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Stray Cats tone from Tech 21 Blonde

Discussion in 'Pedal Pushers Forum' started by Rob Williams, May 18, 2017.

  1. Rob Williams

    Rob Williams Country Gent

    Jul 5, 2014
    SE QLD
    Can anyone with a Tech 21 Blonde or Setzer aficionados give me a clue as to some base settings on my Tech 21 Blonde Deluxe to get that early 80's Stray Cat tone? I keep missing something. Pedal sequence is Atomic Brain / DD7 /Blonde.
  2. Stefan

    Stefan Country Gent

    Jan 20, 2016
    It's the kind of tone many guys are after. I highly doubt you'll get that tone out of a solid state amp, sorry. You need a 6120, Setzers tape echo (which is a main part of his tone) and a blonde bassman ;)
    Anyway- the best you'll get is something similar. If I'm right Tsims is playing a Tech21, he can help for sure, ask him, he's a good guy :)
    Waxhead and T simmons like this.
  3. Ricochet

    Ricochet Gretschified

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    IIRC Tony is playing the Vox model.

    According to the Blonde manual the Bassman setting is basicly everything at noon. Drive 12-1, Character 1-2, Bass 11.
    T simmons likes this.
  4. Rob Williams

    Rob Williams Country Gent

    Jul 5, 2014
    SE QLD
    Yep - just chasing something similar with what I've got. Not expecting to nail it.
  5. Dead Roman

    Dead Roman Country Gent

    Dec 22, 2015
    Setzers light touch is the key to his tone imho. He plays with those amps cranked to breakup and then plays super light to get the cleaner sounds. I feel like that's why he can play with so much dynamic range.

    This is purely my opinion.
  6. Rob Williams

    Rob Williams Country Gent

    Jul 5, 2014
    SE QLD
    You know what, I think your right! This ham fisted bunny will have to make do. Cheers
    T simmons likes this.
  7. steb74

    steb74 Gretschie

    Jul 23, 2011
    Madrid, Spain
    Yes, this is true indeed. Setzer does have a light touch in general which isn't to say that he plays soft.
    Which perhaps sounds like a contradiction but isn't as he has a very solid approach when using a pick and basically uses a kind of rest stroke technique when flat picking lead lines and to some degree chordal solos, etc, his rhythm technique is a little different.
    There is a definite jazz style to his approach to picking but it also leans on the gypsy side too, again using the kind of rest stroke method.
    He will of course dig in more if a different level of intensity is required but playing a little lighter as a general starting point helps to give him more overall dynamic range and helps keep the volume more balanced when he goes from flat picking to finger picking.
    Mudshark likes this.
  8. I would also say this is the case for most people chasing a sound. You could break into mr setzers house, steal his guitar and amp rig, and still not sound like him. It's the person. Similar gear can get you close, but unless you are that person, or dedicate your life to that exact style, it won't be the same. On the plus side, this does drive a bit of the instrument business. I have a setzer hotrod.
    TSims1 likes this.
  9. MikeyUK

    MikeyUK Gretschie

    Dec 15, 2016
    Rochdale, GB
    Wow is that what he's doing. I've got no chance then, I get way too excited to have a light touch. ROCK & F******* ROLL BABY!! (you see what I mean)
  10. jklotz

    jklotz Gretschie

    Mar 24, 2013
    Oh come on. You and me will never be able to play like Setzer, but his rig is as simple as it comes. Blonde bassman, 301 tape echo and a gretsch with filtertrons. (One more resin to respect the guy - he doesn't hide behind a big wall of blinking lights, knobs and gadgets. He just makes it sound awesome and doesn't even use a pedal board) The atomic brain should get you the 301 preamp, at least as close as I've found. So what's left? I'm going to assume you are playing a Grestch with filtertrons, so that leaves your delay, the Tech 21 Blonde Deluxe and whatever you are using to amplify it with. The DD7 is a little too clean and crisp to my ears. Personally, I'm saving my rubles for a Mystery Brain. But there are plenty of tape echo emulator pedals that should do the trick. As for the Tech 21 Blonde Deluxe, I'll let Tsims chime in on that one, as I've never played one.

    How are you amping the whole thing?
    Dead Roman likes this.
  11. ruger9

    ruger9 Country Gent

    Nov 1, 2008
    So THAT'S why I can never get a great tone out of my Hot Rod... I do not play light. Makes sense... those big hollowbodies tend to compress the harder you you hit 'em. I can't play "light", I never have. I'm more from the SRV camp.

    This is a bit of a revelation to me... I've never thought about Setzer's "touch", just his tone... and I can never achieve it.
  12. TV the Wired Turtle

    TV the Wired Turtle Gretschified

    Jul 25, 2009
    so cal
    One of Mr Setzer's tricks is that he uses very light/medium picks on spiderweb thin 10g strings on a 24.6 scale guitar AND all his guitars are refretted w oversized stainless steel frets. Almost the recipe for the shred era pointer jackson guitars.. and YES touch dynamics are everything w his setup.
    He runs the volume of the blonde bassman right around 4-5, bass 2-3 and treble above where the 6G6-B blondes tapped treble pot opens up w a touch more gain usually around 6-8. Then the truly unique thing about the blonde 6G6-B is the power section, its sound in general is mostly from its power section as Setzer is using the normal channel (he used the bass channel back in the early cats days when he didnt have the space echo, it has a extra tube gain stage) and this particular amp (like the Vox AC30's cut control which is a similar thing just reversed) has a presence control that is removing negative feedback from the power section. This makes the amps headroom lower and respond to the players pick attack more readily, plus it will break up sooner when pushed..
    This comes from the RE-301 space echo's preamp, nothing to do w the mechanical tape echo portion of the unit. The preamp's color has a rise in the upper mids, coupled w the filtertrons upper mids bump and a maple body guitar.. you have a rock rig that is pure touch dynamics. When this is all dialed in you can crank up a blonde and space echo so that it starts breaking up, then dial back on your volume for a very clean spanky twang. Those celestion V30s are also key.. upper mid range hump in those react TOTALLY to the colored assault coming at them.. they break up in the highs but stay clean and woody in the lows.

    Dont listen to anyone that sez his sound is in his fingers.. of course he sounds like himself on any guitar he plays just as we ALL DO.. but the rig itself will do exactly like I shared. All the time every time regardless of player.
    All to say.. ya Robin, plug your Brain pedal preamp into the Tech21 w the speaker emulator, keep the bass very low w the treble up higher and push the front of it w your preamp. The designer of that pedal has an RE301 and I talked to him at length about his using it. I think you could get real close even w the liverpool. The AC30 is close to a tweed bassman in some ways, there are lots of tonal simularities. I had a prototype grey panel AC30 Nocturne amp I never developed that sounds super close to my blonde amps, and visa
    versa. Blondes stay tighter and never get creamy unless seriously saturated using openback cabs w alnico speakers.. I have a repro Tophat Vox cab w an alnico silverbell and G12H30, I get vox tones for days w my blonde amp into it.
    Last edited: May 19, 2017
  13. musicman100

    musicman100 Country Gent

    Aug 15, 2008
    Your missing the main ingredient!
    Brian setzers ability to play and his hand. Lol
  14. TSims1

    TSims1 Friend of Fred

    Jun 18, 2013

    So this is what I was waiting for before commenting. ;)

    I'm also glad he brought up the Liverpool point. I honestly find I can conjure better rockabilly tones with the Liverpool than the Blonde, but that's me. I've always kinda felt like a good Vox is quite a bit like a Bassman with more top end and clarity, so I'm glad to hear I'm not nuts. :)

    I find I can get VERY close with my Liverpool and Mystery Brain. Seriously. So get a Mystery Brain(or a different delay)and rock on.
    Dead Roman likes this.
  15. ZackyDog

    ZackyDog Country Gent

    Feb 6, 2015
    In the USA
    This gentleman is using a Tech 21 Blonde with his Gretsch G6120:


    Attached Files:

    T simmons likes this.
  16. Rob Williams

    Rob Williams Country Gent

    Jul 5, 2014
    SE QLD
    Thanks guys @tavo thanks man that's the kinda info I needed (settings etc). I'm seriously considering going back to VOX but the budget doesn't allow it. I'd like to get a Liverpool Deluxe or an AC15. But I'd have to sell the blonde to finance it and I'm not sure it's worth selling second hand pedals (even expensive ones!).
    Last edited: May 19, 2017
    T simmons likes this.
  17. Srellim1

    Srellim1 Gretschie

    Feb 6, 2016
    Los Angeles
    [QUOTE="The AC30 is so close to a tweed bassman, there are lots of simularities. I had a prototype grey panel AC30 Nocturne amp I never developed that sounds super close to my blonde amps, and visa
    versa. Blondes stay tighter and never get creamy unless seriously saturated using openback cabs w alnico speakers.. I have a repro Tophat Vox cap w an alnico silverbell and G12H30, I get vox tones for days w my blonde amp into it.[/QUOTE]

    So sorry if this is hijacking - can you expand upon that a little bit? I'm not after Setzers tone per se, but wouldn't mind getting a little more Bassman sound out of my AC30 HW2x.

  18. ruger9

    ruger9 Country Gent

    Nov 1, 2008
    Me: heavy picks, 11s, open-backed combo (never gets the tight bass, hard to achieve twang)... and I don't have a light touch. Definitely more of a blues/rock thing coming from me... hence SRV.

    I've been zeroing in on scale length... over the years, I find I live everything about 25.5" scale over 24.6/24.75... I like the tension, the little bit of added clarity and "pop'.... maybe I should look at a Tennessee Rose....

    Here's the thing: I'm never gonna run a big closed-back 2x12, I'm never gonna' run 100ft of cable, and I'm never gonna own an RE-301, (never mind Setzer's hands!) I really think the 11s & open back cab are the largest hinderance for me. Oh well. I don;t really "chase" his tone anymore, altho I still love it and it's still one of the greatest, most versatile tones I've ever heard. But- alot of it is coming from his technique, which I don't posses.

  19. Fjrabon

    Fjrabon Gretschie

    Mar 7, 2017
    I remember reading an article somewhere about another famous player picking up one of setzers guitars and he couldn't play it. everything he did buzzed like crazy, almost any note he played when fretted went sharp; he thought maybe it was in the middle of being setup. Then setzer picked it up right after and sounded like the voice of god.

    Can't remember who the player was or where I read this to save my life. But I guess it goes towards the point of probably the largest aspect of setzer's tone being his ultra light strings, low action and crazy light touch. Supposedly his strings are so light and his frets so big that he can get a pretty good vibrato just from varying fretting pressure.
  20. Henry

    Henry Friend of Fred

    Apr 9, 2014
    I'm how might some can play, like those who use scalloped boards and fret without actually touching the wood. I imagine it also helps with intonation.