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How to get Nile Rodgers sound?
Old 26th May 2013
  #1
Gear Head
 

How to get Nile Rodgers sound?

Just heard the new daft punk album, really like the guitar sounds, anyone know what NR uses to get that silly smooth sound. More specifically, is it a tele or a strat?
Old 29th May 2013
  #2
It's a Strat, direct into the board.

It's a '59 Strat nicknamed 'the hitmaker'...

Quote:
World’s most successful G££TAR | The Sun |Features



THE funk legend is the genius behind disco giants Chic & always played his 1959 Fender
Old 1st June 2013
  #3
Lives for gear
+ neck pickup
Old 1st June 2013
  #4
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Jazz Noise's Avatar
I saw him live last year. No amp on stage, so I think just a good DI to the desk. Sounded amazing.

He's got alot of feel and he articulates rhythm extremely well. I'd recommend a Strat, a High Z DI, and very pointy picks. After that it's just doing the really interesting rhythms and using loads of strange chords - Nile has a thing for harmonicaly ambigous chord progressions. Lots of 11ths and stuff, and interesting voice movement.
Old 17th June 2013
  #5
Lives for gear
I love playing like him, as I was influenced by it as a kid. you have to vary up how you hit the strings, as he takes a chord and usually only strums 3 strings at a time. It sounds tighter this way, especially if you vary which 3 strings you hit.

Pretty sure the EQing of his guitar is pretty aggressive high passing after the compressor.
Old 17th June 2013
  #6
Gear Nut
 

Nile Rodgers Giggin Tips - YouTube

he has a light touch & emphasizes parts of a chord (Not just slamming down a power chord hitting all strings)
Old 18th June 2013
  #7
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Jazz Noise's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by JFOC View Post
Nile Rodgers Giggin Tips - YouTube

he has a light touch & emphasizes parts of a chord (Not just slamming down a power chord hitting all strings)
Fantastic video. Gonna spend the week trying to nail his way of playing Good Times. All those little bits. I've always admired how he made the guitar feel less like a string instrument and more like pitched percussion - it's extremely rhythmic!
Old 20th February 2014
  #8
Here for the gear
 

Older thread, I see, but I recently found out the Nile Rodgers Stratocaster is being released pretty soon (if it hasn't been already to some markets).

Fender link here

Hitmaker | Features | Fender® Custom Shop

The reason I bring this up, the Nile Rodgers Strat is retailing for over $4,000, there's no way I can afford this, but I would be interested in finding the most similar type of Strat.

I saw a video or read something (can't remember which) recently of Nile talking about his guitar and he says the weight of the body is likely the most important factor in his guitar tone. He said they tried 3 different pickup systems in the same body and 2 out of 3 of them sounded right. Not exactly good statistics, but we'll take it for what it's worth.

I'd like to know what the best alternative to this dream guitar would be.

I spoke to a woman at a local store who looked up some of the specs and said a 50s Classic Player Series changed to 60s style pickups would be a good alternative, saying the 60s style pickups are a little glassier and not as "full sounding" as the 50s ones. I know Nile plays a '59/'60 Strat, can't remember if it was the body or neck that was '59.

Anyone else want to weigh in?

Also, where does he get those cool clear volume/tone knobs?
Old 21st February 2014
  #9
Nile's strat is a hardtail. No trem or cavity. Strung through the body like a tele.
Old 21st February 2014
  #10
How to get Nile's sound is really easy. Just get a hardtail Strat with vintage style, low output pickups, run it direct into the board, and learn to play like Nile Rogers.




On second thought, maybe it isn't THAT easy...
Old 18th February 2016
  #11
Lives for gear
 

bump of old thread... want to add that I don't get the 60's style pickups. His guitar if it's a 59 body basically has late 50's style pickups no? Those are a bit more full bodied and woody and less output from what I gather.

I actually have a newer american standard with a maple fretboard and wanted to get it funked up and found that from all my research klein epic 57 pickups would best be suited for bright and glassy/chimey sounds. the 60's pickups from what I understand were a bit higher in output. but I'm not 100% sure. I know that on the nile rodgers hitmaker fender they put the 69 cs which were totally odd to me. but hey....
Old 18th February 2016
  #12
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GeminIAm's Avatar
Nile could have had his pickups replaced at some point perhaps?

Either way, his sound is magical. It's 99% Nile, 1% the guitar imo. I'd like to think I'm a decent rhythm player, but the way he articulates parts of chords and how he fingers them is unreal. Not to mention he's tighter than a nun's foof.

Yeah I'm a fanboy lol
Old 18th February 2016
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by aramism View Post
bump of old thread... want to add that I don't get the 60's style pickups. His guitar if it's a 59 body basically has late 50's style pickups no? Those are a bit more full bodied and woody and less output from what I gather.

I actually have a newer american standard with a maple fretboard and wanted to get it funked up and found that from all my research klein epic 57 pickups would best be suited for bright and glassy/chimey sounds. the 60's pickups from what I understand were a bit higher in output. but I'm not 100% sure. I know that on the nile rodgers hitmaker fender they put the 69 cs which were totally odd to me. but hey....
"From what you gather"

"research...."

So from that I take it that you've never actually played any Strats made in the '50s and '60s and get all your knowledge from internet hearsay and what the modern Fender company says in the product descriptions of their "custom shop" reissues? Is that correct?

The truth is that there is no real difference between pickups made in the late '50s (say '58-'59) and pickups made between '60 to '64, given that since pre-CBS pickups were all hand wound there's a fair amount of variation even among pickups made on the same day. In '65 CBS took over Fender and starting mucking about with pickup production, trying to make it more "efficient", which is corporate-speak for cheaper and faster. By '66 all their pickups were machine wound, and some of the finer points of production such as the wax dip to pot the pickups were eliminated. So arguing if Rodger's pickups are '59s or 63s is really a tomato-tomato argument.

Now, there are likely some variants made over that period, as Leo was an inveterate tinkerer, but the way parts production was done was that parts were made in large batches and put in bins (or racks for larger parts like necks and bodies, all jumbled together with no effort to differentiate when they were made.

Employees from assembly would pull parts from the bins and racks as needed, with no effort to differentiate by date. One instrument might contain parts made over a 3 year time span. I used to have a P-bass with a '59 dated 2 color sunburst body and a '60 dated neck with the slab rosewood fingerboard with clay dots that was sold new to the guy a got it from as a '61. The case was covered in the tan Tolex used on transition era amps. I don't know what year the pickups were from, don't know (or remember) if thewy had dates on 'em.
I wouldn't put much stock in what Fender says about their "reissue": pickups. None of the new ones I've heard sound exactly like old ones to me, although some are pretty good. If I wanted period accurate pickups like '58 -'63 Strat pickups I'd call up Lindy Fralin and have a set made that were period accurate. There may be a few other companies that do an authentic recreation (Jason Lollar?) but most don't, even if they say they do - they all have to add a little of their own "special sauce." And I certainly would not trust any of the large mass market pickup companies. Seymour Duncan makes good pickups but I don't believe any are absolutely period accurate. With Fralin you can specify things like magnet composition (there are 5 different types of Alnico, of which at least 3 were common in guitar pickups), type of insulation on the wire, Staggered or flat magnet poles, beveled or unbeveled edges, even machine style wing or scatter wind, and % over or underwind. Or if you don't want to go into detail just say what vintage you want duplicated. You can't get that level of service with any mass market company.

Here's the page with all their standard Strat models, but you can call them up and discuss what' right for YOUR needs and they'll make it.
Welcome to Lindy Fralin Pickups: Fralin Strat® Style Replacements - the Finest Guitar Pickups Available Today!

Incidentally, I don't know why the Fender Custom Shop would be claiming that they're making a "'69" reissue pickup - 1969 was probably the WORST year in history for Strat pickup production and you can pretty much bet that those "reissues" aren't much like the original junk that Fender was cranking out in '69. They probably do it for advertising reasons because "'69 Strat" makes the average punter think "Jimi Hendrix".

After looking at the Klein website I don't know if I totally trust them. While Fralin specifies "Alnico III" (an older and fairly uncommon type of Alnico alloy that's rarely seen these days) for their 1954 reproduction pickup, Klein just says "authentic alloy" without stating what alloy formulation it really is. Seems dodgy to me.

Last edited by John Eppstein; 18th February 2016 at 12:34 PM..
Old 18th February 2016
  #14
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
"From what you gather"

"research...."

So from that I take it that you've never actually played any Strats made in the '50s and '60s and get all your knowledge from internet hearsay and what the modern Fender company says in the product descriptions of their "custom shop" reissues? Is that correct?

The truth is that there is no real difference between pickups made in the late '50s (say '58-'59) and pickups made between '60 to '64, given that since pre-CBS pickups were all hand wound there's a fair amount of variation even among pickups made on the same day. In '65 CBS took over Fender and starting mucking about with pickup production, trying to make it more "efficient", which is corporate-speak for cheaper and faster. By '66 all their pickups were machine wound, and some of the finer points of production such as the wax dip to pot the pickups were eliminated. So arguing if Rodger's pickups are '59s or 63s is really a tomato-tomato argument.

Now, there are likely some variants made over that period, as Leo was an inveterate tinkerer, but the way parts production was done was that parts were made in large batches and put in bins (or racks for larger parts like necks and bodies, all jumbled together with no effort to differentiate when they were made.

Employees from assembly would pull parts from the bins and racks as needed, with no effort to differentiate by date. One instrument might contain parts made over a 3 year time span. I used to have a P-bass with a '59 dated 2 color sunburst body and a '60 dated neck with the slab rosewood fingerboard with clay dots that was sold new to the guy a got it from as a '61. The case was covered in the tan Tolex used on transition era amps. I don't know what year the pickups were from, don't know (or remember) if thewy had dates on 'em.
I wouldn't put much stock in what Fender says about their "reissue": pickups. None of the new ones I've heard sound exactly like old ones to me, although some are pretty good. If I wanted period accurate pickups like '58 -'63 Strat pickups I'd call up Lindy Fralin and have a set made that were period accurate. There may be a few other companies that do an authentic recreation (Jason Lollar?) but most don't, even if they say they do - they all have to add a little of their own "special sauce." And I certainly would not trust any of the large mass market pickup companies. Seymour Duncan makes good pickups but I don't believe any are absolutely period accurate. With Fralin you can specify things like magnet composition (there are 5 different types of Alnico, of which at least 3 were common in guitar pickups), type of insulation on the wire, Staggered or flat magnet poles, beveled or unbeveled edges, even machine style wing or scatter wind, and % over or underwind. Or if you don't want to go into detail just say what vintage you want duplicated. You can't get that level of service with any mass market company.

Here's the page with all their standard Strat models, but you can call them up and discuss what' right for YOUR needs and they'll make it.
Welcome to Lindy Fralin Pickups: Fralin Strat® Style Replacements - the Finest Guitar Pickups Available Today!

Incidentally, I don't know why the Fender Custom Shop would be claiming that they're making a "'69" reissue pickup - 1969 was probably the WORST year in history for Strat pickup production and you can pretty much bet that those "reissues" aren't much like the original junk that Fender was cranking out in '69. They probably do it for advertising reasons because "'69 Strat" makes the average punter think "Jimi Hendrix".

After looking at the Klein website I don't know if I totally trust them. While Fralin specifies "Alnico III" (an older and fairly uncommon type of Alnico alloy that's rarely seen these days) for their 1954 reproduction pickup, Klein just says "authentic alloy" without stating what alloy formulation it really is. Seems dodgy to me.
There was a variance in fender pickups but it's safe to say that most modern recreations are wound differently based on eras, more consistently. So...... yes, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to understand that. And yes I've played Strats and Teles from that actual era, though I don't own any, unfortunately. I've also tried all the pickup variants you mentioned, and I can assume from experience that Klein pickups are not snake oil. I played a guitar recently where I didn't even know why it sounded the way it did and hadn't heard his company until the owner of the guitar pointed out what they were. Phenomenal.

Back on the original topic.... still curious to the original point though as to why the cs 69 would work with that if his were a different era alltogether.
Old 18th February 2016
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
gladf7's Avatar
Smile Nile Rogers Wow

Somebody said the sound is 99% Nile 1% guitar. I agree and would go one step further Nile would sound like Nile on a Les Paul or an ES-335 esp on the rhythm pickup turned down. Just my opinion
Old 21st February 2016
  #16
Gear Nut
 

Hi John,

I just want to thank you for posting the history of CBS and how it changed things. On other forums, I'd always see "pre-CBS," but I never knew what it meant. I do now, thanks to you.

Also, to JFOC, even though I'm three years late to the party, thanks for the Nile Rodgers Giggin video. So much awesome to be able to watch that, especially after seeing him playing on the Grammys.
Old 21st February 2016
  #17
Gear Nut
 

Nile Rodgers is basically a sophisticated jazzhead, with a swiss-made right hand, trapped in a groovebox with human form.
His guitar, although important, is a side factor.
I think the point with a musician that plays a single instrument all his life, is just that he completely forgets about it, and concentrates on the music.
You search for an instrument that makes you fell good, and most importantely that you know can deliver everything you want, without even thinking about it. Then you're pretty much good to go.

I understand the quest for THE SOUND of a particular artist. But it's a never-ending one, that is ultimately prone to fail.
And as Miles Davis who wanted to be Dizzy, ended up sounding like himself, failure is always what shapes your style;
Old 21st February 2016
  #18
Lives for gear
 

I think the best way to put it is that he dances, really well, to the music, and the guitar just happens to be there. Totally underrated as a guitarist. 100% incapable of being emulated. I bet someone could sit there and practice for a long time and nail solos and stairway and eruption blah blah but those things will sound closer to their original sources than someone trying to copy Nile.
Old 21st February 2016
  #19
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AuldLangSine's Avatar
 

12

Last edited by AuldLangSine; 1st March 2016 at 08:43 AM..
Old 21st February 2016
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by gladf7 View Post
Somebody said the sound is 99% Nile 1% guitar. I agree and would go one step further Nile would sound like Nile on a Les Paul or an ES-335 esp on the rhythm pickup turned down. Just my opinion
Yes!
Old 21st February 2016
  #21
Gear Head
 

I spent over an hour talking with Nile at a halloween party in LA back in the '80s.
(I was wearing a jumpsuit covered in rubber rats; he was dressed as... Nile Rodgers. We were very high.))
He is a fine gentleman and, as someone has mentioned, well-schooled in music. Even though I was young and unknown (as opposed to old and little known as I write this)) he was gracious, interested, and interesting.
We talked music and made tentative plans to read through some classical guitar duets together. We exchanged numbers.
Then David Lee Roth walked over with another 8ball and things got a little fuzzy...
Old 21st February 2016
  #22
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GeminIAm's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kLyon View Post
I spent over an hour talking with Nile at a halloween party in LA back in the '80s.
(I was wearing a jumpsuit covered in rubber rats; he was dressed as... Nile Rodgers. We were very high.))
He is a fine gentleman and, as someone has mentioned, well-schooled in music. Even though I was young and unknown (as opposed to old and little known as I write this)) he was gracious, interested, and interesting.
We talked music and made tentative plans to read through some classical guitar duets together. We exchanged numbers.
Then David Lee Roth walked over with another 8ball and things got a little fuzzy...
I've had this dream once
Old 22nd February 2016
  #23
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeminIAm View Post
I've had this dream once
At least you didn't get a massive hangover from the dream))

I had his number for years; never had the nerve to call and it eventually disappeared.

But it was a blast)
Old 22nd February 2016
  #24
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Yuri Kogan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
"From what you gather"

"research...."


After looking at the Klein website I don't know if I totally trust them. While Fralin specifies "Alnico III" (an older and fairly uncommon type of Alnico alloy that's rarely seen these days) for their 1954 reproduction pickup, Klein just says "authentic alloy" without stating what alloy formulation it really is. Seems dodgy to me.
Klein makes fantastic pickups. Within reason similar to the vintage ones I have. David Allen, Mare and Amalfitano make perhaps not as "authentic" but great sounding and close enough puckups
Old 22nd February 2016
  #25
Gear Nut
 
Underwater's Avatar
I personally don't think it's the equipment as much as it's the player. Nile Rodgers definitely understands "less is more" philosophy. Guitar players tend to "overplay" and tend not to comprehend the expression of silence. Just listen to some of Nile's biggest moments, all are very sparse playing. It teases the listener into anticipating the next chord.

Then again, it doesn't hurt if you have one of these !! This is my 1984 Fender '57 Vintage reissue. Got it at Ed's guitars in Miami back in 1989. Had to trade a couple of guitars, a boss delay pedal and cash. Had it retrofitted with EMGs in the early 90s. This baby toured with me for years. A trusted warrior. It was seafoam green but I stripped it and repainted it silver, added the blue tortoise pickguard.

Yeah, nothing sounds like a strat but make your own "Hitmaker"
Attached Thumbnails
How to get Nile Rodgers sound?-57.jpg  
Old 24th February 2016
  #26
[QUOTE=Yuri Kogan;11721412 David Allen, Mare and Amalfitano make perhaps not as "authentic" but great sounding and close enough puckups[/QUOTE]

I really don't think he wants to "puckup" his guitar....
Old 24th April 2017
  #27
Gear Nut
 
DeyeYguy's Avatar
 

I know it's all in his playing, but does anyone know string gauge and plectrum Nile used? I'm guessing 10's medium weight pick, but he was pals with SRV, so who knows? The webs seem woefully under info'd on this....
Old 24th April 2017
  #28
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swiller's Avatar
Some good vids on nile these days. I would say gauge is 10s as its quite meaty sound.
Squire classic vibes can do nile stuff v well. But it is all in the playing and less is more approach.
A bit like marr where his forte is chords almost off key to create an underlying chord structure that compliments the song so well, different styles of course.
Guy is a musical god imho.
Old 24th April 2017
  #29
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swiller's Avatar
sorry heres one..
Old 24th April 2017
  #30
Gear Nut
 
DeyeYguy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by swiller View Post
sorry heres one..
Thanx, i watched that already, unless i missed it, there was no mention of string gauge or pick size/material, I'm really curious as to what is...

also, agree, NR is a badass
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