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Why Did John Lennon Have Such Lousy Guitar Amp Tones?


jrockbridge
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It's almost as if John fell in love with the sound the very first budget amp he ever owned and continued to chase that tone for the rest of his life. Also, I'm guessing none of the engineers or experts around him were going to tell him that his tone was anything less than glorious.

 

I'm not trying to put him down as an artist. I respect his talent. I've always considered him a great song writer including a lot of his solo work after the Beatles. I like his voice. Obviously, he can play the guitar. Yet, somehow, he's managed to get some of the worst sounds I've ever heard from a guitar amp.

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Cant be that lousey if he sold as many albums as he did.

If you dont like the tone, you can at least recognize its unique.

I'm not a huge fan of the P90 tone cranked myself but allot of guitarists on this forum love it.

 

I'm a P90 fan. Also, I like Vox amps.

 

I realize that the whole topic of tone is a bit subjective. Obviously, his tones couldn't have been so terrible as to frighten off the public at large. But, these days, when I listen to his recordings, I can't help but wonder why he wasn't getting better sounds.

 

Also, you do bring up a good point about it sounding unique. It doesn't really sound like anybody else.

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This is news to me - I never realised John Lennon had definable amp tones. And even if he did (which, given the hugely experimental and varied methods of the Beatles, I would find very hard to pin down), I guess it would pale into insignificance vs the things which really made him talented: his song writing, his lyrics, his vocals and his personality.

 

However, if you are talking about Casino or Ric into AC30 from their phase up to about 1966, well, that was pretty similar to lots of other Brit invasion bands of the time, so I am also not too sure what to say about it. It could sometimes be great, and sometimes a bit crap... more often than not determined by the nature of a recording, or the fact that he was basically the rhythm guitarist in the band.

 

Edit: Actually, now I come to think about it, you are right. IT was often crap, but crap in a good way, if you get me?

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Amp? Guitar? Pickups? Maybe all it took for John to get a great sound was heroin because a smack addicted John achieved the greatest guitar tone in rock history during the "Let It Be" rooftop concert. John's Casino's P-90s into a Fender Twin create a growl and rumble that is glorious. What he plays under George in "Don't Let Me Down" is some sound. I've been trying to nail that tone my whole life. I don't do heroin so maybe that's why I can't get it.

 

John%2BLennon.jpg

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John Lennon's guitar tones, especially from Revolver on ( Casino+P-90s) are some of my favorite guitar tones. His rhythm comping in 'She Said, She Said' and 'Sgt. Pepper' are particularly cool. Different strokes for different folks.

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Amp? Guitar? Pickups? Maybe all it took for John to get a great sound was heroin because a smack addicted John achieved the greatest guitar tone in rock history during the "Let It Be" rooftop concert. John's Casino's P-90s into a Fender Twin create a growl and rumble that is glorious. What he plays under George in "Don't Let Me Down" is some sound. I've been trying to nail that tone my whole life. I don't do heroin so maybe that's why I can't get it.


http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_228EvtU1ZYY/TM32ZIaHsxI/AAAAAAAABng/ckkJzK9hOxA/s1600/John%2BLennon.jpg

 

I agree. I love that tone. And, it makes everything else he's done pale in comparison. Also, it makes me wonder why he didn't sound that great more often.

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Ya know,I just watched let it be ten min ago, and all I have to say is they remind me exactly, guitar tone and all, of the hipsters you guys are always complaining about. Nothings changed (oh and john completely making up the lyrics about 6;30 into the concert was great).

 

Yes, songwriting and feeling trump tone, duh.

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John Lennon's guitar tones, especially from Revolver on ( Casino+P-90s) are some of my favorite guitar tones. His rhythm comping in 'She Said, She Said' and 'Sgt. Pepper' are particularly cool. Different strokes for different folks.

 

 

I love his voice, songs and playing...just not his tone most of the time. I never even noticed until I became a guitar nerd though. I picked up a guitar for the first time during my last couple of college years. Many years later, I can nit pick tone to the n'th degree. It's quite an annoyance.

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Lennon's sound did what it was supposed to do, fill the mids while Harrison got sparkly. He got some great tones, too. The jazz guitar solo in Honey Pie was him, and the last lick in The End is impossible to get right.

This is about as good as anything I could come up with. John's entire style whether it was his playing or singing wasn't highly refined and it helped to put some edge into the songs IMHO. If you listen to all the solo work by everyone else there was always something lacking from the other guys regardless of how great the song was. John was just the nasally, unrefined brute of the group in my eyes.

 

And you have to admit that it cut through the mix well. I can't tell you how many times I've ended up with something that sounds like pure ass that sits really well with other instruments.

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