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Forum :: General Discussion

Steve Albini's guitar sound


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qbertsoul

PostPosted: 05/11/2005 at 5:09 PM    Post subject: Steve Albini's guitar sound link

How does Steve Albini (Shellac) get his guitar sound? Is it integrally tied to his guitar?

I've heard that he uses really unique picks to get the guitar sound, like he will use metal picks with sharp edges. That kind of thing.

Does anybody know for sure? Any experience from seeing them live?

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holmes

Joined:
29 Feb 2008
Posts: 182
PostPosted: 05/15/2005 at 4:09 PM    Post subject: RE:Steve Albini's guitar sound link

yeah i saw them live and his travis had different pick ups - not usual black 500 pick ups. its absolutly battered that guitar. a great big metal plate has been drilled on to the back of it to stop it from falling apart where he shakes it so voilently. i guess he is suffering serious neck crack problems. its sounds incredible though that thing. dont be fooled by the amps though - theres a 65 bassman in that big metal box.

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okko fx

PostPosted: 05/18/2005 at 8:16 AM    Post subject: RE:Steve Albini's guitar sound link

hi, when I saw shellac, the 500 had stock pus. the picks are copper hotlicks with a cutout but that's not too important... but it will help killing your strings.
see http://guitargeek.com/rigview/446/ for the amp setup.

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dave j

PostPosted: 05/23/2005 at 2:49 AM    Post subject: RE:Steve Albini's guitar sound link

i seriously doubt that the picks albini uses have anything to do with his tone. at loud volumes, the pick probably has almost no bearing whatsoever upon tone except for the function of hitting a string.
pickups are everything...and nothing!!
given that he obviously plays a tb500 (aka...two single-coil pickups influenced by caps influencing tone pots), that tone is absolutely generated by post-guitar effects. there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever about this!! if he were to plug a telecaster into his pre-amp rig, he would sound almost EXACTLY the same...no question (just a little "warmer" and with less sustain). the "metallic" sound that you hear absolutely has got to be in the post-guitar part of the chain. there is no way that a travis bean guitar ALONE could create that sound. it is simply one part of his overall tone. i own a travis bean guitar, have run it through distortion effects, and can tell you first hand that his guitar choice is only ONE part of his tone...NO QUESTION ABOUT IT. the sustaining qualties of his sound are definately influenced by the use of a TB, but the "chunk" of his tone could not possibly be attributed to the guitar alone.
_dave

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holmes

Joined:
29 Feb 2008
Posts: 182
PostPosted: 05/27/2005 at 1:03 AM    Post subject: RE:Steve Albini's guitar sound link

well i think youll find it probably is the guitar - a band called sons and daughters use a 500 and get a very simarlar tone. hell, ive even come close by using the middle selection on the pick up switch of a tb1000. out of phase. also remember his amp is being slightly overdriven.

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alex Maiolo

PostPosted: 05/28/2005 at 9:40 AM    Post subject: RE:Steve Albini's guitar sound link

I have to disagree. The Bean has a lot to do with the tone. His rig is really simple, and has been posted many times on the 'net.
One of his 500's--> noise gate (usually Boss or MXR) ---> something called a "harmonic perculator" (some weird vintage effect ---> Fender bassman in custom cabinet ---> 10,12, and (oddly) 15 inch speakers.
One of his 500's has different pickups in it, but I still insist that the sustain and overall properties of the Bean receiver are key. The harmonic perculator is probably important, but I'd guess any sort of harmonic enhancer would work well. I played my Bean through a boss acoustic simulator, which is a type of harmonic enhancer and a noise gate, with a metal pick, and came damn close. I was playing it through my Marshall JTM45, which is more "Fendery" than most Marshalls. The thing is, I don't want to sound like Steve. I think Steve's an amazing guitar player and I love his sound, but if I mastered the "Steve sound" people would proably say "that's the dude who's trying to sound like Albini." Who the hell wants that? The best thing about Beans is they will always sound unique through any rig, so find your own sound. That's why I disagree with the notion that a Tele can be made to sound like a Bean. Clearly the Bean players stand out. Duane Dennison is a great example as well.
Also, the metal pick that Steve uses is probably essential. I think his have a small cut out of them about the circumference of a low E string, which is slightly off-center. Depending on how he picks, my guess is that the scrapes or even double attack that the pick provides matters quite a lot.


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Peter

PostPosted: 05/28/2005 at 11:18 AM    Post subject: RE:Steve Albini's guitar sound link

One thing that kind of complicates things though is some of Albini's recordings for other bands have a similar guitar tone. I'm thinking specifically of Breadwinner, who on their only full length sounds like both the guitarist and bassist are using Beans but neither are.

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alex Maiolo

PostPosted: 05/29/2005 at 9:43 AM    Post subject: RE:Steve Albini's guitar sound link

Great point, but the operative word you use is "similar". Les Pauls and Les Paul Jrs. sound "similar," especially if the compared guitars both have PAFs or P90s. Hondas are really similar to Tototas. In the case of Breadwinner or more obviously, Big Black, my guess is that if you play the bridge pickup, enhance it harmonically, crank the treble and pick aggressively, you will end up in the same ballpark tonally. Add to the equation that Albini played Strats in Big Balck, and might have used metal picks back then, and you're even closer. It may sound like nuance, but the question is how does Albini get *his* sound and I think the Bean has a lot to do with it. Compare anything off of the Breadwinner album (which is great) to Song of the Minerals or Pull the Cup and all you get is "similar".

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BadComrade

PostPosted: 06/01/2005 at 4:54 PM    Post subject: RE:Steve Albini's guitar sound link

Steve owes half of his sound to Keith Levene from Public Image Ltd, who played both Veleno guitars and Travis Beans way before Steve probably even knew what one was. So, stop asking how Steve gets his sound and start wondering how Keith did. Bitches.

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alex Maiolo

PostPosted: 06/02/2005 at 11:14 PM    Post subject: RE:Steve Albini's guitar sound link

I'd have to vote Andy Gill on that one - regarding influences. Also, Keith Levine isn't the only angular guitar god...uh..."bitch". Let's not forget the late great John McGeogh
Props to that guy...uh...."bitch".

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gse

PostPosted: 06/09/2005 at 2:02 PM    Post subject: RE:Steve Albini's guitar sound link

i say screw the people who accuse others of being 'albini wannabes'. his guitar sound is awsome. why wouldnt someone want a similar sound. as far as how he gets it i think its a mixture of the tb500, the 65 bassman, tapco pre amp and carver powre amp he uses, his speaker boxes [10 / 12] [15/horn], the copper notched picks and last but least the way he actually plays. some one touched on the picks. try them. i use them with my set up. if i leave my amp, gtr and fx set up the sme way and alternate between plastic picks, copper picks and notched copper picks you can definitely notice the difference.

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Chris Hall

Joined:
01 Jun 2001
Posts: 132
PostPosted: 06/16/2005 at 9:02 AM    Post subject: RE:Steve Albini's guitar sound link

They asked how he got his SOUND, not PLAYING STYLE. You must be retarded. Not to mention Steve's guitar sound doesn't sound anything like Andy Gill's. Maybe you're thinking of "The Edge"... As for John McHeogh... yeah, there are points in Big Black's catalog that sound like some of the songs off Siousxie and the Banshees album Juju. The guitar sound however, doesn't sound the same. Biyotch!

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sumlin

PostPosted: 06/19/2005 at 7:22 AM    Post subject: RE:Steve Albini's guitar sound link

Much as the geekiness of this thread kills me I always assumed the sound was done with a noise gate. so when the guitar is hit hard a second amp kicks in. I guess the fender amps on all the time and then the noise gate throws in the transistor amp. Its a subtle effect though, nothing mental.
The 500 does have a lot to do with it. I have one and I have stopped using it because even on the neck pickup through a bass amp it just sounds too much like shellac. scotty in sons & daughters gets away with it because S&D aren't really that shellacy in the first place so it works.

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bunk

PostPosted: 06/21/2005 at 1:13 PM    Post subject: RE:Steve Albini's guitar sound link

i know this one..
alright... steve uses: travis bean tb500-harmonic percolator-
noise gate-
intersound IVP-THIS IS KEY TO THE SOUND
and a bassman
then!!!1 he uses those wierd speakers with horns
*btw, i have THE EXACT sound, and im proud, it sounds cool.every musician in the world is "ripping someone off"


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tmh

PostPosted: 07/27/2005 at 3:02 PM    Post subject: RE:Steve Albini's guitar sound link

for what it's worth, i once was joking with steve and told him "so i finally figured out how to get your guitar sound" and before i could finish the joke (which was going to be that all you need to do is play any electric guitar through a traynor monoblock) he cut me off and asked "which sound?" he made the interesting point that he doesn't have one single guitar sound. he has multiple sounds. or at least, HE thinks he does. i tend to agree.

also, he told me that he can get what i was referring to as "his sound" with any electric guitar. that the way in which you play the guitar is more important the the specific guitar itself. so by this statement, which i also agree with, the bean is not the key to "the steve sound".

and FWIW, i have a TB1000S and a Lado F1 Falcon, and the Lado intrinsically sounds more like "the steve tone" than the Bean does. go figure.

scott

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Rene van lien

PostPosted: 05/16/2006 at 6:47 AM    Post subject: RE:Steve Albini's guitar sound link

albini told me once that he uses stainless steel strings, for every session.... this sparkling sound of strings combined with copper pics (2 glued together sometimes , so it seems), with devil hooks cut in the pic and TB500.

Thats`s part 1.
The other thin is that steve uses a full range cab onstage. He claims it is just so he can hear well on stage and no other reason.
The IVP seems to be a big deal.
That is the one missing link.

I have all the rest (including a harmonic perculator, you can buy reissues if you look hard enough..but none is identical,).

I need to know how to get an IVP and what the exaxct influence is.

We are playing with shellac maybe and we want to cover them when we support them, haha I hope they have some humor....

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gse

PostPosted: 05/19/2006 at 8:07 PM    Post subject: RE:Steve Albini's guitar sound link

i picked up an ivp of ebay about a year ago for about $300.00 us. as did i a 64 blackface for $500. just keep looking they pop up.

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jimmyjames6

PostPosted: 05/23/2006 at 12:16 AM    Post subject: RE:Steve Albini's guitar sound link

Just to throw in 2 cents, you can get a 500 ish(Albini) tone from a Tele. All Bean pickups are semi Tele based. Alnico 5 slugs and Steel base plates. Nothing really magical, just a ******* great combination. In fact if memory serves, didnt he play a Strat and Tele in Big Black for awhile? I guess the really clear single coil sound is the "secret" or at least part of it. He did say once he'd use p90s when in a pinch.

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jimmyjames6

PostPosted: 05/23/2006 at 12:18 AM    Post subject: RE:Steve Albini's guitar sound link

PS. the copper shells are replacement covers from where he had them repaired.

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next step

PostPosted: 06/02/2006 at 1:11 PM    Post subject: RE:Steve Albini's guitar sound link

seeing how his Travis is threadbare looks that hi really plays with metal picks. but his sound comes out from all his equipment yes join with him! anyway I'm gonna to see shellac in 5 days so I'll post notices soon!

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next step

PostPosted: 06/07/2006 at 2:20 PM    Post subject: RE:Steve Albini's guitar sound link

He his totaly crazy and definitely great! couldnt understood if they were using metal picks, amazing rattle and clatter gtrs though!!

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Rene

PostPosted: 08/04/2006 at 3:16 AM    Post subject: RE:Steve Albini's guitar sound link

dudes, I have Albini`s sound exactly copied and did a show where we covered 13 shellac songs llive ... check at http://3voor12lokaal.vpro.....gazines=61902&news=373596

We played at action park, the 7" ones and a few new ones.

The trick is mainly to have a bean 500 through the intersound IVP going throuigh the full range cabinet. this High frequency distorted metalic sound that is created by the bean and the ivp is then broadcasted through the full range cabinet so the highest frequencis that are usually cut off in bass or guitars peakers... comes through!!! then add some body with any normal tube amp... and you`re done.

there were a lot of sceptic shellac fans in the audiece... but they said we were even better than when they saw shellac live in amsterdam!

I have a bean 500, 1000S and tb2000 (2X). I also have some krmaers (i am selling 2 of tehm!).

Any questions can be mailed to: feverdream@feverdream.nl

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kathyDi

Joined:
23 Jul 2012
Posts: 15
PostPosted: 07/23/2012 at 1:14 PM    Post subject: RE:Steve Albini's guitar sound link

BadComrade
Posted: 06/01/2005 at 4:54 PM Post subject: RE:Steve Albini's guitar sound

"Steve owes half of his sound to Keith Levene from Public Image Ltd, who played both Veleno guitars and Travis Beans way before Steve probably even knew what one was. So, stop asking how Steve gets his sound and start wondering how Keith did. Bitches."


AMEN TO DAT! :)))

Saw Levene perform MBID live in London with Wobble in May. He's better than ever.- here's a little snippet of Swan Lake:



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_WuJNCuHd4

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Chris Hall

Joined:
01 Jun 2001
Posts: 132
PostPosted: 09/12/2012 at 8:42 PM    Post subject: RE:Steve Albini's guitar sound link

I was sort of kidding when I wrote that, but yeah, I love Keith and his shrill sound predates Steve's, obviously.

I didn't know about the Keith / Jah shows until after they happened. I would have flown there to see those. Surprisingly good from the videos I've seen. Even with the John Lydon impersonator from the Sex Pistols Experience.

Funny that they feel since John has fake "John" and "Jah" that they can have a fake John...



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kathyDi

Joined:
23 Jul 2012
Posts: 15
PostPosted: 09/17/2012 at 7:04 PM    Post subject: RE:Steve Albini's guitar sound link

Fair enough, Chris.

FYI...If you are interested in Keith, you should check him out on Twitter @missingchannel or email him at info@keithlevene.com. He has been very active responding to fans questions since the final MBiD show in Japan about a month ago. He's answering all sorts of questions...for instance: he recorded the Slab with a Prophet 5 synth as in what he used in Careering. I always presumed he employed some classically-trained cellist or violinist at Park South Studios. He's also been emailing never before heard tunes on request and is talking about plans for more shows in 2013. Cheers, Kathy

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