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Tim Caswell modded Marshall (Slash, Appetite for Destruction related topic continued)

MisterMiniMite

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You might recall my recent posting on this topic - if not, check it out, so that the rest of this posting makes sense:

http://www.lespaulforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=86985

A couple of recent developments that have occurred since my last posting:

First of all, I was lucky enought to track down Tim Caswell's friend Bryan (Tim considers the modification he performed on Bryan's ’70s Mark II PCB model Marshall head to be his personal favorite - see my previous posting).

In order to make ends meet, Bryan was playing country music (of all things), in Las Vegas (of all places). To make a long story short, since Bryan had no use for the Marshall anymore, and, frankly, could use the cash, he reluctantly agreed to sell it to me for $1,200. As a friend of Tim and a huge fan of George Lynch (I could tell from our conversations), it was obvious that Bryan had a hard time letting the amp go, but as we all know, money talks.

When I received the amp, and opened the box, I was (initially) extremely disappointed by the cosmetic condition of the amp. It looked (and even smelled) like someone had used it as both an ash tray and a stepping stool for a urinal in a public restroom for about a decade, and then threw it off the back of a speeding pickup truck. Literally. (By the way, all this stuff was due to wear and tear by Bryan over the years - Tim's mod is actually extremely low-profile and neat in appearance - the one toggle switch is the only external noticeable difference...)

In the box, Bryan included two new (apparently unmatched) EL34's (he only ever ran the amp at 50W), and a new set of four pre-amp tubes. Yes, that's right, *four* pre-amp tubes. Part of Tim's mod is the addition of a fourth pre-amp tube where one never existed before.

So, I put the tubes in, and went down to the basement and plugged the Marshall into a stock '87 Silver Jubilee 4x12 cabinet. I flicked the mod's toggle switch into (what I believed was) the "on" position. With my trusty #1 Lester on my knee, I let an open A chord ring out.

The result was stock, ho-hum, late-'70s Marshall tone - nothing exceptional or unique by any standard. In that instant, I was absolutely crestfallen. As the A chord continued to ring out, I flicked the toggle switch to the other position, just to make sure I actually had the mod "on"...

And then Tim's mod kicked in!

It's hard to use words to actually describe the next few minutes of playing that took place between me and this Marshall. "Revelation," "extasy," and "giddy" come to mind...

I can't even begin to describe the tone of this amp. It's like trying to describe the color "blue" to someone who has only seen "red" and "yellow" in his life. I *will* say that I've never heard anything like it, in person, in my life, ever. And seriously, I've owned, and played through, many Marshalls over the years.

Have you ever taken a couple of prescription painkillers (pursuant to a legitimate medical condition and doctor's prescription, of course) and, a few minutes later, felt that tingling pleasure melt through your body? That's literally how I feel when I play this amp. There's this sensation in the center of my back between my shoulder blades, and it just resonates from there, giving pleasure to my body and soul.

I would describe the tone as "lush," with incredible depth and character. It's so hard to put into words - any words. It's not "death-metal gainy," and on the other hand, not the traditional "warm and bluesy" - the two opposite ends of the sonic spectrum that people sometimes refer to. It's something completely different - and yet, in a way, both of those - it's got a character on another entirely different dimension that I don't even know how to begin to put a finger on.

One of the things that simply blows me away is the way this amp lets you use pinch harmonics. UN-F'ING-BELIEVEABLE harmonics, at your fingertips, effortlessly, when you want them. Gibbons would s*** himself - swear to God. It's almost like playing through a completely different type of instrument. And it's a different sounding harmonic than the '80s-hair-band-superstrat harmonic you're thinking of right now - hard to explain... At the same time, there's no hissing, whistling, static, or howling when you're not hitting a note - or when you're not going for a pinch harmonic - it's dead quiet. These are exactly the types of elusive harmonics you hear Slash using all over Appetite. Anway... the harmonics are just *part* of the picture here...

I am more convinced now than ever that Tim's modded S.I.R. #39 is the amp that Slash used for his lead/solo work on Appetite. Perhaps the best way I can describe the tone of this amp is for you to put Appetite in your CD player, skip to Nightrain, and fast-forward to exactly 3 minutes. The final one minute and 20 seconds or so of Slash's Nightrain lead work simply epitomize the tone of this amp, in my opinion, much better than than I can describe it in words.

You might be wondering, why the hell does MisterMiniMite keep pushing and obsessiong over this Caswell mod? Does he have some sort of referall-fee deal with Tim or something?

The answer is: absolutely not. In fact, I've just spend $1,200 on an amp that, cosmetically, looks like it belongs in a junkyard (I've really learned that looks are deceiving!), and another $450 to have Tim similarly mod my '84 Marshall 4010 1x12 50W combo (should hopefully be coming back to me soon). There's no conflict of interest here. It's all about the truth for me - always has been. And tone - the Appetite tone I've been after for years and years. I couldn't care less about anything else. That's why I've put all this time, effort, and, now, money, into this subject.

Frankly, even *if* Tim offered me a price discount for singing his praises here on the LPF (he hasn't - the topic of a price discount never even came up), I wouldn't want that. Financially speaking, I don't need it. Besides, in my opinion, it's a real crime that Tim hasn't been given any credit for this subject over the years. I mean, I honestly, 1,000,000% believe that this guy modified Slash's Appetite amp! The way I looked at it, my $450 for the mod to my 4010 was the least I could do for all the years of pleasure his amp's tone has given me - via Appetite (or at least, that's my belief, and I think it's well founded!).

Something else I figured I'd include. Here are a couple of related excerpts from some old guitar magazines - interviews with George Lynch and Slash. There are others out there, but here are a couple of really good ones:

(1) Guitar For the Practicing Musician, April 1987 (George Lynch inverview):

"For the first album I used old Marshalls, which I'd used for years. Then I tried the Randalls and was happy with them for a while. Then I went to Laney and back to Marshall. I was using Lee Jackson Metaltronics, which is what Vai is using. I also used the Jose modified Marshalls for a while. Now I'm using Tim Caswell modified Marshalls. What happened was that I went into S.I.R. and rented an amp. It sounded amazing. It was the perfect amp. You just plug in and it was all there. I went to the guy and said I've got to have this amp. It got to the point where they were calling the owner of S.I.R., who was on vacation, and I was offering him three Marshall heads in trade or $2,000, whatever they wanted. They wouldn't sell it. They said it was their number one amp. Everybody who came in requested it. I ended up renting it for the whole Twisted Sister tour, which cost me about $2,000. Eventually I had to give it back. I had all kinds of schemes in mind. I thought I'd take all the guts out of the brain and put in different guts. I couldn't do that. Eventually one of the repairmen told me the guy's name who did the modification. I called the guy and he did one for me. Now he's done six for me. He is amazing."

(2) Guitar Magazine, April 1992 (Slash interview):

"I had one when I did Appetite, which was great. I stole it from S.I.R., and when we were rehearsing at S.I.R. after the record came out, my idiot roadie at the time brought that amp down by mistake, and they took it back. When we went back into the studio a couple years later, I had to find the ultimate amp again..."
 

MrMike

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Re: Tim Caswell modded Marshall (Slash, Appetite for Destruction related topic continued)

Far too cool! :dude I've always loved Lynch's stuff in particular.
 

mikey_guit

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ARGH please stop it! :bug For some reasons I am so excited when I read your AFD-threads, line for line! :bonk

Oh, and don't forget to send us some audio clips, as well as :photos ! Dammit! Have fun with your Appetite Amp! :salude
 

MisterMiniMite

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Mikey:

Definitely! Photos and, eventually, audio clips to come (as soon as I can get the time to do it right!).
 

Joe Ganzler

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Re: Tim Caswell modded Marshall (Slash, Appetite for Destruction related topic continued)

Another fine "post" addition to the LPF - thanks, Mr. MM! The amp really IS over 50% of the GEAR portion of the tone equation; I feel THE same way about my #1 BB Combo - not for sale at ANY price! Congrats on your own personal score, and on "capturing" THE tone (for you)! :dude
 

Phantom Void

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Re: Tim Caswell modded Marshall (Slash, Appetite for Destruction related topic continued)

Thanks MM! VERY cool post (again!) :salude

I completely understand 100% your search for the ultimate AFD tone! Has been my benchmark tone since day one (the last 15 years). That specific tone is always on my mind, whenever I try/buy or compare new stuff. So, I think I know where you´re coming from :)

Also, you´re SO RIGHT, on the tone of the lead work on the Nightrain outro solo. It´s SMOKIN´! :dude

Congrats with your "new" amp. Look forward to hear some mp3´s and :photos

/Alberto
 

clarkydaz

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Re: Tim Caswell modded Marshall (Slash, Appetite for Destruction related topic continued)

yes, have to agree about the night train lead. that has always been one of my favourite parts of the album, just seems to be in the zone showcasing the spirit of his playing. very interested in more info about the mod/s also.
 

Jazzy Jay

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Re: Tim Caswell modded Marshall (Slash, Appetite for Destruction related topic continued)

Please comment on the modded 4010 when you get it back. An '84 4010 is my main gigging amp, so I'm pretty eager to hear how Tim's mod works on this amp.

Cheers,

Johan.
 

keef

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Re: Tim Caswell modded Marshall (Slash, Appetite for Destruction related topic continued)

Great story! Now please do the following.
1. Post a diagram of the mod on the LPF.
2. Sell your amp for $50K to Slash. :salude
 

hmic10

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Re: Tim Caswell modded Marshall (Slash, Appetite for Destruction related topic continued)

does tim have website, how can someone to get in contact with him
thanks
Howard
 

MisterMiniMite

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I will definitely post pictures, sound clips, and my review of how the 4010 with Tim's mod turns out. I'm currently in the process of upgrading my home recording equipment... want to get something nice for the long-term.

Tim has been very busy developing a couple of new guitar pedals with his company, Studio Electronics, but I'm hoping to have my amp back in a few weeks. I'm absolutely *dying* to get the 4010 in my hands! I'm going to switch out the stock speaker with a new Vintage 30...

I think that the 4010 is a good candidate for the mod due to the lack of channel switching. Also, I just like 50 watters in general, due to the more realistic ability to "push them to the limit" in everyday settings. Should be an adventure, for sure.

Tim's company, Studio Electronics, has a website. The contact page is http://www.studioelectronics.com/main_contact.php

Probably the best contact at the company is Greg St. Regis. Greg was the first to respond back to me after I e-mailed the company, completely out of the blue, with my info and theories and questions, back in December. He actually used to work at S.I.R. back in the day, as well. He'll know all about the subject - I've probably spoken to him 20 times or so. He's cool as hell - I'm sure it's no problem to call him. You can reach him at 310-640-3546, and his direct e-mail is modmax@sbcglobal.net
 

DrRobert

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Re: Tim Caswell modded Marshall (Slash, Appetite for Destruction related topic continued)

I knew I'd heard of Studio Electronics before-they got their start modding Mini-moogs for Midi and now make a Minimoog clone (as well as other synths) with the provocative moniker of "SE-X"!
 

marc1kim

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Re: Tim Caswell modded Marshall (Slash, Appetite for Destruction related topic continued)

If Tim plays his cards right...He could make a fortune on his mod....that is, if word ever got out that Slash's AFD tone came from a Caswell modded Marshall and not a Jubilee.

I've owned three Jubilees myself, and though they are great amps, I was never able top nail the AFD tone....I guess I'll need to try a Tim Caswell moded Marshall! :)
 

jakeddy

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Re: Tim Caswell modded Marshall (Slash, Appetite for Destruction related topic continued)

I'd be very interested to hear the amp. I have a 1970 JMP that John Suhr did some work to, it sounds very good. Lynch uses Suhr's JCM 800 mod as well. Mine is more like the amp VH used on the Unlawful Carnal Knowledge album but it also has a parallel effects loop.
 

jjguitarranch

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Re: Tim Caswell modded Marshall (Slash, Appetite for Destruction related topic continued)

Great work hunting that amp down. This story is better than Seabiscuit....
 

stompbox

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Re: Tim Caswell modded Marshall (Slash, Appetite for Destruction related topic continued)

J u s t i n said:
Great work hunting that amp down. This story is better than Seabiscuit....


Ughh. not too many stroies are worse... aweful freaking story.


I am really excited to hear some clips! Rip it up on the Apetite material!
 

gitarenkraak

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Re: Tim Caswell modded Marshall (Slash, Appetite for Destruction related topic continued)

what a great story, a supersound indeed on AFD,
all this makes me wonder if his signature amps are modded as well.
 

Bloodspoint

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Re: Tim Caswell modded Marshall (Slash, Appetite for Destruction related topic continued)

Does anyone know of schematics for any of these popular mods? Arrco? Suhr? Jackson? Bueller?
Obviously, everybody'd love to have the Caswell mod about now.

Sean
 

Lee_Moore

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Re: Tim Caswell modded Marshall (Slash, Appetite for Destruction related topic continued)

Good lord! You should publish the story and then send it to Guitar Player for an insertion into one of their issues. This definitely gets my vote for thread/post of the year.

So, Tim will still do the mod? The cost is $450?
 
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