Grestch, Vox and Brian May

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by BatmansGretsch, Dec 4, 2021.

  1. BatmansGretsch

    BatmansGretsch Gretschie

    197
    Dec 3, 2019
    Earth
    I was playing some Queen, Don't stop me now, through an AC30 cranked rig. I had my Streamliner, Broad'trons, and was playing along. It was sort of there, but it wasn't. Obviously, May's tone requires other gear, so I picked up my Fender SSS Strat and got closer to the tone than the Streamliner. However, it's still the wrong tone. :) Now, I am not expecting a Gretsch to really be going beyond the mid to late 1960s type of Vox tones. The most Vox rock sound I have gone with my Gretsch before turning to another guitar is with playing The Beatles. Queen is 70s and 80s. So I sort of put the notion aside that Gretsch can get there. However, I should really ask that here. Is Gretsch the wrong direction of guitar for that type of Vox rock tone? Normally I am not that fussy about guitars for the job but Gretsch, semi-hollow, those pickups, it's just a totally different type of guitar. Or is there a line of Gretsch that deals with this sort of thing?
     
  2. pmac11

    pmac11 Country Gent

    Mar 4, 2018
    Toronto, Ontario
    Brian May made his guitar from the mantle of a fireplace, and wound the pickups himself. You may have trouble replicating that sound.
     
  3. ZackyDog

    ZackyDog Friend of Fred

    Age:
    57
    Feb 6, 2015
    In the USA
    May uses a sixpence coin for a pick. You may be pleasantly surprised by using it or, something like it.

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Waxhead

    Waxhead Friend of Fred

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    Yes I agree that filtertron Gretsch won't produce BMs Queen tone.
    Without his Special closest I've got is with a Tele on bridge pup and an EQ pedal.

    But essential for BMs gain tones is a good Treble Booster or EQ pedal.
    There's several good youtube videos with Brian himself going thru his rig.
    Suggest you study those and use as close as possible to what Brian used - including a sixpence :)
     
  5. ZackyDog

    ZackyDog Friend of Fred

    Age:
    57
    Feb 6, 2015
    In the USA
    It looks like his signature Red Special is still available.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. englishman

    englishman Gretschified

    Age:
    64
    Apr 5, 2014
    Detroit
    The SSS strat would be close, you do need the treble booster that Dr. May uses.

    The Burns Trisonics are a little duller than a typical Strat. They use a ceramic magnet (kinda like the Squier pickups) but there are no polepieces per se, the black dots are just holes in the cover. They are a tad larger in area than the strat but not so much that it gets into P90 territory.

    https://shop.brianmayguitars.co.uk/bmg-electronics/bmg-tb-classic.html
    Screen Shot 2021-12-04 at 5.35.04 PM.png
     
  7. BatmansGretsch

    BatmansGretsch Gretschie

    197
    Dec 3, 2019
    Earth
    [​IMG]
    Harley Benton BM70 is maybe the cheapest May guitar of the lot.

    I have a Naga Vyper treble booster.

    So reading through everybody so far, it seems May's tone is something of a few choice pieces coming together for his tone. Also, I think his Vox AC30 is modified from what I remember? The Edge was the same. When amp techs opened up their amps they saw all sorts of mods people had done over time and had to photograph the lot to document it for repairs or making signature gear.
     
  8. Waxhead

    Waxhead Friend of Fred

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    Yes and also consider that the AC30s used by Brian and Edge are vintage models which are considerably different sounding (and better) than the Vox re-issues :)
     
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  9. ramjac

    ramjac Synchromatic

    954
    Aug 14, 2011
    Wisconsin
    Gretsch Jet with T-Armonds that can be switched in series and out of phase might get you “close enough”. That’s what I did with my G 5220. The fireplace mantle wood in the Red Special is in the neck, but the body is more hollow than it appears. Like the Jet, it’s not a true slab.
     
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  10. wabash slim

    wabash slim I Bleed Orange

    Age:
    72
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    He also worked with small, battery powered Vox solid state amps, one driving another. Vox sold replicas for a while. His guitar also features phase reverse switches for each pickup. Then, there was the magic he exuded from his fingertips.
     
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  11. bhatta

    bhatta Gretschie

    393
    Jun 29, 2020
    Bangalore
    Physicists!

    Bah!
     
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  12. dlew919

    dlew919 Country Gent

    Jul 18, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
    The ones he wound himself didn’t work so he put Burns trisonics in. You’ll get close with P90s. Gretsches won’t bite. They’ll growl and twang. But yep. Try a hot P90. Or tex mex hot strat pickups.
     
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  13. englishman

    englishman Gretschified

    Age:
    64
    Apr 5, 2014
    Detroit
    I built this one a while ago using Brian May Signature TriSonics. I used the tone push/pull to put 1+2 and 2+3 in series, that's for sure where some of the magic lies. Without that, as I said, it was like a darker version of a Strat. The output is pretty low.

    27858025_2039649746251201_3724408729312632139_n.jpg

    For what it's worth, they do make mini Trisonics that will fit in a Strat.

    Screen Shot 2021-12-05 at 6.03.35 AM.png
     
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  14. dlew919

    dlew919 Country Gent

    Jul 18, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
    The deacy amp which was built by John deacon from an old amplifier too.
     
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  15. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Gretschified

    Age:
    56
    Oct 18, 2015
    Germany
    Many years ago I was so crazy about the May-tone that I read every aricle about his gear. I invested quite a lot and bought everything that was part of the receipe and failed bitterly.
     
  16. englishman

    englishman Gretschified

    Age:
    64
    Apr 5, 2014
    Detroit
    This is always worth a watch, the 'secret' is revealed in the last few seconds :)

     
  17. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    63
    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    ...... and there ya go folks , ain't it the truth ;)
     
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  18. BatmansGretsch

    BatmansGretsch Gretschie

    197
    Dec 3, 2019
    Earth
    The Wah? Or needing to hold May hostage and play for you if you want his tone?
     
  19. englishman

    englishman Gretschified

    Age:
    64
    Apr 5, 2014
    Detroit
    Not the wah!
     
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  20. BatmansGretsch

    BatmansGretsch Gretschie

    197
    Dec 3, 2019
    Earth


    Seems this is quite good.
     
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