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Was Davey Johnstone the tonal inspiration for Randy Rhodes?


Kimsky

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Before you hang me hear me out. I was listening to the radio while leaving a parking structure and drinking coffee so both hands were full and Elton Johns 'Saturday Nights Alright for Fighting' and the guitar tone in the middle eight is pure scooped metal. I immediately thought of Rhodes tone on 'Crazy Train'. "Couldn't be", I thought. It had to be the crappy mini-van speakers. I got home and checked it. Johnstones tone is actually heavier than Rhodes. The tone I mean starts at 3:15 more or less on the studio recording. Of course, it's mixed down a bit. Anyway, have I lost my mind?
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Nope, you haven't necessarily lost your mind; though I'd think that it was more a case of two players heading in the same general direction as far as that type of tone goes.

 

I don't doubt it. This was during the period when Elton was biting the heads off bats, right?

 

:D:thu:

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_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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I gave up on Elton around the time of Madman Across the Water, but if you doubt that Elton John ever really rocked, listen to the live album 11-17-70 - there are no guitars on the album, but you won't miss them.

"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

 

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Unfortunately RR falls into the "Great Guitar Players with Bad Tone"

 

I used to think that. What he had was really individual tone. People were still figuring out what worked for metal back then and sounds weren't as standardized as they became just a few years later. He figured out a sound that worked for him and worked in that band. Sure it doesn't sound like James Hetfield but it still works IMHO.

"You never can vouch for your own consciousness." - Norman Mailer
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I think the consensus on that-which I agree with-is that his tone may not be the most pleasing to the ear but, every note he played rang through-considering the overdistorted mush that could have resulted, he was on the right track.

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

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I gave up on Elton around the time of Madman Across the Water, but if you doubt that Elton John ever really rocked, listen to the live album 11-17-70 - there are no guitars on the album, but you won't miss them.

 

Madman Across the Water opens up with two of my all time favorite songs back to back... Tiny Dancer and Levon... then the rest of the album is kind of ho hum.

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<----one of my favorite old songs "Talking Old Soldiers" from the Tumbleweed Connection album...Bernie Taupin (biggest inspiration) wrote all the songs on it and I pretty much lost interest in Elton after Madman and Tumbleweed... :thu:
Take care, Larryz
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  • 4 months later...
I gave up on Elton around the time of Madman Across the Water, but if you doubt that Elton John ever really rocked, listen to the live album 11-17-70 - there are no guitars on the album, but you won't miss them.

 

And if you REALLY love 11/17/70, as I do, you GOTTA get the complete broadcast.

http://www.eltonshop.com/tracks/ty98.htm

Proud owner of Dee Murray's Steinberger!.. Voted "Top Ten Best Bass Player"-2011 Austin Music Awards.. Professional fake Beatle.
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  • 4 weeks later...

it was more Max Norman's tone, wasn't it?

 

I remember reading that Blizzard and Diary were recorded almost back-to-back, with a 6-week break in between the sessions. There was a 4-week tour in between there and, once Max Norman got to see them live, he approached Randy's studio tone much more in keeping with how Randy sounded live.

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it was more Max Norman's tone, wasn't it?

 

I remember reading that Blizzard and Diary were recorded almost back-to-back, with a 6-week break in between the sessions. There was a 4-week tour in between there and, once Max Norman got to see them live, he approached Randy's studio tone much more in keeping with how Randy sounded live.

 

Good call; it certainly at least had something to do with it! Probably quite a bit.

 

Really, I don't think there's much of a direct link between Davey Johnstone's tones with Elton John and Randy Rhodes' tones with Ozzy Osbourne, other than their both seeking a ripping distorted tone with a lot of bright, upper-mid presence. They both went in a similar tonal direction.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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  • 4 months later...

rr was a great player, but his tone was like an electric ham sandwich (to misquote FZ)

 

it was pretty lame, very bright and thin, and way more distorted...in a bad way.

 

he scooped out most of his mids to try to avoid feedback issues...with that much gain, almost any pickup will become microphonic.

 

i don't hear much in common with davey johnstone's tone at all...yes, there's a lot of distortion, but it's not scooped out and ball-less like the RR tone....dj's tone is heavy, distorted, and very very phat, while rr's is empty and hollow.

 

night and day.

 

i see someone mentioned "standardization"...that's one of the big problems with "metal"...absolutely zero personality to the guitar tones, very generic sounding in general.

 

the guitar is all about midrange...that's where it lives. scooping all or most of it out of the signal just takes the balls away from it...

 

yes, you get thunderous lows and screaming high end, but there's no substance to it...and you get the equivalent of a ham sandwich.

 

and hold the cheese.

 

most of the better sounding metal guys use a lot more mids than the sandwich tone guys. it's really where all the action comes from.

 

ymmv....but to me? rr's tone was the worst part of the guy...he played, wrote, and arranged great.

 

but his tone sounded like a zoom pedal preset that hadn't been invented for another 15 years.

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Effects

 

Dunlop Crybaby Wah

Roland RE-201 'Space Echo'

Korg echo

MXR: Distortion +, EQ, Flanger, Chorus

 

Amplifiers

 

(3) Marshall 100W 1959SLP heads in white - two with a gain modification added by Marshall after Blizzard of Oz, one without.

 

(6) Marshall Model 1960A cabs in white, all loaded with Altec 417-8H speakers (open back)

 

For Blizzard Of Ozz, Randy used the 1959SLP without the gain modification, and used his MXR Distortion+ for extra gain.

 

Open Back cabinets? YUCK!

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Just a random thought here. In a lot of my favorite music from the early 70's most of the heavy guitar sounds were coming from Gibson guitars (mostly SG's & LP's), pushing high-gain British amps. Think Frampton, Fripp, Townshend, McLaughlin, Angus Young - you get the idea. IMHO, RR represents a shift in approach - sort of a pioneer, searching out a new, distinctive tone for Metal, going back to what Gabriel E said. When you're exploring unfamiliar territory, you're bound to hit a few dead ends, or take a few wrong turns - if nothing else, RR's tone was distinctive, or we wouldn't still be talking about him. To me, it all comes down to this quote from the great Link Wray - "Who cares, as long as we get a f*cking sound, man!"

"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

 

http://www.novparolo.com

 

https://thewinstonpsmithproject.bandcamp.com

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most of the better sounding metal guys use a lot more mids than the sandwich tone guys. it's really where all the action comes from.

 

Vindication, finally!

 

I used to get static all the time in bands for playing with a decidedly mid-rangy tone while they were trying to cop the big growling bassy-trebly thing (not scooped, but that oh-so-typical modern metal bark). I told them the bass lived down there and the cymbals up there, and I wanted to cut through the mix without having to crank it up to 14...

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most of the better sounding metal guys use a lot more mids than the sandwich tone guys. it's really where all the action comes from.

 

Vindication, finally!

 

I used to get static all the time in bands for playing with a decidedly mid-rangy tone while they were trying to cop the big growling bassy-trebly thing (not scooped, but that oh-so-typical modern metal bark). I told them the bass lived down there and the cymbals up there, and I wanted to cut through the mix without having to crank it up to 14...

 

lol...you got it. that's why some of us always cut thru anything.

you're dealing with the same frequency ranges as the vocals, really. you MAY need to scoop out a little when recording, but better to HAVE some to scoop than to try and put some in that just don't exist!!!! ;)

 

 

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RR had tone like it was played through a battery amp with a 3 in speaker. it sounded tiny to me. awesome chops and writing ability though.

 

In those days, it was less about tone than it was about speed. If you could tap at light speed, nobody cared if you sounded like a battery amp with a 3" speaker.

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

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Rhoads' tone was terrible on those studio albums. Live he sounded better. He pumped more mids live. On Bizzard it sounds he play thru a wall of piezo tweeters. Live he could dial in a decent sound. Heck you have too in order to hear youself over Tommy Aldridge.

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So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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