Tag Archives for " The Beatles "

How To Sound Like The Beatles Using Modern Gear

Beatles GuitarsIf you ever wanted to record some of those authentic Beatles guitar sounds but didn’t know how to go about getting them, then this is the video for you. It uses only modern gear and relies mostly on pedal combinations. Granted, the amp is a Vox AC30 and the guitars and bass are modern versions of what John, Paul and George used, but the sounds are pretty much nailed.

Here’s a list of the timings and what gear combinations are used.
0:00 – Hard Day’s Night
0:31 – Nowhere Man
0:47 – Taxman
1:00 – Paperback Writer
1:18 – Think For Yourself
1:45 – Revolution
2:05 – Happiness is a Warm Gun
2:31 – I Want You (She’s So Heavy)

Equipment
Vox AC30 Amplifier: http://bit.ly/2igi9Hw
Rickenbacker 330 Electric Guitar: http://bit.ly/2hCh8tG
Rickenbacker 360-12 Electric Guitar: http://bit.ly/2ibAA3R
Epiphone Hummingbird Pro Acoustic/Electric Guitar: http://bit.ly/2hdssjq
Epiphone Casino Electric Guitar: http://bit.ly/2haJ4GV
Hofner 500/1 Violin Bass: http://bit.ly/2h2Hcg2

Pedals
MXR Studio Compressor
Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer
Dunlop Germanium Fuzz Face Mini
Sola Sound Tone Bender Mk IV Fuzz
JHS Colour Box
DLS Effects Versa Vibe
Keeley Caverns Delay-Reverb
Boss FBM-1 Fender Bassman Overdrive
TC Electronic Ditto Looper

December 9, 2016

A Listen To The Beatle’s Decca Audition Tape

The Beatles Decca demoThe Beatles, arguably the greatest music group of all time, were turned down by every record label they went to until a little arm twisting landed them on George Martin’s Parlophone label. One listen to this audition tape that the band did for Decca Records  leads you to understand why everyone passed however. The band played songs from their live show, and while certainly competent, didn’t provide even an inkling of what was to come later.

The audition took place in London at Decca Studios on New Year’s Day in 1962. The group (which included original drummer Pete Best) travelled down from Liverpool through a snowstorm with driver and roadie Neil Aspinall to arrive just in time for the 11am audition. Brian Epstein had travelled separately by train. The Beatles recorded 15 songs altogether with 5 of them,  “Three Cool Cats,” “The Sheik Of Araby,” “Like Dreamers Do and Hello Little Girl,” eventually appearing on the Anthology 1 collection in 1995.

Here’s the track listing.

01. Money (That’s What I Want) [0:00]

02. To Know Her Is To Love Her [2:26]

03. Memphis, Tennessee [5:01]

04. Till There Was You [7:22]

05. Sure To Fall (In Love With You) [10:23]

06. Besame Mucho [12:27]

07. Love Of The Loved [15:07]

08. September In The Rain [17:00]

09. Take Good Care Of My Baby [18:57]

10. Crying, Waiting, Hoping [21:26]

 The lesson here is to never judge a book by its cover, because you just never know if there’s greatness that lies within.

November 4, 2016

Beatles Bloopers

Beatles BloopersIf you’re a hard-core Beatles fan then you’ll love this Beatles Bloopers video. If you’re not, you’ll still enjoy some of the humor involved when various members of the band screw things up on songs that you’ve heard hundreds of times. Here are a few other things to listen for though.

1. John Lennon’s voice is truly impressive. I don’t think I ever gave him credit for the range that he had back in the day.

2. The Abbey Road reverb is truly lovely. You’ll hear gobs of it here, and it played a large part in the sound of the band (and others of that era who recorded there too).

3. It’s cool to hear inside a few of the songs to how some of the parts were played, if even only for a second. The interplay between guitars is a little more obvious in places than in the final mixes.

[Photo: Beeld en Geluidwiki – Gallery: The Beatles]

October 21, 2016

A Look At The Early Music Business In The Beatles First Album

beatles_and_george_martin_in_studio_1966The early music business in the 50’s and 60’s was a completely different animal from what we have today. For one thing, studio recording offered a quick turnaround since the technology was so much simpler then, but the mentality of doing things quickly to see if it worked or not was a big part of the business as well. One of the things that’s the same as the pop business of today is the fact that everything is based around the hit song, and that’s perfectly illustrated by this video on the making of The Beatles first album, called Please Please Me in the UK.

The video has Sir George Martin describing how he looked for a hit song for the group from outside songwriters and actually found one, only to have it brushed off by the band because it was too soft and went against their tough Liverpool image (hard to believe that now). There’s also individual clips from the Fab Four describing a little bit of their songwriting process at the time, and some great archival live concert footage.

The Beatles “Day Tripper” Isolated Bass And Drums

beatles day tripperIt’s always a treat to hear the isolated tracks from a hit, especially when they’re from the old days of extreme tape machine limitations. The Beatles “Day Tripper” is an excellent example of how great a recording could be with only 4 tracks as we listen to the isolated bass and drums from the song. Of course, the magic is all in the song and you can certainly hear that in the recording. Here are some things to listen for.

1. The sound of the bass. It’s pretty woofy and not too defined like it would be in later recordings, but actually works in the track pretty well in when mixed with everything else. The bass sounds pretty bad by itself, which proves the point that sometimes relying on the solo button isn’t exactly the best thing for a mix.

2. There’s a lot of leakage. That would make producers, engineers and players crazy today but it was just standard operating procedure back then. No big deal, you just make it work for you.

3. The B-section bass changes. Paul McCartney plays a different part on each of the three B-sections, but each one of them is brilliant and works as well as the previous one. I wonder if this was planned or just happened spontaneously?

4. The drum B-section snare. Ringo play’s a little pickup snare fill on the second half of the B-section that almost sounds like a mistake. it’s a tad slow, as are the fills and builds, but it actually works well against the other tracks.

5. The bass line on the outro. It’s also a little different from what you’re used to hearing. It actually sounds like this version of “Day Tripper” might either be an outtake or the song was edited to make it a bit longer on the final version.

6. There’s an ending. You don’t hear it on the record but there’s one there if you listen to the end.

September 8, 2016

Now You Can Own The Console That Recorded The Beatles

emi-redd-37Just about any piece of gear that has crossed the doorstep of the legendary Abbey Road Studios is truly revered, especially if it’s from 60s and 70s. The studio’s boffins in the maintenance department were renowned for being meticulous in creating and upgrading any gear used in the studios, which came across in recordings that still sound great today. Of particular interest was its consoles, and now perhaps the most famous console of all, the REDD.37, the one that recorded most of The Beatles records from Meet The Beatles to Let It Be, is available for sale.

The console was owned by Lenny Kravitz for the last 25 years, and the previous owner, Chris Solberg, had it for 12. Prior to that it resided in Abbey Road Studio 1.

REDD.37 is the last of the tube consoles created by EMI’s Record Engineering Development Department (REDD) and is considered the highest form of tube console art. It’s built around the excellent sounding Siemans V72 microphone preamps that are highly sought after to this day, and at 800 lbs, is built like a tank.

The console has narrowly survived two disasters, leaving Solberg’s house in the Oakland Hills just days before the massive Oakland Hills fire wiped out the neighborhood, and arriving at Kravitz’ studio in the Bahamas two days after a hurricane wiped out his warehouse with all his gear.

As cool as owning a console like this might be, it does have some limitations (it was built in 1958 after all). Among them is the fact that it only has 8 inputs, there are no direct outs or phantom power, it only runs on 240/50Hz power, and it has very basic two band EQ (although it has two different Pop and Classical EQs that you can drop in). It’s also extremely hot because of all the tubes, so make sure that your HVAC is up to the task.

Also included with REDD.37 are two Studer tape machines also from Abbey Road – a 1″ 4 track J37 (serial number 7) and a two track C37, so it’s quite a package.

I don’t know what the asking price is, but you can inquire at Vintage King, who’s handling the sale.

Here’s a video that explains more about this fantastic piece of music history.

April 26, 2016

The Abbey Road ADT Story

Abbey Road ADT imageThe Beatles, and John Lennon in particular, loved to double track vocals but hated the act of doing it. Not only that, back in the 4 and 8 track days, the doubled vocal would take up a track that could have been used for another element of the production.

That’s why Abbey Road chief engineer, technical director, and later studio manager Ken Townsend came up with an ingenious way of simulating a double by using a couple of tape machines that’s still tough to duplicate even today (although Waves now has a nice simulation). He called the effect ADT or Artificial Double Tracking.

Here’s Ken describing how the effect worked.

The Beatles “Drive My Car” Isolated Bass

Isolated BassPaul McCartney is one of the most influential bass players ever, and it’s always very cool to be able to listen to his isolated bass tracks. Today we’ll take a listen to The BeatlesDrive My Car” from the Rubber Soul album. Here’s what to listen for.

1. Listen to the pickup notes at the end of the bass phrase during the verse. He doesn’t play it all the time, but it makes for a very funky bass line when he does.

2. Paul plays the bass line of the chorus differently, sometimes even within the same chorus. Sometimes each note is held out, and other times it’s very staccato.

3. The bass track is far from perfect, with a major clam at 1:57 and some minor ones along the way. That said, it took another 10 years or so until production techniques really focused on each individual part and how it interacted with the other elements of the song, as well as how consistently each part was played.

In other words, it’s a great track for its time, but would have been fixed or replayed in today’s production environment.