Brian setzer sound

TV the Wired Turtle

Gretschified
Jul 25, 2009
14,660
Sandy Eggo
How did he go from a clean to distorted sound with just the fender and space echo ? Does he roll his volume knob down for rhyy and then turn it up for leads?

The overdrive sound you hear from "most" of brian setzer recordings comes from an interaction of both the coloring from the maple gretsch guitar and its pickups, into the "key" element, his RE-301 space echo (not the earlier made RE-201) and its preamp gain and color pushing the normal channel of a blonde bassman 6G6-B amp to a set of celestion V30 speakers. He is not using an overdrive pedal and his rig has no device in it that has such a feature. The RE-301 space echo has a full spectrum preamplifier that uses a Toshiba opamp, that is both clean and slightly colored w plenty of gain boost on tap. Yes the mechanical tape echo plays into the ambient spacial response he gets but we are talking about the sum of all parts that lets him go from clean finger picking to untucking the pic out of his palm to flat picking and the interaction of the guitar, the preamp from the space echo to the particular amp, to the speakers.

The inherent upper midrange color of a gretsch guitar, particularly w the filtertron pickups, is intensified by the dynamic response of the RE-301 space echo's preamp as well as its own coloring hitting the normal channel of the Blonde Fender bassman. The 6G6-B bassman's normal channel is using one preamp amp tube along w the driver tube and small bottle 5881/6L6wgb power tubes. A unique feature of the 6G6-B fender blonde bassman is its presence control that when turned up, dials of the negative feedback in the power section of the amp. This makes the amp more dynamically responsive and lowers the headroom of the amp. So that as the player attacks the strings in conjunction to the dynamics of the RE301 space echo, that pushing straight into the amp and causes the upper midrange to overdrive. This is also causing the coloration of the V30s to create breakup and saturation in the speaker while the design of the cone keeps the lows nice and tight. This all is easily controlled by the players touch sensitivity/ dynamic attack and the volume control of the instrument. If you watch the "live in japan" DVD you can see all this interaction at its peak when he performs the song Sleepwalk. He literally goes over to the preamp control of the 301 space echo and turns up the gain and switch, then proceeds to use his volume control to drive the guitars sustain and control feedback. body positioning of the guitar as well. When you bring the top into a parallel position w the closeback cab, you cause the sound to go into the body and sympathetically make it vibrate, but by turning perpendicular and facing the tailpin/butt of the guitar toward the speakers the vibration leans out and the feedback is dissipated .

You will see setzer usually NEVER without that space echo, as that preamp IS the catalyst. note, this is all separate from his talent. :) I'm a crazy fan boy of his sound, guilty as charged.

ROLAND_SPACE_ECHO_FEATURE.jpg
 

Bravefaces

Gretschie
Jan 13, 2014
195
Central Australia NT
Dam. You beat me to it that's exactly what I was going to say :oops:😂
The overdrive sound you hear from "most" of brian setzer recordings comes from an interaction of both the coloring from the maple gretsch guitar and its pickups, into the "key" element, his RE-301 space echo (not the earlier made RE-201) and its preamp gain and color pushing the normal channel of a blonde bassman 6G6-B amp to a set of celestion V30 speakers. He is not using an overdrive pedal and his rig has no device in it that has such a feature. The RE-301 space echo has a full spectrum preamplifier that uses a Toshiba opamp, that is both clean and slightly colored w plenty of gain boost on tap. Yes the mechanical tape echo plays into the ambient spacial response he gets but we are talking about the sum of all parts that lets him go from clean finger picking to untucking the pic out of his palm to flat picking and the interaction of the guitar, the preamp from the space echo to the particular amp, to the speakers.

The inherent upper midrange color of a gretsch guitar, particularly w the filtertron pickups, is intensified by the dynamic response of the RE-301 space echo's preamp as well as its own coloring hitting the normal channel of the Blonde Fender bassman. The 6G6-B bassman's normal channel is using one preamp amp tube along w the driver tube and small bottle 5881/6L6wgb power tubes. A unique feature of the 6G6-B fender blonde bassman is its presence control that when turned up, dials of the negative feedback in the power section of the amp. This makes the amp more dynamically responsive and lowers the headroom of the amp. So that as the player attacks the strings in conjunction to the dynamics of the RE301 space echo, that pushing straight into the amp and causes the upper midrange to overdrive. This is also causing the coloration of the V30s to create breakup and saturation in the speaker while the design of the cone keeps the lows nice and tight. This all is easily controlled by the players touch sensitivity/ dynamic attack and the volume control of the instrument. If you watch the "live in japan" DVD you can see all this interaction at its peak when he performs the song Sleepwalk. He literally goes over to the preamp control of the 301 space echo and turns up the gain and switch, then proceeds to use his volume control to drive the guitars sustain and control feedback. body positioning of the guitar as well. When you bring the top into a parallel position w the closeback cab, you cause the sound to go into the body and sympathetically make it vibrate, but by turning perpendicular and facing the tailpin/butt of the guitar toward the speakers the vibration leans out and the feedback is dissipated .

You will see setzer usually NEVER without that space echo, as that preamp IS the catalyst. note, this is all separate from his talent. :) I'm a crazy fan boy of his sound, guilty as charged.

ROLAND_SPACE_ECHO_FEATURE.jpg
 

Outlaw

Country Gent
Jul 13, 2011
1,321
UK
The overdrive sound you hear from "most" of brian setzer recordings comes from an interaction of both the coloring from the maple gretsch guitar and its pickups, into the "key" element, his RE-301 space echo (not the earlier made RE-201) and its preamp gain and color pushing the normal channel of a blonde bassman 6G6-B amp to a set of celestion V30 speakers. He is not using an overdrive pedal and his rig has no device in it that has such a feature. The RE-301 space echo has a full spectrum preamplifier that uses a Toshiba opamp, that is both clean and slightly colored w plenty of gain boost on tap. Yes the mechanical tape echo plays into the ambient spacial response he gets but we are talking about the sum of all parts that lets him go from clean finger picking to untucking the pic out of his palm to flat picking and the interaction of the guitar, the preamp from the space echo to the particular amp, to the speakers.

The inherent upper midrange color of a gretsch guitar, particularly w the filtertron pickups, is intensified by the dynamic response of the RE-301 space echo's preamp as well as its own coloring hitting the normal channel of the Blonde Fender bassman. The 6G6-B bassman's normal channel is using one preamp amp tube along w the driver tube and small bottle 5881/6L6wgb power tubes. A unique feature of the 6G6-B fender blonde bassman is its presence control that when turned up, dials of the negative feedback in the power section of the amp. This makes the amp more dynamically responsive and lowers the headroom of the amp. So that as the player attacks the strings in conjunction to the dynamics of the RE301 space echo, that pushing straight into the amp and causes the upper midrange to overdrive. This is also causing the coloration of the V30s to create breakup and saturation in the speaker while the design of the cone keeps the lows nice and tight. This all is easily controlled by the players touch sensitivity/ dynamic attack and the volume control of the instrument. If you watch the "live in japan" DVD you can see all this interaction at its peak when he performs the song Sleepwalk. He literally goes over to the preamp control of the 301 space echo and turns up the gain and switch, then proceeds to use his volume control to drive the guitars sustain and control feedback. body positioning of the guitar as well. When you bring the top into a parallel position w the closeback cab, you cause the sound to go into the body and sympathetically make it vibrate, but by turning perpendicular and facing the tailpin/butt of the guitar toward the speakers the vibration leans out and the feedback is dissipated .

You will see setzer usually NEVER without that space echo, as that preamp IS the catalyst. note, this is all separate from his talent. :) I'm a crazy fan boy of his sound, guilty as charged.

ROLAND_SPACE_ECHO_FEATURE.jpg
Brilliant and in depth answer to kmarts question.
I feel educated!
 

Electrosynthesis

Gretschie
May 11, 2011
391
São Paulo
The overdrive sound you hear from "most" of brian setzer recordings comes from an interaction of both the coloring from the maple gretsch guitar and its pickups, into the "key" element, his RE-301 space echo (not the earlier made RE-201) and its preamp gain and color pushing the normal channel of a blonde bassman 6G6-B amp to a set of celestion V30 speakers. He is not using an overdrive pedal and his rig has no device in it that has such a feature. The RE-301 space echo has a full spectrum preamplifier that uses a Toshiba opamp, that is both clean and slightly colored w plenty of gain boost on tap. Yes the mechanical tape echo plays into the ambient spacial response he gets but we are talking about the sum of all parts that lets him go from clean finger picking to untucking the pic out of his palm to flat picking and the interaction of the guitar, the preamp from the space echo to the particular amp, to the speakers.

The inherent upper midrange color of a gretsch guitar, particularly w the filtertron pickups, is intensified by the dynamic response of the RE-301 space echo's preamp as well as its own coloring hitting the normal channel of the Blonde Fender bassman. The 6G6-B bassman's normal channel is using one preamp amp tube along w the driver tube and small bottle 5881/6L6wgb power tubes. A unique feature of the 6G6-B fender blonde bassman is its presence control that when turned up, dials of the negative feedback in the power section of the amp. This makes the amp more dynamically responsive and lowers the headroom of the amp. So that as the player attacks the strings in conjunction to the dynamics of the RE301 space echo, that pushing straight into the amp and causes the upper midrange to overdrive. This is also causing the coloration of the V30s to create breakup and saturation in the speaker while the design of the cone keeps the lows nice and tight. This all is easily controlled by the players touch sensitivity/ dynamic attack and the volume control of the instrument. If you watch the "live in japan" DVD you can see all this interaction at its peak when he performs the song Sleepwalk. He literally goes over to the preamp control of the 301 space echo and turns up the gain and switch, then proceeds to use his volume control to drive the guitars sustain and control feedback. body positioning of the guitar as well. When you bring the top into a parallel position w the closeback cab, you cause the sound to go into the body and sympathetically make it vibrate, but by turning perpendicular and facing the tailpin/butt of the guitar toward the speakers the vibration leans out and the feedback is dissipated .

You will see setzer usually NEVER without that space echo, as that preamp IS the catalyst. note, this is all separate from his talent. :) I'm a crazy fan boy of his sound, guilty as charged.

ROLAND_SPACE_ECHO_FEATURE.jpg
Thanks for taking the time!
 

Gewdkharma

Gretschie
Jan 14, 2018
286
Gig Harbor, WA
The overdrive sound you hear from "most" of brian setzer recordings comes from an interaction of both the coloring from the maple gretsch guitar and its pickups, into the "key" element, his RE-301 space echo (not the earlier made RE-201) and its preamp gain and color pushing the normal channel of a blonde bassman 6G6-B amp to a set of celestion V30 speakers. He is not using an overdrive pedal and his rig has no device in it that has such a feature. The RE-301 space echo has a full spectrum preamplifier that uses a Toshiba opamp, that is both clean and slightly colored w plenty of gain boost on tap. Yes the mechanical tape echo plays into the ambient spacial response he gets but we are talking about the sum of all parts that lets him go from clean finger picking to untucking the pic out of his palm to flat picking and the interaction of the guitar, the preamp from the space echo to the particular amp, to the speakers.

The inherent upper midrange color of a gretsch guitar, particularly w the filtertron pickups, is intensified by the dynamic response of the RE-301 space echo's preamp as well as its own coloring hitting the normal channel of the Blonde Fender bassman. The 6G6-B bassman's normal channel is using one preamp amp tube along w the driver tube and small bottle 5881/6L6wgb power tubes. A unique feature of the 6G6-B fender blonde bassman is its presence control that when turned up, dials of the negative feedback in the power section of the amp. This makes the amp more dynamically responsive and lowers the headroom of the amp. So that as the player attacks the strings in conjunction to the dynamics of the RE301 space echo, that pushing straight into the amp and causes the upper midrange to overdrive. This is also causing the coloration of the V30s to create breakup and saturation in the speaker while the design of the cone keeps the lows nice and tight. This all is easily controlled by the players touch sensitivity/ dynamic attack and the volume control of the instrument. If you watch the "live in japan" DVD you can see all this interaction at its peak when he performs the song Sleepwalk. He literally goes over to the preamp control of the 301 space echo and turns up the gain and switch, then proceeds to use his volume control to drive the guitars sustain and control feedback. body positioning of the guitar as well. When you bring the top into a parallel position w the closeback cab, you cause the sound to go into the body and sympathetically make it vibrate, but by turning perpendicular and facing the tailpin/butt of the guitar toward the speakers the vibration leans out and the feedback is dissipated .

You will see setzer usually NEVER without that space echo, as that preamp IS the catalyst. note, this is all separate from his talent. :) I'm a crazy fan boy of his sound, guilty as charged.

ROLAND_SPACE_ECHO_FEATURE.jpg
Wow, I usually don't understand or have the patience for the techy type stuff. However, I understood and found this very interesting. Thanks sir!
 

knavel

Country Gent
Dec 26, 2009
1,108
London, England
The overdrive sound you hear from "most" of brian setzer recordings comes from an interaction of both the coloring from the maple gretsch guitar and its pickups, into the "key" element, his RE-301 space echo (not the earlier made RE-201) and its preamp gain and color pushing the normal channel of a blonde bassman 6G6-B amp to a set of celestion V30 speakers. He is not using an overdrive pedal and his rig has no device in it that has such a feature. The RE-301 space echo has a full spectrum preamplifier that uses a Toshiba opamp, that is both clean and slightly colored w plenty of gain boost on tap. Yes the mechanical tape echo plays into the ambient spacial response he gets but we are talking about the sum of all parts that lets him go from clean finger picking to untucking the pic out of his palm to flat picking and the interaction of the guitar, the preamp from the space echo to the particular amp, to the speakers.

The inherent upper midrange color of a gretsch guitar, particularly w the filtertron pickups, is intensified by the dynamic response of the RE-301 space echo's preamp as well as its own coloring hitting the normal channel of the Blonde Fender bassman. The 6G6-B bassman's normal channel is using one preamp amp tube along w the driver tube and small bottle 5881/6L6wgb power tubes. A unique feature of the 6G6-B fender blonde bassman is its presence control that when turned up, dials of the negative feedback in the power section of the amp. This makes the amp more dynamically responsive and lowers the headroom of the amp. So that as the player attacks the strings in conjunction to the dynamics of the RE301 space echo, that pushing straight into the amp and causes the upper midrange to overdrive. This is also causing the coloration of the V30s to create breakup and saturation in the speaker while the design of the cone keeps the lows nice and tight. This all is easily controlled by the players touch sensitivity/ dynamic attack and the volume control of the instrument. If you watch the "live in japan" DVD you can see all this interaction at its peak when he performs the song Sleepwalk. He literally goes over to the preamp control of the 301 space echo and turns up the gain and switch, then proceeds to use his volume control to drive the guitars sustain and control feedback. body positioning of the guitar as well. When you bring the top into a parallel position w the closeback cab, you cause the sound to go into the body and sympathetically make it vibrate, but by turning perpendicular and facing the tailpin/butt of the guitar toward the speakers the vibration leans out and the feedback is dissipated .

You will see setzer usually NEVER without that space echo, as that preamp IS the catalyst. note, this is all separate from his talent. :) I'm a crazy fan boy of his sound, guilty as charged.

ROLAND_SPACE_ECHO_FEATURE.jpg
Such a great answer. The only thing I would add is that my favorite Setzer sounds are from various studios in the early days through different amps. Like Stray Cat Strut I've read was a run of the mill silverface Twin Reverb. From like the third album I started to find the sound a bit overpowering, although stuff like I Wont Stand in Your Way is epic for sound. He's so great.
 

TV the Wired Turtle

Gretschified
Jul 25, 2009
14,660
Sandy Eggo
A lot of his control is in the right hand technique. When Brian sets his amps (pushed my the 301 preamp) right on the edge, he can change sounds in a split second by adjusting his right hand attack - no fancy booster or drive pedals, no tap dancing, no mad dashes for the volume control. Literally, it comes from the hands.
The maestros hands in action.. but he is always using his volume and pickup selector w bigbsy. This video changed my life and I was already a lifer back then. At 1:52 the vol control moves are there. He also had walked over to the space echo just before the song started and put more gain to the preamp so he could work the rolls better. Until I saw this vid I never messed w my controls, they were always up and I relied on a volume pedal.

 

TV the Wired Turtle

Gretschified
Jul 25, 2009
14,660
Sandy Eggo
Such a great answer. The only thing I would add is that my favorite Setzer sounds are from various studios in the early days through different amps. Like Stray Cat Strut I've read was a run of the mill silverface Twin Reverb. From like the third album I started to find the sound a bit overpowering, although stuff like I Wont Stand in Your Way is epic for sound. He's so great.

where did you read that about the
run of the mill twin? I know setzer would use a twin when he wasnt playin w the cats (they were always breakin up over the 5 yrs they really did anything).. That 1981 recording w Rock this town, Straycat strut was in England When he was w Dave Edmunds, they were mixing a solid state vox royal guardsman, along w the SSL channel strip on the board (this part gets disputed as some try to say it was all the SSL channel strip w tape echo in the buss) w some of the tweed bassman there.
 
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TV the Wired Turtle

Gretschified
Jul 25, 2009
14,660
Sandy Eggo
Tavo - I think you mentioned a while back that Brian uses a 30 foot or longer guitar cord and that somehow effects his tone as well?

His cables in the past have been 50 to 100 feet, but unless you are using an actual 70's Roland RE-301 space echo, this kind of thing doesnt apply to the average player using guitar pedals.
The RE301 was a line level multi effects unit that was to be used in a PA effects buss. Even its outputs are color coded to match the Roland PA unit. Ironically by running such long cables into the front of its preamp channel, there is impedance correction. One of the things I worked out early on w the nocturne brain preamp pedal. ( on my RE301 space echo unit, I personally found I could get relative impedance matching by using two 15' cables w a boss line switcher in the middle, which has an active line buffer. This was when I was sussing out the Brain Seltzer aka the Dynobrain / Atomic Brain.)
 

calebaaron666

Friend of Fred
Aug 15, 2018
7,371
Auburn, Maine
His cables in the past have been 50 to 100 feet, but unless you are using an actual 70's Roland RE-301 space echo, this kind of thing doesnt apply to the average player using guitar pedals.
The RE301 was a line level multi effects unit that was to be used in a PA effects buss. Even its outputs are color coded to match the Roland PA unit. Ironically by running such long cables into the front of its preamp channel, there is impedance correction. One of the things I worked out early on w the nocturne brain preamp pedal. ( on my RE301 space echo unit, I personally found I could get relative impedance matching by using two 15' cables w a boss line switcher in the middle, which has an active line buffer. This was when I was sussing out the Brain Seltzer aka the Dynobrain / Atomic Brain.)
They make little blue pills for impedance levels.
 

Tele295

Country Gent
Jun 4, 2008
2,804
Bigsby Springs, CA
where did you read that about the
run of the mill twin? I know setzer would use a twin when he wasnt playin w the cats (they were always breakin up over the 5 yrs they really did anything).. That 1981 recording w Rock this town, Straycat strut was in England When he was w Dave Edmunds, they were mixing a solid state vox royal guardsman, along w the SSL channel strip on the board (this part gets disputed as some try to say it was all the SSL channel strip w tape echo in the buss) w some of the tweed bassman there.
When did Brian start using the white Bassman amps?
 

TV the Wired Turtle

Gretschified
Jul 25, 2009
14,660
Sandy Eggo
When did Brian start using the white Bassman amps?

Here's Brian Setzer, pre Stray Cats, in the band Bloodless Pharoahs in 1978 (with his brother Gary Setzer on drums). He's got his Blonde Bassman on what looks like a blackface bassman cab on its side (aka Brownface era Fender 6G6-B blonde bassman). That band
lasted till 1979, then Setzer created the Top Cats, then the Tom Cats before settling on the Stray Cats.

118465342.jpg

Here brian setzer is w the Bloodless Pharoahs with the Full blonde bassman rig in 1979. at 1:43 you catch his gretsch tucked next to the Bassman.



and one more w them doing STorm The Embassy, later to be done by STray CatS.
 
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