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Circle Of Tone – The SECRET to ZZ Top’s guitar tone, REVEALED!

Eliminator era:

Dean Customs: One was somewhat like a cross between a Flying-V and a Moderne shape, very long “ears,” and the other was a sort of a warped, pointy Stratocaster-y shape.

Both guitars had a single DiMarzio Super Distortion high output pickup, and almost no controls.

Bixonic expandora EXP 200 distortion pedal.

Legend 50 watt hybrid combo employing a tube/valve preamp and a transistor power amp.

Mic was an AKG 414B-ULS

“Pearly gates” 1959 Les Paul

I used a Bixonic pedal copy by JHS called “The Kilt”.
Vintage Traynor combo with 70’s creamback celestion.
AKG C214 (same thing with less polar paterns)
Gibson Les Paul Goldtop. 1969 Super Lead Plexi

La Grange era from Billy Gibbons:
“That is straight guitar into amp: A 1955 Strat with a stop tailpiece through a 1969 Marshall Super Lead 100. That fuzz sound in the lead and in the front and back end of the composition is just pure tube distortion. Pickup-setting differentials account for the different tones. The opening part was played on what we used
to call ‘the mystery setting’ in the dark days before the existence of the five-way toggle switch, when finding that perfect ’tweener [in-between setting of a three-way pickup selector] required dedication.
“That Marshall amp, which was a trusted friend through the first six records, was an import brought over by Jeff Beck’s at-the-time tech. I had four of those babies, and they were my main road amps for years. I ran them through cabinets with those [Celestion] Greenback
speakers. They still retain a distinctive, rich, enjoyable tone and are well worth owning. I must, however, advise anyone fortunate enough to find one to beware of the variable power plugs. The 220[-volt] setting doesn’t work very well outside of the 220 countries, as I can tell you from experience. We had more than a few paper-clip nights over the years [due to blown fuses].”

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