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Author: Subject: Great Duane Allman/D Betts Gear Info

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  posted on 3/2/2011 at 12:53 PM
I was tooling around on google and stumbled across a very interesting post on bluestalk.com from a guy who called himself the Wheelchair Bandit. Seems he had inside info on the early ABB - with some details I have never seen before - such as Duane having 2 Gold Tops. I have seen pics of Duane using a GT without pickup covers and thought he was just experimenting - but seems it was another guitar all togther!

I'm not saying this is gospel - we know for a fact Duane used JBL's at least part of the time with the ABB - but he does confirm the CVega's - though his source on that could well be Butler, who is the source of that info in "Skydog".

I'm reposting the info here - this fellow hasn't been active on that forum since 2004 so getting his permission to was a long shot - so I'll post it here and hope I'm not breaking any laws!

------------------------------------------------------


Duane was a guitar nut,and had a lot of guitars.He was fanatical about his tone,and he did not find the tone he was looking for until early 1970.

Duane's first guitar was a double cut Gibson Les Paul Junior with one P-90,which is now owned by Delaney Bramlett.It is unclear what amp Duane used with this guitar in his teens.

During the mid-late 60's when he and Gregg had various bands,Duane played several Gibson 335s and several Strats.He had a red block neck 335,and a tobacco sunburst dot neck 335 that was converted to a stop bar from a Bigsby.His Strats included an origanal 56,a big head,and one with a Tele neck on it.Duane also played Gregg's '68 red Gibson 355 with vari-tone,which is now owned and used by Warren Haynes (he used it on the new Allmans DVD on the song "High Cost Of Low Living").

During Duane's days as a session man in Muscle Shoals,he mainly played his 56 Strat.His amplifier at that time was a brown Fender Concert 4x10.Duane had 4 different speakers in it-a JBL,a Celestion and two others I don't remember.This amp was sold not too long ago by one of Duane's old partners from Muscle Shoals.

Duane abandoned the Strats when The Allman Brothers formed.

The first Allman Brothers album is mainly Duane's dot neck 335,through a blackface Fender Twin.Duane had his first 1957 Gold Top Les Paul at the sessions,but it is unclear whether he used it at all.To my ears,that whole album is 335s.Dickey used a 345 and his SG on the album,mostly using the 345.

Duane got his first 1957 Gold Top in mid-late 1969.This guitar had the pickup covers removed (two double blacks) as well as the plastic thingy around the switch.This guitar was later traded to Dickey Betts in mid to late 1971 for Dickey's SG.

Duane got his second 1957 Gold Top in early 1970.He used this guitar as his main live guitar through September 1970.This is the guitar used on the Live At Atlanta Pop album,as well as Idelwild South and the Layla album.

This Gold Top was traded in late September 1970 for a '58 cherryburst Les Paul Standard.This is the guitar Duane used on Live At The Fillmore East.When Duane traded the guitar,he put the pickups from his Gold Top into this cherryburst.

Duane never used a Marshall amp in the studio.The Allman Brothers first album and Idelwild South is his blackface Twin.The few studio tracks that Duane got to play on Eat A Peach was a brown Fender Super 2x10.Duane played a silverface Fender Champ on the Layla album.

Duane's preffered live rig was a Marshall 50 watt bass head,through Marshall 4x12 cabs loaded with Cerwin-Vega speakers (NOT JBLs as so often said-Dickey used the JBLs).Duane ran a pair of these 50 watt Marshalls at the same time,and he played through both channels on both amps at the same time.

In June 1971,Duane bought his '59 Les Paul Standard often called "Hot Lanta".This guitar was used on the version of "One Way Out" that is on the Eat A Peach album (song was recorded at the Fillmore closing shows in June 71,not the March 71 shows that the Fillmore album came from),as well as all the studio tracks on Eat A Peach that he is on.This guitar had particularly hot pickups,and Duane's tone changed somewhat during the time he used this guitar.Duane still used the '58 cherry burst as a backup.

In mid to late 1971,Duane traded his first Gold Top to Dickey Betts for Dickey's 1968 SG.Duane only used this SG for slide,and it stayed in Open E tuning.Duane did not use this guitar as often as thought-he only had it about the last 4-5 months of his life,and used it only 10-15 times live.The rest of the time Duane just used his Les Pauls for slide,and tuned them back to standard tuning to do the rest of the show.

Duane's first slide was a Cordicidian bottle,because that's what held the cough medicine Gregg gave him.Duane was sick in bed in LA in '68 with Gregg,and Gregg brought him some Cordicidian cough medicine and the new Taj Mahal album.When Gregg came back later that day,Duane was using the Cordicidian bottle for a slide,and trying to learn Jesse Ed Davis' licks on Taj's version of Statesboro Blues.Duane used the Cordicidan bottles exclusively for electric slide.For acoustic slide,he used a chrome slide.

Duane strung his Les Pauls with 10-50s,with the action set somewhat high so he could play slide on them.

Dickey's live tone was usually much cleaner than Duane's due to the fact that Dickey used 100 watt Marshalls as opposed to Duane's 50 watters.The 100 watters don't break up as earlier as the 50s.Dickey used 4x12 Marshall cabs at that time with JBLs.

Dickey's tone is unique to him and he always sounds like Dickey Betts.I have heard Dickey play through Strats,SGs,Les Pauls,and PRS guitars,through Marshall,Fender,and Soldano amps,and he ALWAYS sounds just like Dickey Betts,and if I didn't see what he was playing I honestly couldn't tell you what he was using.

Dickey used a 345 and an SG during the era of the Allman's first album on through to the Idelwild South album.During the spring of 1970,he used a 56 or 57 hardtail Strat,but soon stopped using it.You can hear Dickey use this guitar on the Febuary 1970 Fillmore live album,which is available from KidGlove.com,as well as the Ludlow Garage live album.FWIW,Duane used his second Gold Top on the 2/70 Fillmore album and his 335 on the Ludlow album.

In December 1970,Dickey got his his first 57 Gold Top.This is the guitar he used on the Live At The Fillmore East album as well as the live tracks on Eat A Peach.About a month after Duane's death,Dickey bought a 59 sunburst Les Paul from George Gruhn.This guitar has the covers off,and has two zebra pups,and has a beautiful flame top.This is the guitar Dickey used on the studio tracks on Eat A Peach,and all of Brothers And Sisters.He also used it live quite a bit,along with a hoard of various '57 Gold Tops.The Gold Top used on the Fillmore East album was refinnished to sunburst by Gibson,and was later given to Dan Toler,who later sold it uncerimonisly to a Japanese collector who still has it.

Dickey used some sort of Fender amp on the first Allman album.Idelwild South was his 100 watt Marshall,and he used the same brown Fender Super 2x10 that Duane did on the studio tracks on Eat A Peach.They both used that amp together on the few studio tunes they were both on,including Blue Sky.Brothers And Sisters was a 50 watt Marshall,ran full blast.

Duane and Dickey's tone mainly differed from their personal playing styles.It didn't have all that much to do with gear.If you listen to the 9/19/71 Stonybrook live album recently released by the Allmans,on the song In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed,twards the end of his solo Dickey gets very agressive and starts to emulate some of Duane's style,and he sounds VERY much like Duane.Just to keep confusion down with those here who have this album,at the start of the solo,there is a long pause,then Duane plays a very short solo,then stops,then Dickey comes in-he had some sort of mechanical problem which caused about a minute delay before he started his solo.

Dickey is also a very melodic player-nearly every one of his solos is straight out of a major or minor scale pattern,and as melodic as possible.Duane played with a more straight ahead blues rock approach,while Dickey was comming from a country/swing/melodic jazz standpoint.Many point to Duane's being influenced by jazz,but I hear much more jazz from Dickey,espically in his insturmentals like Liz Reed and Les Brers In A Minor.

WB.



[Edited on 3/2/2011 by philipag]

 

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"Elmore James was a pretty good slide player - but he never did get to hear me play!" - Duane

 
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Peach Pro



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  posted on 3/2/2011 at 01:09 PM
quote:


Duane got his first 1957 Gold Top in mid-late 1969.This guitar had the pickup covers removed (two double blacks) as well as the plastic thingy around the switch.This guitar was later traded to Dickey Betts in mid to late 1971 for Dickey's SG.

Duane got his second 1957 Gold Top in early 1970.He used this guitar as his main live guitar through September 1970.This is the guitar used on the Live At Atlanta Pop album,as well as Idelwild South and the Layla album.



That would explain this shot, taken in January of '70....
Duane on his Goldtop....
(I know it's the Goldtop 'cause I played it later that day....)


 

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  posted on 3/2/2011 at 02:15 PM
quote:
quote:


Duane got his first 1957 Gold Top in mid-late 1969.This guitar had the pickup covers removed (two double blacks) as well as the plastic thingy around the switch.This guitar was later traded to Dickey Betts in mid to late 1971 for Dickey's SG.

Duane got his second 1957 Gold Top in early 1970.He used this guitar as his main live guitar through September 1970.This is the guitar used on the Live At Atlanta Pop album,as well as Idelwild South and the Layla album.



That would explain this shot, taken in January of '70....
Duane on his Goldtop....
(I know it's the Goldtop 'cause I played it later that day....)




You sure this photo is from Jan 70? DB is playing a goldtop and has short hair - and Duane is shirtless - would have had to be a very warm day in January.

 

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"Elmore James was a pretty good slide player - but he never did get to hear me play!" - Duane

 

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  posted on 3/2/2011 at 04:05 PM
quote:

You sure this photo is from Jan 70?



Yep.
January 26th, 1970.
University of California, Riverside

quote:

DB is playing a goldtop...



Which jives with the OP...
I've always wondered about that guitar that DB is playing...
Maybe it belonged to Duane, but DB is sure the hell playing it...

quote:

...would have had to be a very warm day in January.



I did a forensic weather report, and it was over 70 that day...

 

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  posted on 3/2/2011 at 04:36 PM
quote:
quote:

You sure this photo is from Jan 70?



Yep.
January 26th, 1970.
University of California, Riverside

quote:

DB is playing a goldtop...



Which jives with the OP...
I've always wondered about that guitar that DB is playing...
Maybe it belonged to Duane, but DB is sure the hell playing it...

quote:

...would have had to be a very warm day in January.



I did a forensic weather report, and it was over 70 that day...


Ha! good job, tonewoods. Was Duane also playing a goldtop? Maybe if he had 2 at that point, he was playing one and DB was playing the other? Sounds plausible....

 

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"Elmore James was a pretty good slide player - but he never did get to hear me play!" - Duane

 

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  posted on 3/2/2011 at 05:49 PM
Fascinating stuff ! Thanks for the posts


[Edited on 3/2/2011 by homeboy]

 

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  posted on 3/2/2011 at 07:14 PM
quote:
Was Duane also playing a goldtop? Maybe if he had 2 at that point, he was playing one and DB was playing the other? Sounds plausible....


Yep, and it's the only time I've seen them--live or in pics--with 2 GTs going....

Here's the full story of that memorable day:

http://www.allmanbrothersband.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=XForum&file=v iewthread&tid=76567#pid1780681

 

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  posted on 3/2/2011 at 07:55 PM
Great Post! This is the most accurate info for you gearheads
that I have ever seen.
Duane was playing the Goldtop in early 69 (Forest Inn) prior to
the ABB forming. Once Duane started playing the GT he rarely
played his Fender anymore. This was during the Jax Jam days
Duane would drive back and forth to Muscle Schoals to jam with
the Second Coming and friends.

 

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  posted on 3/2/2011 at 10:27 PM
Thanks for the post! Always enjoy reading about Duane's guitar/amp setups.

 

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  posted on 3/3/2011 at 10:55 AM
good stuff. I remember WheelchairBandit. he was a good guy. Haven't seen him on here in a long time.
 

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  posted on 3/8/2011 at 08:19 PM
very informative reading. Most appreciated.


Silvio

 

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  posted on 3/8/2011 at 09:00 PM
When I was watching the video from September 9, 1973 I noticed a red Marshall cabinet. I'm guessing this is Dickey's, right?
 
 


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