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This is only hypothetical, but...

Say you are a (more or less) generic rock guitar player. Your guitars are all solidbodies, you have good classic and modern rock tones from clean to crunch. Suddenly you get a chance to maybe do a 'rockabilly' gig. You know, vintage honky-tonk, Elvis, stand up bass player, singer with big sideburns and greaser hair, all that crap.

What kind of guitar rig would you use? I suppose some kind of hollowbody, spring reverb or slapback delay from the amp.. but which makes and models? Pedals? Acoustics?

1). What would make up a decent but cheap rig for a rockabilly newbie? Off the shelf stuff that could roughly accomodate that tone?

2). What would be the ultimate 'rockabilly' guitar / amp setup? Whatever Brian Setzer uses?

Suggestions, please!
 

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People tend to associate Setzer with Rockabilly tone. His sound is more the modern Rockabilly tone though.

A Telecaster through a Tweed amp like a Deluxe/Champ/Super is the vintage sound of bands like Johnny Burnette Trio and Johnny Cash though. The other classic Rockabilly tones is P-90 pickups through the same type of amp. This is the Scotty Moore/Elvis sound.

The modern sound of Setzer is powerful Fender amps (Bassman's tec.) and Filtertron style pickups. Filtertrons are generally associated with Gretsch.

There are definitely budget solutions for each type of tone, but it depends on which sound you want.
 

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What do you have for an amp right now?

I would suggest either an Agile Cool Cat (full hollow body) or an Agile AS-820 (335 clone) for an amazingly good guitar for the money. Get the guitar with p90s or swap out for some filtertron clones. Look for used Agiles on the bay because you can find deals.

Effects shouldn't cost a lot. All you need is an inexpensive analog delay. Grab a used Arion SAD-1 delay on ebay (one of the most underrated delays going) or pick up one of the inexpensive Dano Electric mini delays (PB+J). All you need is slapback echo.

Does your amp have reverb? If not just grab an inexpensive reverb pedal it doesn't need to sound too good if you not what I mean.

TG
 
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I'd say a Tele, an amp with a killer clean channel (my preference is biased toward a Koch of course but a TR or DR would work -- I hear they have passable cleans :wink:), a compressor and a good delay that can do a nice short slap-back echo for you. Reverb would be a nice-to-have option but I think with the delay you'd get away with out it.
 

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Have you considered a Tweed or Blond Fender, like an old Super? Or Twin? They have a dramatically different tone. The Blackface years were a new wave in tone for Fender. Often amps of that age or newer just can't nail the old tones. Dick Dale, for instance. You need a Tweed Twin for sure.

You could just pick one in your desired power range. You could google up the Fender Amp Field Guide site and check out the amps from the years you're trying to emulate.

Any decent local tech should be able to either scratch build something or modify an existing amp to the important points of the vintage circuit.

:rockon:
 

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I believe both Rever Horton Heat and Brian Setzer use Blonde Fenders.

There are a lot of choices if you want that hollow body sound as well. Epiphone Wildkats have the 'look' and come with P-90's so they have the sound as well. Ibanez Artcores are fantastic guitars for the money. GFS Liverpools are a pretty decent sounding Filtetron clone to upgrade them with as well.

Dearmonds are good to look at too. They are discontinued, but you can find them for around $400. I have a Dearmond M77T which came with a Bigsby and 2 Dearmond 2K pickups. You can't beat that setup for Rockabilly. I got it for $400 USD (including shipping).

This isn't mine, but it's the same model:

 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the suggestions. I actually have a tweed Bassman clone and a silverface Pro Reverb with a nice fat sounding reverb, which as a bonus, was re-Tolexed in blonde (so it would look the part).

So I think I'd just need one of those really big, fat guitars and an analog delay and I'd be good to go. All my guitars are too skinny.. some are even pointy. :wave:

Of course I'd also need a slick bowling shirt and some big sideburns... hmm, might be a dealbreaker there.
 

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Of course I'd also need a slick bowling shirt and some big sideburns... hmm, might be a dealbreaker there.
Talk to Ricky at that trailer park in Nova Scotia. He should be able to help you out.:smile:
 

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I play Rockabilly - everything from early elvis through carl perkins to johnny burnette. My rig is a Epiphone Wildkat with P90's through a Roland Blues Cube using a
Dan-Echo slapback and Pure Sky distoration pedal. part-time group is called LOST BOYS
 

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I see someone in this thread already mentioned the Roland Blues Cube. A friend of mine who is a somebody int the neo rockabilly world has been playing teles through blues cubes for years. Easy on the back, sounds good.
 
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