THE SQUIRE FILES
THE STONE ROSES (OSM pics)
On the back of the first Album 'The Stone Roses' we see 3 stomp boxes at the feet of John Squire. These are believed to be an Ibanez Tube Screamer, Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face, and an Ibanez Stereo Chorus pedal. Both the Ibanez pedals are from the '9' series and go by the following abbreviations (TS-9 for the tubescreamer, and CS-9 for the stereo chorus pedal). Here is a picture of the afore mentioned pedals acquired by myself. It is worth noting that all these pedals are considered vintage now. And that because of this their price is suited accordingly. For an original TS-9 from the mid 1980's you'd be looking at about £150. For an original 70's fuzz face like Squire's..... maybe £200 - £300 However, the CS-9 can be picked up for about £50-£60 !!
With the Fuzz Face it's all about the type of transistors you have in them, and how well matched they are for gain. For starters it has to be germanium type. Secondly, there are different types of germanium transistors. Inside the fuzz face there will be 2 of these transistors. To get a great tone from them you want the gain to be well matched from each transistor. I have a pair of AC 128's in mine with the gain about 98 and 100 in the other. It sounds pretty good since I had these put in. If you are thinking of buying one that is vintage. Don't think it will automatically sound good. The problem is that they didn't check that the transistors matched back in the old days. And so it was just by luck that some well matched transistors ended up in the same fuzz face. This resulted in some of them sounding great and others sounding, well......crap!!
Squire's Full Pedal Line Up 89/90
Yes..... Here are all the little beauties! After a lot of research I am pretty sure that these are the pedals Squire used up until early 1990. It certainly is a colourful bunch of pedals! I believe John also had some back up pedals should his main ones pack in. For example: He also carried a Roger Mayer axis fuzz on tour, and a Roger Mayer octavia was also listed. So, now that we have the line up. Let's check them out individually.
(You may notice also that I have my pedals arranged in slightly different order at the beginning of the chain. This is because I believe Squire had them arranged in this way for other gigs. Basically it has to do with how the tubescreamer and the wah wah react when you swop their positions. More on this in the settings pages....)
Here we have a Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face. Squire's pedal will be an original Fuzz Face, probably made in the 70's. The one pictured is actually a Re-issue but with the transistors replaced with ones used in the originals. There are different colours of Fuzz Faces, but they are mainly either red and black, or grey and black. The earlier ones tend to be the grey and black colour, which are also now re-issued. This pedal gives a very thick distortion sound that is a lot bassier sounding than regular distortion. It has only 2 controls: Volume and Fuzz. What more do you need? To get a fairly decent sound with enough sustain to get you by, you'll probably need to turn the fuzz up quite high. Then adjust the volume accordingly. However, if you turn the volume through to the half way mark you'll notice a big increase in the bass frequencies of your sound. So I would recommend moving it gradually and find the sweet spot/s.
Generally, John would use this pedal for guitar solos and sometimes on chords where he wanted them to sound big. This is the pedal that John would use during the following songs:- She Bangs the Drums, Where Angels Play, Standing Here, One Love, Fools gold and I am the Resurrection. There's a great example of the fuzz face in the end section of 'I am the Resurrection' starting at 4:48 on the cd. Check it out!
CRYBABY - WAH WAH
This is a Dunlop 'Original Crybaby'. Wah wah pedals have been used since the 60's and 70's. But every now and again there are songs that boost the sales of these pedals. E.g 'Voodoo chile'by Hendrix or anything slightly funky in the 70's. 'FOOLS GOLD' was the song that did it in 1989. I remember back then I didn't play guitar, but one of my friends did. And after hearing 'Fools Gold' he decided that a wah wah pedal was an essential piece of kit. We went down to the music shop in town to get one. They were about £35-£40 back then for a 'crybaby'. (Which in my view are the best ones.) But the price went up soon after. When I came to buy my one (pictured left) it was about 1993/94 and the price had risen to £80 !!! And not long after they went up again to £100. There must have been a lot of demand for them round about then as it was getting out of hand. Nowadays I think they have calmed down again.
John first gave us a taste of his wah wah antics on 'Elephant Stone'. His use of the wah wah over the intertwining notes to the intro of the song almost sound like an elephant blowing away through it's trunk. Whether intentional or not, Squire managed to make his guitar sound like an elephant!! Later versions of this song show extremely innovative use of the pedal and sliding chord shapes to create what I call a 'super wah' effect. This can be heard from the Blackpool Empress Ballroom recordings. The track 'Waterfall' has excellent rhythmic use of the wah wah during the end section when things start to get intense. 'Fools Gold' was John's next wah wah offering. The funky guitar licks a more prominent feature in the mix than Elephant Stone. Squire's command of the subtleties available from this pedal are a brilliant lesson in being as creative as possible with the tools that you've got. Essentially the song has a 70's style guitar sound, but Squire makes it his own by teasing and squeezing different shapes and sounds from the pedal. Not simply the unimaginative 'oooo-wah-ooo-wah' sound that you often hear other players opting for. As the roses were swimming around in the funky stuff for a bit, 'One Love' was produced in the same vibe as 'Fools Gold'. The use of the wah wah not so frequent this time. However, less is defintitely more here. When the intro kicks in there are some nice sweeping wah sounds over the initial chords and licks.
TUBE SCREAMER (TS-9)
This is an Ibanez tubescreamer pedal. And.....Yes, it really is that colour!! Although not the easiest colour on the eye, these pedals are really sought after by guitarists everywhere. Their purpose is to produce overdriven sounds. Pretty much like turning a valve amp up high to get that slightly broken up sound but still clean sounding. They are not for getting tonnes of distortion with, so don't be expecting to get your Korn tunes going with one of these! If you are using a guitar with humbucking pickups then you will probably get enough drive out of it to play sustaining lead lines. But with single coil guitars think more along the lines of the stones 'brown sugar'.
Examples of Squire's use of this pedal are; from the album 'The Stone Roses': 'Adored' the main guitar line that you would sing along to when trying to explain to someone how it goes. (Hope that makes sense!), 'Waterfall' intro, 'Made of Stone' Intro, 'This is the one' Intro, 'She Bangs the drums' Intro. Basically, almost every song on the whole album features this pedal. So if you want to recreate the roses guitar sound this pedal is an absolute must.
Squire's tubescreamer is one built in the 1980's. These are the one's to get as they contain a different chip which the new re-issue ones don't have. I forget the name of the chip. But you can get your re-issue modified to sound the same as the 80's ones. There is actually quite a difference sound wise. It just sounds better tonally!! Unfortunately even the re-issues are going for about £100. Originals probably about £150+
NOISE SUPPRESSOR (NS-2)
This is a Boss Noise Suppressor pedal. I am pretty certain this was a later addition to Squire's set up. As it suggests, it reduces noise in the signal being amplified. The inclusion of this pedal will be because of the hum produced from the single coil pickups on the Fender Strat. This hum would come about from distortion pedals (probably the fuzz face mostly), and also from compression pedals.
I think this pedal was added to his collection in late '89. I have worked this out via process of elimination. From this pic of Squire's pedals at Tokyo
there are 3 boss pedals which can vaguely be made out. The pedal at the top of the picture is Squire's Ibanez Chorus (featured further down). The one nearest the bottom of the picture has only 3 dials on it (below right). I checked out the Boss pedal book which lists every boss pedal ever made and years of production etc. There are only a few possibilities for this 3 dial pedal. Considering it's placement in the effects chain it could only really be this one.
It could have been used at gigs prior to Tokyo, but the hum from Squire's strat can still be heard slightly from the Blackpool Empress Ballroom performance on video. If this pedal was in his chain at that time, the hum wouldn't be evident.
COMPRESSION SUSTAINER (CS-3)
Again another Boss pedal. This time we have a compression sustainer pedal. Squire's one would have probably been a CS-2 as the one shown (right) is a recent one. They haven't changed them at all so everything is pretty much as it was. So what's this pedal all about then? Well, normally a lot of people would put this pedal at the start of their effects chain. But Squire seems to put it after his overdrives/fuzz pedals. One use for this pedal is to give your rhythm playing an even dynamic and therefor more punch. You can get a great choppy funky clean guitar sound with one of these pedals in the correct setting. Also, (I think Squire used it like this at times as well) if it is placed after fuzz/distortion pedals it can smooth out the sound even more, again adding even more impact.
It is a very subtle effect and most guitarists wouldn't notice it or bother with it. But after you realise how effective it can be, it's a nice layer to add to your sound. Great for when your sound needs to cut through like a knife. Compression basically does what it says, squashes the sound into a more compact form, therefor giving every note or strum the same definition. Think of it a bit like a muscle toner for all those weak sounding notes etc. It also nuetralises any frequencies that are too high and too low giving you a nice full bodied sound. When using it after distortion/overdrive etc, it can give you a smoother, more aggressive sounding tone. Distortions etc can sometimes sound a bit flabby or grainy. Stick a compression pedal after them and it can make them sound much more intense. A purer more rounded form of distortion. It's quite hard to describe, you really need to hear it to understand what I'm on about. The last control (sustain) is probably the most sensitive one, as if you turn it past 11 o'clock you will lose your natural sound. Check out the settings page for more info on setting this pedal up.
Another pedal in the Boss range. The BF-2 Flanger. This purple pedal is in my view the best flanger available. It was a veteran pedal in Squire's set up and served him well in the sound quality department. This pedal is commonly known for being able to emulate a jet engine type of sound.
Squire would use this pedal mostly for intense sweeping sounds over chords during various sections of tunes live. E.g End of She bangs the drums, "You're eyes are gazing back from...." middle 8 bit in Sally Cinnamon, Made of Stone chorus, spacey sounds during the instrumental of Resurrection etc. If set up for the jet engine sound, the pedal can really give a sound like you are about to take off at 1000mph!! It's certainly great fun to strum through a chord and hear the this effect full on. It can also be set up for more subtle chorus type sounds and wierd wobbly sounds, although Squire seemed to opt mainly for the sweeping swooshy sounds. Wise chap!!
These pedals have risen in price quite recently and are probably about £80-£90 brand new. It may sound quite a lot but boss pedals are fantastic quality and well worth the money. It is a very versatile pedal and is certainly worth putting in the time to experiment with it. This will make the money spent a bit more justifiable. Personally, the jet sound alone is worth the money!!!
STEREO CHORUS (CS-9)
This is my 1980's original Ibanez stereo chorus pedal. It is from the desirable '9' series. This is the second Ibanez pedal Squire has in his set up. Basically all the pedals made in the 9 series from Japan during the 80's are good.
Most chorus pedals do the same job. They are designed to give a warm layer to your basic sound. The have a certain amount of versatility in such a way that you can have a subtle or very intense amount of effect. Most of them sound much and such the same to me. However, this one ads a slightly bell like tone to your notes. It adds a nice sparkle when playing clean licks on guitar etc. Squire had this pedal set up for quite a subtle effect most of the time. If used in this way, it is the type of effect you have on pretty much all the time. Just something to spice up your basic sound. Think of it as the Eau de toilette of guitar effects!! I have seen them priced at about £50-£60 which I think is a bargain. They aren't that hard to get hold of, but I can see these pedals going up in price a lot over the next few years.
Recommended listening for this pedal: The intro to adored (Blackpool) when the clean guitar bits start, also from the Blackpool gig 'Made of Stone' the clean guitar solo after the 1st chorus.
MESA BOOGIE - (RHYTHM/LEAD FOOTSWITCH)
As you will maybe notice from the Tokyo 89 stage pic at the top of the page. Squire uses this footswitch which is linked to his mesa boogie mark III amplifier. It is for switching between the Rhythm1 channel (which is basically a clean sound) to the Lead channel (Distorted sound). It is connected via the footswitch socket underneath the input socket on the front pannel of the amp (pictured right). This footswitch usually comes with the amp along with another footswitch for changing to the other rhythm channel. They can also be purchased as replacement footswitches for your mesa amp from www.mesaboogie.com
Use of the lead channel from the Mark III boogie can be heard again from the Blackpool show: Mersey Paradise (Guitar Solo), Where Angels Play, Made of Stone.
ALESIS - MIDIVERB II
This is an Alesis Midiverb II multi-effects processor. This is the piece of kit that Cressa would operate for Squire when the Roses played live. Basically it houses 99 preset sounds. This means that you can't alter the sounds on the unit AT ALL!! That's the bad news.......the good news is, if you get one of these units you can immediately access all of the exact effects Squire used. (more on these exact effects in the settings page.)
Its forte is reverbs and is still used in studio's throughout the world today because of this. It is also a very quiet effects processor. Some of the ones on the market make all sorts of noises and are not much kop really!! Cressa would press the numbered buttons on the right hand side of the unit just before Squire would need the sound called up. So he must have had him well trained as to which presets he needed and when. I am quite surprised that Squire didn't have a midi board to operate this as opposed to needing a human being with you to change your guitar sounds everytime! I suppose it did look quite cool having someone dancing away and fiddling with some buttons at the same time. So anyone that thought Cressa was an unessecary member of the roses THINK AGAIN!! However, Squire could have shelled out the extra £50-£60 to get the board and changed the sounds himself. Maybe it would have taken up too much space on stage. I use a midi board with 'FOOLS GOLD' to change the sounds on my midiverb II as I do not have access to a cressa type geezer!! Along with the pedals it does take up a lot of room.
(Above) is a view of the midiverb from the back. This probably the view we are most used to seeing of it. It's puzzled me as to exactly how Squire hooked this up to his amps and pedals for years, as there are a few ways to do it. However, thanks to the Tokyo pic featured on www.thisisthedaybreak.co.uk the mystery has been solved!!! Squire would go from his guitar straight into his pedals, then into his tuner, then into his midiverb. He just used one input (usually the Left one) he would plug in here using the lead from the output of his tuner. Then the same side output (Left) would go to the input of the mesa boogie. The other side ouput (Right) on the midiverb would go out to the input of the fender twin reverb. So in effect he is using a 'psuedo' stereo set up. It is really just a mono signal but sending it to two amps. This type of set up gives you an amazing spread of sound on stage. The mesa gives a slightly darker sound to the twin reverb, so when both amps are miked up you can get a mix of the two creating a nice mix of mellow and bright.
The Midiverb II is a great piece of kit. Although by todays standards it is quite primitive. I think you could get one of these for about £100-£200. I can't remember how much it was when I got mine. But it has certainly given me many hours of enjoyment sifting through all the different effects. In the settings page this unit will be featured quite heavily. Don't worry though, as I will suggest more generic settings that should cover most effects processors.
(Tokyo pic courtesy of www.thisisthedaybreak.co.uk)
Note: All the settings on pedals and amps etc on this page are not meant to be suggested settings. That is just how they were when they were photgraphed