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What Guitar Sounds the "BEST" on CLEAN??


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Now I know the title of this thread is rather vague but as I mentioned in my lead tone post, I am a HUGE Boston fan.


If any of you are very familiar with Boston's music, the layering would usually involve:


Hard crunchy rhythm guitar

A sparkling clean guitar and sometimes an acoustic 12-string in this range

2 harmonizing mid/upper-mid lead guitars

Tom Scholz's stand-out solo lead in the "stratosphere" above those


*Meanwhile with an organ in the background*

The tablature in my book is quite impressive actually. I see side boxes on the page listing fills for 'Guitar #7/#8' !!


I'm trying to find a guitar to somewhat mimic that "Sparkling clean tone" as heard in songs like "Don't Look Back" (entering about 32 secs into the track during the bridge if you want specifics)


My Best Guess:


Now I *know* this is a Gibson Les Paul forum, but I am currently looking at Rickenbacher guitars to fill this role. I love my Supreme, it sounds heavenly, but I think there are some guitars that can beat it when switched over to clean. I plugged in a Rickenbacher Dakota in my local music store and it sounded like sunshine. I really couldn't describe it any other way. The notes just rolled right off my fingers. It was a real joy to play.


I'm at a loss because Rick's are so coveted and that was only one of two I have ever seen in-person. My band also does some 60's sounding music once in awhile that requires beautiful clean tones and Rick's would definitely fit in there aswell.


Any advice you can offer would be great! I hear Gibson 335s (or any flavor of) may do the job too?

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Tom Scholz is a genious for creating that signature sound is't he. Nobody had that crunch sound back in the mid-seventies.

I believe he recorded a lot through the soundboard with the aid of his preamp, so getting his tone could be difficult with just a basic guitar-through-amp setup. Ever try his Rockman? Bummer it's hard to find nowdays though.

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No, I've never played a Gretch but I've heard good things about them. And yes, I'm going to try my damnedest to get my hands on some type of RockMan equipment. I hear Dunlop owns them now with Tom's signature still on it.


The two clean sounds I'm gunning for are the Boston one I described above


....and Alex Lifeson's beautiful clean tone during Rush epics like Fountain of Lameneth (Panacea 10:14 in)


Rush's "Lakeside Park" is another sweet example of what I'm going for.

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A big part of Boston's sound was the euipment that Tom Scholz invented and used, his Rockman equipment. You can occasionally find some of it on eBay. I think some of Lifeson's tones were from his Gibson 335 (I think it is a 335, but it is a slim semi-hollow or hollow body). You should be able to get close to that tone with the Supreme. Gibson used the 490/498 set in them for many years starting in the 90's. Before that, they probably would have had T-tops. Again there could be some variation depending on what year Lefson's guitar was at the time. In the Boston videos I have, they show Brad Delp playing a 12 string acoustic on 'More Than a Feeling'. They don't show the headstock clearly, but from what I did see, it looks like a Gibson acoustic of some sort.

What tab book are you using? Is it all Boston? I have been looking for a Boston tab book with the guitar arrangements in it, but no luck here. I have some tab for them from various sites, but would love to find a Boston book.

At the end of the day, I prefer to emulate an artist's playing, rather than replicate it. The reasons are, if we tried to replicate the tone note for note, then we would have been a tribute band, not a cover band, and that can be harder to do, also the fans can be more critical if you are off some. Also it can drive you nuts, and/or broke trying to get all the same equipment and settings. So I would suggest you try to get close, but don't go mad trying to get it too precise.

As for the Ric. They are great guitars, and do sound beautiful, however they have a very unique tone. They are great for those 60's songs with the jangly guitar sound, Roger McGuinn, the Byrds, the Association and such. But they do not always translate to other styles of music well. I almost bought one several years ago, but after talking to some players I chose not to. They didn't say anything bad about Rics, just that unless I played certain styles of music, I would find the guitar sat in the case more than it got used. Only you can say if you will use it enough to justify it, but keep it in mind. Good luck on your quest. Keep us updated.

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I met Gary Pihl back in the 80's when he was touring with Boston. He was promoting Scholz's r&d amp stack at an indoor winter fest. I can't remember all the bells and whistles on it, but it was THE Rockman stage rig and man it was huge. Pihl was cool and he had Scholz's style down to the T. He played some riffs with a LP and some backing tracks. Unbelievable tone that amp had.

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Hey guys,

Thought I'd jump-in on this one as "we were just another band outta Boston".

Granted, Tom was the creator, but the guy you may get an audience with is Barry Goudreau.

(His solo album is still available on his site & everything you'll need to decipher the sound & playing is there.)

I own one of the prototypes of the (later to become) Boston Strangler,In those days the way to get the full stack, on-stage lead sound.

For the techies, it has an attenuator/bypass toggle & the biggest *^&$^% potentiometer. The prototype didn't have the heatsink on case...

needless to say production did! On the Marshalls or Ampeg V-4s (mine), this unit sat in between the head's speaker out & cabinets. You had

to adjust it as it got hotter thru the night...and boy, it would eat up 6L6s and all other tubes in the chassis.

I wouldn't want to answer the acoustic thing other than go to a bright switch, bridge PU & ,ever so slight, phase...

Mark, The wife got me (for my 50th a couple of years ago) THE GRETCH White Falcon, The RI of the'55...Melitta bridge & DeArmond PUs.

Your're right, A Gretch could give DuaLeaD that sound.

Thanks for the ear...

AND to all the whiners about Gibson..."write it down on a napkin, leave it on That Monitor, and we'll get to it in the 5th set!"


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Ladyscaglyc- Your wife bought you a White Falcon? She's a keeper!


Would like to see a pic or two. It does not have to be a Gibson for

this forum. Heck someone posted a pic of a Hondo II


Oh yea it was me!



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Hondo Rocks Mark!....hey, I was pleased at the time to have mine!

Im rambling...


I also dug Tod Rundgren sound off of "Bat out of Hell" Meatloafs 1977 masterpiece.

The motorcycle guitar sound....man thats some good stuff.

Ive bought it in album forum, casette, cd!...

I still play that cd from time to time...it still holds up.


It would be a desert Island pick for me.

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Mark, You're right about the wife.

I always wanted a "Jazzbox"...not necessarily because of Charlie Christian or G.Benson

but more for the Alvin Lee, my own teacher & B.B.King.

Any ES w/ a Varitone!

When Epiphone re-created the "natural" top (Beatles) the bug bit me again.

Of course, Setzer always had that Gretch sound but the rock-abilly "G" on the body

"bothered" me....and a White Falcon was (to me) only for multi-platinum guys like Stills.

Never even thought I'd see one up close. It's an incredible axe & I will get photos to the forum soon.


deepblue1963, Hondo does rock. I still wish I had my ol' Silvertone & Black face Princeton...



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