Guitarists: How Is This Chord/Sound Made?

I don’t know how to describe the way this guitar sounds. This is a video clip of “Happiness Is A Warm Gun” by the Beatles. The “sound” I’m talking about starts right at 0:15 into the song, and ends at 0:44 before the song segues into a different part. It’s obviously an electric guitar, with a staccato-ish punctuation to the lyrics.

What combination of effects/amplification/pickups achieves this sound? It sounds like there’s quite a bit of chorus effect and some obvious distortion. What is the name for this guitar sound?

Don’t know the name, but you can get that sound out of an old Silvertone amp, the ones with the 12" speaker. Crank the distortion, turn the treble all the way up and everything else down. If you have the ones with built in reverb, add in as you like. Then just play like you hear it on that tune.

I used to have a cheap (at the time) early 1970s 12" 30w? 45W? Silvertone, and it could deliver some of the most amazing tones. Nothing full like a Marshall or a Mesa Boogie or as clean as a JC100 or anything, but really interesting nonetheless. Sounded great with a hollow body guitar. <Sigh> I miss that amp sometimes.

I think **Bo **has it - sounds like humbucker-equipped guitar (not sure if it is a hollow body like an Epi Casino or a solid body), played through an old-school, tube amp that has a dark, farty tone (a Silvertone would be perfect). You load up the mids and cut the bass a bit and you get that bitey, midrangey, waspy tone. It could also be P-90 pickups with the volume on the guitar cranked so you get that raw edge to it.

By the way - it sounds very similar to the guitar intro for Revolution - just a snotty, compressed, mid-rangey, overdriven guitar tone…

The distorted sounds on the two songs mentioned could also have been achieved using a distortion pedal.

What - you want the easy solution? It’s far more fun to get tangled up in vintage-geer geekery…

Sheesh - you gonna give away *all *the secrets dude?

(by the way - he’s right :smack:)

:smiley: You know me; I’ve been through more stomp box distortion devices than I can count.

When the White Album came out, I was 14 and playing in my first band. I had a Harmony Rocket guitar and a Silvertone solid state amp. The other guitarist in the band had richer and/or more indulgent parents, so he had a Gibson SG standard and a really cool Supro tube amp. The Supro probably would have delivered some nice overdrive sounds, but we never turned it up loud enough to find out. I think he was afraid we would blow it up or something. He did have a Fuzz Face pedal, though, and we did a reasonable approximation of the Revolution tone using that. I taught myself the Happiness lead at that time, too, because I though the bends were so cool. My band never did the song, though.

So is there an actual term for this type of sound other than “chord with distortion played through a vintage tube amp with the knobs fiddled with”?


I play a little, I was just wondering. I really like that sound. It’s quite grabbing.

My guess would be something like a fuzz face into a Vox or something like it with bass and treble cranked down.

Its got that fuzzy tone and all mids.


Hmm, not really - in noodling it through, if I was talking to a fellow guitar player, I’d say “a humbucker with heavy midrange distortion and the lows cut - like the Epi Casino intro on Revolution” IIRC, that’s what John was playing - those suckers have a hollow body which loosens the lows, and mini-humbuckers known for their biting tone.

I thought I read somewhere that the way-distorted guitar sound on “Revolution” was done by overdriving the mixing board rather than the amp. No cite or anything, so take it for what it’s worth.

The fabs were known for overdriving the console to get certain types of distortion. As far as guitars, if it’s Lennon playing that guitar part, then it’s probably a Casino, as others have said.