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Another studio trick that Tom transferred to the stage allows him to get the tone he wants from his Marshalls without blowing himself or the rest of the band off the stage. "With two stacks of Marshalls full out, I don't think there's a guitar made that wouldn't go crazy." Tom believes. He has devised a resistive network that he positions between the head and the speaker bottoms to cut volume without affecting tone. "They're variable: we can tap off however much of the signal as we want," is about as much detail as the Guitarist offers.
The only other piece of modified equipment that Boston uses onstage is a fuzz box run between singer Bradley Delp's Gibson L6-S electric guitar and Ampeg V-4 bass amp head. "I think the thing is called a 'Fresh Fuzz'," says Tom. "It's a cheap little box that I traded for a six-pack a while ago. I put in a few resistors and capacitors to boost the high end and give it a shelf. You get more raunch than fuzz out of it now, which isn't bad at all!"
Scholz feels that both live and in the studio, the manner in which the group's Marshall cabinets are miked greatly alters their sound. "Marshall cabinets in particular are very directional," he notes. "You get a completely different sound quality as you move the mike around. Personally, I put the mike a few feet away from the cabinet so it picks up the reflected signal from the floor, as well as the direct signal from the speakers."
Despite Scholz' apparently broadly detailed knowledge of studio and stage equipment, he states: "I really don't know too much about guitars; I'm still pretty ignorant about them."
After wrestling with his Yamaha hollowbody, Tom got the guitar he uses today-a Les Paul gold-top. "I bought it off a kid for about $300," he recounts. "The guitar had a little wear around the 5th fret period. I picked it up for the first time and couldn't play it to save my life. It was like a completely different instrument. Now I can't play anything else." Tom has no idea of the exact age of this guitar, but the body, a single piece of mahogany in the Les Paul style of the late Fifties, is unaltered. Beneath the gold-top .'s a two-piece face which Scholz finished in clear lacquer. The guitar retains its original cream single-coil rhythm pickup, though Tom put in a DiMarzio Super Distortion humbucker in the saddle.
"The DiMarzio is installed differently than usual," Tom notes. "The screw holes that would normally adjust the pickup height were reamed out, and I screwed the pickup through some rubber grommets directly into the body. I still have the cream mounting ring around the pickup, although there are no screws for height adjustment; the pickup's height is fixed."
He explains that the ebony porn grommets act to filter out unwanted vibration from the body to the pickup. "Those are the vibrations that cause a squawk at high volume when you hold the strings and move close to your amp," Scholz elaborates. "Those are body vibrations. as opposed to feedback which involves the strings. You tighten the screws enough to get the maximum sound out of the guitar without any squawking."
The refinished gold-top is Tom's sole guitar since his backup axe, an original gold-top, was irreparably damaged by a hack repairman. "I wanted the thing drilled out for some DiMarzios, but the guy in a flight of genius leaves the guitar out
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