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Showing posts with label video. Show all posts
Showing posts with label video. Show all posts

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Led Zeppelin "Ramble On" Isolated Lead Guitar Track

Here's a very interesting isolated track from "Ramble On" by Led Zeppelin. It's the isolated lead guitar track, and while there isn't that much music of it (most of the track consists of only headphone leakage), it is pretty telling of how Zep recorded.

What you'll hear is Jimmy Page's guitar parts in the turnaround before choruses, the solo harmony parts, and an interesting part at the end that's not on the record. Here's what to listen for:

1. The first part enters at 1:05 and it's the pre-chorus clean guitar part. Nothing particularly remarkable here; it sounds just like the record.

2. The first solo begins at 1:55 and it consists of long sustaining distorted notes that are a harmony to the main guitar part. Listen to the end, where Page plays a very busy fill that doesn't make the final mix.

3. The second solo comes at 2:31 and once again it's a harmony part. It's not performed with great precision but it certainly works within the context of the part.

4. At 4:00 the reverb is turned way up and Page plays some harmonics and sustained notes, then some fills at the end. This is something that you won't hear on the record as the song is faded by the time these parts enter.

5. The interesting thing in this track is that it appears that Page knew exactly what he was going to play in every section beforehand. Where today we would take each section at a time and work on it, in this case it was more like, "Go into record for the entire song and let me take a pass." As a result, this might have been the only take of these parts.



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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Desqueak A Guitar Using iZotope RX4

iZotope RX4 is one of the great tools for postproduction, now a standard for every engineer doing ADR, foley or sound design just about everywhere. It's also very effective in a musical capacity as well, as you'll soon see.

This video by Russ at Pro Tools Expert (which is a great site you should really know about if you use Pro Tools) shows how you can use RX4 to clean up the squeaks from an acoustic guitar track. This is something that drives mixers crazy, but RX4 does a great job of attenuating them so they virtually disappear from the mix. RX4 also works great on electric guitar as well, and there's a video on how to do that as well.

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

New Music Gear Monday: UAD AMS RMX16 Plugin

There is so much new gear coming out for the upcoming AES show that it's an exciting time. One of the things I'm most excited about is the new AMS RMX16 plugin for the Universal Audio UAD platform. The original hardware box had a very distinctive sound that, along with the SSL 4k buss compressor, is really the sound of the 80s in many ways.

The algorithms in the RMX16 plug are exactly the same as the hardware unit, and includes those wonderful Ambience and Non-linear programs that we all used so much way back then. There are also a number of features that are unique to the plugin that weren't on the original hardware unit like dry/wet mix, wet solo, and much easier editing.

The plugin costs $349, and of course, you need a UAD-2 DSP card or Apollo interface. Check out the video below that features Mark Crabtree, the original designer of the RMX16.


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Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Who "Who Are You" Isolated Drums

I just love listening to tracks from a hit song. It doesn't matter from which era, since each hit captures some kind of magic, and it's fun trying to sort out exactly what that magic is. Today we'll look at the drum track from a hit from The Who from 1978 called "Who Are You."

This was the last recording of drummer Keith Moon, as he died 20 days after the album was released. Moon was a one-of-a-kind drummer, especially when compared with the drummers of today, and you'll hear that his playing is almost garage-band like, although it was perfect for The Who at the time.

What's interesting was that the drums here were overdubbed, which is why all you hear is headphone leakage, and the leakage contains obvious overdubs. Here's what to listen for.

1. Listen to how dynamic the high-hat work is. Moony plays more than the beat, as the playing really breathes.

2. The sound of the drums is really the sound of the kit. This song used engineer Glyn Johns famous minimalist mic technique (as compared to today) so that the drums sound more like one instrument rather than what we hear today. Check out this video that will show you what he used.

3. The playing's not perfect, especially the kick. You can hear slight lags in timing in the kick, tom fills and the hat, although I'm sure that never bothered anyone listening to the record. Today we'd fix all that, most likely to the detriment of the song.

4. You can hear Moon singing and/or grunting at times throughout the song. Again, we'd probably fix that today.

5. At 3:30 you can hear a tympani overdub that isn't that obvious when listening to the entire mix.



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Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating social media and the new music business.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

How Much Does Music Contribute To A Film?

It's really easy to take film music for granted. When it's done really well, we don't notice it at all; it just enhances the film in ways that we really perceive, but don't necessarily pay attention to.

Here's a great example of how important the music of a film can be. It's a short clip from the original Star Wars (Episode 4), but minus the John Williams score after the first 15 seconds.

Considering that this was the feel good payoff of the film, notice how awkward it is without the music (kind of like real life sometimes).

So hail to all film composers and all the things you do!


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Sunday, September 14, 2014

New Music Gear Monday: iCon Digital iControls Pro

While many have gotten used to mixing in the box with a mouse or trackball, some of us just have to have some faders under our fingers to feel comfortable. Unfortunately many of the mainstream DAW controllers can be way more money than a home studio can bear. That's why the iCon Digital iControls Pro may be the perfect solution in those situations.

The iControl Pro offers 8 motorized touch sensitive channel faders plus a master, as well as transport control, 9 encoder knobs and a jog wheel all in an ergonomic aluminum form factor. It also has solo and mute buttons for each channel, the ability to switch to different banks and layers, and DAW horizontal and vertical zoom controls. The unit has 2 USB inputs to allow for daisy chaining devices  using Mackie control for Ableton, Cubase, Samplitude and Logic Pro, and Mackie HUI control for Pro Tools. iMAP software also allows all of the controls to be mapped for MIDI too.

Best of all, iControl Pro only retails for $429 and streets for even less. Find out more about it on the iCon Digital site, as well as the company's other fine controllers. Check out the nice overview below from Sounds and Gear.


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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Boston "Rock And Roll Band" Isolated Drums and Bass

It's fun to go back and listen to the hits from when rock was in its infancy to hear what the recording and production techniques were like back then. Here's a good example of one of the turning points in music production - it's "Rock and Roll Band" from Boston's first album.

This is really the song that started it all for the band as it's the one that first got the attention of both the band's managers and the record label. What you'll hear is Jim Masdea on drums and Boston leader Tom Scholz on bass. Here's what to listen for:

1. Listen to how tight the bass and drums are, and how near perfect both tracks are performed. The bass is sometimes ever so slightly ahead of the drums, but both are about perfect in their execution. That was a big departure in 1975 (when the song was recorded) when most songs still had a much looser feel, and it was a taste of what production would become a decade later.

2. The drums are in mono. They're very well-balanced (especially the ride cymbal, which is usually lost on most recordings) and have a nice medium dark reverb on them that doesn't get in the way.

3. The sound of the bass is interesting. Leave it to Scholz to not record a bass as a bass. There's some sort of very short delay or modulation on it, so the midrange is mostly in the middle but the extreme low end is puffed out to the sides. Of course, you need to listen on headphones to really hear this.

Above all, this track still really holds up because it was made so well, and as always, a great song is always remembered.




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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Rush "Tom Sawyer" Song Analysis

Rush in concert image
We haven't done a song analysis for a while, so here's an excerpt from my Deconstructed Hits: Classic Rock Vol 1 book. It's Rush's "Tom Sawyer," a perennial FM radio favorite and the first single from their breakout Moving Pictures album from 1981. The song is a part of the defining moment in the band’s history when they finally broke out to world-wide superstardom.

The song was written on a band summer rehearsal holiday spent on a farm outside of Toronto. Poet Pye Dubois presented the band with a poem entitled “Louis The Lawyer,” which drummer Neil Peart then modified, and bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson set to music.

THE SONG
As with everything Rush, "Tom Sawyer" is complex and doesn't follow a standard form, but that's why they're so well liked, right? The form looks something like this:

intro/chorus ➞ verse ➞ B-section ➞ C-section ➞ chorus ➞ interlude ➞ solo ➞ 
intro ➞ verse ➞ B-section ➞ C-section ➞ chorus ➞ outro

You can dispute exactly where the chorus is, but the popular thinking is it's where the "Tom Sawyer" lyric is mentioned. None the less, the song is as unconventional as it is interesting.

While most of the song is in 4/4 time, the solo begins in 7/8, then switches to 13/16. It then returns to 4/4 until the outro, where it again changes to 7/8. 

The lyrics are poetry set to music, instead of the other way around. There’s no overt need to rhyme if it doesn’t fit the thought, which is a whole lot better than forcing it and having an awkward lyric or cadence.

THE ARRANGEMENT
Rush's songs are fairly bare-bones in that they're meant to be played live, so there's not a lot of obvious layering. The guitars are doubled and heavily effected to make them bigger, but you can hear how they effectively use only a single less effected guitar in the first turnaround of the solo, then the second has the full guitar sound to change the dynamics.

Arrangement Elements
  • The Foundation: drums
  • The Pad: synthesizer on the intro and outro, high register synth in solo beginning and outro
  • The Rhythm: high hat
  • The Lead: lead vocal, guitar solo, 
  • The Fills: none
Rush uses synthesizers very creatively, from the Oberheim OB-X swell in the intro and outro, to the Moogish sound in the interlude and outro. Also, the lead vocal is doubled in the C-section, which differentiates it from the other sections.

THE SOUND
The mix of “Tom Sawyer” is as interesting as is the song form. Neil Peart's drums are way up in front and the snare has a nice pre-delayed medium room on it that you can only hear in the beginning when the drums are played by themselves. All of the other drums are dry. The snare is fairly bright, as is the high hat, which is featured in the mix since it keeps the motion of the song moving forward. The kick and snare are compressed well to make them punchy and in your face without seeming squashed. The cymbals are nice and bright but pulled back in the mix.

Geddy Lee's vocal has a timed delay with a medium reverb wash that blends seamlessly into the track, which also has a bit of modulation that you can hear as it dies out. Once again, you can only hear it during the intro when the song is fairly sparse. His bass has that Rickenbacker treble sound yet still has a lot of bottom, despite the distortion.

Alex Lifeson's guitar is doubled using a short delay, and slightly chorused with a medium reverb wash for the huge sound that glues everything together. In the case of the solo guitar, the reverb is effected and then spread hard left and right. It also uses the same guitar sound as the rhythm guitar, which is unusual, since solos usually have a different sound on most records. 

Listen Up:
  • To the modulation at the end of the reverb on Geddy Lee’s vocal.
  • To how large the stereo synthesizers on the intro of the song are.
  • To the stereo effect on the Moog synth at the beginning of the solo and the outro.

THE PRODUCTION
Any power trio has to have great musicians to have everything sound big and cohesive, and Rush does just that. Peart's drumming is absolutely rock solid, without a beat ever feeling like it drifted even a microsecond out of time, yet still feels organic. The way he’s placed in the mix totally holds it together, yet it never feels as if he’s the one featured. As with most other hits, it’s the energy of the track that pulls you in, which goes to show you that without a near perfect basic track, it’s difficult to keep the track interesting.

You can read additional excerpts from the various Deconstructed Hits volumes, as well as my other books on the excerpt section of bobbyowsinski.com.


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Sunday, August 31, 2014

New Music Gear Monday: Blue Mo-Fi Headphones

Headphone technology, just like loudspeakers, hasn't changed much in about a hundred years, but Blue Microphones is trying to take things to another level with the introduction of its Mo-Fi headphones. The company teased the product as far back as Winter NAMM without actually showing it, but now the Mo-Fi's appear to be finally ready.

So what's different? First of all, the phones have extremely large 50mm drivers, which is the biggest you've ever seen on a pair of headphones. Secondly, they have built-in 240mw amplifiers so you're no longer at the mercy of the headphone amp (which is usually underpowered) that you're plugging in to.

The Mo-Fi's also have 3 settings, which you can toggle between on the right earcup - Off, On, and On+. Off provides a passive mode where they act just like any other headphone, while On+ provides more of a bass-heavy experience for those that find that sort of thing desirable. The amp is powered via an internal battery that is recharged via a mini-USB port, and a charge is good for up to 14 hours.

The phones also have a unique multi-hinged headband design that bends at 6 joints and is unlike any other headphone on the market, and has a removable/replaceable cable.

The Blue Mo-Fi headphones are somewhat expensive at around $350, but if you're going to be spending any amount of time with phones on your ears, why not try something new and different? Check out the Mo-Fi site here, and the video below.


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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Chicago "Make Me Smile" Isolated Bass, Vocals and Guitar Solo

It's always so cool to be able to listen inside songs that have been around for a long, long time, and Chicago's "Make Me Smile" (from the band's Chicago II album) is a prime example. In the video below you'll hear the isolated bass, some drum leakage and Terry Kath's lead vocal, as well as a bonus of Kath's excellent guitar solo at the end. Here's what to listen for.

1. Peter Cetera's bass is somewhat out of the pocket, especially on the intro of the song. He's usually a little ahead of the beat throughout the song, although there times when the bass and drums settle in pretty well together.

2. The bass part changes in the second verse and becomes more active, as it does during the guitar solo, something that's easy to overlook when the rest of the tracks are in the mix.

3. The sound of the bass is pretty cool, with lots of leakage from the drums into the amp mic, since this was recorded in the days before widespread direct box use.

4. Terry Kath was as great a vocalist as he was a guitar player. Here he does ad libs right along with his lead vocal, and it sure sounds like it was done all in one complete take.

5. His guitar solo is one of his best (and one of my favorites). Take notice of the tone - not too distorted and using the front pickup of the Gibson SG he used at the time.



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Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating social media and the new music business.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Potato Chip Bag Microphone

This one is downright scary when you think about it. We've all heard about the CIA being able to listen to conversations from a block away by measuring the minute vibrations on a pane of window glass with a laser. The following research, which is a joint effort between MIT, Microsoft and Adobe, takes this concept a step or two further by capturing sounds from a plant in the room, or my favorite, a bag of chips.

It's called the Visual Microphone, and is built around the passive recovery of sound from video of an object.

Although for best results a high speed camera with a frequency higher than the audio frequency you're trying to capture is needed, the following video also shows how an everyday low speed camera with a "rolling shutter" can work as well.

And be careful about what you say around that empty bag of chips from now on! There's no telling who's listening.



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Sunday, August 24, 2014

New Music Gear Monday: Dave Smith Instruments Pro 2 Synth

When the Minimoog and Arp Odyssey first came on the market as the first mass-manufactured portable synthesizers way back in the 70's, they were pretty limited in the number of voices available. As a result, polyphonic synths couldn't get here fast enough as we all wanted the ability to play chords with our favorite non-traditional sounds.

Today there's a trend back to monophonic synths and the new Pro 2 by Dave Smith Instruments is really one of the kind. It contains 4 oscillators, two classic analog filters, a 32 step sequencer, a load of control voltage inputs, and what the company is calling a 4 voice "paraphonic" mode that lets you play up to 4 notes, albeit without the big multi-oscillator synth sound.

There's also an audio input that allows you plug another instrument like a guitar into it for some killer sounds, or use the filters to process external audio. Add to that 3 digital delays and an analog "bucket brigade" delay, and an output section of the instrument is also entirely analog, and you have one fat sounding synth.

The Pro 2 retails for $1,999. The video below shows Dave Smith explaining just what the unit can do.


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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Steely Dan "Bodhisttahva" Isolated Bass And Drums

Steely Dan has always been known for their almost perfect tracks, even before the days that could easily be done via a DAW. Here's a great example of just how great those tracks could be with the isolated bass and drums from "Bodhisttahva" from the band's second album Countdown To Ecstasy.

This album still featured what amounted to the Steely Dan band before it became just Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, but you can still hear hints of the perfection that would come later with the studio bands they used for all their subsequent recordings. On this track, Jim Hodder was the drummer and Walter Becker played bass. Here are some things to listen for.

1. The drums are spot on and feel great. This has been a Becker-Fagen trademark in that they got drum machine-like time from their drummers well before such a machine existed.

2. There's a nice reverb on the snare. Elliot Scheiner, who mixed most of Steely Dan's records (although not this one) once told me that Becker and Fagen disliked reverb and he had to discretely sneak it in where he thought it was needed. That's not the case here, and it stands out and sounds most appropriate.

3. Becker's a great bass player. While the band used a studio bass player on most tracks on their subsequent albums and on tour, Becker plays the heck out of this difficult part. There are a couple of minor faults that would never be left in during later recordings at 0:41 and 3:07, but you never hear them in the track with the other mix elements.



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Sunday, August 17, 2014

New Music Gear Monday: The Moog Theremini

Leave it to the clever folks at Moog Music to come up with a completely new take on everyone's favorite sci-fi instrument - the theremin. Moog has released the Theremini, which takes Bob Moog's favorite instrument to a new level of precision and fun.

While the traditional theremin took a great deal of skill and dexterity to play, the Theremini employs assisted pitch quantization that allows a player to adjust the instrument to their playing proficiency, so every note is always scaled perfectly. In fact, Moog claims that it's impossible to actually play a wrong note in certain setups, which means the player can spend more time on being more expressive with vibrato and level (and the built-in delay).

The Theremini contains a built-in tuner to provide real-time visual feedback of each note played, as well as the proximity to the pitch, making it easier to learn how to play. It also contains a number of presets that enables you to select from 32 wave or wavetable based patches, so you can draw on some non-conventional theremin sounds as well.

The unit comes with a built-in speaker, two 1/4" audio outputs, a headphone jack, a pitch CV output, a mini USB jack, MIDI in and out, and can be mounted on a mic stand or camera stand with an adaptor.

The Theremini is priced at a very reasonable $319 and is built to order, so there is about an 8 week delivery time. Check out the Moog Theremini website and the video below.

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Wings "Band On The Run" Isolated Bass and Drums

There's nothing like listening to the isolated bass and drums of a track to really feel its essence. The essence of Wings' "Band On The Run" (from the album of the same name) is totally Paul McCartney, as he played both bass and drums on the track.

Most of the album was recorded at the EMI studios in Lagos, Nigeria after Sir Paul decided he wanted to try recording in a more exotic place than England. Just prior to departing for Nigeria, both lead guitarist Henry McCollough and drummer Denny Seiwell left the band. Paul and band members Linda McCartney and Denny Laine decided to carry on anyway, with Paul now taking on drum and lead guitar duties as well as bass. Here are some things to listen for.

1. The drums are amazingly solid for someone who doesn't spend most of his time playing drums. Listen especially to the ride cymbal work in the first part of the song, which is like a metronome.

2. While Paul can lay down a drum beat, he has a little trouble with fills. Listen to the one at 3:08 and at 4:50, both of which are a bit lazy and late.

3. Paul's bass playing is mostly behind the beat and sometimes even flams with the drums. This happens throughout the song, but especially in the first section of the song. Today this all would have been fixed if not during the recording, then in editing afterward.

4. He is one of the most innovative bass players ever though. McCartney is noted for coming up with melodic parts that most other bass players or arrangers would never think of. Listen to the bass part of the last section (the "Band on the run" part). Few players would come up with something similar.

5. The recording is great, even though it was done on an 8 track machine in less than ideal conditions. Geoff Emerick provides one of his best engineering jobs.



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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Van Halen "Beautiful Girls" Isolated Bass And Drums

There's noting like listening to a great rhythm section and the original Van Halen duo of drummer Alex Van Halen and bassist Michael Anthony has proven to be one of the best in rock. Listen to them do their thing in isolation on "Beautiful Girls" from 1979's Van Halen II.

The song, which was originally titled "Bring On The Girls" on the band's 25 song demo, was produced by the great Ted Templeman, engineered by Don Landee, and recorded at the famous Sunset Sound in Hollywood. Like most albums from that era, it was completed in only 3 weeks. Here are some things to listen for.

1. Listen to how forward the snare drum is compared to the rest of the kit. Pretty beefy sound too, as well as a touch of some very smooth reverb.

2. The cymbals are very prominent in the mix to mostly fill in those upper frequencies since the band was a power trio. Their early albums were mostly guitar, bass and drums plus a guitar solo overdub with not much sweetening.

3. Michael Anthony's playing is a little behind the drums, rather than the other way around. This gives the band a sense of urgency.

4. Anthony's playing is far from perfect, not that you ever heard any of the very slight mistakes in the track. There is a pretty big one at 1:47 that wouldn't be left in today.

5. Alex VH has a couple of slow fills as well, like the ones at 3:28 and 3:40. In those days of analog tape and relatively quick recording, perfection was something that was rarely attained (except perhaps for Steely Dan albums, but they also cost a lot more to make and took much more time).



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Monday, July 21, 2014

How The Ancients Used Sound

Hal Saflieni (ca. 3600 BCE)There's a little-known scientific field known as archaeoacoustics that studies the sound of historical environments and its effects on the human body. These environments can vary from ancient temples to caves, but it's been discovered that they all have a similar quality - a resonant frequency between 70 and 130Hz.

Most of the cavities that archaeoacoustics study are spiritual in nature, and the theory is that the exposure to the resonant frequency of the chamber has a physical effect on human brain activity, even to the point of triggering a different state of consciousness without the use of chemical substances.

One of these chambers currently under study is a 5,000 year old Hypogeum, an underground mortuary temple on the Mediterranean island of Malta with a space known as "The Oracle Room" that yields strong double resonant frequencies at 70Hz and 114 Hz. A deep male voice tuned to these frequencies can stimulate the resonances and create a bone-chilling 8 second reverberation that reportedly provides the illusion of sound reflecting from the body to the ancient wall paintings, but leaves the listener with a great sensation of relaxation.

What's especially interesting is that the acoustics of this chamber didn't come naturally. Man-made carving on the ceiling revealed what amounted to a wave guide, suggesting that the designers of the room knew much more about acoustics and their effects on the human body than we know or care about today.

W e often think that because we have such sophisticated gear that it automatically makes us superior to those that have gone before us. In reality it seem that there's been a vast treasure trove of knowledge that's been lost through the ages that we're lucky to discover enough bits and pieces of every so often.

There's a really great website at archaeoacoustics.org that has a lot of information and audio samples regarding this discipline and its work. Not only that, it's a lot more modern and accessible than most sites about scientific research. Check out the video below as well.


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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Eric Clapton "Layla" Isolated Guitar And Vocals

Here's a rare treat. It's the isolated lead guitar and vocal track from Derek and the Dominos (Eric Clapton's band with drummer Jim Gordon, bassist Carl Radle, and keyboardist Bobby Whitlock, and supported by guest guitarist Duane Allman) hit "Layla" from the band's one and only album Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs.

What you'll hear is a combination of a number of tracks - one of the rhythm guitar tracks in the chorus, the lead in the verses and choruses, the slide lead solo at the end of Part 1, one of the slide leads in Part 2, the end acoustic guitar, and the Leslie guitar at the end. Of course, you'll also hear Clapton's lead vocal as well. Here's what to listen for.

1. The high lead guitar in the intro and choruses is doubled, which isn't apparent on the final mix of the record.

2. The high lead guitar leaning to the left plays throughout the verses against Clapton's vocal, which is a violation of basic arrangement rules since it takes attention away from the vocal. Didn't seem to matter in this case though.

3. Clapton's vocal is doubled on the choruses, which again isn't very apparent on the final mix of the record. There's also a lot of reverb on it, and the verb really doesn't sound all that good, which is unusual for the time when everyone was using plates or chambers.

4. Duane Allman's slide solo at the end of Part 1 is truly killer, as he plays up much of it above the fretboard.

5. There are two slide leads on Part 2 (drummer Jim Gordon's piano part of the song). You hear Clapton's part here, which changes to an acoustic guitar during the last verse.

6. Check out the Leslie guitar at the very end at 5:25. Criteria Recording (where the song was cut) had one of the first guitar input devices for the Leslie that could vary the speed with a footswitch and Clapton loved it (and reportedly absconded with it back to England after the session). There's plenty more on Leslie guitar on the final mix, but you only hear that one piece here.



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Sunday, July 13, 2014

New Music Gear Monday: The Hammer Jammer

It's really hard to create a guitar product that's completely new and not just evolutionary. We see this every NAMM show where we hope to find something new and cool, but are usually disappointed. The Hammer Jammer is different though, as it's both new and evolutionary at the same time, and will definitely give you a sound that you really can't get any other way. It's an easy way to get the hammering effect on a guitar, but with much more precision and dexterity than ever before.

The Hammer Jammer is the brainchild of Ken McGraw, who initially developed the idea in 1985. He formed a company called Guitarammer and received some input from both Ricky Skaggs and Chris Martin (of Martin Guitars) in 1990, but abandoned the idea after initial manufacturing problems and when other business opportunities came about. Now he's back with a new Kickstarter campaign to get the project rolling again.

For only $65, you can get in line for one of the first models. For another $25, you can have one donated to a disabled person (since this is a great way for someone with disabilities to enjoy the guitar again).

We spend so much more money on pedals that we generally don't need, since they more or less do the same thing. Spend a little to get a new sound and help a company get rolling. Go to Kickstarter to check it out, or to the Big Walnut Productions website for more into.



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Thursday, July 10, 2014

David Bowie's "Space Oddity" Isolated Bass and Drums

Bowie "Space Oddity" Record Cover image
Here's a fascinating piece of music history. It's the isolated bass and drums from David Bowie's first hit, the classic "Space Oddity."

The song features a completely different lineup from future Bowie albums, and included session drummer Terry Cox, legendary bass player Herbie Flowers (also responsible for the famous bass lines on Lou Reed's "Walk On The Wild Side"), Mick Wayne on lead guitar, and Rick Wakeman on Mellotron (who did play on subsequent Bowie records), was produced by Gus Dudgeon, and engineered by Trident Studios staff engineer Robin Cable.

This was quite a controversial song in its day since the BBC claimed that it poked fun at the British space program and kept it off its playlists until after the return of Apollo 11. Here are some things to listen for:

1. The rhythm section seems to get lost when listening to the full track, as we focus more on the vocal and lyrics, but the playing is very interesting all the same. The bass plays no distinguishable part, and the drums play very free for the verses of the song, almost like something you'd hear in be bop.

2. That said, the drum part plays very straight in the choruses and bridges, with the snare played quite forcefully. Check out the long plate reverb (sounds great) which only appears on the snare.

3. The kick isn't heard much although it's actually played a lot. It's not featured in the mix and is actually mixed down in the track. It's not the kind of song that relies on the power of the kick though.

4. The bass sound is great. but so is the drum sound (except for the kick). The drums are also in mono.

5. Listen through to the end if the video for the ending you don't hear on the record.

You can hear the leakage in the distance as the video begins, but the bass doesn't enter until about 0:23.



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