I’ve been working on a full length album for Stereo Creeps for over a year now. It’s taken this long because of a lineup change, but that’s another story:) I’ve posted a couple of pictures from our last session for a few reasons. Mainly to show off cool pictures of guitar stuff, but also to talk about how much fun it is (for everyone involved) to do “guitar day”. Of course not every band has the budget to spend an entire day on guitar overdubs, I realize this. But I do make an effort to keep my rates low, and I think every guitarist deserves at least one of these sessions at some point. Don’t you?!
When you dedicate an entire session to guitars, it allows you to set up a bunch of stuff and experiment. Most guitarists spend a lot of time “dialing” in a sound they call their own. I usually spend time trying to capture that sound the best I can. But beyond that, you can explore other sounds in the studio to add variation and depth to recordings. During one of these sessions I typically set up every amp we own in addition to the band’s gear. Add pedals galore to try different combinations and don’t forget the mics! I love ribbons on guitar (Coles 4038, AEA R84, Royer R-121, R-122) but always have a tried-and-true Shure SM57 just in case the ribbon mics don’t deliver enough bite. Of course mic pre selection and compression alter tones, but that deserves a separate blog post on its own!
Highlights from the Stereo Creeps session you ask?
- Robert’s Mesa Nomad delivered some mammoth tones through my Avatar 2×12, but I wanted something nastier for a track called “Swarm of Lies”. Robert grabbed Sean’s Yamaha Studio Lord guitar and ran it through our Blunderbuss fuzz pedal, and then into a Hiwatt amp plugged into the Peavey Scorpion 1×12. We used most of the first take with this sound. Robert was giddy, and kept commenting that it sounded like the amp was about to explode (in a good way)
- Sean just bought a Tokai Stratocaster and wanted to try it through his Silverface Fender Super Reverb. Sean normally runs through his locally made Recovery pedal, so we tried that. Super awesome, but just a touch too “icy”. So I stuck the Coles 4038 ribbon in front (about 10 inches away). This mic focused on the meat of the sound. WOW.
- Robert wanted to add an overdub to accent a part in the bridge. He’d been eyeballing our vintage Vox teardrop 12-string electric all day. So we hooked it up through an MXR Carbon Copy delay, next the Hardwire Supernatural Ambient Verb and finally through another local product, a THD Univalve amp. I could hear Sean in the next room muttering, “I think that is the coolest sound I’ve ever heard in my life”. Mission accomplished.
- Last, but not least, we happened upon one of the best bass fuzz tones in the history of the universe. We discovered it while re-amping Marks bass parts through the Ampeg B15N into a Bag End 2×10 cabinet. I thought to run the signal through our new Apocalypse 5-channel fuzz box. There is a setting called “Octavious”. Anyone who has tried recording bass fuzz knows what a pain in the ass it is. But this sound was incredible. It had all the desired destruction but maintained beefy low end. This will be my new “go to” sound for bass fuzz tones!