Explaining Eddie Van Halen's Rig - By Cristopher Michael

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zz666
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Explaining Eddie Van Halen's Rig - By Cristopher Michael

Post by zz666 » Mon Sep 22, 2008 4:51 am

I got this off the Rig Talk forum - sorry if it's been posted before

BEGIN:
From Cristopher Michael,
The setup is a 100 watt Marshall plexi with Sylvania 6CA7's. The head is plugged into a Variac to lower the mains voltage to about 90 VAC or whatever he's in the mood for. This browns the sound slightly and helps lenghten the tubes' life. The speaker out is set at 8 ohms. The dummy load resistor is adjusted to about 20 ohms. Then the load resistor is tapped at center and sent to a box with a potentiometer in it and and output jack. The output jack is a line-level low-impedance source and will not muddy up the tone anywhere. The pot. is adjusted for whatever drive level you want. It then goes into the MXR Phase 90, MXR flanger, and Echoplex-EP3. This then goes to the power amp, usually a low-powered one, 100-200 watts. This is to prevent fucking up good real low-power vintage speakers, as opposed to today's higher-powered shit Celestions. The final power amp he used was by H&H and he paralleled 4 cabinets down to 4 ohms to connect it to power amp. This IS the setup for his early days. Nowadays it's a chorousy-sounding pile of buzzy horse shit!
The reason why the load resistor is set higher than the selected impedance of the amp selector is because a 100 watt Marshall head at full volume into a resistive load set to the same impedance as the head will put out way over 100 watts, try 160-180 watts. This is because the amp will go into class B mode. When a cabinet is being played at full volume its impedance climbs, especially higher if it is a sealed closed back cabinet. This higher load tends to keep the amp at around 100 watts. A head played into a resistor of the same value will fry the primary windings of the transformer due to the excessive A.C. currents. So increasing the load resistor by at least twice sort of keeps the A.C. currents in the range that the output can deal with, at full volume. This does not muddy the sound. After the potentiometer, it is low impedance source and can drive the effects with no problem. That's why his flanger had so much of a strong effect. The Echoplex is quiet in this setup. If you were to connect a EP3 Echoplex in front inputs to a 100W Marshall on full volume, the noise and hiss levels would be insane.
I hung and partied with this guy for years. He even told me about his guitar: the body is from a 65' Strat he use to play at the Whiskey A Go Go and is Alderwood. The necks were from all over, some from Mighty Might and some from old Charvel and some from who knows where. The pickup is from an early sixties 335 and was dipped in Dr. Zogg's Sex Wax. This is surfboard wax that he melted in a coffee can and potted his pickup in. This is probably the key to his sound. Since the capacitance of the pickup was increased a lot, it will brown the sound, roll off the highs and will also be more distorted sound. His amp itself was dead-stock. The person who introduced him to this amp setup was Jose Arendondo.
When I explained about the value of the load-resistor and the wattage the amp produces, there is a line that says the amp breaks into class B; that is incorrect. When the load increases with pentodes in P-P, the power outpout goes down and the distortion rises. BUT the Class will remain in AB1. The only thing that can change the class of operation into B is by changing the bias to cut-off, which can not happen on its own.
As for the Phase 90 it was a script logo version and it was connected in front of the amp, not afterward. He had a EP3 in the loop AFTER the load with MXR flanger, and some Univox echo unit in the bomb shell next to the H&H amp.
Prior to going to the H&H amp it went into a EQ. I never knew the brand but I can remember what it looks like. It was AC operated and was kind of had big huge sliders. It was not rack-mount but it looked like something that was a small mixer.
Probably the key to how he got his crunchy tone was that he used a MXR 6-Band EQ in FRONT of the amp with the phase 90. The EQ shape was a horse shoe shape, with mids boosted, bass and treble cut. [frown curve -- that's what I used before my 5410 Marshall 50-watt 6-knob tube combo amp.
The other big thing with getting his tonality was the type of maple neck he was using. [that's what I used -- Michael] His necks were maple-CAP necks. This is a two -piece laminated maple board. These maple necks have great tone without the shrill. Albert Collins' tele was maple cap. Hendrix had great strat tone without the shrill because he also used maple-board strats. These necks have a great honk in the mids.
I have some outtakes from VH-1 and have some of the original tracks from the early master. You can hear the hiss from his amps and his sound is not cool. You can hear a lot of fizzy-ness underneath the chords and his sound is very midrange oriented. After further mixing they re-EQ'ed this and added more compression that eventually formed his tone.

I have a bunch more details if you care to listen.
CM

I wrote:
Are we hearing the dummy load setup on the studio album? I wondered if the dummy load approach was only used for live club gigs and the Marshall head was simply blasted full-strength into the mic in the studio with no H&H amp used. That's my biggest question. Did he always use the 3-stage (or power-slaved) amp approach? (preamp dist, power-tube saturation into dummy load, final amp)

CM wrote:
From what I can gather when I spoke with him many years ago, it seems the 1st album was done with full system [with dummy load etc.] and he mixed the sound of two Marshall cabinets. One cabinet had JBL D-120 speakers and the other was green back celections. He said he used 20's, 25's and 30's in his cabs. The second album was done with just the head and cabs on full volume [a conventional setup]. He was not happy with the sound of VH-2, and went back to the full [3-stage amp with dummy load] setup to do Women and Children First. As for what he did after that in the studio, I don't know, because this is [after] the era that I saw the set-up and spoke to him.
I did go back-stage for the Diver Down tour and we spoke. For his live setup then he was using almost the same setup except that the H&H [SS power amp] was gone and he was using three 100 watt Marshalls acting as his [final] power amp section, or whatever [heads] he got his hands on, like old Laneys and Hi-Watts, etc.; the roadies were buying up everything in sight while touring, to use as [final] power amps. But he still used a 100 watt plexi for the pre-amp section. But it was not his #1 plexi, it was another one. He said he starting playing live with this set-up durring the Fair Warning tour, and retired the main plexi in fear of losing it on the road.
He also added a ADA pre-amp booster [MP-1?] somewhere in the chain. I did not get to see where it was wired in but assume it must be in the front of the head. He did once mention that his pick-up was rewrapped to be hotter by someone in Santa Barbara. I can only assume it was Seymour Duncan when he worked out of a tiny shop when he was only localy known. I did not see him again until Cardinal Knowledge tour at Jones Beach NY. I got backstage but Ed did not care anymore about talking Marshall since he is into this 5150.
Cheers
CM
Summary of Christopher's description of the classic EVH processing chain

* Guitar using bridge humbucker
* MXR 6-band EQ (frown curve), and MXR Phase 90
* 100 watt Marshall plexi with Sylvania 6CA7's; powered via Variac to lower (brown-out) the mains voltage from 120 down to 90 VAC.
* The head's speaker out impedance control is set at 8 ohms.
* Dummy load resistor, adjusted to about 20 ohms
* The load resistor is tapped at center
* Box with a potentiometer in it and output jack (the output jack is a line-level low-impedance source)
* The pot. is adjusted for whatever drive level.
* desktop EQ
* MXR flanger
* Echoplex-EP3
* 100-200 watt power amp
* final power amp by H&H
* guitar spks: paralleled 4 cabinets down to 4 ohms to connect it to the final power amp.
* EQ and compression at the mixer

Clarifying further:

* bridge humbucker
* frown EQ
* tube amp powered via variac
* dummy load
* time fx (phaser, flanger, echo) and EQ
* final solid-state* power amp
* guitar speakers
* EQ and compression at the mixer

Christopher Michael, did not specify whether this is a solid-state amp. From newsgroup postings, I am *assuming* that it is solid-state. It doesn't matter very much, because the *main* tone generation has already occurred, in the tube amp prior to the dummy load.

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45auto
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Re: Explaining Eddie Van Halen's Rig - By Cristopher Michael

Post by 45auto » Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:02 am

sounds pretty feasible all in all.
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default ... dID=559714" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://s62.photobucket.com/albums/h119/ ... t=1980.flv" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Explaining Eddie Van Halen's Rig - By Cristopher Michael

Post by Seabean » Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:22 am

It then goes into the MXR Phase 90, MXR flanger, and Echoplex-EP3. This then goes to the power amp

So on VH1 the time effects are after the amps distortion, but on Vh2 they're before it? (related to my question in another thread)

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Re: Explaining Eddie Van Halen's Rig - By Cristopher Michael

Post by bmf5150 » Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:56 am

this was written by chris meeren aka ******..not sure whay he changed his name for it..
R.I.P My precious daughter Aubrey Marie May 20th to May 23rd 2006,we love and miss you!
My EVH sound clips.
http://soundclick.com/share?songid=7782093" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

cary chilton

Re: Explaining Eddie Van Halen's Rig - By Cristopher Michael

Post by cary chilton » Mon Sep 22, 2008 1:12 pm

Stan you read this before?

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Re: Explaining Eddie Van Halen's Rig - By Cristopher Michael

Post by bmf5150 » Mon Sep 22, 2008 1:19 pm

yes i have,and i was told by some one who knew that chriss marren wrote it but changed his name.not sure why..
R.I.P My precious daughter Aubrey Marie May 20th to May 23rd 2006,we love and miss you!
My EVH sound clips.
http://soundclick.com/share?songid=7782093" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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ericopp
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Re: Explaining Eddie Van Halen's Rig - By Cristopher Michael

Post by ericopp » Mon Sep 22, 2008 1:33 pm

Yup.
I've read this before too and I recall a differnt author - probably c e r r e m.
"If I can't play my guitar through a Marshall I would rather not play my guitar at all." - Justin Hawkins - The Darkness

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Re: Explaining Eddie Van Halen's Rig - By Cristopher Michael

Post by laneychris » Mon Sep 22, 2008 7:19 pm

So who has tried this?... :?

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Re: Explaining Eddie Van Halen's Rig - By Cristopher Michael

Post by budubum » Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:11 am

laneychris wrote:So who has tried this?... :?

good question :lol:

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Re: Explaining Eddie Van Halen's Rig - By Cristopher Michael

Post by jnewlyn » Sun Nov 16, 2008 1:13 pm

Totally plausible to me. Now for someone to rope up these pieces and post clips. :D
Cheers to the ears.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default ... ID=1214336" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Explaining Eddie Van Halen's Rig - By Cristopher Michael

Post by jester » Sun Nov 16, 2008 2:58 pm

Alot of these aforementioned techniques I learned from a friend in 79 or 80 when I first started to play guitar. His set-up included 2 marshall jmps 4 cabs with a load box but he set his to 32ohms. But after all the setups I have seen and played through The phase90 and flanger work best after EQ and slightly boosted! that is how I would do it but everyones tastes differ!
Maverick

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Re: Explaining Eddie Van Halen's Rig - By Cristopher Michael

Post by budubum » Sun Nov 16, 2008 3:32 pm

jester wrote:Alot of these aforementioned techniques I learned from a friend in 79 or 80 when I first started to play guitar. His set-up included 2 marshall jmps 4 cabs with a load box but he set his to 32ohms. But after all the setups I have seen and played through The phase90 and flanger work best after EQ and slightly boosted! that is how I would do it but everyones tastes differ!

does the flanger and phaser works well even though its infront of an amp on 10?

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Re: Explaining Eddie Van Halen's Rig - By Cristopher Michael

Post by Bronco » Sun Nov 16, 2008 3:58 pm

budubum wrote:does the flanger and phaser works well even though its infront of an amp on 10?
Where else would you put them in the chain?

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Re: Explaining Eddie Van Halen's Rig - By Cristopher Michael

Post by Mats A » Sun Nov 16, 2008 4:00 pm

A flanger will wobble alot more and mess with the pitch before the amp. I´m pretty sure that Eddie used his phaser before the amp. Connected after the amp will affect the tone too much. It will sound almost synthetic.

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Re: Explaining Eddie Van Halen's Rig - By Cristopher Michael

Post by Mr Crumb » Sun Nov 16, 2008 4:29 pm

Guitar > EQ > Phase90 > Univox Echo > Marshall > Load box > Flanger > Echo Plex(s) > Marshall/or HH Power amp > Cabs
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