#1
Well, for me it was elusive. I remember one day, playing with the Yamaha Pacifica starting kit, trying to find the brown sound. I looked deep into the eyes of EVH on a documentary book, and said; "Please. Give me your tone. Tell me. Guide me." I hoped some mystical part of EVH's being would descend on me that day. It never did. I tried though, but I could never pull the sound out of my gear.

Until today, when I decided to run my primary guitar through my home amp. (I usually keep my guitar at my Church's building.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cS_NLanrL0

Yes that's my youtube channel, no this isn't self promotion, and yes I made that as a demo for my friends on facebook. Live in my room, my tone sounds impeccably similar to EVH's brown sound. The recording doesn't do it justice. The string pop, the fizz, the delay, everything. And to think I spent years trying to find it, when I could be satisfied through my shoddy room gear.

I haven't worked on EVH-style playing in a while, so don't mind the indescrepencies :p

If you wanted to know what everything was/set to, the amp is a Roland cube 20x, set on "Metal Stack," gain around 11 o'clock, delay around 11 as well (the delay and reverb share a pot.) The EQ is all at max of course. My guitar is a stock Washburn X-30, tone and volume at 10, bridge pup active. Strings are 9's hybrid slinkys.

Is the brown sound actually hard to get, and have I failed? Or does it sound solid to you? Anyone else have some tone-chasing stories?
Last edited by Will Lane at Oct 15, 2014,
#2
Not bad considering what you are using, but brown sound it is not. The delay is a bit heavy, and really, the brown sound is more about power amp distortion than preamp gain, which is you aren't going to recreate with the Roland.

FWIW, it still sounds good, and when you started playing I wouldn't have thought you were just using a small practice amp. When you started moving away from the chords and more into the eruption stuff it became more obvious, but that has always seemed to be the downfall of digital amps to me.

Really I have never found the brown sound to be that amazing, it is Eddie's playing that really brings it to life.
I'm just a kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer.
#3
That sounds nothing like the brown sound.
E-peen:
Rhodes Gemini
Fryette Ultra Lead
Peavey 6505
THD Flexi 50

Gibson R0 Prototype
EBMM JP13 Rosewood
Fender CS Mary Kaye

WTLT

(512) Audio Engineering - Custom Pedal Builds, Mods and Repairs
#4
Egnater Renegade - Brown Sound Demo ((Stereo)): http://youtu.be/v_Dh5IBdf5g
You should get one of these. Your playing sounds pretty good. All that hard work you put into learning guitar, you owe a good amp to yourself.

(Btw, it sounded pretty "brown" to me. I'm not really a big evh fan though so I'm no authority)
Fender Mustang/Derfenstein DST> Boss Power Wah> Pedal Monsters Klone> Bogner Uberschall> Walrus Audio Janus> Randall RM20> Line 6 M9> Randall RM20
Last edited by lucky1978 at Oct 16, 2014,
#5
Quote by mmolteratx
That sounds nothing like the brown sound.


This.

The playing is decent, but that has nowhere near the depth of the brown sound. Remember that a lot of EVH's tone is his aggressive pick attack on solos. The rhythm tone was somewhat VH-ish (as good as can be had with a basic setup), but the lead tone was far too thin & compressed. EVH's lead tone is thick & rich with screaming high end, yet doesn't sound fizzy like that. I spent decades chasing the brown sound, & finally nailed it pretty accurately with a re-amp/slave amp rig very similar to EVH's VH1 setup (I use a 50W Mojave Scorpion instead of a 100W Marshall plexi. The Scorpion is basically a 50W plexi). The opened up power amp section is what gives that fullness in the EVH sound.
For a cool decent EVH tone on a budget, check out this link:

http://jfrocksguitarlessons.com/jfrocks3/jfrocks/brownsound.html

If you want the real deal, this is how it's done:

http://www.amptone.com/eddievanhalenrig.htm
Quote by 311ZOSOVHJH
Riffhog for President


Quote by Cathbard
There's no point apologising for your feet smelling when there's a 300lb gorilla in the room taking a crap on the couch.


Recognised by the Official EG/GG&A Who To Listen To List 2011
#6
I read the OP expecting you were going to tell us you discovered that the "brown note" is a real thing and demonstrate . Needless to say, I'm disappointed.
#7
Quote by chrismendiola
I read the OP expecting you were going to tell us you discovered that the "brown note" is a real thing and demonstrate . Needless to say, I'm disappointed.


Me too. I came in here intending to reply with "the brown note is probably a myth, and even if it's not, it's way too low to played on a guitar."
#8
We all like to think we get close to the brown sound every now and then

Well...maybe not all of us. I do though sometimes.

Honestly though, I never really understood the early VH1/VH2/WaCF/ tone hype.

I mean it is good stuff and I generally love listening to those albums but the tone is not great great. It is elusive though. Anyway.

Guys, these types of posts belong in one of these two threads:

(tone test)
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1296000

(gear demo)
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1495609

Last edited by 311ZOSOVHJH at Oct 16, 2014,
#9
I believe the original "brown sound" was achieved running a marshall plexi at 80-90V using a variac. Well at least thats what Michael Soldano said. Has anyone ever tried something like this?
Marty Friedman is GOD!

curently in a SEX MACHINEGUNS and X JAPAN phase AND Galneryus AND Anthem phase

damn J-Metal, why you so awesome

My Gear:

Schecter Hellraiser V-1 fr
Ibanez RG321mh
Fender GDC-200sce
Peavey Vypyr 30 w/ sanpera 1
#10
EVH Brown sound is not so mysterious. Take a Plexi, dime the amp, and adjust your guitar volume until you find it. You are probably going to need Eddies fingers though. The variac was a tool to reduce amp volume in clubs so he wouldn't get kicked out, not a magic tone secret. Eddie explains:
http://ultimateclassicrock.com/eddie-van-halen-reveals-his-biggest-lie/
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#11
Quote by bustapr
I believe the original "brown sound" was achieved running a marshall plexi at 80-90V using a variac. Well at least thats what Michael Soldano said. Has anyone ever tried something like this?

I used to run a Variac in my re-amp rig & straight with my '79 Marshall 100w lead at times, & it really didn't make much difference tonally. It just took some load off of the amp's output stage letting it run a bit cooler.
Old Marshalls vary widely in tonal characteristics in my experience. Some sound just OK, & some just have weird killer mojo.
Quote by 311ZOSOVHJH
Riffhog for President


Quote by Cathbard
There's no point apologising for your feet smelling when there's a 300lb gorilla in the room taking a crap on the couch.


Recognised by the Official EG/GG&A Who To Listen To List 2011
#12
As noted, Eddie's tone had a lot to do with his hands and style, and the tactile response that his Marshall gave him with the variac on it. You can get something like that with an all tube amp that has a tube rectifier.

Tube amps get better the louder they're cranked, and the harmonics are warm and beautiful. SS amps sound worse the more they're cranked and the harmonics always sounds sharp and shrill.
- Fender, Taylor, Martin, Ibanez, Ramirez, Marshall, Boss, Morley, Mesa/Boogie, Univox, Shure, Monster, Dunlop, Seymour Duncan, DiMarzio, Lace, Sperzel, DW, Tama, Zildjian, and a little Johnnie Walker
#13
A lot of rumors floated around about Eddie's sound, he admitted in an interview I read that he started some of them. He got a laugh out of the guys taking their amps to a tech in CA to have them modded, all the guy did was change tubes and bias the amp. He said he started that rumor...

His basic early VH sound was a Marshall Plexi at full volume, he didn't go into tone knob settings, an echoplex, and the variac set to 89 volts, so he wouldn't blow amps all the time playing them dimed. The guitar was his "frankenstrat", with one Humbucker (because he didn't know how to wire 2).

All the rest was and is in his fingers.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...