So, exactly how does one make a Fender Stratocaster sound 'big'?... with a reel-to-reel tape recorder, 280+ watts of Marshall power and maximum attitude, of course! However, that's not quite the full story...
In today's Tale of Two Tones, Jack takes the time to dissect the rigs of one of his favourite players, Mr. Ritchie Blackmore. Best known for his iconic, powerhouse Strat tones from the early 1970s onwards, Blackmore's tone has always been a force to be reckoned with. Often requesting 'more' from his Marshall backline and Fender instruments, often to compete in the battle for onstage presence with his vocalist bandmates, the culmination of his experimentation throughout the course of the '70s laid the foundations for many iconic Fender-driven rock tones, for decades to come.
Once Ritchie stumbled on to the magic Fender / Marshall setup, he never really looked back. Despite moving to ENGL Amplifiers in more recent years, it was this earlier, more primitive setup that came to define his equally aggressive and melodic style. Throughout Deep Purple and in to the Rainbow years, his magic sound paved the way for progressive, anthemic and downright dirty music.
Despite all this, his legendary tone originated from a rather unusual place - the earliest days of Deep Purple's live and recorded efforts came courtesy of his favoured cherry red Gibson '61 ES-335, most often plugged in to a Vox AC30 with a treble booster in the front. This timeless combo provided a much warmer, more jazz-oriented tone, and it's always interesting to note the differences between the two vastly different setups, and how they informed the Man in Black's playing.
So, today we'll break things down in to two truly inspired rigs. Rig A, the Gibson and the Vox (in this case, a Dr. Z Z Wreck). Rig B, the Fender and the Marshall (our preferred Dr. Z EMS). You decide your favourite and let us know your thoughts on these two equally phenomenal, classic tones in the comments below!
NOTE: This video does not give license to play 'Smoke on the Water' in guitar stores.