#173834  by wayfaerer
There are some things you learn early on in the Jerry tone quest, all of which seem to revolve around treble/brightness:

-Super 2's—a really bright humbucker... split so it's even brighter.
-Buffer so you don't lose any treble.
-Amp settings are bass 0, mid 0, treble 10.

The rest of the rig might not necessarily be treble-heavy, but I'd say neither the JBL's, the McIntosh, nor the MD421 are gonna do much to tame the treble. I've seen JBL's described as "warm" on this forum, and McIntosh amps as "sweet", but I have both and, well, they sound great, but I'd say they sound more neutral than anything. In any case, they don't really tame the treble in any way I can tell when compared to other other speakers and power amps.

I don't know about you all, but with this rig, I get some pretty ice picky, shrill tones, which frankly sound pretty bad. Then I listen to something like the 6/17/91 Eyes of the World performance, for example (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuSJ0djewQU), and I hear nothing shrill, no pick noise, no ice pick, no fret noise... if anything, it's kind of a dark tone.

The closest I can get to a tone like that is if I roll my tone pot back pretty far, like 50% (with a log pot), and that helps quite a bit, and I'm pretty happy with the tone. Of course, I get the "if it sounds good, who cares?" opinion, but I'm still curious if anyone else also rolls their tone pot back a little bit, even for clean tones? Otherwise, what gives... anyone else have trouble with ice pick highs?
 #173835  by Darkstar860
I roll back my treble on my amp more than most it seems and I do roll back my tone pot a lot. Over the years ive gotten use to the quick changes with the volume and tone pots during songs and changes etc. I dont play with my guitars volume @ 10 tho. Im between 7 and 9, 90% of the time. If i ever set my guitars volume to 10 its for the 1st set closer or the 2nd set closer @ the end of the jam or song etc. But you mention your mids are at 0... you want your mids turned up to at least 6. I find that having the bass at 0 doesnt sound right with either my real Twin or my SMS. Have your bass at at least 1. Those tricks work well for me with JBL e-120's.

Hope this helps.
 #173836  by Slewfoot2000
I often roll things back as well and don’t use standard “Jerry settings” although I primarily just play at home (badly) recreationally. What works for Jerry in arenas is bound to sound completely different in a home.

My standard use for GD and most tones in general are Treble 9-ish / Mid 7-ish / Bass 4-ish / Reverb 5-ish.

A big factor though is the guitar being used. Some are naturally more bassy or trebly than others.

And then there is the settings of the tone knobs. I usually keep them around 7-ish at the bridge and 9-ish for others on most guitars. High to retain freshness, but rolled off a bit so it’s not harsh on the bridge. Guitar volume regularly adjusted for volume, but usually in the 6 - 8 range.

This raises a big question I’ve been tempted to start a thread on, but might as well ask here: DOES ANYONE KNOW THE TONE SETTINGS JERRY GENERALLY USED THROUGHOUT THE YEARS?

(sorry for the all caps, but wanted to grab your attention)

That seems like an important factor in all this. Especially considering many of his guitars used 500K and 1000K pots which can be very bright although Garcia’s stuff rarely had any harshness. The fact that he had a 1000K pot in Wolf in 73/74 kinda blows my mind as that tone has always been his warmest and softest to my ears. Wonder if his tone knob was usually set to 5-ish except on ripping solos.

Always something to learn!
 #173838  by bzbz
Basic Jerry tone with single coils (or split humbuckers) is generally

treble 10
mid 5 or 6
bass 0 or 1

I have my bass at 0, and with my tiger replica - played through JBL - I turn up the midrange quite a bit - based on my amp - though with P90 type pickups, I keep it down

But mid at 0 is not a great way to get Jerry tone IMO - the mids are the key to add fullness to the sparkly bite of the treble....
 #173843  by wayfaerer
Helpful info everyone, thanks! I'm glad I'm not the only one using my tone pot regularly. I'll make sure not to neglect mids at the amp, too.

Please let me know if you have any other tips related to taming harshness. If only I could play at stadium volumes, I could check if that helps.
 #173844  by Darkstar860
Without the mids, you lose that tic tac note definition. If youve been running your amps mids on 0, just wait til you hear what starts happening when the mids are turned up a bit. WIthout the mids up, you dont get that unique snap. ;-)
 #173845  by BoogieMK2
I have rarely used my tone pots over the years but am starting to with my Tele.

Another consideration is how loud you play and your speakers. The 1watt curve for speaker response is a very loose guide. If you drive 10W to 50W, the response curve will be much different. Don’t worry about not duplicating Jerry settings, use your ears to find your sweet spot. I have a few Tone Tubby speakers, many don’t really get a good sound until some power is pushed.
 #173846  by Darkstar860
Yeah my tone is more of a Kimock tone than Jerry. But its close enough that when i play the Dead material its familiar to folks. But i kinda found my own settings to match my dynamics in my picking technique etc. I tried using the Jerry settings on the SMS that the manual showed me and it didnt work for me. I had to have some bass etc.
 #173847  by TI4-1009
Slewfoot2000 wrote: Mon Nov 07, 2022 6:08 am What works for Jerry in arenas is bound to sound completely different in a home.
 #173850  by Darkstar860
^ +2

I find that this is where i use reverb. If i want the sound of Jerry from say the Knick in Albany, add more reverb. ;-) I wasnt a huge fan of the SMS reverb at first, but ive started to like it more and more and I use it with my Danelecro Spring King (modded). Can get any vibe i really need this way. I know the SMS has changeable cards for the reverb, has anyone experimented with changing this ?
 #173852  by Slewfoot2000
So one thing I just did with my Gibson 335 to help avoid the 500K bright highs on the bridge was adjust the pickup height. This can easily be done on a lot of Gibsons to great effect.

As you adjust the pickup height with the middle screws, the pickup tends to float around from front to back. I adjusted it so that the area closer to the neck pickup was raised more while the back closer to the bridge stayed around the same height. Also made it so the top closer to the low EAD strings is a touch higher. This definitely helped in that it raised the volume a touch and made it warmer.

Worth trying if you have a Gibson type guitar and find the bridge a bit too bright.