Phase 4: Guitars
Guitars were up next. The last time Kenny and I were in the same room working as a producer and guitarist was almost four years ago, when both Joseph and I were active in a band called Scarlet Sally. This eventually led to a working relationship with Kenny as soon as Jubox Recording House started building its own client base. Over the years, Kenny has mentored me into the local recording business which led to a number of collaborations between us, making the process of approaching him as a producer for the album quite a straightforward decision.
This album with Relikc, led me to focus on reproducing iconic funk tones as well as classic crunch sounds. In fact, the recording rig comprised of various vintage gear as well as a number of current tools and gadgets. The overall workflow was very smooth throughout the recording process, and of course enjoyable.
- 1965 Fender Twin Reverb
- 1964 Vox AC30
The amps were positioned back-to-back in order to minimize audio bleed as much as possible and they were both mic'd up with a Shure SM57 and an AKG C414EB each. The SM 57's were plugged into API 512c preamps whereas the 414's were plugged into both channels of an Avalon AD2022 dual-channel tube preamp. Then, the outputs of all external preamps were routed to the line inputs of the mid-80's Trident Series 65 analog console where they were EQ'd to taste and finally, from the console's direct outs, everything was sent to the Digidesign 192 AD/DA converter into Cubase 8.
- 1974 Fender Stratocaster
Mods: Mint Green Pickguard loaded with Seymour Duncan Pickups (SSL-1 in the Neck & Middle; SSL-5 in the Bridge)
- 1983 Fender Top-Loader Telecaster
Mods: Gotoh Dual-Load In-Tune Telecaster Bridge with Brass Saddles
- 2007 PRS Custom 24
- 2012 Gretsch White Falcon
- 2010 Yamaha SG1820
- 2005 Martin D-28 Marquis
Mods: K&K Ultra Pure Mini Preamp and Pickup System
Both the Strat and the Tele were used predominantly all throughout the album. It goes without saying that these two were indeed an integral part of the overall timbre, given that the style of the album is mostly a mix of funk, pop and rock. However, a couple of tracks did eventually branch out to other musical genres, although still somewhat related to the sound that we were going for. For example, the Gretsch White Falcon was the perfect choice for a jazz guitar sound a la George Benson, due to its hollowbody. It also added a nice touch to specific sections where just the addition of some broken chords were blended in. Also, the Martin D-28, mic'd with a vintage Neumann KM84, proved to be a great tool for laying down doubled rhythm tracks which ended up giving a couple of songs a vibe that was better than what we originally envisioned. Finally, the PRS and the Yamaha were mostly used to fatten up certain passages and make them sound bigger, within particular tracks which Kenny felt needed that extra edge.
Due to the dual amplification, the signal chain was split in two by making use of a a Radial JD7, whilst also keeping a D.I. out which was fed straight into the console. However, my pedal board was placed between the guitars and the Radial JD7, meaning that each amp received the same altered tone. Most overdriven tones were achieved via an Ibanez Tubescreamer Mini, however an Xotic SL Drive was also used for even more saturated tones for specific leads. Apart from these two pedals, the Xotic EP Booster was occasionally also used at its lowest settings, which added just the right amount of sparkle and pleasant colour.
Even though I actively use a variety of effect pedals in my live setup, it was decided that any modulation and delay effects would instead be added in post-production via software plugins. This gave us the flexibility to experiment with different effects using the raw sound from the amp. Luckily all of my pedals are hooked up to the BOSS ES-8, which allowed me to use just the overdrive/distortion pedals within the signal chain, without needing to dismantle the whole board.