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Terry Kath - Helix Advice?


johnnyvlee
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I'm about to sit down with Helix (floor) and create a patch I can use for songs like "25 or 6 to 4".  I don't think Kath's rig was particularly complicated, but hey: any advice or recommendations on setting up a patch that will really sound right?

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You'll want to hear this.

 

 

Now read this

 

http://www.terrykath.com/tks-gear

 

Some advice regarding the wah (a crybaby supposedly but i would try the Vox as well) set the mix to around 75%. It makes it a little more orgainic. Aside from the article, I've seem him live with a Orange amp. The isolated track sounds like he as some kind of fuzz on it. More than likely a Fuzz Face. Could be a Big Muff too. Try both. Amp wise I'd start with the Fender Bassman or 5C3 Tweed Deluxe (Tweed Deluxe, Fullerton respectively)

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22 minutes ago, brue58ski said:

You'll want to hear this. [snip]

Now read this: http://www.terrykath.com/tks-gear

 

Some advice regarding the wah (a crybaby supposedly but i would try the Vox as well) set the mix to around 75%. It makes it a little more orgainic. Aside from the article, I've seem him live with a Orange amp. The isolated track sounds like he as some kind of fuzz on it. More than likely a Fuzz Face. Could be a Big Muff too. Try both. Amp wise I'd start with the Fender Bassman or 5C3 Tweed Deluxe (Tweed Deluxe, Fullerton respectively)

 

I've heard that track before, but yeah I will listen to it again to refresh my memory. Good idea.  Funny, but I had just read the gear page you linked above.

 

I like your gear suggestions to try. I'm probably not going thru the effort to pin this particular tone down super-precisely. I think I have a patch now that comes reasonably close to the guitar sound when played with my SRV Strat (I have to refresh my memory as I haven't done diddly with guitar for a year!). I forget if I used to play it on bridge or middle pickup, but that was a totally different rig anyway.

 

I haven't yet actually tried to use Helix wah in a live gig yet. Before Helix I used to "cheat" with a Morley Bad Horsey wah which springs back for you automatically.  Not always a desirable feature, but for this song which was my first where I really needed to use some significant wah playing live, it made it much easier to learn. Also it had contour and volume options that help with adjusting tone a bit. With the Helix I'll have to train my foot properly! No spring back.

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When I was a young hippy I went to a concert in Indianapolis that had Jimi Hendrix as the headliner, and Chicago as the opening act. Terry Kath was no Hendrix, but he held his own and did some really inventive stuff! Jimi got mad at all the flashbulbs and people yelling for "Fire" and "Foxy Lady" and unplugged and left the stage and never came back. Damn!!

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On 4/2/2021 at 11:36 AM, johnnyvlee said:

I don't think Kath's rig was particularly complicated, but hey: any advice or recommendations on setting up a patch that will really sound right?

 

IIRC.... Terry used pre-amp of sorts to push the input of his dual showman into oblivion. 

The closest to a showman on the Helix is the Twin... but I don't know how that model would respond when pushed hard. 

 

IMO... Upon revisiting "25 or 6 to 4" I hear a little bit of the "woman tone" happening. I would lean to a JTM45 model, or the '59 Bassman and dial it in for a very mild crunch (very mild). For that preset I would dial the impedance on the input block back to 250k or lower... then dial in the tone on the amp. YMMV depending on the guitar you are playing. 

 

Once the core tone is in place... sweeten to taste with a little reverb/delay. 

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13 hours ago, soundog said:

When I was a young hippy I went to a concert in Indianapolis that had Jimi Hendrix as the headliner, and Chicago as the opening act. Terry Kath was no Hendrix, but he held his own and did some really inventive stuff! Jimi got mad at all the flashbulbs and people yelling for "Fire" and "Foxy Lady" and unplugged and left the stage and never came back. Damn!!

I don't know if you've heard this but Jimi thought Terry was one of the best guitarists. I think he even might have said Terry was better than him.

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2 hours ago, brue58ski said:

I don't know if you've heard this but Jimi thought Terry was one of the best guitarists. I think he even might have said Terry was better than him.

 

Yep, I've heard that echoed in interviews with surviving members of Chicago. I tend to believe he said it even though for me Hendrix is still the more innovative of the two. No need to compare them though, whether just hearsay that becomes the stuff of legend or an actual endorsement, Terry Kath was one extremely talented guitarist !  The solo from "25 or 6 to 4" is one of my all-time favorites.

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I found this.

 

The quote that probably has the most credibility comes from a member of Terry Kaths band, Chicago Transit Authority. Saxophone player Walt Parazaider said that after a CTA gig, Jimi told him "Walt, the horns are like one set of lungs, and your guitar player is better than me."

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He was one of my major influences growing up. Chicago was the band I saw the most back in the day. My first guitar was an SG, partly because he had one in a picture on the inside cover of the CTA album. Turns out he rarely played it. Oh Well.

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For 25 or 6 to 4, I'm pretty sure Kath used a Cry Baby Wah and a Bogen Challenger PA head plugged into a Fender Dual Showman. You could probably sub out the dual showman with a twin model and use a cab or IR with 15" speakers. For the Bogen PA, maybe try the studio tube pre, or another preamp, directly into the twin model. 

https://line6.com/data/6/0a020a3d59d359150930cbdec/application/pdf

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