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DIYstompboxes.com  |  DIY Stompboxes  |  Building your own stompbox  |  Van halen 1 sounding overdrive-distortion pedal 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Van halen 1 sounding overdrive-distortion pedal  (Read 21160 times)
GtrmanMoe
Posts: 158


Bob Iles - Pittsgrove, NJ


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Re: Van halen 1 sounding overdrive-distortion pedal
« Reply #40 on: November 22, 2009, 10:05:49 PM »

You're not wasting your time at all. There have been several suggestions/opinions about pedals that might get you to the tone you're looking for. The bottom line is that the only one who can really get EVH's tone/sound is EVH himself. It's all a combination of everything - fingers, playing style, guitar, pickups, pick, effects pedals, amp, volume/tone settings on amp, studio "magic", etc... I get close to the tone with the following: Peavey Wolfgang through BSIAB II, Phase 90 (w/Script mod), and Rebote 2.5 delay into Peavey ValveKing 212.
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Bob Iles | CIW Associate
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halen
Posts: 17


Re: Van halen 1 sounding overdrive-distortion pedal
« Reply #41 on: November 22, 2009, 10:15:23 PM »

Eds tone changed from album to album, his fingers didnt change,his equipment changed or should i say Eds not being honest,again im talking about his first album sound(van halen 1),im very knowledgeable about his sound,some people here are not.I know about what Ed used,i do believe that Ed is not shooting straight when it comes to his early sound.
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jessej
Posts: 65


Jesse J - Finland


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Re: Van halen 1 sounding overdrive-distortion pedal
« Reply #42 on: November 22, 2009, 10:19:48 PM »

I know about what Ed used.

So why don't you post the list about what he used so we can get started with the pedal? Who's the one wasting time here?

Also, what amp/speakers are YOU using?
« Last Edit: November 22, 2009, 10:21:44 PM by jessej » Logged
halen
Posts: 17


Re: Van halen 1 sounding overdrive-distortion pedal
« Reply #43 on: November 22, 2009, 10:26:10 PM »

I did that,look at my early posts......... icon_rolleyes
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Paul Marossy
Posts: 12527


Just Another Guitarhead


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Re: Van halen 1 sounding overdrive-distortion pedal
« Reply #44 on: November 22, 2009, 11:47:06 PM »

Ed's always been upfront about his experimentation with the Variac. I've even seen some pics of his setup from way back when that showed the Variac. If I'm not mistaken, he'd feed the amp about 40V from the Variac, causing the amp to break up at a much lower volume setting. Is it not unreasonable to assume that because the amp was driven into distortion sooner, the amount of saturation available increased over the sweep of the volume knob, to some degree enabling the distinctive crunch?

If that's true, then that would have cut the headroom very dramatically. That's probably how he got those tones. The power tubes would have been operating far into that non-linear region, in a fashion similar to those "starved" preamp tube distortion pedals out there. There would be as a result a ton of distortion happening in the amp. I am not sure that anything would happen if he set it to 40V because the tube heaters probably would have too low of a voltage for thermionic emission to occur, however.

Getting back to the OT, I've found the BSIAB2 to be a reasonable facsimile of the classic VH tone. I get thisclose to the tone with my BSIAB and diy Phase 90. Now, if there were a talent stompbox, I'd certainly have it made!!

The Wampler Pedals "Pinnacle" I think sounds pretty good for getting that EVH sound. I veered to the topic of the Variac because there probably isn't any way to absolutely recreate that sound in a pedal due to the physics involved between vacuum tubes operating in an undervoltaged condition vs. solid state devices.


« Last Edit: November 22, 2009, 11:52:03 PM by Paul Marossy » Logged

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"Tone is in the fingers."
Ibanezfoo
Posts: 92

Random foo


Re: Van halen 1 sounding overdrive-distortion pedal
« Reply #45 on: November 23, 2009, 12:24:11 AM »

Crunch Box... just turn down the gain a bit and play with the presence and tone knobs...
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spaceace76
Posts: 119


Chris Valent


Re: Van halen 1 sounding overdrive-distortion pedal
« Reply #46 on: November 23, 2009, 06:04:53 AM »

Im wasting my time here....................... icon_rolleyes
Again, the "EVH in a box" thing really is like asking scientists when the flying car will be made. I can make all sorts of suggestions for OD's, hell I'll make some now based on what people have used over the years. The MXR Distortion+ was popular for copping Ed's tone back in the day. Apparently everyone used them to get semi-close while using similar gear. There is some talk about it on the Metro forum, Ralle made a clone and tweaked it to sound closer. I once read a suggestion for a Jordan Bosstone without the clipping diodes. Sounded okay. Obviously the more plexi-voiced overdrive pedals previously mentioned here will do a better job.

And yes, there WAS a distortion/OD in front of Ed's amp. The EQ pedals he used had a whole bunch of gain on tap. Though I've never personally used either the MXR or the Boss GE-10, I built a BYOC EQ for kicks a while ago, and it had a very pleasing (but noisy) overdrive to it. Didn't sound like anything else, just sounded like my setup, but with more push to it. This was a totally different circuit, but what I'm getting at is that's a big part of the sound. Now look at this picture:
http://wwwc.dcns.ne.jp/~epi/EffectersPhotos.jpg

The pedalboard, pictured in the top right, has the MXR EQ on it that particular day. Check out the sliders. At least one slider is up all the way, and none are on the 'cut' position. The pedal claims +18dB of gain, which is a LOT. The GE-10 has something like +10dB. Either of these pedals hitting the front of Ed's amp was big-time distortion. Since he also tended to crank his plexi up all the way, and supposedly used rock standard Greenback speakers, those speakers would be creating tons of speaker distortion. If you listen to AC/DC, you know a bit component of the sound is the speaker distortion. Ask anyone who's tried to get the Angus sound at bedroom levels  Grin

One thing I can mention though, since a few of the Isolated guitar tracks have come out some have said they don't really hear a PAF. They hear a Super70 (standard in the Ibanez Destroyer) and possibly a Mighty Mite Distortion pickup. Both of these are higher output than a PAF. Ed has said a few times he was disappointed with his tone on the first album, and there is a possibility that he went to a lower output humbucker for the second album. That makes sense, since that signature VH1 drive is gone from the second album.

And don't discount superlead's just because they didn't do it for you, "modded" or not. No two Marshalls are alike. Parts substitutions, in value and type were just how things were done back then. There is NO complete circuit "evolution" because there are always exceptions to every theory. Factor in that components can sometimes drift in value, and you've got a wide range of possibilities. And just saying a plexi is modded is very unspecific. Like most vintage circuits they are very simplistic, so the mods could really be anything. Another thing to consider is that preamp tubes will shape the tone quite a bit, and there's basically no information about what Ed used.

Of course, all this will only work for you if you're looking for the live tone. The studio was a big factor in the recorded sound, as has been with every coveted sound in the history of Rock. Those who use slaving say they love it for the studio tone. I'd give that a shot before trying the endless stream of pedals on the market. Once again, I don't personally believe he slaved, live or in the studio, until later albums/tours, but it sounds good.

As unfortunate as it sounds, unless you're 1978 Ed himself, you'll never sound like him. By all means chase the sound, but don't expect miracles.
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Paul Marossy
Posts: 12527


Just Another Guitarhead


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Re: Van halen 1 sounding overdrive-distortion pedal
« Reply #47 on: November 23, 2009, 08:39:08 AM »

As unfortunate as it sounds, unless you're 1978 Ed himself, you'll never sound like him. By all means chase the sound, but don't expect miracles.

I agree. You can say that for many other guitarists. Jimi Hendrix comes to mind, too. A lot of guys go out and get exactly everything that Jimi had, but that's not going to make them sound like Jimi. Like any other good guitarist, he would sound like himself no matter what he played, because as they say, "it's in the fingers".
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"Tone is in the fingers."
halen
Posts: 17


Re: Van halen 1 sounding overdrive-distortion pedal
« Reply #48 on: November 23, 2009, 09:10:57 AM »

I have tried the wampler pedals,nice sounding pedals but not van halen 1 sounding,as far as what spaceace76 is saying the photo that he mentioned above is van halen in the studio recording van halen II not van halen 1,like i said before there are no photos of van halen recording van halen 1,as far as the mxr eq and the boss ge 10 eq(which i have tried both,bad results doesnt add the crunch-type of distortion Ed achieved) Ed used them sparingly,when he had to which guitars(example:explorer guitar sounds fatter then his frankenstrat)or if a venue or staduim they played sounded different and he would use it for that type or size of the room(acoustics),the variac thing i have also tried and it didnt do much,Eds early interview about the variac he first said that he ran the variac at 140 volts(you will fry the amp,not a good idea)which was a lie,and then another interview he said that he lied about that he really ran the variac at 90 volts,(i tried that also it makes the amp sag alot,far from the van halen 1 sound),as far as speakers go i use celestion greenback 25 watt,i believe that was the speaker of chose Ed used he also used jbl 120 speaker also, so Ed tends to though people off and to BS about what he used,as for the ibanez super 70 pickup(which is a low output 7.5k copy of a paf pickup,japanese copy)which was a complete rumour(people who assume about Eds tone,they have no idea),anyway i have never tried the bsiab II pedal,like i said am not good with a soldering iron so if there is a reputable person out there that would build one for me,i will supply the parts-kit,also as far as the guys on metro amp,they have some great sounding clips but they are not van halen 1 sounding,in my opinion they do need more crunch-over-the-top in there clips. 
« Last Edit: November 23, 2009, 09:13:42 AM by halen » Logged
Paul Marossy
Posts: 12527


Just Another Guitarhead


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Re: Van halen 1 sounding overdrive-distortion pedal
« Reply #49 on: November 23, 2009, 09:38:17 AM »

the variac thing i have also tried and it didnt do much,Eds early interview about the variac he first said that he ran the variac at 140 volts(you will fry the amp,not a good idea)which was a lie,and then another interview he said that he lied about that he really ran the variac at 90 volts,(i tried that also it makes the amp sag alot,far from the van halen 1 sound

90 volts is more believable. 140 volts would be dangerous for an amp, if not fatal. I wonder where in the world he ever came up with the idea of using a Variac anyway?
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"Tone is in the fingers."
GtrmanMoe
Posts: 158


Bob Iles - Pittsgrove, NJ


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Re: Van halen 1 sounding overdrive-distortion pedal
« Reply #50 on: November 23, 2009, 10:06:26 AM »

You're right, Paul. 90 volts sounds a lot better. It's been a long time since I read about it, but for some reason "40" was stuck in my head.

To the OP:

I'm not trying to be rude here, but if you are so knowledgeable about Ed's 1978 sound, why do you need us to recommend/build you a pedal? Like it's been said several times now - the only way to sound like EVH is TO BE EVH. Many of us have gotten close, but none of us are him, so that is the key missing ingredient.
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Bob Iles | CIW Associate
My Solo Project
House Of Moe
halen
Posts: 17


Re: Van halen 1 sounding overdrive-distortion pedal
« Reply #51 on: November 23, 2009, 11:05:05 AM »

Like i said i have tried numerous pedals but i have never tried the BSIAB II pedal,im not very good with a soldering iron so thats why i would like a reputable person to build me one,i will supply the parts-kit,my thread opener was "van halen 1 sounding overdrive-distortion pedal",to get more opinions and thoughts,that was it.
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spaceace76
Posts: 119


Chris Valent


Re: Van halen 1 sounding overdrive-distortion pedal
« Reply #52 on: November 23, 2009, 11:06:07 AM »

The photo I posted was taken on the Japan leg of the 78 tour. Note the stage lights in the EC-80 bomb picture.

I think Ed "using the EQ's sparingly" was sort made up. He might have just used them early on so tone would be consistent while still using different/rented gear, but there would be no reason to do this while on tour, which we have photos of him doing.

The variac's are always present in early photos. They definitely add to the sound. Let me ask, since you've tried lots of the pieces of the setup, how much of it have you used all at once? The signal chain should be something like:
Destroyer/Single humbucker Strat-->
MXR Flanger>MXR Phase 90>EP-3's in series>EQ pedals-->
Circa 1968 Superlead, (running Sylvania 6CA7's, and unknown preamp tubes, Variaced to 90 volts, (the 140 volts thing is a one time deal that was mis-quoted. he variac's down, not up.) The amp was reportedly dimed, and the signal was run into the high input of the first channel. Specific specs of the amp remain unknown, as does the mysterious "white knob" shown in the VH2 recording shots. Later photos of the amp show the knob replaced by a screw. Whatever it was, it was removed.) -->
Marshall 4x12's, one cab from the first tour had 2 JBL D120's, the rest were supposedly 25watt Greenbacks. The JBL's are absent in the VH2 recording photos, and seem to be absent from that point on.

I've heard the BSIAB2, I don't personally think it does the VH thing all that well, but there are tons of youtube clips to look at, decide for yourself.

Also, how do you know Ed's use of a Super 70 was a rumor? There's nothing to suggest that, even the pictures kind of support him using them. I don't think they were totally low output, but they were certainly PAF voiced.

A lot of the over-the-top crunch you're hearing is Ed's attack on the strings. He hits pretty hard, and close to the bridge. I remember Carlos Santana talking about how there were so few guitar players that the instant you heard them, regardless of the equipment they were on, you could recognize them. Ed is certainly that caliber of player, and had a very unique way of doing things. Even if you built a time machine, went back and inspected his gear top to bottom, came back and set it all up, it wouldn't completely sound like Ed.

Have you tried a Colorsound Overdriver? Micheal Anthony used one on the first world tour and on the VH2 recordings, maybe Ed borrowed it...

And what about slaving? I could walk you through that if necessary.
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halen
Posts: 17


Re: Van halen 1 sounding overdrive-distortion pedal
« Reply #53 on: November 23, 2009, 12:37:05 PM »

Spaceace76, i have tried it all at once Huh.Eqs Ed used like i said its the place or room they played and the variac thing yes Ed used it but they wont achieve the edge or distortion Ed achieved.As for Eds pick  attack,then how come each album sounds different,van halen 1 is the most aggressive over the top crunch out of all the van halen recording,i believe fingers play a important role to a certain extent,if you play though a dirty amp its going to sound dirty no matter what,same with a clean amp,as for the super 70 pickup they were low output 7.5k alnico 8 magnet pickups which i also have tried.So going back to the bsiabII,so if you dont think the BSIAB II pedal is van halen sounding then give me your opinion and thoughts that you think would be.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2009, 12:42:45 PM by halen » Logged
caspercody
Posts: 562

Rob Schneider


Re: Van halen 1 sounding overdrive-distortion pedal
« Reply #54 on: November 23, 2009, 01:33:19 PM »

I built the BSIAB II, and did not think it was as close to the Brown sound as I thought it would be. I have since converted this to a Pinnacle, and this was much closer. I also built the Thor, and thought this was close. Check out the sound clips for Thor at Runoffgrove.com. And it sounds like you know about the Pinnacle. Also check out some video clips from burger666 on youtube. He tests a lot of different pedals.
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liquids
Posts: 1021


Matthew


Re: Van halen 1 sounding overdrive-distortion pedal
« Reply #55 on: November 23, 2009, 02:01:41 PM »

Halen is just looking for someone to build him a BSIAB.  It may not satisfy him in the end, but will someone build one for him.    Originally I told him to get a CMATMODS brownie from Chad, or talk to John Lyons, but Paul, you are starting up a shop, no?

It's not, in the end, a DIY thread - halen has no interesting in talking up a soldering iron, and I've seen halen post this elsewhere...will anyone who could 'use the few bucks' do it for him?   I thought these flowers were well watered.   Cheesy
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halen
Posts: 17


Re: Van halen 1 sounding overdrive-distortion pedal
« Reply #56 on: November 23, 2009, 02:57:33 PM »

So people have different versions or different meanings of the so-called brown sound,the brown sound is van halens first album(van halen 1)its not van halen II  so-on-and-so on,(the rest of the van halen catalog)  it is van halen 1,its very bright and edgey,over-the-top-crunch,it sounds like its beyond high gain if you know what i mean,you hear every note,alot of strengh in the tone. If by having someone build me a BSIAB II pedal and some of you think it would be a waste of time(BSIAB II pedal not van halen sounding) then i wouldnt want it,thats why i joined this site to get some opinions and thoughts to see what would be the closest to that sound,especially a site like this where custom made and experimentation is done.  
« Last Edit: November 23, 2009, 03:03:07 PM by halen » Logged
alanlan
Posts: 531


Re: Van halen 1 sounding overdrive-distortion pedal
« Reply #57 on: November 23, 2009, 03:32:19 PM »

Another factor is his guitars tuned to Eflat.  What string gauge?  That's going to make a big difference in sound.  A lot of bands nowadays tune low for that bigger sound.
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liquids
Posts: 1021


Matthew


Re: Van halen 1 sounding overdrive-distortion pedal
« Reply #58 on: November 23, 2009, 03:36:58 PM »

The BSIAB will get a nice simulation of that tone - listen to the CMATMODS brownie sample.

However you seem pretty exacting in your search.  We don't know your gear or how you play or what the 'key elements and frequencies' you are listening for.  We know the pedal, and in our own gear and sound contexts at that.

The BSIAB is a brilliant circuit for many.  But around here it's a DIY schematic.  Many of us mod it, tweak it, or just straight up prototype it first and do what we want with it, or more.  We mod it to our tastes, our ears, our gear, our preffered setting, etc.  

I think if you are comparing it to other pedals, it will be much be closer than this sound than most other pedals--much closer than a tubescreamer or a Box Of Rock, or a DS-1, definitely.    But you don't seem to want just 'closer,' you seem to want exact, and for a time it seems you thought the BSIAB was 'the ticket.'   It's great, but it's just a pedal.

The way you talk, my concern is that you seem really intent on something specific tone-wise.  Well, this pedal was designed for a guy playing a strat into a fender super reverb with the bright switch on, and trying to get a 'Brown Sound in a box.' Is that your point of reference?

I think you need a tech who will built/tweak/mod if with you as a consultant.  Not to be harsh but...you could also just man up, and go DIY, and put your efforts into obsessing over the sound into learning electronics and prototyping.  That's what got me here in the end.  

Otherwise, pay the price and buy a Marshall, a Soldano, or a Bogner and possibly pay them to consult on modifications to your exact specifications.   In the end, I think nothing less than someone modding it to your exact tonal desires is what you need - and that can either be you, or someone you pay for consultation.   A good amp is more likely to meet demanding players distortion needs anyhow...I prefer the OD tones I'm getting from my own pedals, but that is rare.  OD Pedals offer versatility and variety of tone.   If you want an exact tone, you might find it better in a tweaked out amp.  Like Eddie did.   See what I am saying?    
 
« Last Edit: November 23, 2009, 03:39:15 PM by liquids » Logged

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halen
Posts: 17


Re: Van halen 1 sounding overdrive-distortion pedal
« Reply #59 on: November 23, 2009, 04:04:43 PM »

Alanlan,strings are very important,Ed used fender XL150 9-40 set,same strings i use,also tuned down 1/2 step.Liquids i have tried and owned many boutique amps from A-Z also some early marshall plexis,the amps that i use and have been using for sometime now,they have the base foundation the the sound we are talking about are the VHT Deliverance heads(single channel heads with no bells or whisles),im just looking for that extra "THING''(pedal)to push it there. 
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