Replicating the Buzzcocks

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Replicating the Buzzcocks

Post by stevejamsecono » Wed Dec 12, 2018 7:04 am

It's pretty well known that the Buzzcocks used those delightful H|H amps to get that lovely squarewave distortion we hear on most of their stuff (prior to moving to Marshall JMP Master Volume heads which seemingly sounded... the same). I've been digging into a lot of Another Music and Love Bites since Pete Shelley's passing and have been chasing some of those tones for fun. To me, they kind of sound like "fuzz pedal-direct in" in that it's fuzzy without a lot of low end, but still has some top-end clarity. That being said, my current gain pedals (OCD, Boss SD1) aren't really doing it.

What would you use to get that kind of fun blocky distortion? Maybe it's time to dig out a DS1? I feel like I'd need something with a good eq section to sculpt the (lack of) low end appropriately.

What do we think?
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Re: Replicating the Buzzcocks

Post by Larry Mal » Wed Dec 12, 2018 8:09 am

I don't think this will help in the slightest, but I was happy to see the use of a Gibson Marauder on some early Buzzcocks.
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Re: Replicating the Buzzcocks

Post by stevejamsecono » Wed Dec 12, 2018 8:20 am

Indeed! When he wasn't using his Gordon Smiths or the weird cut-in-half guitar, he definitely did have one of those.
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Re: Replicating the Buzzcocks

Post by eggwheat » Wed Dec 12, 2018 8:37 am

Gordon smith + HH combo + Olympic studios + Martin Rushent :)

The picture on the front of SGS is them recording at olympic..

When I worked for Buzzcocks they used Marshall JCM800 then later JCM900, which I was constantly repairing. Petes favourite guitar was still a Gordon Smith..which Pete had smashed to bits on a US tour...it was repaired the next day by Pearl Jam's guitar tech who did an amazing job of gluing it all back together!

The HH IC100 I think was the amp...also Daniel Ash's favourite. I actually have one buried in the garage :fp:

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Re: Replicating the Buzzcocks

Post by stevejamsecono » Wed Dec 12, 2018 8:42 am

eggwheat wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 8:37 am
Gordon smith + HH combo + Olympic studios + Martin Rushent :)

The picture on the front of SGS is them recording at olympic..

When I worked for Buzzcocks they used Marshall JCM800 then later JCM900, which I was constantly repairing. Petes favourite guitar was still a Gordon Smith..which Pete had smashed to bits on a US tour...it was repaired the next day by Pearl Jam's guitar tech who did an amazing job of gluing it all back together!

The HH IC100 I think was the amp...also Daniel Ash's favourite. I actually have one buried in the garage :fp:
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Re: Replicating the Buzzcocks

Post by Jaguar018 » Wed Dec 12, 2018 9:03 am

They have the most amazing "studio-specific" sound to my ears. Eggwheat is confirming what I thought in terms of it being a magical mix of the gear, producer, engineer, and studio space. I can almost hear the mic'd up cranked amps ringing.

Seems like a pretty difficult sound to reproduce at home.

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Re: Replicating the Buzzcocks

Post by timtam » Wed Dec 12, 2018 4:51 pm

stevejamsecono wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 8:42 am
eggwheat wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 8:37 am
Gordon smith + HH combo + Olympic studios + Martin Rushent :)

The picture on the front of SGS is them recording at olympic..

When I worked for Buzzcocks they used Marshall JCM800 then later JCM900, which I was constantly repairing. Petes favourite guitar was still a Gordon Smith..which Pete had smashed to bits on a US tour...it was repaired the next day by Pearl Jam's guitar tech who did an amazing job of gluing it all back together!

The HH IC100 I think was the amp...also Daniel Ash's favourite. I actually have one buried in the garage :fp:
I always forget that your life has essentially been living out my daydreams. First owning McGeoch's SG and now this!
Oh wow. On both counts. But McGeoch's Yamaha .... 8)

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Re: Replicating the Buzzcocks

Post by UlricvonCatalyst » Thu Dec 13, 2018 1:34 am

Jaguar018 wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 9:03 am
Seems like a pretty difficult sound to reproduce at home.
eggwheat wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 8:37 am
The HH IC100 I think was the amp...also Daniel Ash's favourite. I actually have one buried in the garage :fp:
While I defer to your first-hand knowledge, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised when I plugged into my H/H VS Musician and with a bit of knob-twiddling stumbled across what was unmistakably the Buzzcocks sound. I was playing my Mustang at the time, so it seems the amp could be more of a key than the guitar. I have an IC100 head as well, which I also love, but I'm pretty convinced it's the 'valve-sound' and 'voice' knobs on the Musician which are the key to the 'cocks tone.

OP - sorry I can't help with a pedal that'll do it - the availabilty of bargain H/Hs is one of the few upsides to living in the UK.

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Re: Replicating the Buzzcocks

Post by stevejamsecono » Thu Dec 13, 2018 5:25 am

UlricvonCatalyst wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 1:34 am
Jaguar018 wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 9:03 am
Seems like a pretty difficult sound to reproduce at home.
eggwheat wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 8:37 am
The HH IC100 I think was the amp...also Daniel Ash's favourite. I actually have one buried in the garage :fp:
While I defer to your first-hand knowledge, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised when I plugged into my H/H VS Musician and with a bit of knob-twiddling stumbled across what was unmistakably the Buzzcocks sound. I was playing my Mustang at the time, so it seems the amp could be more of a key than the guitar. I have an IC100 head as well, which I also love, but I'm pretty convinced it's the 'valve-sound' and 'voice' knobs on the Musician which are the key to the 'cocks tone.

OP - sorry I can't help with a pedal that'll do it - the availabilty of bargain H/Hs is one of the few upsides to living in the UK.
Rub it in why don't you ;)

I'm gonna keep experimenting. I'm not possessed of a desire to sound like them all the time, just wanted to try it as a tonal experiment.
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Re: Replicating the Buzzcocks

Post by shadowplay » Thu Dec 13, 2018 5:31 am

eggwheat wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 8:37 am


The HH IC100 I think was the amp...also Daniel Ash's favourite. I actually have one buried in the garage :fp:
I think you should bury it properly inside a Cairn garden ornament. :D

Didn't you pay a tenner for it or something?

D
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Re: Replicating the Buzzcocks

Post by Maggieo » Thu Dec 13, 2018 10:24 am

The closest I've heard someone come to that sound was through a JHS ColorBox.
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Re: Replicating the Buzzcocks

Post by stevejamsecono » Thu Dec 13, 2018 2:20 pm

Maggieo wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 10:24 am
The closest I've heard someone come to that sound was through a JHS ColorBox.
Oooooh.
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Re: Replicating the Buzzcocks

Post by eggwheat » Thu Dec 13, 2018 3:07 pm

shadowplay wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 5:31 am
eggwheat wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 8:37 am


The HH IC100 I think was the amp...also Daniel Ash's favourite. I actually have one buried in the garage :fp:
I think you should bury it properly inside a Cairn garden ornament. :D

Didn't you pay a tenner for it or something?

D
Haha, yes £5 out of the free ads. Had to meet the guy in a car park..he seemed pissed off at selling it for that.

On the IC100 over the VS Musician.. I can only say that in photos of the time it shows the IC100..if you look closely on the SGS cover you can tell by the knobs on the front it’s an IC100.. not saying you can’t get the sound out of either though.

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Re: Replicating the Buzzcocks

Post by stevejamsecono » Thu Dec 13, 2018 3:14 pm

Honestly I'd love someone to put an IC100 preamp into one of those mini class-D heads and sell it for like... 200 bucks. I'd be all over it.
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Re: Replicating the Buzzcocks

Post by mynameisjonas » Fri Dec 14, 2018 1:31 am

I can't say I did much Buzzcocks-emulating when i had one, but the VS Musician is definitely capable of a lot of those late 70s/early 80s sounds. And with an EQ plugged into the effects loop, it could do most anything.

Speaking of tiny class D amps, I had a lot of fun plugging a Red Llama clone straight into the Return of my Quilter 101 (letting the pedal act as a preamp). Not exactly the Buzzcocks sound, but I imagine doing the same with a DS-1 or a similar distortion pedal with the gain set low-ish would do the trick.

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