Do You Feel Like I do? Whatever Happened to the Talk Box?

What ever happened to one of my favourite guitar effects, the talk box? From “Frampton Comes Alive” to “Walk this Way” to Bon Jovi’s “Slippery When Wet” no guitar effect since the wah wah pedal has sounded so cool in a rock and roll song. I remember vividly listening to “Sick as a Dog” from Aerosmith’s “Live Bootleg” album and grinning ear to ear listening to Joe Perry “talk” through his guitar. For the uninitiated, the Talk Box is an effects pedal connected to a mouth tube located beside a microphone that enables a guitarist to combine the sounds of their vocals with the sounds of their guitar to make their guitar “talk.” Probably the best example of its use is the live version of “Do You Feel Like I Do?” on Frampton Comes Alive. Sure it may be a bit cheesy but you gotta admit that when you heard somebody asking a question through a talk box at a concert, it always guaranteed a huge response. Together with the previously mentioned wah wah pedal, as well as the distortion box, flanger and echoplex, these cool guitar effects always made great guitar players sound even better, and give hope to lousy guitar players like myself. Let me know if you have a good example of a cool “talk box” song. If you’re a guitarist and you want to join the list of illustrious Talk Box practitioners, then this page at Guitar Effects Projects is the place to start.
Later.

10 Comments

  1. Hmm…I can think of a few. Well, “Sweet Emotion” is an obvious song that uses the talk box. And Motley Crue’s “Kickstart My Heart” is another. Mick Mars sure can rock the talk box. There are probably a few Steve Vai songs that use it. Can’t think of one right off.

    For the talk box to make a comeback, rock and roll has got to get away from its current trend of lead guitarists who frankly can’t play a lick. Nu-metal is the worst. These guys hash out a few riffs and chords, and that’s it. They don’t have the mastery of the guitar that is needed to properly incorporate a talk box. I think the talk box has a “metal” reputation these days, and it’s gonna be a few years before metal (’80s styled metal) is cool again.

  2. Allo!

    Alice in Chains – Man in a Box – Wicked talk-box action.

    Alzo, Guns n’Roses – Anything Goes- cool ass
    talk-box

    Arriva Dude.

    Call me!

  3. Haitian Divorce – Walter Becker sho’nuff swang that talk-box action

    The lead in Floyds “Money” I think has Talk-box, but fer some reason my recollections of Floyd anything are a bit fuzzy.

    RRR Rocks!

    Salût RRR Rocks!

  4. I once heard an interview w/ Joe Walsh reportedly stating he had taught Mr. Frampton how to use the talkbox. Peter then denied he had learned it from him. Anyhow checkout Joe Walsh “Rocky Mountain Way”.

  5. Interesting twist is when Roger (remember “I wanna Be Your Man in the 80’s?) from the funk band Zapp hooked a Heil Talk Box up to his Moog and created a whole new sound..up until I saw a video clip I thought it was a Vocoder..

  6. Another recent use of the talkbox…
    Fire It Up by Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society from their new album, Mafia. <-- Kicks ass.

  7. The “Talk Box” made famous by Joe Walsh & Peter Frampton predates them significantly; “Sly and the Family Stone’s” album from 1969 called “Stand”—-
    LINK:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00007LVBT/ref=pd_sim_m_5/103-9490628-2126253?%5Fencoding=UTF8&v=glance&n=5174

    http://starling.rinet.ru/music/sly.htm#Stand! *link states “talk box”

    —featured a extended cut called “Sex Machine” that took up the whole side of the album–a la “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”-same thing drum solo everything!–This cut featured extensive use of the then infant but tested device which had been designed & demonstrated by Mike Pinera who co-incidentally was a member of the “SECOND” line-up of “Iron Butterfly”!!

    Funny how those things work out!

    Anyway I’m a guitarist from that era and it had come to my attention that this rather critical bit of info doesn’t exist in cyber–therefore I’m contacting the various key listings on the search engine to rectify it—the discographys should be verifyable enough if in fact you can’t contact Freddie Stewart[*or “Steward”-JV](Sly’s guitarist and brother)or Mike Pinera or perhaps Doug Ingle–the device was used on a cut that post dated Sly’s on the album “Metamorphosis” in the song called “Butterfly Blue” from 1970

    Happy to be of assistance!

    Jubilee Valence

  8. yankee rose by david lee roth is where Steve Vai “talks” through his guitar – i’m not sure if he uses a talk box but i think the song falls in this category and on the new side —- 3 days grace uses a talk box in their song “riot”….awesome list as i was looking to make a collection of these kinds of songs…thanks to all.

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