Synths on "Who Are You"

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Henfield
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Synths on "Who Are You"

Post by Henfield » Sun Jul 20, 2008 3:25 pm

I just watched a show on VH1( I think that it was a repeat) that saluted the Who and had live performances of various artists (including Incubus, Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, and The Who) performing various songs by The Who. The Foo Fighters did "Love Reign O'er Me", which featured a keyboardist that used an ARP Synth, which looked like a later model (Orange and black graphics with PPC) ARP AXXE.

As The Who were performing "Who Are You", I was wondering, what synth(s) were used for the main keyboard part in that song? I tried a search on this site already, and I did not find any info. I had read somewhere else that Townsend had used an ARP 2500 for "Sister Disco", which is on the same album. I know that Pete used a lot of ARP gear in the past, and his picture was even on the front of some of their manuals. Is that aggressive, "filthy" sound coming from an ARP 2500 or 2600? What did he use to sequence this line? Did the ARP 2500 have a built-in sequencer?

Any info would be appreciated..........

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Post by Micke » Mon Jul 21, 2008 8:41 pm

I've read that Pete Townshend created that sound on the Arp 2600. The 'sawing guitar' sound was genereted with an "E-bow".

"Sister Disco" was indeed done on the Arp 2500 w/sequencer.
Last edited by Micke on Tue Jul 22, 2008 3:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by MrFrodo » Mon Jul 21, 2008 8:48 pm

In my ignorance, I would've thought Mr. Townshend used an Oberheim 4- or 8-Voice synth, if not something more current to 1978 like the Prophet 5.
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Re: Synths on "Who Are You"

Post by Hossinfeffa » Mon Jul 21, 2008 9:08 pm

Henfield wrote:The Foo Fighters did "Love Reign O'er Me", which featured a keyboardist that used an ARP Synth, which looked like a later model (Orange and black graphics with PPC) ARP AXXE.
I was watching the same show while in a bar. It looked to me like the ARP Odyssey, since I saw more controls than on the Axxe. To be honest, I was quite surprised to see an ARP being used now. (Especially a revision 3.)
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Post by gd » Mon Jul 21, 2008 9:11 pm

On WAY Pete used the Lowery Bershire through the Arp - he wrote this at the same time as he did Baba, and WGA. Got this from the man himself. They still use those original tapes for their shows, Rabbit ques them via midi, when Rabbit was off on the last tour, Zack would start them.
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Post by Micke » Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:47 pm

According to Rich Rowley’s "Who Backing Tracks":

WHO ARE YOU (recorded in Oct '77)

"Pete's overdriven electric guitar is being processed by the ARP's Voltage controlled filter.The filter is being controlled by a triangle wave LFO that creates the pulsing sound we hear.

and some info from the liner notes:

"Pete: I still had the full-size barn studio that I built for mixing Quadrophenia and, while working on the demo for this track (Who Are You), nearly blew my own brains out developing the backing track for the song. The weird background guitar sound on this was created with a top-secret ARP 2600 patch I invented, but the sawing guitar sound at its heart was generated with an 'E-Bow.' "

From what I understand it appears to be an electric guitar--rather than the Lowrey organ-- through the Arp 2600.
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Post by Micke » Mon Jul 21, 2008 11:52 pm

Here's another quote from Pete regarding the Who Are You synth/guitar patch:

"...Yeah, It was a very simple effect. When David friend, who is the president of ARP, heard that he rang up and said, ‘Hey, great, the guitar synthesiser is all happening. Can we use it in ads?’ And I said, ‘Sorry, I didn’t use the guitar synthesiser.’ He gave me the ARP Avatar no #001 --but I think I just plugged straight into a 2600 ARP on a mock autopad effect."
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Post by Henfield » Tue Jul 22, 2008 4:36 am

Thank you for all of the info, so what I always thought was a classic "synth" line was really just a guitar being processed through a synth? I didn't know that the ARP filter could sound so "filthy" or "wet". I have an ARP Solus, but I have never experimented with putting guitar or bass through the filter, I guess that I now have to try this!

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Post by SynthiChris » Tue Jul 22, 2008 12:37 pm

Im pretty sure he did Who Are You with the 2600 using a VCF

Have any of you guys seen the old film of him working with the 2500?
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Post by Micke » Tue Jul 22, 2008 1:30 pm

Do you mean this one, or?
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Post by SynthiChris » Tue Jul 22, 2008 1:49 pm

Yeah thats the one from Classic Albums
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Post by Micke » Tue Jul 22, 2008 2:09 pm

Btw, the other synths being used on the album Who Are You were an Arp Omni ('New Song' and demo version of 'Love is coming down'), Polymoog ('905'), and Yamaha CS-80 (heavily featured on 'Music must change').

Micke
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Post by gd » Wed Jul 23, 2008 5:38 am

I always thought that Micke and was surprised when he said the Lowery through the Arp was part of that backing track as well. To me it has always sounded like a guitar through the Arp. Well that nails it I'll just have to ask this fall when I see them.
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Post by gd » Sun Jul 27, 2008 6:50 pm

Just saw this on the Toronto Craigslist - so if any of you are diehard Wholigans this is nearly identical the the Lowery Berkshire that Pete used for many of his classics.

http://toronto.en.craigslist.ca/tor/msg/771915346.html

I bet you could get it for under $100 cdn but shiping would definately be a killer. :wink:
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