Chris Squires 1972 close to the edge recorded sound

The genius of Chris Squire
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Lyndon
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Chris Squires 1972 close to the edge recorded sound

Post by Lyndon »

Hi all, i´m a musician (guitar, bass, keys, drums and vocals!) thats looking to emulate as closely as posible the classic Chris Squire sound as heard particularly on “Close to the Edge”. His tone is especially magical on that album. (I know he used a few basses to record it at advision)

To help in doing that, I am looking for an article published in the October 1973 edition of Guitar player magazine, as that is the closest interview with the man about his gear from that time that I know about. I have seen snippets from the interview, but not the whole thing.

From what I can gather, Squire used his Rickenbacker and Bi-amped it to have seperate low and high frequency outputs. I know that he used a Marshall superbass amp to get some tube overdrive/distortion. So at least one of the outputs went into this. I know that he said that he used a vox (ac30?) on the album. I know that around this time he was also using a Sunn Coliseum lead amp, with 2 6x12 speaker cabinets. I also know that Eddy Offord put his bass through a Urie 1176 amp set to full compression.

What´s not clear is the following:

1 Which of the pickups went to the Marshall, the neck or the bridge?

2 Did the other pickup go to the desk or did it go to the Sunn Coliseum lead amp?

3 Did both signals get put through the compressor at full tilt, or just one?

4 Did he in fact split the signal, and then after applying effects etc, to the seperate outputs merge the 2 outputs together to be compressed by the Urei?

Normally, the neck pickup would be used for the low frequency content and the bridge for high, however he might have done it differently. (I seem to remember him saying something to the effect.

I know that he used the neck pickup to go through the fuzz that he sometimes used (a maestro brassmaster), as he said in a couple of interviews that the fuzz through the bridge sounded nasal and weak, so maybe conversely to normal use, he put the neck pickup through the Marshall using it for the treble, and the bridge pickup through the Sunn amp (or desk) for the clean bass sound.

From the snippet I saw of the 1973 interview, he actually states the settings used on the Sunn amp. They are: Volume 6 , low freq 4, 3 high freq, 5 on mid freq and 10 on the treble.

However as I dont have the entire interview, I dont know if this was live or in the studio or even which pickup went where. Dont know anything about the vox settings.

With the brilliant new technology in Tonex, someone could probably quite easily model his exact settings on the marshall (you can see them on his rig rundown video)and sunn amps, and make a Chris Squire patch, even adding the marstro brassmaster (as you can see the pedal settings on the Rig rundown video that he made for premiere guitar).

Also important might be the custom spectrasonics dual 101 preamp/eqs that advision studios had and also their Neve mixdown suite (adquired for fragile and close to the edge..

Can anyone help me on this information?

Thanks in advance!
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pag
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Re: Chris Squires 1972 close to the edge recorded sound

Post by pag »

Trying to copy the exact studio sound from ‘72 with all the outboard processing of the time could be quite a task!
Chris used Fenders the little Vox head and Sunn and Marshall amps in the studio so its anyones guess but the drive and stuff can be achieved with most valve heads. I find the Fender Twin with quite a bit of drive works well on my Helix for the treble and I just send the neck pickup through an Ampeg SVT4 model with a bit of drive then sum out in mono for convenience. Ive got the Malekko fuzz through either pickup if I want it (the Helix in/outs are great for routing old effects) but Im still not convinced Chris describes his routing right!
Best of luck.
Heres a photo of Chris using his Jazz Bass recording Topographic with the Vox behind him.
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Lyndon
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Re: Chris Squires 1972 close to the edge recorded sound

Post by Lyndon »

Thanks for the info! Thats a lovely photo of Chris that ive never seen before.
Maybe that Guitar player 1973 article has the lowdown on his rig and routing. His sound on Topographic oceans was pretty good!
Lyndon
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Re: Chris Squires 1972 close to the edge recorded sound

Post by Lyndon »

I just found this quote from Eddie Offord, from the book "Mixing, recording and profuction techniques of the pros":
"For the well known Chris Squire bass sound that helped give Yes much of its distinctive sound in the early seventies, we put the bass through more of a guitar amp setup, which i think was a Sunn amp with either 10" or 12" speakers. I took it direct at the same time. On the amp, we went for lots of treble and distortion. I would just roll tye bass end off the amp, so it was all click and presence. I used the direct for the low end. I mixed those two signals together, while making sure they were in phase. By balancing the two, I could bring out the lows or focus on the treble side. I would usually bring out the midrange, about four or five thousand. By itself, the amp sounded like a piece of ****, but when mixed in with the direct, it sounded great."
I also found this from the book "Good vibrations: a history of record production":
"whereas Sunn amps regularly played a part in Squires studio sound at this time (Fragile), it was a vintage marshall which gave his bass track its spiky edge. Offord has informed that the "secret" of the percussive "click" bass sound lay in boosting the treble on the amp, keeping a workable level of distortion and rolling off the bass end. The lack of low frequencies delivered by the amp at this stage was compensated by mixing in a DI feed, which introduced the bottom end."
So it seems that his end sound was a mixture of whatever amp he used and a DI straight to the desk. Probably the bridge pickup was the DI and the amp was the neck pickup, but im not 100 percent certain.
Any ideas?
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pag
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Re: Chris Squires 1972 close to the edge recorded sound

Post by pag »

As Offord pointed out, I can tell you that the treble pickup on its own through a Fender Twin model in my case..same chassis as most Fenders..on the Helix sounds..well all treble and no body and not much good on its own, but mixed with the SVT4 model fairly clean with lots of meat in the eq through the toaster pickup all you have to do is vary the tone on the guitar to go from LDR to CTTE. When I output via a powered monitor I just roll back the 80hz bass so its not too boomy which is quite a common thing after setting up on headphones for a recording sound. I am waiting to take delivery of a QSC KW153 as my stage backline and its a three way 1K speaker which will give me everything I have programmed into the Helix patches. My Ampeg stack is up for sale!
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