the Modern Classic deliver exactly this. The tone IS a Marshall flavor, but there’s something more to it. My strong impression is that Mr. St. Pierre (I MAY BE WRONG!) re-created one single terrific Vintage Marshall that sounded terrific, probably modified slightly, and cloned it. Later in time, likely adding up more specifics to the tone and circuits. PLEASE bear in mind, these are my “fabrications”, deductions and NOT Mr. St. Pierre statements. I am unaware of Mr. St. Pierre presence here (he may have registered) but will try and take him here or to future videos of mine featuring the Wizard Amps 🙂
SoloDallasPosted at 11:42h, 04 February
BTW the Schaffer is always a nice addition (in fact, I played both parts with it here as well). Not necessarily because I want to push the replica sales once it will be ready, but also because – truly – not only you get the boost, but even more importantly, you get the compressor working, which really smooths some mids in a “FM, record-like” way, helping the playing a lot, improving sustain etc. So even with moderate boost level (as I did here), you always get the nice compression. I love this kind of sound, I said it several times, it always brings me back to the “Back in Black type of tone” and playing.
HagusYoungPosted at 18:16h, 04 February
You should try some stuff from the Stiff upper Lip Album, that must be sounding awesome with this Amp. Also: One of my favourite records with Brian, the VH-1 Sessions form 1996. When I listen to that it reminds me exactly of the tone that the Wizard gives you right away without the need of an antique Marshall (and all its little problems).
Im afraid I didnt play the Vintage Classic, onle the Modern Classic. I’m really trying, but I wont get this on my Vintage Modern Marshall, they just dont sound like it. The magic of this Wizard is in their drive.
I also believe that Wizard wanted to recreate a specific kind of Marshall, just with premium components. And to me this absolutely works.
06AngusSGPosted at 09:26h, 04 February
Very sweet spell the wizard (and you) have put to this song!!!! 🙂 I’ve always liked Clapton’s version but this is an Amazing upbeat spin to it. SUPERB!!!!
Gorgeous LesPaul!!!! (slobber being cleaned up)
And Franz’s comment as to “what’s coming” has me biting my nails in anticipation.
Can’t wait to “Debut” MY 2203 and G12-65’s here. I’ve had them for only a week and….. Holy crap that combo can’t be beat!!! I’m waiting on my AT4047 and an Aracom though. only a matter of weeks!!! For now I’ll just enjoy killing my ears!!! 😉
bananePosted at 09:33h, 04 February
Hey Jon! Congrats to the new gear! 2203 and G12-65s are really an awesome combination. Did you use an attenuator before? I’m very interested in comparisons between Aracom and Weber.
06AngusSGPosted at 09:38h, 04 February
No never used one before. I never had the need with the Bray “master” in my 1987x. I’m going Aracom because of the extensive “demo’s” here. I figure, I have the $ right now so might as well get the right stuff on the first try.
SoloDallasPosted at 10:17h, 04 February
Good to see you Jon 🙂 Well, it is different. PPIMP and Attenuators are different. Attenuators – and specifically so, the Aracom, which in my (unbiased lol) opinion is the BEST of the all (and I still don’t get nothing out of this! I may in the future though 🙂 ) – are more “transparent”. PPIMP tends to muddy some aspects of the character of the amp. Some not qualitative attenuators do the same though.
The Aracom seems to be “what goes in goes out” and it will come down to lower than bedroom level, really a hush thing. Amazing.
I can’t live without my Aracom; in fact I have two, one as a backup and for live gigs. The other one stays put on my stack, whatever amp there is there, the Aracom sits there period.
You will also find lots of joy with your AT4047 microphone. I am proud to have inspired both purchases, THIS is selected, proven and qualitative stuff I myself have been testing for months and months. You also are a proof (if need be) that this site prompts to good, smart purchases, which makes me hope once again to make some money out of this. Woooo!!!
bananePosted at 10:31h, 04 February
The funny thing with the Weber is that it seems to compress the upper mids when it becomes hot. I’m not fully sure here, but I often had the phenomenon that my sound is fine in the morning and different after several hours of playing. And after several hours of playing the Weber becomes VERY hot. You really can burn your fingers on it, no joke. And it seems to change the tone when it’s that hot. Though its not under-dimensioned, I’m using the 100 watt Weber Mass with 50 watt amps. Well, will experiment with active cooling or adding some heat sinks to it.
06AngusSGPosted at 07:57h, 05 February
I fully agree with all you said. The PPIMP, while a great addition by Dave, had always left something lacking. If my tone was “fat” enough it was too clean. If dirty enough it was to thin and shrill.
And YES (proof positive) you did inspire these purchases and I thank you for it!!! 😉 Without this site and the GREAT people here I’d still be searching for “That Sound” which I finally have. I can get the perfect blend of Fat, Crunchy, and smooth…… While not quite “ear killing” when I get there, it’s too loud to be family friendly. 😉 I don’t have to worry about neighbors but my gear is in it’s winter location in the living room. In comes the Aracom. Haaa!!!!
BTW I just bought this version of Cocaine from Google Music. Another “inspired” Purchase. The more I listen the more I love this version!!!
SoloDallasPosted at 08:58h, 05 February
HA! Happy. Will you let us know about the Aracom? What you think of it? I am extremely curious. It even might revolutionize the way you “hear” a tube amp cranked at low volumes.
I think there’s only two top Attenuators out there right now, one is the Aracom, the other one the “Faustine”. And a third one, the “Alex”. While I think the Aracom is the best one, I’m curious of other peoples ears?
06AngusSGPosted at 09:11h, 05 February
Surely I WILL do a review of my own. I don’t know yet how long it will be ’till I get it? Don’t know how long the “wait list” is. I’ve only made it as far as calling Jeff and leaving a message for him to call me back to order one. I’ll be ordering the “PRO” version.
As soon as I have it there will be info/opinion given here in a “user” gear review!!!!! 🙂
KevPosted at 14:03h, 05 February
Hey guys, I also bought the Aracom last year after I saw Fil testing it (and obviously loving it) and although it was a load of money for me as a student, it was worth every Cent. It is so great to play with my JMP cranked but at bedroom levels (sometimes above :D). It is incredible how responsive the amp is when it’s cranked, it REALLY improves you playing once you get used to it =)
SoloDallasPosted at 15:20h, 05 February
HA. And whatcha waiting for??? Let us hear you WITH the Aracom. It IS expensive, but for the seriously dedicated musician – be it pro or not – it is a piece of hardware that will remain for life. Just like the amps (the good ones).
The thing is that, these attenuators – specifically the good ones – were able to precisely give us back the big ole amplifiers that would have required stages and/or recording studios to be played in! Instead, the regular, bedroom player like us can finally today play these daily, record with them and re-obtain after decades the old, greatest sounds that shaped the discography of rock and classic rock. This is a no doubt, no brainer statement on my part. It’s just the way it is: attenuators for life! Instead of chasing after 1 watters or 5 watters amps – which will NEVER sound exactly like their biggest brothers – one buys the REAL thing and an attenuator. And there you are, projected into the history of rock with an authentic piece and sound. SD over 😉
KevPosted at 15:27h, 05 February
Fil, trust me, I try to make a video but I have to work out some technical difficulties first =) I will do it as soon as everything is set up correctly, because i want to deliver the right sound, the one that I hear while playing =) A few days, and you will hear from me, OK? 🙂
KevPosted at 16:15h, 05 February
OK, everything recorde!! Video editing right now!
KevPosted at 16:28h, 05 February
While the video is being edited: How can I post it once it’s finished?
SoloDallasPosted at 16:38h, 05 February
Wow you were fast Kev!
Okay: to post, upload onto your youtube account. Once you did it, you can post it in any comment (or in the user video performance section) via the following syntax: “httpv” and the rest of the video address
KevPosted at 16:40h, 05 February
thanks, will do so =)
KevPosted at 17:00h, 05 February
OK, video rendering=) It may take a while, but it will be up soon =)
KevPosted at 17:48h, 05 February
Video being uploaded right now 🙂
KevPosted at 20:05h, 05 February
Posted it in User Videos!!!
KyleSGPosted at 21:54h, 04 February
Awesome I have a 2203 as well…..I did try one attenuator on it once which was a Marshall power break but that seemed to make it more muddy and really even me I play in a small basement room and because the amp has the master volume there’s never a need for attenuator in my opinion as I can get really low without killing the ears or high with both sounding great!
bananePosted at 22:53h, 04 February
Yes, thats a problem with many attenuators. If you can play loud enough in your basement, thats great 🙂 But here in my living room it would be still too loud with the master on 4 on my 2204. And master on 2 or 3 doesnt make fun. How loud do you have yours?
KyleSGPosted at 19:50h, 05 February
Well never played a 2204 but with my 100watt 2203 I have the pre-amp volume always at 6 1/2 to 3/4 and the master at 1.75 to 2 with sometimes a tad over 2 if I feel like I want to be louder that day lol…..yes of course the louder you can get the better tone range there is but pretty much with the pre-amp where I have it I can adjust the master to as low as it can go which will easily give you bedroom sound with still decent tone.
RyleyPosted at 18:10h, 05 February
hey man, where did u buy ur aracom?? i look on ebay all the time and i can never find one :/
KevPosted at 18:14h, 05 February
I ordered mine directly at their website 🙂
headwhop26Posted at 23:37h, 03 February
Wooooohoooo! I always like new equipment.
Great video, Fil.
SoloDallasPosted at 10:18h, 04 February
Me too, especially the good one!
Dave4433Posted at 22:46h, 03 February
Your Les Paul Custom!… I Want!!
Awesome performance as is usual (always in the best way there is)! Your mixing skills are improving with every track You mix. The only tracks where i can for sure tell that You’re playing is when it gets to the solo. If i wasn’t aware that You’re also playing the rhythm it would be impossible to tell. Yes, that’s how nice and in-line with the song You mixed Your own track.
But back to the point –
That Les Paul is sexy 0.O !!
JaiminhoPaginaPosted at 20:20h, 03 February
This thing is oozing fat and crunchy tones! Amazing!
And the SVDS just makes it even better!
Stellar playing, Fil 😉
This reminds me a lot of the Stiff Upper Lip tone, instead. 😛
Nice Les Paul Custom too. I love these 😛
depuis1899Posted at 20:06h, 03 February
I could try a Wizard amp when I was in the Gibson Boutique in Roma, and I have to say, that sounded incredible with a LP ! I do really love the sound of this amp !
dash8311Posted at 19:47h, 03 February
Sounds great Fil!
TylerPosted at 19:02h, 03 February
Finally the wizards! Should be great to put it to the test with some live at river plate covers! Interesting that he may of recorded black ice with wizards? I would of figured they would of recorded with some of their most prized vintage marshalls.
KinglancePosted at 18:22h, 03 February
Hey Fil!! Glad to see u’re back 😀 Man, that tone, it rocks!! :p It has a lot of balls :p Didn’t know the band, but like them alot!! 🙂
I have a vintage Marshall cab with Celestion G12 65’s since last week 😀 Bought it from Dries :p I must say, it has a lot of balls. Very powerfull!!
Maybe I can ask u a favor? 😀 Next week, 7 february, tuesday, it’s my birthday 😀 Maybe u could do a “Live in River Plate” cover from AC/DC? Or maybe a testdrive-video on some AC/DC with the Wizard… I would love to hear it at some AC/DC. Maybe with the Angus Young Signature SG 😀
I can only ask… 😀
Grtz!! And Grazie!! For all the things u do for us!! We like a lot!! 😀
JohnnyPosted at 18:18h, 03 February
OMG!!! amazing fil just amazing :). i like the song cocaine now lol. Do u like clapton?? I cant stand him lol. Awesome to c u again :). So, when do the riverplate covers come lol??
constipation.bluesPosted at 18:32h, 03 February
Actually “Cocaine” it’s J.J. Cale’s song, Clapton just covered it. JJ is a great musician, the king of laid-back style.
terrific tone, SoloDallas!
JohnnyPosted at 18:38h, 03 February
oops my bad lol 🙂 only heard the clapton version. fils cover is the best version though 🙂
rjofigPosted at 17:50h, 03 February
Hehehe, wizaaaard 🙂
Glad to see you back in action, my friend, and a nice surprise performance too! I was not aware of this band, but it is a nice take on Cocaine, there’s much ac/dc-ness there indeed. Cheers!
SoloDallasPosted at 18:01h, 03 February
Rena!!!! You doing solid progress mate, seen you 🙂
rjofigPosted at 18:36h, 03 February
Fil, thanks!! Hey, contrary to the saying, old dogs can learn some new tricks 🙂
SoloDallasPosted at 18:37h, 03 February
Sayings are often overrated lol
OldSchoolRocker666Posted at 16:32h, 03 February
Wow! Finaly hearing that White SG, it sounds so sick and it seems you use the Vega to, awesome! How does it sound like when att middle position Fil? It looks to me you had the swich all way down to Treble position or am i seeing it wrong?
”WIZARD” allmost blew my speakers, lol i’am glad i didn’t have the headset while listening, lol!
Great performance and sound! 🙂
SoloDallasPosted at 16:35h, 03 February
the white SG sounds really well. I love it. Yes I had it in treble position, and in middle it tends to sound a bit like a Fender Strato on the second switch position (on the 5 position switch). That “rounded”. This guitar though has been set by me with a really, really lowered mid pickup, so I won’t hit it as I play.
bananePosted at 16:43h, 03 February
Hmm…didn’t you use this SG for a “Rock n Roll ain’t noise pollution” video somewhen?
bananePosted at 16:17h, 03 February
Well, I just can say that this made me instantly thinking of the Black Ice album when I heard this amp the first time 🙂 Awesome tone indeed.
And great performance of you as always bro 🙂
SoloDallasPosted at 16:19h, 03 February
Danke Bro 🙂 (to tell the truth, Franz and I have been in touch all the time and he knows everything I do, plans etc 😛 ).
bananePosted at 16:29h, 03 February
Exactly! Boys, if you knew what’s all coming up here… (chuckles and rubbing hands) 😀