It’s Friday, and the weekend is about to start for many of us; which is a perfect reason for today's topics to feature in part 3 of this month's focus on Why Guitar Tone Matters! It’s not often I get to mention some of my favorite tricks I’ve learnt over the years, and the best part is that today's 2 in particular are actually things I learnt just watching some of my favorite producers talk through their techniques via videos.
So, grab a cup of coffee, and prepare for your weekend to become very experimental.
Let’s dive in!
Bass FX on Guitars
Thanks to one of our amazing partners, Nail The Mix and Ultimate Recording Academy, there's some amazing information online, totally for free from their extensive range of courses and producer walkthroughs that you can access and get a feel for how it can help you really progress your production techniques. I’ll be honest, even though I write this blog, this is still one of my favorite places to go in order to keep my own ideas fresh when working with artists in my studio, and also find solutions to problems I might be having in a mix.
That's actually how I stumbled across this trick that Buster Odeholm talks about in the video below; I was in the middle of mixing some guitars that I wasn’t sure about in terms of their clarity. The problem wasn’t new strings, or the guitars being bright enough, but rather that the mix was very dense, and so trying to balance the elements without masking the guitars was becoming a bit of a challenge.
Buster shows how by using a Bass Sansamp plugin, he duplicates the layers and starts to process them individually to curate just how much detail he wants to bring up in the overall tone. The best part for me is that because this is done on 2 independent tracks, it made my life a lot easier when I tried it out, and it allowed me the option of automating them across the course of the song to dial in more or less when it felt needed:
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Eric Valentine’s Outboard Tricks
One of my favorite records is the Songs for the Deaf album from Queens of The Stone Age, as is it for many people. Back in 2002, this came out and just tore apart the mainstream music scene with a totally new wave of blending various 90’s inspired genres together to form something totally unique in the absence of various notable bands that had since dissipated. One of the best parts of the sound of the record, of course, was the guitar tone, and for literally years, I tried over and over again to recreate the sound in the way I thought would work; unsurprisingly, I didn’t manage to be successful!
That was, until this wonderful video was released from Sound on Sound around about 6 years ago, where they interviewed Eric within his studio, and he talked about the way he managed to get the iconic guitar tone that had been so elusive for all these years. Before you see the video for yourself, one of the most interesting elements of the techniques he used was the utilization and, frankly, sheer abuse of midrange and pedals to achieve the sound.
Another very notable element used, is just like above with the use of Bass FX playing a part of the sound - here, Eric has used an Ampeg B15; a very well known and highly coveted Bass amp. Yet again, bass elements have been the staple of another guitar tone, and yet, I think most of us will agree that unless our focus was drawn to that fact, we’d have likely never have guessed that being the case. The point I mean to make here, is that, just like all things I write about on this blog, one thing always remains when doing anything in the studio or making music in general - if it sounds good, it’s good. I hope you all enjoy this snippet from Eric below, and this weekend, grab your bassists equipment and give it a new home for the weekend; I hope to hear what you come up with!