Killer Tone - Randy Rhoads
The other day I was driving somewhere, streaming Spotify, my “Greatest Rock Songs” playlist, and Ozzy Osbourne’s S.A.T.O from the Diary of a Madman album rolled up, and I was mesmerized by the guitar sound.
1982, Randy Rhoads was at the top of his game, unfortunately, not long after that album was released, he passed away in an airplane accident, and was lost to the world.
But, for a brief time, he had a killer tone, and listening to SATO, I really want to be able to replicate that.
I did a little digging today, and his signal chain wasn’t too complex.
He was using a Marshall 100W head with a little overdrive on the preamp, into two 4x12 cabinets. Nothing fancy there.
But his pedal board was super simple, a MXR Distortion+ pedal and a MXR Graphic Equalizer. His settings were a bit off. As this was the beginning of the hair-metal era, all the greats were scooping the mids with maxed out treble and bass tone controls. But Randy was different, he boosted the mids, and then fiddled with the gain setting on the Distortion+ pedal.
But this is only half the story. Alas, that kick-ass, lushness that was his signature tone was an artifact of his recording. He played each part three times, exactly the same, and the producer would track them far left, center, and far right, using a tinge of digital delay to provide a shimmery chorus effect.
And that is why it is impossible for me to get his sound. It is also why he was so far ahead of the genre.
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