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JIMMY'S 12-STRING TONE LIVE:

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Okay, so from 1972 to 1975, Jimmy's 12-string tone in concert had a ringing, chiming quality. Then, on the 1977 tour, it changed to this muddy, grungy tone. The warm, bell-like tones of the double-neck that rang thru songs like "The Song Remains the Same" had disappeared.

So what happened? Was it a switch in gear? His gear and amps looked to me to be the same in 1977 as in 1975. Was it his playing style that changed? Or perhaps a fault of the mixing desk or the PA?(while Jimmy's stage amps appeared the same, I think the band used a different PA system for the 1977 tour)

It's been puzzling me for years.

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Okay, so from 1972 to 1975, Jimmy's 12-string tone in concert had a ringing, chiming quality. Then, on the 1977 tour, it changed to this muddy, grungy tone. The warm, bell-like tones of the double-neck that rang thru songs like "The Song Remains the Same" had disappeared.

So what happened? Was it a switch in gear? His gear and amps looked to me to be the same in 1977 as in 1975. Was it his playing style that changed? Or perhaps a fault of the mixing desk or the PA?(while Jimmy's stage amps appeared the same, I think the band used a different PA system for the 1977 tour)

It's been puzzling me for years.

At least one of amps were modded at some point. There are loads of debates about the mods that reportedly took place to his Marshalls, what mods were done and when they actually happened. The most well known and debated is the heads being fitted with KT88s boosting the output to 200 watts. That all stems from a 1977 Guitar Player interview with Page where he was asked about his stage gear, he replys by saying "Marshall 100's which are customized by Tony Franks in New York (he customized Hendrix's amps too actually) so they're about 200 watts, KL88s or whatever they call them." Those were his exact words, he even said KL88s not KT88s, I think it's clear he meant KT88s though. Other mods ranging from simple tonestack tweaks, to the preamp being wired for more gain have been suggested over the years. It's often argued the change over to cleaner tones in '75 was the result of the KT88s. Others argue KT88s were there as early as the '73 US tour explaining the tones from that tour and most notably the Garden shows (TSRTS performance). It's hard to say what the cause some of the tonal changes are, simple volume/eq changes, recording gear, different speakers, etc... so many possibilities, there were definitely some slight tonal changes on stage though over the years. In a Guitar World, May 1986 article, guitar technician Tim Marten said that the Marshal recently returned from the factory in England where new transformers were installed and the amp was boosted from its original 100 watts.

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But if that is so...wouldn't it affect the sound on all his guitars? I don't recall the Les Paul sounding all that different from before, whereas the difference in sound on his double-neck was very noticeable.

Did he use a different amp and speaker cab for the Gibson double-neck than he did for his Les Pauls?

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I noticed a big change from 75 to 77 in all his guitar sounds.

Could have had a lot to do with his ageing ears & loss of mid to higher frequencies (needing to adjust up the tone on the amps to give him the same grunt & presence on stage he enjoyed in previous years with a more fuller audio spectrum).

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