The Dawn of Distortion - Who is responsible

Splattle101

V.I.P. Member
Joined
May 30, 2008
Messages
8,817
Reaction score
4,577
Well, feedback is a different topic, I think, and you are correct about the
Beatles' "I feel fine" as being the first.
What I'm saying is that distortion didn't seem to catch on until after the
popularitiy of "You Really Got Me" happened. I don't recall The Who becoming
popular until after that.
I'm not distinguishing between "Overdrive" from "distortion", but rahther the
"Clean" from "Not Clean".
Clean was most prevalent back then, and anything else was novel.
I agree that the LP/Marshall combination can't be beat, too.

The reason for the post was to help track how we got to where we are
today, and Dave Davies, I think, was a pioneer.

Dave Davies' website is: "www.davedavies.com"

I haven't read the full thread yet, so sorry if this is already posted. I would have thought the dirty sound was pioneered by the blues players. In particular, Freddie King. Hideaway is 1961, and Have You Ever Loved a Woman is 1960. Clapton copied Hideaway virtually note-for-note. And wasn't it Freddie who was jamming a P-90 equipped goldtop down the throat of an overdriving Fender Bassman?
 

b-squared

Banned
Joined
Jan 21, 2008
Messages
21,121
Reaction score
9,202
After reading through this I had to fire up my '57 Bassman...I had Gerald Weber down at Kendrick Amps go through it and make it sound like it's supposed to...:D

He also build an attenuator for me, so I can have the volumes buried and still be at good house levels (2 watts!).

It's got great tube distortion, and has a bit of 'flub' on low notes. Example--I played the ZZ Classic 'Cheap Sunglasses', and it's got the same kind of punch that the original recording had. That 'flub' is present on most of the hits we listen to now. Listen to any early Page stuff...by today's hot-rodded, high efficiency amp standards his tone was kind of...well, sucky. Flubby in the bass notes, and fuzzy sounding, like the speaker is ripped...but that's where the magic is!

I'll see if I can get a recording of my Bassman today...have to find my little vid camera tho...cannot seem to find it. :(

BB
 

Splattle101

V.I.P. Member
Joined
May 30, 2008
Messages
8,817
Reaction score
4,577
Here's the solo from Freddie King's Have You Ever Loved a Woman, from 1960:
Solo Have You Ever Loved A Woman.mp3

It's clearly the sound of an overdriving amp. From the sound of the farting you'd have to suspect a tweed of the Fender variety.

[EDIT]Sweet jaysus!! I had no idea this thread was the better part of three years old!!! :shock:[END EDIT]
 

geochem1st

V.I.P. Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2008
Messages
27,748
Reaction score
40,930
I gotta agree with Dean here, Hell Even TBone Walker sometimes had his amp going to distortion, Elmore James, remember back in those days most amps didnt run above 30 watts and being heard above a section of horns requires some volume. This is another one that owes its origins to early blues and country guys who went electric


Bingo.

But that wasn't intentional distortion... it was a by product of trying to play loud. When amps got bigger, even Chuck Berry played cleaner then.

Link Wray gets the prize for first intentional distortion. He actively worked on how to get more fuzz by piercing the speakers. Buddy Guy went for intentional distortion but that was after 1959.
 

TeleDog

Pain in the Rear!
V.I.P. Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2009
Messages
8,979
Reaction score
2,931
There's a lot of hype regarding this. I'm pretty sure some kid down in London or the US stumbled upon distortion and quickly tried to correct the "error". Nobody knows.

What is fairly documented is that Pete Townshend with The Who was one of the first, if not the first, to try and capitalize on overdrive as a working tool.

I don't know how much of that is true. But if you wanna know who brought you the sweet sound of distortion, to me, there's only one guy.... he has a short name, 12AX7!
 

Dr.Distortion

V.I.P. Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2009
Messages
5,283
Reaction score
5,756
I'll try to find the resource for this information...
I read somewhere that there was a recording studio, if I remember correctly in Nashville, that had a bad channel in the mixing board. The tube was failing or something like that. Anyway, that channel was specifically used to record a guitar part in the late '50's early '60's I believe that was the first intentional use of distortion.
As I said I'll need to go through my resources to find the incident and artist.
 

VictorB

Nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile
Super Mod
V.I.P. Member
Joined
May 31, 2007
Messages
49,515
Reaction score
161,690
Before the first fuzz box— the Gibson Maestro Fuzz Tone— was commercially available in the mid-‘60s, guitarists had to get inventive if they wanted the crunchy, overdriven effect that has long been a Rock & Roll staple. The fuzzed out tone on the proto-Rock & Roll milestone, “Rocket ‘88’” (1951) by Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats, was achieved accidentally after Willie Kizart stuffed a wad of paper into his speaker cone, which had torn after falling from a car. To distort his guitar on Johnny Burnette’s Trio’s classic “The Train Kept A-Rollin’ (1956), Paul Burlison dislodged the tubes in his amplifier. True to form, Dave Davies took a more violent route by slashing the speaker cone of his 10-watt Elpico amplifier with a razor blade. The amp Dave rechristened “The Fart Box” can be heard in full fury on “You Really Got Me”. Those grizzly power chords may have launched a thousand pretenders, but there is only one Fart Box.

http://www.mikesegretto.com/index.php?/psychobabble/comments/august_4_2009_the_kinks_a_z
 

Splattle101

V.I.P. Member
Joined
May 30, 2008
Messages
8,817
Reaction score
4,577
As an aside, I used to muck around with a nylon string acoustic with a nasty little mic shoved inside the sound hole. The mic was for a tape deck, so I'd set the deck to record and the sound would come out the speaker. Distorted as all hell. :naughty: It converted my crappy nylon string into an 'electric'. :D :thumb:

I used this setup for a few months back in the day, and loved it. It was always a sort of guilty pleasure because it was such a daggy thing to do, and I'd not thought about it again in years. Then last month I was reading a Stones bio, discovered that this technique is how Keef got the guitar sounds for Street Fightin' Man and Jumpin' Jack Flash and few others. :shock:

Sometimes I just love low fi.
 

Frogfur

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2013
Messages
20,014
Reaction score
35,945
For me, Keith Richards and Jeff Beck are two that very close to the top of those who first brought fuzz out in some of the main stream music happening at that time. Chuck Berry probably beat if not influenced them that came after him in that regard.

The Yardbirds were the first psychedelic band to come along with Happenings Ten Years After. I believe that was the first cut with Page on bass with Beck still on lead. When the Yardbirds were not warm and fuzzy anymore, they then became Led Zep which was originally conceived as the new Yardbirds at first. Even before the San Francisco bands.

I can still see some uses for fuzz and especially over distortion. Distortion is chasing sound that is some 50 years old. I've used it in the past as a drone in the background of one thing or another. i like my music to talk to me, just like lyrics..if i can't understand them i don't need'em..same with music.

There are so many other new things out there that can really take the guitar somewhere. Look..we were there..you weren't..sorry..but'a..that's the way the
strings vibrate. Let's get some new sounds going..like your own.



I do believe that the Beatles do have the first use of feedback which is different.
 

Custom53

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2009
Messages
3,630
Reaction score
1,609
Well, feedback is a different topic, I think, and you are correct about the
Beatles' "I feel fine" as being the first.
What I'm saying is that distortion didn't seem to catch on until after the
popularitiy of "You Really Got Me" happened. I don't recall The Who becoming
popular until after that.
I'm not distinguishing between "Overdrive" from "distortion", but rahther the
"Clean" from "Not Clean".
Clean was most prevalent back then, and anything else was novel.
I agree that the LP/Marshall combination can't be beat, too.

The reason for the post was to help track how we got to where we are
today, and Dave Davies, I think, was a pioneer.

Dave Davies' website is: "www.davedavies.com"

I haven't visited his website yet, but I do remember him saying that to get the sound he was looking for he used to take a razor blade and "slice" his speakers to get that distorted sound..
 

Jakeislove

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2010
Messages
13,399
Reaction score
9,755
[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gbfnh1oVTk0]Rocket 88 (Original Version) - Ike Turner/Jackie Brenston - YouTube[/ame]
 

SWeAT hOg

SWeAT hOg
Joined
Feb 22, 2009
Messages
37,704
Reaction score
67,938
I dunno. Link Wray's Rumble came out in 1958. Sounds distorted to me. If we include all instruments, Little Richard was pushing the hell outta his tube mics with his wail.
 

Phil W

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2012
Messages
1,678
Reaction score
3,671
The fuzz on Satisfaction was Keith's demo place-holder that he expected to be replaced with a Stax style horn section. He was somewhat surprised when the fuzz made it to the final release. Source K.Richards autobiography.
 

lessdrop

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2014
Messages
23
Reaction score
7
How about Travis Wammick? Listen close to "scratchy" or "firefly". The man invented lots of crazy stuff. He deserves more credit. His history is amazing too.
 

Latest Threads



Top