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Back To The Future - Hidden Instruments
When Marty plays an Eddie Van Halen-esque guitar solo at the dance, he makes noises that are impossible to duplicate without the aid of a whammy-bar. Also, a distortion pedal would have been necessary to achieve the "heavy-metal" tone of the guitar.
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Contributed By:
Wallace on 01-13-2000
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Comments:
Erik writes:
Even though there is a whammy bar, someone tell me...when does he actually touch it??
4 of 4 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
zeews writes:
Its possible to get distortion without a pedal. All you have to do is turn the gain up on your amp. The higher the gain, the more distortion.
5 of 6 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Evyllity writes:
The issue of the bar putting the guitar out of tune is moot. Marty was playing Jonny B. Goode by Chuck Berry (until the solo). If you'll listen carefully to recordings by Chuck you'll notice that he didn't pay very careful attention to the tuning of his guitar; it was usually at least a little out of tune, but it didn't matter since he was a rhythm/improvisational player. And since this guitar was played by Marvin (Chuck's cousin) one could speculate that the guitar wasn't very precisely tuned in the first place and that since Marty is an accomplished guitarist he could play in much the same manner. As for the distortion, not all that much distortion was used and that those amps could be safely overdriven that amount. I believe that the sound is mainly achieved using the nut pickups and power chords. Whether this sound can be made by the guitar he's using is irrelevant since he the guitar itself is a flub. ~Evyllity
4 of 4 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
MikefrekinScott writes:
I think the guy who made the set for that scene just didn't care how accurate the amp was according to Marty's sound.."here's an amp, cord, and guitar..act like you're playing Johhny B Goode"
4 of 5 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Snowman writes:
You can achieve a "Heavy-Metal" sound without using a distortion pedal, bands like "The Who" and "The Rolling Stones" did it by overloading their amplifiers. However, i do not believe that the piddly little amp used in the film would be up to being pushed to that extreme without blowing it's valves very quickly.
3 of 4 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Al writes:
The lack of a whammy bar ain't the real issue. The year is 1955, but Marty is playing a guitar (a Gibson 335 or similar) that wasn't invented until 1958. He should've been spanking a Telecaster.
2 of 3 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
marc writes:
Also of note that most if not all amplifiers in 1955 had only one volume control, no master volume so overdriving the amp like he did most likely would have blown it.
1 of 1 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
wasup writes:
You must not play guitar because despite all the technical mess-ups there is a way to imitate whammy on the guitar.
1 of 1 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
CKB writes:
It is actually possible to get distortion with an amp with no 'gain' knob, just put a pencil into the amplifier cone. Maybe that's what they did, but I couldn't care less in this situation because it's a great film ^_^
1 of 1 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Dan Slep writes:
You're right! It would have made the film much better if he just played a crappy solo that sounded awful! Dude you should direct ALL films from now on! Phew that was close well done!
1 of 1 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Gord writes:
I'm not an authority on musical instruments, nor do I pretend to be, but I suggest you watch the movie again. In the scene where Marty is playing the guitar at the school dance, I believe that little silver bar on the front is a whammy bar.
0 of 0 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
lefti writes:
It does have a whammy bar, but its a Bigsby one, so the guitar would fly out of tune. But as mentioned, the guitar was released til '58, so he should be playing a Telecaster(or Stratocaster, or Les Paul, or Gretsch of some sort....)
0 of 0 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
HighHat writes:
Yeah! I saw this movie again just a few days ago. I play the drums, but even I could tell that something wasn't quite right, there.
1 of 3 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Gord writes:
Regarding Marty's guitar not having a whammy bar, you better watch the movie again, because unless my eyes are deceiving me, that looks alot like a whammy bar on that guitar.
0 of 1 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Wedge| || ||| | || || | || ||| writes:
Did you not read the above in 1955 they didn't have a "gain" on them crappy 1955 amps
0 of 2 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes


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