Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"Black Hole Sun" Isolated Guitar Track

In the last post we listened to the isolated vocal of Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun." Today we'll listen to Kim Thayil's isolated guitar. Here's what to listen for:

1) He's a little out of tune during the clean intro. You never notice it in the track but it's a lot more exposed when isolated.

2) The song is performed in a Drop D tuning, which means that the low E string is detuned to D.

3) The most distinctive thing about the guitar track is the Leslie speaker effect used during the verse. A Leslie speaker, mostly used with organs (a Hammond B-3 and a Leslie model 122 is the classic combination), has a rotating treble horn and rotating drum around the low frequency speaker. It's been used with a guitar since the 60's, most famously in The Beatles "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." The Leslie has a slow and fast speed, with Black Hole Sun using the fast speed and recorded in stereo.

4) The distorted guitar in the chorus is also recorded in stereo, as is the wah guitar solo (which Guitar World magazine ranked #63 among the top 100 guitar solos) and outro.

5) Listen to the noises at the end of each part before the next part kicks in. These would certainly be cleaned up if recorded today.



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3 comments:

Bob Buontempo said...

I think that was a "pedal" used for the "Stereo Leslie" effect, mainly because there is reverb and some more gain that kicks in at the same time, and it sound like a "stomp" on a switch, rather than a punch in, since it was rather seamless.

Speaking of punches, the punch-in of the solo (Number 63?! REALLY!?!) is terrible, cutting off 1/2 of the last note before it, but, I suppose there wasn't another track available for the ONLY the solo, and it was the lesser of the two evils.

Jonathan Kohl said...

Bob: I wondered that too, although I have used stomp boxes like a tube screamer in front of a Leslie to overdrive it. If it is a pedal, or emulator, it does a better job than most I've heard.

graham said...

I have a real Leslie that I've used on guitars and that sure sounds like one, especially the beginning and ending. You can add reverb to the Leslie input just like anything else. Cool how he distorts it a bit in the 2nd passage.

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