I can't stand his earlier tones either, with very few exceptions. His live tone backk then was GREAT, judging from the bootlegs I've heeard, but studio... *shudder* Stuff like "Satch Boogie" and "Circles" isn't AS bad- sounds a little more "live" but the gutiar sounds and overal production values on Surfing are pretty tough on my ears...
"Forgotten II" off FIABD kills, too... geat sounds there, but I'm not so big on the rest of the album's sound.
I actually like his "Extremist" tone, for a while, that was my favorite sounding disc of his. however, "Crystal Planet" is probably my overall favorite- his tone is really varied, but almost without exception excellent throughout, and he gets some honest-t-god good clean sounds on that disc, which is sorta a first for him (I HATE his clean tone)
That said, his lead sound on "All Alone" is one of the best tones I've evber heard. There's just a touch of chewy uni-vibe-ness that i could do without, but that basic guitar tone is unreal. Any thoughts on where it's coming from?
Actually, there's some great guitar sounds all over the studio part of that disc. Sounds like nothing else he's ever done, and VERY "prototypically marshall," but good.