How To Get Neil Young's Sound? | Discussion on 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things'
Neil Young's electric guitar sound has been described as like "a jet plane in a thunderstorm" and those who have witnessed and directly felt in their chest the aural assualt that is known as "Crazy Horse-style" know that which we speak.
Over the years, we've seen and heard quite a few Neil Young enthusiasts try and replicate his unique sound, with various degrees of success.
From The Gear Page | Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' on "How to get Neil Young's sound?":
Hi,In response on The Gear Page | Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' on "How to get Neil Young's sound?" by Papanate:
Lately I've been searching on how to get that open, big, heavy, unpredictable Neil Young's guitar sound.
There have been few threads regarding my question, but nothing concrete.
I am not interested in what he used to get it. Buying the exact same gear is used/uses is pointless.
The particular sound I am interested in is the electric guitar sound from the movie "Dead Man".
So if anyone can recommend a distortion / overdrive pedal(s) or any other pedals that deliver this type of sound, I'll be very grateful :)
First for me - you won't get to that guitar sound without approximating the signal chain.More on on The Gear Page | Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' - "How to get Neil Young's sound?".
There are many suggestions above - but none of them sound like 'that' guitar track. If you really want it - you should run down the wiggly Young path and start hunting for wrecked equipment such as below. From the sound of everything I imagine everything he's plugging into is out of specifications - and probably teetering on the edge of blowing up. Larry Cragg if fond of saying Youngs Guitar and Rig are a trainwreck waiting to have already happened.
Old Blackie is a 53 Goldtop that now has a Firebird Mini Humbucker in the Bridge Position and a late Metal covered P90 neck Pickup most likely borrowed from a Gibson ES330. The neck was reported to have been replaced by Gibson in the 1960s with one of the SG Les Paul Necks. Young had a mini toggle switch installed in the middle of the controls - what it does is send the pickups directly to the output jack bypassing the controls. That is what I believe is at the crux of why that guitar sounds so good.
If you look at the back of Blackie - there is a round aluminum disc underneath where the bridge is situated on top. I've hear rumor that their is some kind of Cragg built string locking mechanism in there.
The sound on the track you cited - is probably the bypassed pickups into an overdriven Tweed Fender Deluxe biased to 6l6 tubes (and he uses those older Bottle type) with his 'Whizzer' attached. His Current Whizzer controls three knobs - and has several presets positions to get that 'Young Sound'. From the sound of this track I'll bet Young is running the output of the Deluxe into his Magnatone Stereo 2 x 12 ( not the amp just the speakers).He's known to use both an EP2 Tube Echoplex and possibly a MXR Analog delay. The EP2 is famous for the tube distortion produced (and for being extremely finicky) - and the MXR has a long history of sound cool when pushed (often attributed to the transistors used). Also At the end of that track he's got some kind of Octave Divider going on.
Through it all Young sure gets some magic going - even the bass farting lows have a very musical quality - and the lead notes are very dynamic.
Also see, a collection of articles on Neil Young's Guitars, Amps, Whizzer and Equipment on how he obtains his unique grunge and feedback sound.
Also, more on the film Dead Man (1995), directed by Jim Jarmusch.