Allan and the 16 keepers of the secret

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Chitarre, May 2000.

This is a machine translated version of the article Allan e i 16 custodi del segreto (Chitarre 2000), with a little human editing. Unclear passages are noted in [brackets].

A shorter version featuring highlights can be found here: Highlights from Allan and the 16 keepers of the secret

These stories were printed with separate headlines, but are reproduced here in one document.

If you would like to help improve this translation, please contact Allan Holdsworth Archives on Facebook.

Allan and the 16 keepers of the secret

By Gianfranco Diletti

Photo by Luciano Viti

... when you record it is always better to bring your headphones ... Of course we have headphones; to check the levels, you say? No, to avoid noticing you only at the end of not having recorded anything! Oh, but we have two recorders!! Oooohh, backup!?! (hah, hah); ferocious ... already, ferocious, like this amusing chat (Milan, March 2000) on the "Sixteen men of Tain" and other stories: twilight of epochal myths, from digital technologies to blended whiskeys, from slow fingers (on the computer !!! ) to valve amplifiers, and collapsing of clichés: tones, tertiary harmonies, symmetrical times, bebop, two-five-one, but also curious details to shock the unsuspected harshness of the hard ... genius life, whose difficulties are , often, really ... ferocious.

So, The Sixteen Men Of Tain, what is the meaning? A legend, a fairy tale?


Do we consider this the first answer?

No, hah, hah; it's a curious thing. When I wrote that piece I felt a festive feeling, a festive sound, like Christmas; even if I hate Christmas! And every time I think about parties, alcohol immediately comes to mind, of course. A way to relax and have fun, which is part of the game. In Scotland there are small distilleries that make this incredible single malt whiskey. They are not 'blended whiskeys', like most of the whiskey that is found around. These 'single malts' have a particular taste. And one of my favorites, really my favorite is the 18-year-old Glenmorangie, great whiskey. There are also 10 and 12 year vintages, but the 18-year-old is ... mega. And on the Glenmorangie bottle it says "Handcrafted by the 16 men of Tain", (Tain's 16-man artifact) because the distillery is in Tain; so I thought, "Wow, here's a cool title for a song". [Machine back translated]

Is Tain a region?

A village, a town; and only sixteen people work in the distillery; and they are the keepers of the old secret of that particular whiskey. [Machine back translated]

Even the figures on the cover look like ancient, sixteenth or seventeenth century ...

Those are not the true sixteen men of course (laughter); we have only taken sixteen figurines in the public domain, available to the public without rights problems. [Machine back translated]

And this is the distillery (indicating the center of the booklet) ... Yes ... maybe; and in the last figure we can see the three of us (the band), making ourselves a beer ... [Machine back translated]

And this could be the Synthaxe of the time (pointing to the second figure from the left of the second row from above) ... [Machine back translated]

That title, "The Sixteen Men Of Tain" intrigued me; I liked its sound, and it suited that kind of festive feeling for that song; since the sequence of chords is very long, and also a twisted pinch; it's fun, there's an A, a B, a C section, and two of the central sections rotate. It is easy to get lost; because the form is not exactly repeated. So I thought it was just how you feel when you got yourself some ales (beers). A perfect title for that song. [Machine back translated]

Is there a specific reason why there are no keyboards on the album?

Yes, because when we go on tour in Europe and America we are a trio and we play trio music, so when we recorded the album I had that in mind, things we played in concert. [Machine back translated]

What is the meaning of "0274"?

It's the old Yorkshire area code; today it has changed. [Machine back translated]

For the song "The Sixteen Men Of Tain", you use a DX7 (II) electric piano sound, is it your filtered guitar or the Synthaxe?

It's Synthaxe, yes. [Machine back translated]

And can you tell us what sound you used for this electric piano?

So when I sold my original Synthaxe I also sold all the synths I used; like the two Xpanders Oberheim, my Matrix 12; the only thing I kept were three or four TX7 modules; it is from them that this sound comes, it is part of the sounds I have made over the years. [Machine back translated]

The doubt comes because you can get similar sounds from the guitar by filtering it through pitch transposer and delay, and the sound regeneration gives you all these high harmonics ...

True; but on this track it is not guitar; it was easier for me to play it like this. [Machine back translated]

Still on the track "The Sixteen Men Of Tain", trying to follow (and transcribe) the part of the theme of chords of section A is not easy to follow the meter, it seems in 3, which is then repeated 5 times, then everything is mixed, then ... you get lost ...

16mot excerpt.jpg

Oh good! (laughter) then it works! This is the feeling you get after a bottle of Glenmorangie (loud laughter). I count it as 12 beats between a "di-du-daa" and the following. [Machine back translated]

How 12? (disappointment, having ears cooked ...)

Yes, "di-du-daa" 2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12. [Machine back translated]

But then it's 15!?! You want to tell us that you count 12 between the end of a sentence and the beginning of the next; but if you add the same sentence - which lasts 3- we arrive at number 15! (Triumph, the ears still go a little ...)

Oh sure; I'm not talking about writing; I'm talking about the way I count. I count it by looking at the sentence, from the end ... it is my typical thing, usual: I count a new one from wherever the agreement [ed. note: chord, chord form?] lands. But that's not what anyone else would write. When I get to a new deal [chord?] my one is usually there; not (only) in terms of harmony but as a count of time. [Machine back translated]

Still on "The Sixteen Men ..." there is a section in which you play lines with a swing feel, this, compared to the 'straight' times, implies greater difficulties for the legato technique, how do you solve them?

Ah, is it more difficult? [Machine back translated]

Well, with notes that have the same duration (like on a 'straight', straight, not swing) it's easier, but on the swing the two notes of each duina [???] have different durations, so the movement mechanics is different from the beat to get up, no?

Well, I never thought about it (laughs]. I can say that this is one of the things I enjoy playing with Gary Novak; it makes me do things other than what I would play with Gary Husband. [Machine back translated]

The problem that we were posing is technical, related to the related; in addition to the confirmation that you do not use Pull Off, but you only do Hammer On. Do you have at least some revelation for us on how to work on it?

A fundamental thing for the legato technique is to make sure that the pick notes do not sound louder than the tied ones; so an exercise that I did was to try to make the picks play at a lower volume than the others. Today I pick a lot more than some time ago. [Machine back translated]

Has the way you see and chords been somehow influenced by Bill Evans?

No. [Machine back translated]


No; because I knew nothing about Bill Evans (pianist), who I started listening to a lot after [developing my chords]; he was not one of the musicians I listened to, not because I didn't want to, but only because I didn't know him. [Machine back translated]

So all these second, fourth, clusters ('bunches' of chords), did you find yourself all by yourself, by ear, without any outside inspiration?

More or less. Obviously everyone has references; perhaps my inspiration was more Oliver Nelson, the saxophonist who made an album called The Blues And The Abstract Truth, [1961]; I liked Oliver Nelson and he was one of the first to hear that I used these 'close voicings'. But for the chords I use now I really ... I didn't get them from someone specific, I never liked that sound; works on the guitar which is great for these things, it sounds better this way rather than those big piano-like tunings [chords?]. [Machine back translated]


On "The Drums Were Yellow" a bebop phrasing peeps out here and there ....

Really??? [Machine back translated]

Yes, it seems, which is surprising; in the end you managed to learn a little bop phrasing (laughter)!?

No, it was an accident, totally; because usually I try to avoid these things like the plague. No, I would never do such a thing, so foolish, not deliberately ... [Machine back translated]

But it doesn't sound silly, it's a nice, effective phrase.

Hah, hah; in the end I managed to play something that someone recognizes (laughs). I'm sorry, I apologize, it was completely involuntary. [Machine back translated]

When you make these boppish phrases it seems that you play more picked notes than legato ...

Probably so, also because they are not so fast. [Machine back translated]

(Speak for yourself, Allan, damn it; speak for yourself!!!)

In the sound of these sentences [phrases?] there is some sort of harmonizer ...

Ooohhhh, then you mean in the clean sections? I didn't understand why I don't use a lot of clean sound [???]. Start with some chords that then flow into these melodic lines. I used an Octave Divider, an old Boss pedal. [Machine back translated]

That’s an octave below?

An octave below, yes; there is no harmonizer, I also tried it but it didn't work, I didn't like the sound, it came out late ... instead the Octave Divider comes out in real time, and it works well. But you can't use it on chords, so when I get back to the chords I have to turn it off. [Machine back translated]

Does this mean that you recorded it all in a single take, like 'live'?

Yeah. [Machine back translated]

Without overdubs?

Oh, I actually did some overdubs, but they were things I didn't like from the beginning, I changed a couple of chords. Originally there was also the bass; we played all three together; it is a song that came out like this, spontaneous, and in the end I left out the bass part; I listened without it and liked it. So I mixed the song without bass. [Machine back translated]

Who knows how happy Dave was (Carpenter)!?

He was really annoyed (laughs). No, he was quite happy because he also thought it sounded good with no bass. The bass intrudes; when you improvise from nothing, the bass ... (makes signs to make it clear that the bass binds you); and I thought that the dialogue between guitar and drums worked, and didn't need the bass; I don't miss the bass on this track. [Machine back translated]

So let's sum it up: the song was born as a total improvisation by playing the three of you together.

Exact; and then ousting the bass tracks. Since when we recorded the 'live' tracks, my studio is so small that the double bass doesn't enter the same room with the drums, so even though all three of them are playing together, Dave played the electric bass though. Then, having chosen the tracks, he overdubbed the double bass. He did a great job, because it is very difficult to overdub an acoustic bass on a song that is spontaneous improvisation, because you will never be able to do the same thing you don't know what you saw [that you improvised it at the moment]. [Machine back translated]

But when you play a song like this, just guitar and drums improvisation, what do you think? A progression of agreements? Or just go to feeling ...

A song like this ... let it go where the song goes. There I listened to the drums trying to follow the direction of the song. [Machine back translated]

So isn't there a round of agreements [chords?], even just imaginary ones?

No, no ... I mean, I tried to play melodic lines; come out with a few fussy ideas and avoid putting rubbish in it. It seems to me that it came well ... [Machine back translated]

And the reason it is called "The Drums Were Yellow" is because when we played it, almost by accident, but not by accident, I played a small section of "The Moon Was Yellow", when the distorted guitar does (sings):


Then it goes somewhere else, then returns and walks away from it [???]. It was Dave Carpenter, after I had removed the bass, who suggest to dedicate the song to Tony; there I thought of the title "The Moon Was Almost Yellow"; but he came up with "The Drums Were Yellow" which then remained; a perfect tribute for Tony, and for his yellow drums. [Machine back translated]

There is an unusually heavy riff at the beginning of "Texas", the only one - are you moving away from this kind of thing or is it just a period? The whole album is actually less rock.

I wrote that piece for a demonstration of instruments in my friend's music store in Texas. At the beginning of the solo I started deliberately with a blues style, Texan (imitates Texan slang), a game, like ZZ Top. [Machine back translated]

From "Texas" we tried to transcribe a lick ...

A ... lick??? [Machine back translated]

(unforgivable mistake!! Allan hates this concept, even as a word only) hah, hah, hah ...

No, oh my God, forgive me, the wrong word has come out ... (meanwhile Allan continues to break away from laughter) a phrase, a melody, which repeats itself ascending from fifth diminished, for 30 4 times [???]; but the pattern itself is a bit strange; it is not based on a chord, an arpeggio, it does not come from a scale; we wondered how you got to ideas of this kind.

But I don't think I can figure out what you're referring to ... [Machine back translated]

Here is the transcript (pieces of paper start to come out) ...


(giggles) This certainly doesn't help me ("Do you know what to do with that card?”) Can we try to play it? (Out comes a Steinberger, well, almost ...) we can dare to ... show you how to play your music?

Sure (he breaks down with laughter). [Machine back translated]

So it doesn't remind me of anything; maybe because the notes are different, that's why ("Jigsaw!!!"). I should hear from the record again, maybe I could tell you [what] it was, decipher it. I too sometimes go to hear things I've done and say, "Oh, this was nice! "and I have to pull it down [???] to be able to play it again. [Machine back translated]

And can the fact that it repeats over several octaves suggests something?

Yes, I know there are a couple of points where I have deliberately extended the phrase to two or three octaves. [Machine back translated]

Why, why, tell us why??

Therefore, I look for the effect that gives me the insertion of ... let's say a non-diatonic note [OUT), together with three diatonic notes (IN); figure that then repeats itself as the phrase ascends; so you keep hearing this non-diatonic note, which nevertheless reappears on all the octaves so it doesn't seem wrong; even if it's not a chord note, it's like an extra note ... well, maybe that's it. [Machine back translated]

In addition to the Synthaxe, you seem to have taken out your breath controller again too; at different points there is a modulation of that type.

Yes, true; I used the breath controller. [Machine back translated]

So, in the end you put your whole Synthaxe back together, in full force?

Well, the breath controller is a separate box; I really have two or three. They don't make them anymore, not even those. Indeed, they were made in Italy, by Crumar, and were called Masters Touch and designed by Steiner, you know, the guy who invented the Steinerphone, the one who invented EWI. All the Masters Touch controllers I had were made in Italy; it's analog, you can't use it in MIDI, you can't record MIDI information; you can't record a solo and then try to remember which moments you blew (laugh); and if you don't blow no sound comes out; play a note but you don't hear it until you blow it; then at that point you blow and you can check the texture, the volume ... [Machine back translated]

So in the end you came to your long-awaited saxophone!!

In the end yes! I tried to make it sound a bit different from the saxophone. I use the Yamaha DL-70 synth which is excellent in redoing sounds very similar to the original; for this reason I didn't do it too much, but I went very close to it and then I returned a pinch back; it was so easy to make it sound like a sax I had to change it a little bit. You know, this 'virtual synthesis' that made the Yamaha is really stunning; although it seems that there is a need for a separate programmer; and you have to program it, it's a little box with a pair of knobs. [Machine back translated]

There are many rumors as to why the Synthaxe had left the scene; what is the truth?

I put it aside because it is no longer in production; and therefore you cannot repair it if it breaks; and I didn't want to start trusting Synthaxe too much. There was a time when I used it too much, it was a really conspicuous part of what I did; we were on tour and it broke down; and we lost half of the songs. Many of the songs I did with Synthaxe I couldn't do with the guitar because I use the buttons and there's no way to get that from the guitar. [Machine back translated]

You also use Synthaxe for the possibility of working with special tunings, right?

No. [Machine back translated]

No? Didn't you set up and play with tunings fourths and fifths?

Oh yes; they are the only ones I use; the standard tuning, all fourth, sometimes all fifth (here Allan tends to broaden the subject, which evidently "takes" him, entering into details and gems about tunings and fingerings; we refer all the other 'maniacs' of this area to a treatise (or more !?) on the next venture of Holdsworthiana, ed). [Machine back translated]

"Eidolon", what does that mean?

I used it like a label for things on Synthaxe; I have always thought of Synthaxe as a tool that is not really real; by eidolon I mean a ghost image, an apparition, is [it] there or isn't [it] there? [Machine back translated]

What is this story that you already have another record ready?

It's true; the reason The Sixteen Man Of Tain took so long is because I didn't have a recording contract, no one to give it to (recommended: a little thought about the differences between imaginary lives and the real daily existence of our heroes, ed.); now I have a contract for three records. Gary (Husband) is coming to a point where he only plays the piano, he doesn't want to play the drums anymore; and Jimmy (Johnson) had a break from touring with James Taylor; a unique opportunity; so we got together and went to a real studio. [Machine back translated]

When is the release scheduled?

Let's say six months, not before. But I no longer want to have to wait for these five-year periods between discs. [Machine back translated]

Even those who follow you can't take it anymore.

But it's not my fault, it's not my choice! I close my house in my study [I choose to record in my home studio?], which is the only way to get some money in; instead of giving them to a studio I give them to ... me, hah, hah, hah. In the sense that you pay all the others and you can keep what you have left. But you can't make a record every five years, no; every six months is the right time. [Machine back translated]

Allan, we also found a couple of blues licks on this album, how do we put it?

I'm sorry, I ran away [???] (chuckles). I'm getting old, I’m getting weak. [Machine back translated]

You couldn't do without ...

It's one of those things you can't resist. [Machine back translated]


[This text was printed as it stands here, in English, in the original article.]

Rich and smooth with a distinctive spicy character. The oak notes leap out with vanilla, walnuts and roasted coffee. Balanced between the dryness of oak, nuts and spices and the sweetness of vanilla, honey and chocolate. With the taste of sweet and savory spices, then gently oaky with cloves and spices. Flavor rolls further on the tongue to give a slight smokiness, coffee and the oily dryness of walnuts. The mouthful is exceptionally warm and spicy with a sumptuous velvety texture. The finish is medium to long with a sweet but slightly peppery aftertaste with cinnamon, coffee and chocolate.


[This light hearted exchange doesn't translate so well, but I think you catch the drift...]

After having talked about this album maybe, if you don't have time, let's continue with other questions from our previous ... previous ... extravagance (it's been years that the author chases Allan up and down the globe with repeated attempts to make him confess 'His secrets ..., or at least to understand something about it, ed)

Yeah! I still have faxes with a lot of your questions to many of which I haven't answered, right?

No, no, but you have to admit it, maybe and really too much.

But no; and then I want to do it, and that I never find the time to answer (mimic its slowness to write to the computer) apart from that I don't know how to work on the computer.

Ah, you're slow. Is there a keyboard you're slow on, then?

Yeah, the computer keyboard.

Because you can't do it legato.

No, there is a blow to each key. (laughs)

STUDIO AND SOUND: analog or digital?

Another couple that challenges each other in a fight to the death is: analogue, digital.

I like analogue consoles (mixers) because obviously they let everything pass; on the highs you always have problems with the digital because there are the anti-aliasing filters that stop the treble; it's the nature of digital. This effect of silencing some areas affects the image, color, softness, musicality of the sound. But today digital is becoming very good; the new album I just finished with Gary Husband and Jimmy Johnson we recorded on this new machine, Euphonics 48 tracks; it was an amazing experience; and compared to the machine that I have always preferred, the Mitsubishi 32 tracks. I can honestly say that I've never felt, in my whole life, a greater difference between two products. Absolutely stunning; the sound of the drums is absolutely fe-no-me-na-le, really incredible; It is huge... [Machine back translated]

There is a photo of your studio on the back of None Too Soon. How did you organize it? Presumably analogue desk?

Yes, an old Trident; 24 in and 24 monitors, maybe 96 returns; not that I need [all these sends], but these are very flexible banks, because you can use the monitor section twice: as send and return, simultaneously; very cool, a lot of old English consoles are like that. The sound is great, I always liked it. [Machine back translated]

What machine do you have to register [want to buy?]?

I don't have it, they cost too much; the rent; I had a 2" one but I had problems with taxes and I had to sell it. And after hearing this Euphonics I would like nothing but this one, too good; 96K, 24 bit. It costs a lot, about $ 70,000; but it is modular, the minimum configuration, 24 tracks, starts at $ 25,000. Eh, you know the old story of people being fooled by digital and they think that if you have a $ 3,000 Tascam then it sounds like a $ 160,000 Mitsubishi, if you compare them they are not even comparable: people buy them only because they are cheap, they make you believe that digital is digital, and they are all the same, but it is not so: digital is only a way of storing data, it has nothing to do with the sound quality: a digital recorder like the ADAT sounds like crap, but a lot of people made records of it, me included, hah, hah ... I did this with ADAT, but when you listen to a real machine these little ones don't sound good at all, you have to work hard and be careful how you record. [Machine back translated]

But the sound does not seem so wicked as you say; Isn't it that you pulled some of your technological tricks out of your hat?

Yup; on this disc I used the sound of the AD8000 Apogee converters which can be connected to the ADAT O to any type of 8 channel format; you have 8 professional quality digital IN / OUT. If you take three AD8000s and send them to three ADATs, you get a sound like that of a $100,000 machine, because the ADAT is used only to store information. [Machine back translated]

Stop using ADAT converters ...

... no, only IN and OUT. And this changes the result. I also did 96K / 24bit mixes. I used a PSX-100 (Apogee) - which does a very clever thing, you can take any $ 1,500 ADAT with stereo in and out, plug it into the PSX and record it on all 8 ADAT tracks to pull it out only 2, but at 96K and 24 bit ... in an ADAT! I mixed it on ADAT through a little box of these, and when I arrived at the mastering I brought everything to myself, and they worked them as if the original came from a 1/2" analogue tape, connected to an analogue console; the analogue tape is resampled. So you don't have a digital copy of a digital copy; it's like a first generation of digital, with a much higher resolution than this that is on the tape, then to the mastering from which the co master 1630 came out. This is the reason why this record ... doesn't sound so bad as ... it should! hah, hah. [Machine back translated]

Recording and sounds

How did the production of this record go?

We played the songs in groups, like we always do. [Machine back translated]

In your studio?

Yes, even if we can't record the double bass in the studio there for space reasons. When we record a song, I don't care about myself, because if I do it I can start to like something that maybe the others (of the band) hate; I think I played well but then I do it again; and when I do it again it sucks, but they like how they played. So today I don't even try anymore (to try the 'good the first'), and when the drums work, then Dave on his trail replaces the double bass with the electric bass, he did an excellent job, his double bass sounds like he's playing along with the band, it's because he played a lot with Gary (Novak) and knows what's going on, and he plays about what he hears on headphones. [Machine back translated]

Only on the beginning of "Texas" remained the electric bass.

Yes; all the rest is double bass, recorded later. [Machine back translated]

And have you over-dubbed?

Some things; I try to leave what I can; but there's always something I don't like, you know ... hah, hah. Well ... it doesn't bother me to do the whole damn thing again afterwards; so I can work on the sound; it's hard to work on the sound when my speakers are maybe in the kitchen somewhere; because I don't want to record my guitar on the drum tracks. Most of the time I overdub; solos, for example. [Machine back translated]

Is this how you solve the problems of returns? Like the guitar, your Carvin Holdsworth model, which fits in the drums, etc.

Yup; the lead guitar amp plays in another room; a small room in the back of the study, very soft; because I can get a good sound even at very low volumes; also the rhythm guitar is DI [Direct Injection); I send it straight into the recorder, without effects; both live guitars, both solo and rhythmic; then I put the 'toys' [effects] on it later. [Machine back translated]

Do you still use your Harness?

Yes, sure. But only when I use a tube amp. On this whole album I used Yamaha digital amps; 90% of the disc is DG-1000 and the other 10% is DG-100. They are great, I love them. [Machine back translated]

But why are you always one step beyond where you are supposed to be?

Hah, hah ... but so I save myself a lot of problems; I don't have to use Harness, it's simpler, Yamaha is a big company, you find them everywhere; otherwise I generally end up finding myself in all possible shit. [Machine back translated]

Another old problem of yours: the speakers.

Here is the other perfect thing; for some reason every time I go to the Boogies, inside the box I find the wrong speaker! I liked the Boogie Black Shadow, a 90W Celestion speaker that looked like it was only made for Boogie; once they did them for everyone, but then they stopped; but Boogie did not like this and resumed production, limited to Boogie, who could buy enough to justify its manufacture; a really great speaker. Usually they put that loudspeaker in the single 12 Rectifier case; but in the double one there were the Vintage 30s and I hate them, they suck. So I took two Black Shadow and put them in two Rectifier cases; but in any the other place I took these speakers Rectifier was the wrong speaker. It's something that always happens to me: something I like but it comes along with something wrong. Like the Yamaha that suddenly, out of nowhere, just like black magic, has produced the DG-100 which has two 12 "Vintage cones; or my god, no, not yet!?! Then they put these DG-80s on the market, there is this incredible speaker the Celestion G-12H100, and I talked to a technician who works in a center that has full speakers, he told me which is exactly the same speaker as the Boogie. I now have an amp with a sound that I like, plus the speaker in the case is the right speaker! [Machine back translated]

It also means that your ear is not joking; recognize the sound of a speaker even if you change the brand, package, label ...

I just knew I liked it; the case itself changes the sound a little. But I felt it was very, very similar. The only other speaker that I liked is the Celestion K-85, and I don't think that even this is in production anymore. [Machine back translated]

We could mention another that you like ...

Which? [Machine back translated]

The Goodmans 12 ".

Oh, Goodmans, yes; but even these are no longer in production. Maybe you can find them in some old Marshall 4x12 bass box (thanks for the tip, Allan); really good; they held the power even a little better than the Celestions, a long time ago, when the Celestions were 30W. [Machine back translated]

When you talk about the sound you like about a speaker, are you referring to the clean or distorted sound?

Both of them. [Machine back translated]

So do you like this speaker for both sounds? Once you had two separate speakers, one for the clean one for the distorted ...

... and even now; the two sounds do not come from the same speaker, but from different speakers of the same model. [Machine back translated]

How are you connected?

I have two DG-80s; the Preamp out output of the first use for the clean; the Preamp output of the second the use for the distorted; and I put the one back on top of each other (crosses them) so I have two clean and two distorted outputs. All about these speakers with a 12 " cone; big! Then I need the stereo amp to drive the extra speakers. [Machine back translated]

Make us understand; do you need three stereo amps?

No, two; that is, I use two mono amps and a stereo amp. First I had a stereo amp, a pre for the clean and two amps for the rhythm. But with the system that I use today I save myself a lot of problems and in addition it sounds great; I'm sure it sounds good because I tried all the amps I had around the house at the time and Yamaha beat the others, no problem. It sounded better. Maybe just by chance someone designed it that way, and I really liked the sound that came out of it. Especially if we talk about digital amps, with modeling technology like Line6, where you have a knob that reads: AC-30, Twin Reverb, Dual Rectifier, I mean ... it's horrible! They don't even come close to the sound of these amps. The Yamaha designer did not do this, but he said: "I have to make a digital amp and make it sound like I think it should sound"; and it happens I agree with his idea. It is a very flexible amp; basically there are two distorted sounds, two 'drive' sounds, two 'crunches' and two 'clean' ones. When you call up each of the basic presets, the tone controls adjust to the default settings; which you can then modify as you wish and re-store the settings. It's easy to use, and consider that when you call a sound all the knobs move and you can see where they are; to finish the movements it may take a few seconds but the sound changes instantly. They are digitally controlled knobs, they don't work like real potentiometers on a tube amp. I don't know what they did to him, but it sounds good to me. There are many people who claim that only the valves sound good; I never believed it; I had tube amps with which the only thing we could do good was ... throw them to the river! Just as I also had very good transistor amplifiers. [Machine back translated]


"I hate vintage speakers, THEY SUCK !!!"

by Fabio Dellerba

With these few but incisive words, Allan Holdsworth explained to us why he preferred the DG80 to its big brother DG100. The former is in fact equipped with a more modern Celestion G12H-100 instead of the 2 Celestion Vintage peeping out from the DG100-212. The difference translates into an attenuated retro flavor in all the sounds. More defined, more precise sounds; but we strongly recommend the comparative test on the road to realize the slight differences, which for Allan "ear up" Holdsworth become abysmal.

This generation of amps has left several musicians unprepared who, fond of the heat, of the tubes, are unwilling to barter them for these toys. The sound, however, seems to give reason, at least in part, to the choice of the Japanese. Distorted sounds, easily manipulated by a very effective equalizer (bass, low-mid, high-mid, treble) and the presence of a control to adjust the signal that goes to the speaker, which allows you to raise the master to simulate the final distortion "without dropping the plaster from the walls.

Clean, warm, round sounds, reminiscent of the "colors" of the valves even if there is not even a smell in these amps. The hi-tech part of the DG80 is very attractive:

• balanced output, assisted by a speaker simulator, with adjoining potentiometer for the output signal to go live in the mixer;

• send / return with the possibility of adjusting the dry / effect balance;

• midi in and midi out for connection with pedals, multi-effects and why not, maybe a computer with the which to change the 128 amp presets

• delay and digital reverb, very simple to edit: adjust the potentiometers as desired, then press another key to save the preset in memory, and you're done. The strong emotion aroused by the automatic movement of the knobs when changing presets: will this also have made Allan fall in love?