Frampton Is a Tone Freak…

October 26, 2010 | By | Reply More

… and don’t we love it! Finally getting to some long-delayed reading and was checking out the June 2010 issue of Guitar World with Keith Richards on the cover. In little letters on the right it says “Plus Peter Frampton,” and that’s where I turned first. Glad I did, good interview.

What comes across big time in the interview is that Frampton is way into tone – woody tone – and has good ears. Here’s an example, a quote from his longtime guitar tech Mark Snyder: “I recall being on the road with Peter, and if I moved the volume control on the Marshall from 5 to 4 7/8, he’d go, ‘Something isn’t right.’ He was always tuned in to each component of the rig.”

Here’s more. All quotes are Frampton’s unless IDd as Snyder’s.


> “I love old vintage amps, especially old Marshalls. I love effects. Most of the tones on this record [his new Thank You Mr. Churchill album] were usually one amp head or combo with a little delay unit and maybe a couple of other effects. I might use one of my 1959 Fender Deluxe amps for one little bit in the song, and then I’d use a Marshall 50w head through a 4×12 cabinet for another part. But I can’t bring myself to take those amps on the road because I’m afraid they’ll get destroyed. I’m now looking at the Tungsten Crema Wheat or the Fender ’57 Deluxe reissue as an alternative [to the Fender Deluxe].”

> In his studio, Frampton has a 1962 Marshall JTM45 (“the million-dollar Marshall”) that he uses for solos, a 1964 Vox AC30 Top Boost and a modified AC15.

> He also recently bought a limited-edition Vox Brian May AC30 that he uses with his Fender Hank Marvin signature Stratocaster. “When I got that amp, I put my Top Boost away. Vox really got it right. It only has a volume, which is all you need with that amp. I use that amp and the Hank Marvin Strat quite a bit on the album.”

> Frampton no longer uses the Ampeg ET-1 Echo Twin that was part of his tone on the Humble Pie albums, Frampton Comes Alive! and his stage rig. “I did my time with the Echo Twin. I love it, but I haven’t been able to find another one that’s quite like the one I used on Frampton Comes Alive!”

> From a website: The ET-1, produced from 1962 to 1963, used a pair of 5Y3 rectifiers and two pairs of 6V6GT power tubes. The ET-1-B, made from 1963 to 1964, employed solid state rectification and 7591A power tubes. Both versions used four 6SL7 preamp tubes and put out 30 watts mono and 15 watts per side (stereo).


> On the album, Frampton of course used the black, three-pickup Les Paul Custom, plus a Les Paul Gold Top that tech Mark Snyder found and a 2005 1960 Les Paul Standard reissue with a Murphy finish. Other electrics were a ’90s Fender Custom Shop Telecaster made by Jay Black, and an original 1963 Fender Jaguar. “Whenever I need a quirky sound, I go for the Jaguar,” Frampton sid. “It has some really wonderful tones.”

Live Rig and Effects

> The heart of the rig is a ’70s 100w Marshall head modified by José Arredondo. Frampton: “John Suhr cloned that amp for me and made a couple of copies that are also in my rig.” A ’60s blackface Fender Bassman head handles clean tones, and Frampton uses one of the Suhr-modded Marshalls head for the infamous talk box.

> The GW interview says “an Egnater M4 preamp provides additional tonal color,” but doesn’t clarify that.

Effects on the floor
> DigiTech Whammy, Gig-FX Mega Wah and Pro Chop, Dunlop Cry Baby rackmount, original Boss CE-1 chorus modified by Paul Rivera [only used briefly, apparently like most effects], Klon Centaur, Fulltone OCD, Seymour Duncan Pickup Booster overdrive, Mutron III envelope followers [plural], Electro-Harmonix POG and Small Stone phaser, and Fulltone Supa-Trem tremolo.

In the rack
> Alesis Q20 Quadraverb, two Eventide Eclipse multi-effects units, TC Electronic C400XL compressor, D-Two delay and TC 1210 Spatial Expander/chorus.

> On the Whammy: “I’m a huge fan of Tom Morello. Because of him I got into the DigiTech Whammy pedal. I use that for the octave-up sounds that you hear on several solos.”

> From the interview: All pedals are controlled by an Axess Electronics FX1 MIDI foot controller. The post amp rack effects are amplified in stereo by a Mesa Recto 2:100 power amp, and the various output signals are then routed to three Marshall 4 x 12 cabinets or to a Leslie rotating speaker cab.

> Snyder: “These are all of Peter’s tools that he likes to use. He may need certain tools for only 10 seconds, but they need to be there. It makes the song, so it’s a crucial item. We didn’t make this a big rig with lots of things added just for the sake of adding them. Everything has a specific purpose.”

> Frampton: “People ask why I have so much gear on stage, and it’s because I want to emulate all the sounds that I’ve got on my records.”


> Apparently his original 3-pickup Les Paul is long gone. He tells the story in the second vid below.

> Here’s his website.

> Did you know that he lives in the home of WKRP? Cincinnati, Ohio….

Peter’s a ventriloquist!

Category: Alesis, Ampeg, Boss/Roland, DigiTech, Dunlop/Cry Baby, Electro-Harmonix, Eventide, Fender, Fulltone, Gig-FX, Klon, Marshall, Mutron, Peter Frampton, Seymour Duncan, Suhr, TC Electronic, Telecaster, Vox

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