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What would be the perfect 70s rock disco setup?
Old 20th September 2012
  #1
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
What would be the perfect 70s rock disco setup?

I'm really interested in perfecting the 70s style disco guitar sound that's come back into popularity in today's music. What exactly am I talking about? Well, go listing to most anything Jamiroquai or Phoenix and that would be it. I'd assume it's mostly Strats and wah pedals but I'm sure not all of it is. Does the Les Paul have any steak in this area? Hmm. I have a Strat and even a 67 Super Reverb amp. But, I'm still not quite getting that quacky plucky sound I'm looking for. That's not to say I'm not way off with what I'm getting out of my stuff but perhaps you have the secret to what a great 70's classic set up would be. I've go this Franken American Strat with some Hot Noisless p/ups in it. I don't hate it but I'm just not getting out of it what I'm wanting. Then again, I may be going into the wrong direction here. Thanks for any suggs!
Old 20th September 2012
  #2
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🎧 10 years
I really like Jamiroquai, and some of the other bands of that ilk.

In terms of authentic, a lot of what you want comes from pedals like the BiPhase and other MuTron choices. Those three little Dan Armstrong pieces... the Orange Squezzer and whatever the other two were. The sound is often done on at Strat in a very wanky almost Tele sounding setup, but as so many of these guitars look like copies or are at least tarted up a bunch, who knows what kind of pickups were in them? Music Man and Acoustic amps. In the low end, those Acoustic 360s/Cerwin Vega bottoms with the Music Man bass. There are lots of other choices, you just have to look at the old 70s live stage show rigs but the guitars, for me, were one-dimensional and boring.
Old 20th September 2012
  #3
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🎧 5 years
Jamiroquai have evolved from acid jazz to funk to disco

The first bassist Stuart Zender used a Warwick and a mutron 3... I have a 70's mutron 3 and it is that sound... My mate has the 80's reissue and its very close... Either are much better than the qtron or whatever

Dont know much else but guitars sound like fender types...
Old 20th September 2012
  #4
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🎧 15 years
I haven't had experience with your pick-ups, but that may be the issue. Nile Rodgers played a Strat in Chic. Bridge p/u. Probably into a Fender amp like yours. You could look into trading it out for a stock Strat.

Your amp is perfect.

Ideally, you'll want to have both a single coil and a humbucker guitar on hand for variety. If money was no object, I would get a strat, tele and a 335. That would give you every color. Semi-hollowbodies were common for funk bands. You never see a Les Paul. Though, I'm sure it'd do OK.

For pedals, I would recommend the Small Stone phaser because it gives you the standard 4-pole filter and the color switch which I think gives you 5-pole, so you have more variety.

As far as playing styles:

1. 1/16th note funk strumming. Usually dominant 9th chords if it's a static funk riff. If it's a chord progression with m7 and maj7, then just follow that.
2. Sliding fourths. On the B and E strings play at the 5th fret and slide up to the 7th. That kind of thing.
3. muted single-note riffs. Better for ballads ("Love TKO").
3. String popping (especially on a Strat 'mark knopfler' 4th pick-up position). More of an early 80s thing. Think early Madonna.
Old 20th September 2012
  #5
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ksandvik's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
As for guitars: Strats. Compress a lot. Use filtering effects such as auto-envelope filters from time to time. Learn to quack (listen a lot of Chic records.) My favourite quack guitar is actually an old Ibanez Blazer, heard later that it was used quite a lot in the early eighties Brit-dance music projects as well.

As for bass, Jazz bass or a MusicMan one, learn to play the boppy style -- again listen a lot of Chic tracks. Compression, keep the original sound in place so you hear it's a MusicMan bass.

Frankly speaking, a lot of the sounds were based on extremely good studio musicians playing.
Old 20th September 2012
  #6
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🎧 10 years
I'm listening to Canned Heat right now. It's a cool guitar technique. I would say there is probably a lot of technique to go with the equipment to get this sound. I'm sorta trying to dial that sound in with a peavey vypyr and it's wah peadal. With the pickup selector in the bridge position it's not too bad. But, it does get out of hand in the higher frequencies.
Old 20th September 2012
  #7
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🎧 5 years
My 70's cry baby has very little pedal range to it, not sure if it would make a difference but it could be the sweep of the is faster to achieve than on newer wahs with more pedal range....

Someone with more knowledge can tell you if im talking arse or not :D
Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #8
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dubmunkey ➑️
My 70's cry baby has very little pedal range to it, not sure if it would make a difference but it could be the sweep of the is faster to achieve than on newer wahs with more pedal range....

Someone with more knowledge can tell you if im talking arse or not :D
a lot of the disco groups used envelope followers instead of wahs. (same idea, no treadle)
Old 21st September 2012 | Show parent
  #9
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] ➑️
a lot of the disco groups used envelope followers instead of wahs. (same idea, no treadle)
Wow, I've never heard of an envelope follower. So, technically what exactly is a wah pedal. Is it a high pass, low pass or notch filter with adjustable cutoff freq?

I'll investigate this envelope follower you speak of. lol
Old 21st September 2012
  #10
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🎧 10 years
Something like the MuTron or MuTron Micro V, or EH Doctor Q envelope filters would be of that period, but most multi fx have an EF stashed away somewhere in the menus. Most people would be hard pressed to do the same thing with a wah for the length of a dance track.
Old 21st September 2012 | Show parent
  #11
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🎧 10 years
Cool, I'm familiar with an auto wah of course. I presume this would be LFO triggered. My vypyr has that function. It would appear some of these other pedals and the such use dynamic volume triggering as boosts of volume would sweep the filter. The Boss AW 3 has a control/expression input. I guess you can use a volume pedal to control the sweep? I'd had a Dunlop Crybaby if the past. I found it a bit hard to control. I'd never bothered to tweak it or make any adjustments. I think the novelty wore off.
Old 21st September 2012 | Show parent
  #12
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsowa ➑️
I haven't had experience with your pick-ups, but that may be the issue. Nile Rodgers played a Strat in Chic. Bridge p/u. Probably into a Fender amp like yours. .
Nile Rodgers often played his strat direct into the desk, no amp involved, as did quite a few other (late) 70s disco / r&b acts, like Johnny Guitar Watson, a lot of the P-Funk rhythm guitar parts, early Prince, etcetc
Old 21st September 2012
  #13
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Hot Vibrato's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
An MXR Dyna-Comp after your wah pedal might help to get that 70's "porno soundtrack" kinda sound, if that's similar to the "disco" sound you're looking for. That's certainly not your only option as far as compressors go, but the Dyna-comp was indeed popular in the 70's. Your amp's reverb should be perfect for the task.

You can adjust the voicing of your wah pedal by skipping a "tooth" or two in one direction or another on the gear that turns the potentiometer. This basically changes the point in the sweep at which the pedal says "wah". You might try experimenting with that.

Keep us posted as to what works for you and what doesn't.
Old 23rd September 2012
  #14
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1 Review written
🎧 15 years
I used a Les Paul Deluxe and a Les Paul 55/74 Special into a 100 Watt Marshall with 8X10 cabinet.
Old 27th September 2012
  #15
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noah330's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I have a pedal Boss made called the Dimension C (model number DC-1). It really nails the late 70s/early 80s chorus sounds.

It is an analog chorus that has four presets on it. There are no knobs, but the sounds are so familiar that you'll know them instantly.

It is related to (but different then) the Roland Dimension D, which was a rack unit.
Old 27th September 2012
  #16
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] ➑️
a lot of the disco groups used envelope followers instead of wahs. (same idea, no treadle)
Yeah i use a Mutron III... Have both a 70's CB and MuTron... Different sounds but a guitar through the mu on high pass is :D
Old 27th September 2012
  #17
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackasspenguin ➑️
Wow, I've never heard of an envelope follower. So, technically what exactly is a wah pedal. Is it a high pass, low pass or notch filter with adjustable cutoff freq?

I'll investigate this envelope follower you speak of. lol
They are usually controlled by dynamics...hit the string harder and the filter opens more... Similar sound to a wah but controlled differently as a wah is foot controlled
Old 30th September 2012 | Show parent
  #18
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsowa ➑️
I haven't had experience with your pick-ups, but that may be the issue. Nile Rodgers played a Strat in Chic. Bridge p/u. Probably into a Fender amp like yours. You could look into trading it out for a stock Strat.

Your amp is perfect.

Ideally, you'll want to have both a single coil and a humbucker guitar on hand for variety. If money was no object, I would get a strat, tele and a 335. That would give you every color. Semi-hollowbodies were common for funk bands. You never see a Les Paul. Though, I'm sure it'd do OK.

.
Rodgers mostly used the neck p/u, not bridge. Also Les Pauls were used in funk/disco too. I agree on the 335 being big for that genre/era though, as well as the amp being good.

To the OP, you may want to try some new p/u's before a new guitar, as a strat with that amp should get you at least 1 of the sounds of disco. Like jdsows said, there wasnt just 1 definitive sound. It was mainly 2 - fender and gibson.

For the pups, they used low output back then, not hot/high output. Also used true sigle coils on strats, not noiseless. Funk/disco/r&b is the main sound I go for, and Ive listened to a lot of demo's of the noiseless pups on strats and they just didn't work for that sound, imo. Try just some regular stock low output american standard pups. Most of the old strats on those records were just stock pickups.

If you think the Gibson sound is what you are seeking, then look into a les paul, or better a 335 if you can afford it.

Good tip is search for old perfomances of the songs you like, like soul train, midnight special, etc, and you can see what guitars were used.
Old 30th September 2012
  #19
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🎧 5 years
btw, funk is mostly in the technique. You can play funk on anything if you learn the techniques. Different gear just gives you different flavors of the funk. Like whether you use a fender or gibson.
Old 1st October 2012
  #20
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🎧 15 years
Yea, you're right about the neck. I was listening to "another one bites the dust", and that's also definitely the neck p/u.
Old 2nd October 2012
  #21
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🎧 5 years
another one bites the dust was by Queen/Brian May
Old 4th October 2012
  #22
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jayson_p's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Try a Fender strat blending neck and middle pups through an Electro-Harmonix SmallStone phase shifter into a Roland Jazz Chorus amp. That will definitely get you into the funk rhythm guitar neighborhood pretty quick.
Old 6th October 2012 | Show parent
  #23
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famousbass's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse381 ➑️
btw, funk is mostly in the technique. You can play funk on anything if you learn the techniques. Different gear just gives you different flavors of the funk. Like whether you use a fender or gibson.
So true, played in a few disco bands early 70s.
Every guitarist played whatever suited them:
Tele, Strat, 175, 335, Les Paul (never saw an SG though.) The Commodores used a Tele.
Wah was usually Cry Baby or Colorsound; MXR Dynacomp; MXR Phase 90 or 100; Mutron Bi Phase; Mutron III; MXR Envelope Follower; Schaller Yoy Yoy Bow Wow; Melos Tape Echo, Roland Space Echo (definitely in the serious rigs) or a Copycat; EHX Phaser or Fuzz style pedals (though they were generally really, really inconsistent back then.) Guys also made sure they had an out-of-phase switch on the guitar pickups for that nasal funky tone when appropriate.
Ernie Isley's "Who's That Lady" signature sound was a Strat into a channel overdriven Fender Twin with a Phase 90 he said in an interview back in the day. Later found out he has also using an Roger Mayer Octavia and an EHX Big Muff. They had their secrets too.
The height of success was gauged in how many Bi Phases the band owned, and each one was 2 weeks wages! Disco band Stylus toured with 3.
What was missing were pedals MIJ, they became more relevant early 80s, except the early Roland Phase or Flangers, and the big wide Boss Graphic EQs.
Amps were usually Fender Twins or little 15watt Fenders. Marshalls were the Rock player's amp.
Let's not forget guitars weren't as valuable back then and owners regularly modified whatever could be and and swapped out parts between friends.
Old 6th October 2012 | Show parent
  #24
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famousbass's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse381 ➑️
another one bites the dust was by Queen/Brian May
Well documented in the book Chic: Everybody Dance: The Politics of Disco that it is Queen imitating Chic in tribute.
Old 6th October 2012 | Show parent
  #25
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by famousbass ➑️
Well documented in the book Chic: Everybody Dance: The Politics of Disco that it is Queen imitating Chic in tribute.
i know, I thought he was saying Nile was playing guitar on that song though. You can definitely hear the influence, but afaik no members of chic played on that recording, just the queen musicians.
Old 6th October 2012
  #26
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...
Old 9th October 2012
  #27
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🎧 5 years
Start with a vintage fender jaguar. That's the ultimate start to a great funk/disco sound. You can get away with other guitars through various amps but the jaguar is the real deal.

Hope that helps.
Old 10th October 2012 | Show parent
  #28
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by l.sicilian ➑️
Let me know if this is funky enough for you gentlemen.

sounds awesome is that your track?
Old 10th October 2012
  #29
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ksandvik's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I doubt Ernie Isley's Who's That Lady use of a Big Muff was a big secret. Even me as a seventeen young lad got inspired and got that effect box based on that track...
Old 10th October 2012 | Show parent
  #30
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