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RIP Randy Rhoads


marvar

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I promise I won't stay OT for long but the difference between guitarists and bassists views on tone is very interesting to me. Bassist spend there whole careers searching for a tone that is inside their heads and trying to get closer to it. There are exceptions and some of us have more than one signature tone. That tone seems to be seen as extremely personal. Although we are so fussy about tone, I've never heard a bassist express a dislike for another bassist's tone when discussing that player - it seems we just accept the difference.

Guitar players seem much more critical of each other tones. Maybe it's because guitarists usually have to have a greater range of tones, maybe it's because the guitar is tonally more upfront. Also maybe it's because of the varying nature and quality of overdriven and distorted tones, less common in bassplaying.

 

Interesting.

 

 

IMO, poor guitar tone (of which I am frequently a perveyor) can be much more offensive to the ear, than a bass. Its the higher notes (and specfically, a squeally tone) which can push me into a raging psychosis.

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I'm not so sure that the bass players here are representative of the greater public. Although I do think there is far more acceptance of a variety of bass tones, I've heard plenty of harping by bass players in regards to other bass players' tones. Certainly not as much as guitarists, but it does occur.

 

But more to the point, I am a guitar player with 32 years experience and a sound mixer whose conventional schooling ended 16 years ago. When I listen to music I can enjoy it as a whole or tear it down to its individual parts. Sometimes it takes a particularly obnoxious tone to fill a particular sonic space in a recording or in a live performance. I understand and appreciate this fact and can point to a number of other examples where godawful tones sound right in the mix.

 

But Randy Rhoads' tone on Blizzard Of Ozz doesn't strike me as appropriate to the mix. It's more than bearable.. but not much, IMHO. This in contrast to, say, various guitar tones on the self titled, Toy Matinee album by Kevin Gilbert & Patrick Leonard. Some of the guitar tones wouldn't be fit for listening out of the context of the songs on that album, but they fit like perfectly cut puzzle pieces in Bill Bottrell's mixes. They're necessary. I don't see that being the case for Randy's tones.

 

Again, this is only one man's opinion, but I see more agreement from other posters to this thread than I ever imagined there could be. I'm not so alone in this opinion as I once thought.

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

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I definitely can't abide the idea that Randy's tone sucked. His studio tone had a real midrange grind because of the EQ that Max Norman used on it. It's not your typical LP/Marshall tone but I think it's a cool tone. His live tone, however, absolutely crushed. I saw Randy on the Blizzard tour and he tore my head off (tore, not bit). Just awesome playing and a HUGE tone. I actually had a ticket too see him on the following tour when I found out that he had died. I saw one of Brad Gillis' first gigs with Ozzy as a result and he ruled that night. Brad doesn't get nearly enough love for his Ozzy work. But still it was Randy's gig and he was a true original (and did I mention that he got a great and original tone?). I still miss him.

Matt Blackett

Associate Editor

Guitar Player Magazine

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Well, as someone earlier pointed out, the one positive about Randy's tone was that every note was crystal clear. Not many guitarists then or now could accomplish shred and have it all so articulate.

 

That said, yeah, I have Blizzard on vinyl, and I listen to the great songs in spite of the tone...

 

As to his criticism of Eddie,

 

1) He was like what, 16 when he played with QR? We were all young, stupid, and big-mouthed at least once in our lives.

 

2) Fact is, Randy could (and often did) pick phrases faster than Eddie could tap them. He was that damned good. He may have been the first guy to accuse Eddie of "smoke and mirrors" in his technique, but he wasn't the only one, rest assured.

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pick phrases faster than Eddie could tap them. He was that damned good.

 

Not!

 

I don't think he meant the same phrases. That would be something, considering the massive leaps you'd have to accomplish to play Eddie's tapped lines as picked notes.

 

But picking faster than Eddie plays isn't a big feat at all anymore. Picking as interesting melodies as Eddie, at any speed, is another concept entirely in which most shredders fail miserably, IMO.

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

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BTW - I've always mentioned, in reference to one of my best friends, Johnny Geib, that in the end he's often the better player of the two of us. Johnny would probably say he can hardly play the guitar, but in the end he's the one whose songs sound better. And I can't play his songs as well as he does. They're simple, but he's solid as a rock playing them.

 

We see this all the time on shows like American Idol. 1,000 singers attempting vocal gymnastics who think they're hot stuff, when in truth they're mediocre, while the great singers rarely pull that crap. They may sing a lot of simple melodies, but you can actually hear how solid their phrasing and tone is and it's head & shoulders above the vocal gymnasts.

 

The same is true of guitar players. I've heard all kinds of fast players whose phrasing is as vanilla as it gets. Little or no vibe at all. But a guy who can strum or play melodies at moderate tempo with style blows rings around the speed demons. :thu:

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

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The same is true of guitar players. I've heard all kinds of fast players whose phrasing is as vanilla as it gets. Little or no vibe at all. But a guy who can strum or play melodies at moderate tempo with style blows rings around the speed demons. :thu:

 

I know what you're saying. Lately, I've been exploring some of the basic rock tunes that most shred snobs would thumb their noses at because there's lots of cool stuff there.

 

Mostly, I'm learning them because of the band I'm not in but also... they're just awesome tunes.

 

Take "Hey Joe" for example. I'll bet you everyone here (myself included) hacked that tune to death in someone's garage. It's very easy to play the same dull chord progression over and over then stick a pentatonic lick in there and play it forever.

 

But that isn't how Jimi played it at all. He played every bar of that endless progression differently... thumbing the bass lines while doing major or add 9 stabs.

 

I guess what I'm trying to say is that he used subtlety and style to turn a dull progression into something great.

 

This is some of the stuff that made him legendary.

 

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I love RR's work. One has to wonder how good he would have been had he not died when he did. The main riff on 'Steal Away' is one of my favorites! He played it so smoothly. Someone previously mentioned that every note was crystal clear, which is what I always liked about his tone.
As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly!
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In the Summer of 1981, that tone was killer. Randy was one bad ass guitar player; laying down some timelasting licks.

RIP Randy.

 

Heh, I'm sure plenty of people think Robert Johnson's recordings sound like ass too. This sort of stuff will carry on long after all of us are gone too.

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I distinctly remember reading an article on the production of the first two Ozzy albums, and what was going on with the tone. THERE'S AN ARTISTIC REASON FOR THAT!!!!!!! ;)

 

Anyway, I know that the guitar stuff was double and triple tracked. Even as accurate as the performance technique was, there are going to modulation artifacts with that. There was also a particular delay unit that the producer fell in love with and used on everything, so that's not really Randy's fault. Remember - he was the kid they pulled out of L.A. Do you think he didn't follow what he was told to do?

 

Listen to how doubled Ozzy's vocals are. That was the production vogue of those records.

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In the Summer of 1981, that tone was killer. Randy was one bad ass guitar player; laying down some timelasting licks.

RIP Randy.

 

Heh, I'm sure plenty of people think Robert Johnson's recordings sound like ass too. This sort of stuff will carry on long after all of us are gone too.

 

Sorry. That don't play with me. I was around, playing and listening at that time and I always wondered WTF people liked about Randy's tone. It wasn't any better back then than now. Remember, as I pointed out earlier there was EVH and any number of '70's/80's classic rock bands with far better tone, IMO. Say what you will about Randy being able to play rings around Angus Young, for example, but Randy's tone is garage band compared to EVH or Angus from the same time period. I felt that way as a 14 year old kid and I feel the same way as a 40 year old kid.

 

The funny thing was, as a kid just getting into playing electric guitar seriously, I was inundated by magazines telling me I should love everything about Randy Rhoads. I could appreciate the support for his playing, but soundwise I could only surmise the people critiquing were either deaf or fanatics who thought Randy's sh*t didn't stink. ;)

 

I'm inclined to agree with Billster that the powers that be had a lot of sway with how the guitar on that record sounded.

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

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One's opinion of tone, of course, is, well one's opinion.

 

Vanilla? Chocolate? Strawberry? Marshall? Fender? Boogie??

 

I was never a huge Randy fanatic. When Randy hit, I was too old for hero worship!! LOL! But, I've always admired his playing. The man was a powerhouse electric player. I also seem to recall him taking classical lessions?? He did play some acoustic pieces, as I recall, and played them well.

 

Never once while listening to him, did my thoughts ever drift to his tone being poor. If, and I say IF, his tone was shrill, I'd say it seemed to my ear to suit his playing style well. He could play individual notes, as fast as anyone I've ever heard, yet you could distinctly hear each one. My fav example is the downward run he does on "Crazy Train". His precision was masterful. And, the treble bias his tone had suited this aspect of his playing well.

 

I'd have liked to hear him play thru HiWatt 100's, like Pete Townshend, and David Gilmore did.

 

But, again, his tone never bothered me. His playing was a big turn on.

Don

 

"There once was a note, Pure and Easy. Playing so free, like a breath rippling by."

 

 

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=574296

 

http://www.myspace.com/imdrs

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I don't think he meant the same phrases. That would be something, considering the massive leaps you'd have to accomplish to play Eddie's tapped lines as picked notes.

 

But picking faster than Eddie plays isn't a big feat at all anymore.

 

You're right in both cases.... except, as I bolded, "anymore" isn't the same as two years after Eddie's debut release.

 

Randy totally altered the landscape of shred.

 

It's easy for us to sit back, 27 years after his first big-time record, and say what he did was passe.

 

AFAIC, that's tatamount to saying what Jimi did was passe by modern standards...

 

In both cases, who the hell knows where they would have gone if they hadn't been taken so soon...

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PS: Yes, Darklava, the comparison to Jimi was directed square at you, because you're the one who worships a guy that, by any standards more recent than 1977, played garden-variety blues licks with a hella lot of fuzz.

 

(edit: changed '74 to '77, because post-'77 we had the guitar hero era, where everyone was doing wild shit Jimi never dreamed of)

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my big mouth is going to add that just playing faster than any of these greats ( Jimi, EVH or even Randy) doesn't really prove anything. they created some impressive works and we remember them because of it.

tons of players who relied on speed have come and gone because they offered nothing musical.

 

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