Producer, Engineer, Live Sound Expert, Instructor
Charles England


Q: Just interested in what Matthias Jabs uses for the guitar solo in song, "The Zoo", it's some kind of effect, but I'm not sure what it is. Can you help me please?

A: Well, it is definitely what is commonly known as a talkbox. The device works like this, it's a small horn driver, powered usually from the same amp used to power the 4x12 cabinets. A long tube is then run from the sealed driver to a spot next to a vocal mic. This tube usually protrudes about 3 inches past the ball of the mic so that the guitar player can place the tube in his/her mouth, and by a combination of crushing the tube with their back teeth, and changing the shape of their mouths they can "speak" using the distorted tone of their amp. This effect was made famous by Peter Frampton, Show me the way, do you feel like we do from "Frampton Comes Alive". Also, Joe Walsh, "Rocky Mountain Way".

Both of these devices were made by the Heil company and are called Talkbox's. HOWEVER, The one used in the song in question does not sound like a Hiel to me. Matthias Jabs, and maybe Dieter Dierks would know for sure. But it sounds like a similar device made by the Electo-Harmonix called The Golden Throat. It used a smaller diameter tube than the Heil, and therefore has a slightly more "nasally" sound. Which is what makes the tone in "The Zoo" different from Walsh or Frampton. I hope this answers your question for now, but I will make an attempt to confirm the brand and post it when I'm sure.

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Thanks to Kelly G. for the question.


Charles England is a producer / engineer / instructor. Read our exclusive interview with the former Vinnie Vincent roadie, Charles England. Charles talks about his days, on the road, working with Vinnie Vincent, Vinnie Vincent / Nelson drummer, Bobby Rock and Dana Strum. The interview is