Lifeson's tone on Grace Under Pressure

I've been learning some songs from this album (Distant Early Warning and Red Sector A) to maybe record a cover later on but I can't nail the tone using modeling software (I'm using BIAS FX) since I'm a total idiot when it comes to chaining effects. I know he's definitely using a Chorus, Reverb and Delay and some other stuff in the mix but I haven't found any good info online as to what his rig was back in that day (only vague stuff). Any Lerxst fans here have more insight on his mid 80's tone?


  • I had all the magazines that would have talked about it, but they're all in storage. There is a GuP concert video, and you might be able see what he was using. See if you can find any old issues of Guitar for the Practicing Musician and Guitar World online.  They both did features on Lifeson during that period. 
    I threw me guitar out. Why bother? Why bother? Use it as a coffee table. Because I can't play it like that. 
    -- David St. Hubbins.
  • Tatosh GuitarTatosh Guitar Posts: 2,396
    I have ancient Circus magazines from that era, and I clearly remember articles discussing that record.  Think they had a “tech feature” on him. They are at my old bedroom at my mother’s. Will try to find them next time I visit her.
  • Seven MoonsSeven Moons Posts: 8,955
  • bourbonsamuraibourbonsamurai Posts: 1,645
    i love reading old GP articles.  that's real nostalgia, for me.  in those days, i cared about only guitar.
  • M11M11 Posts: 867
    Here's a 1984 Guitar Player article with some info:
    Thanks! Great article, speaking of which, from TFA:
    Now I use two Loft digital delay units. One is set at a medium chorus: The blend is at about 25%, the width is about half or 6, and the rate is about 6. The other Loft is for a much wider chorus; It's got a 50-50 blend, a full width, and about the same rate or maybe a bit slower. For the new record, I had a second Nady system that allowed me to sit in the control room with one Nady wireless from the guitar to my effects rack, which I could have in the control room, and then the other from the effects rack out to the amps inside the studio. The rack contained all my effects - the two Lofts, a Roland SDE-3000 digital delay, an Ibanez HD-l000 Harmonics/Delay, a Korg SDD-3000 digital delay, two Yamaha analog delay lines, a couple of Loft parametric equalizers that I'm not using right now, and a DeltaLab Super Time Line digital delay. I used all of this on the record.
    That's like 6 different delays, how much tonal variety can you get from different units?
  • merlo_zeppelinmerlo_zeppelin Posts: 1,476
    On Distant Early Warning I'd say both the guitar part and tone are a lot in the vein of what Andy Summers did on The Police's Walking on the Moon, maybe with more drive
    The basic idea is chorus and delay on the front of the amp. Maybe a light OD pedal at the beginning of the chain, and some reverb at the end.
    I've seen live videos of the song and the tone is much more overdriven, in that case the values on the effects should be pretty low, because the amp distortion is going to compress the sound and the effects will be louder in the overall sound.
    I also use Bias (now Bias 2) and I really like it. I'd say find an Andy Summers preset and tweak it, although factory presets can be totally useless.

    I'll link some videos about the Walking on the moon tone (by Tim Pierce), about running delay in the front of a dirty amp (Pete Thorn) and another video by an old teacher of mine about 80s guitar tone, this last video is in Spanish.

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