Discovering the Brown sound- mini EVH board

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TINMAN82TINMAN82 Frets: 1493
edited July 9 in FX
Van Halen largely passed me by during my formative teenage years. I think by that point it was the Hager era and my adolescent self was drawn more towards GnR, Aerosmith and AC/DC. There was something about the party rock cheese that prevented deeper exploration of EVH.

Recently though I’ve totally fallen down that rabbit hole. Yes there is filler and cheese and IMO EVHs chops are kind of wasted on many mediocre songs, particularly once you get past the first 4-5 albums. But there are some best of the best gems in there too. Incredible tone and groove. Mean Street, Somebody get me a doctor, Beautiful Girls, Ain’t talkin bout love, unchained etc. 

So I’ve put this little board together. The 5150 pedal totally nails that Brown sound through my DRRI. The EP booster is filling a gap but might be better replaced by a delay or flanger.

Just need to work on the fingers now!


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Comments

  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 13617
    You need tape delay in front of the drive
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  • TINMAN82TINMAN82 Frets: 1493
    You need tape delay in front of the drive
    Any recommendations? Mini ideally
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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 13617
    The MXR one is great, but reasonably expensive, or the Catalinbread.

    If you watch the Pete Thorn video about delay into drive you realise it's such a key component of the early sound.
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  • TINMAN82TINMAN82 Frets: 1493
    The MXR one is great, but reasonably expensive, or the Catalinbread.

    If you watch the Pete Thorn video about delay into drive you realise it's such a key component of the early sound.
    Just watched the Pete Thorn video…awesome, not least because ain’t talkin is the song I’ve been learning this week. He’s spot on with the comments about matching the rhythm on the Am - G part. I wasn’t getting that to sound right and didn’t realise it was analogue delay. Cheers.
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  • TINMAN82TINMAN82 Frets: 1493
    @monquixote just had an interesting mess around with integrating the helix stomp into the board above.

    The modelled ep-3 was great into the 5150 pedal. I couldn’t get the grey flanger model sounding as good as Pete Thorn (unsurprisingly) and the real MXR phase 90 was better than the helix model (significantly).

    Might trial the tone city mini tape echo as I could probably squeeze it on the board. Not worth the faff of the helix for one effect.
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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 13617
    I didn't love the modulation on the Helix. 

    The Boss GT is better, but nothing beats the real deal.
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  • andy_kandy_k Frets: 553
    All knobs at noon on the 5150 is indeed THE Brown sound, but I think the Phase 90 needs to be on slowest setting, and EP boost might be good in front to get some of the effect of the drive section of the tape delay ( the way Ed used it)
    The slap back came from his tape delays built into the Bomb, which were probably in a loop somewhere, he always stated he used no drive in front of an amp, Pete Thorn has it nailed, so I'd do what he does anyway.
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  • TINMAN82TINMAN82 Frets: 1493
    andy_k said:
    All knobs at noon on the 5150 is indeed THE Brown sound, but I think the Phase 90 needs to be on slowest setting, and EP boost might be good in front to get some of the effect of the drive section of the tape delay ( the way Ed used it)
    The slap back came from his tape delays built into the Bomb, which were probably in a loop somewhere, he always stated he used no drive in front of an amp, Pete Thorn has it nailed, so I'd do what he does anyway.
    Have ordered a tone city tape delay to sit in front of the 5150. Apparently EVH had his phase 90 around 9.30am so where I have it in the pic should be ok (sounds good to me).

    I think the delay will kick the ep booster off this board actually. It seems to darken/ muddy the tone a bit when paired with the 5150. There’s a pre-drive boost on that pedal anyway.

    Still not nailing it as per Thorn but his far superior playing is probably more to blame than the pedals. Plus I’m running direct into a DRRI and using a Jem 7v. 
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  • SassafrasSassafras Frets: 23888
    I'd ditch the chorus and get a flanger.
    Nothing to do with EVH, I just can't stand chorus as a result of having lived through the eighties..

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  • TINMAN82TINMAN82 Frets: 1493
    edited July 9
    Sassafras said:
    I'd ditch the chorus and get a flanger.
    Nothing to do with EVH, I just can't stand chorus as a result of having lived through the eighties..

    Could be a reasonable suggestion!

    Keeping the EP booster (for use as a clean channel when the 5150 is off) and swapping chorus for tape delay might be more versatile.
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 6870
    I've been revisiting a lot of VH stuff too since his death. I don't have any VH pedals but found the £50 little Nux MP-1 practice plug can do a fair VH impression. Here I'm using the Friedman amp, phaser, bit of delay and plate reverb and I think it sounds OK for such a cheap little gadget


    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • TINMAN82TINMAN82 Frets: 1493
    Danny1969 said:
    I've been revisiting a lot of VH stuff too since his death. I don't have any VH pedals but found the £50 little Nux MP-1 practice plug can do a fair VH impression. Here I'm using the Friedman amp, phaser, bit of delay and plate reverb and I think it sounds OK for such a cheap little gadget


    That was awesome!! Great tone. I’ll be working on that for a few years I think, Im not a natural shredder. Getting a lot out of going back through the VH back catalogue, much of which I’d never bothered to listen to properly until recently.
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  • andy_kandy_k Frets: 553
    The tone changed a lot, depending on era. IMO, the first 6 albums have a bit of a constant, the Hagar stuff was when the pitchy chorus sound began, still a great tone but I think by then everybody knew the secrets.
    First couple of records were as revolutionary as the Beano album, just going to another level.
    His use of effects in the early days were just that, effects for sections in songs ALA Unchained, and Atomic Punk, the core of the sound is just a dimed plexi, and a pickup in the right zone. The sound we hear on the records was very much a production choice, check out the Zero demos for an alternative sound, that was more conventional for the times.
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  • andy_kandy_k Frets: 553
    If you listen to the Zero demo, I think you can hear a bit of a war going on with having somebody like DLR as the frontman, while still trying to put the guitar in front. The decision to spread the reverb to the opposite side was a brave one, and also to use a single take as much as possible.
    Add all that to good songs and you can't help but hear how good they were.
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  • andy_kandy_k Frets: 553
    Missed this one.

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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 12287
    TINMAN82 said:
    Sassafras said:
    I'd ditch the chorus and get a flanger.
    Nothing to do with EVH, I just can't stand chorus as a result of having lived through the eighties..

    Could be a reasonable suggestion!

    Keeping the EP booster (for use as a clean channel when the 5150 is off) and swapping chorus for tape delay might be more versatile.

    Maybe try the EP Booster into the Tone City delay ( might not need as much level as you normally use, depends I guess) and then into the 5150. The EP is supposed to be like an Echoplex pre amp so that would have been part of the Brown Sound ( at times anyway). 

    Inhale away Jackson Jeffrey Jackson. 
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  • TINMAN82TINMAN82 Frets: 1493
    Gone OTT on this probably but it’s been fun. Settled on a CC mini and Micro Flanger (in addition to the previous nano board) and decided to mount the brown sound ingredients on my bigger board. Covers a lot of ground this way, and the 5150 also works well for metal with higher gain settings +/- TS (bonsai). Chorus retained for Metallica obviously! 

    The Dude does a Bonamassa smooth gain thing (he’s had a DD3 and micro flanger on his board in the past, so it’s more than good enough for me).

    Tried my EP booster in front of the analogue delay but it didn’t really add much. The 5150 pedal has more than enough gain on its own.


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