I get a lot of questions about my guitar “tone” in my videos.
Ok, yes it has improved since I first started posting videos. But, this brings to mind a very valuable music lesson I once had from my mentor which I’d like to share with you.
Nerd speaks for one sentence: For this video, I use a Maton guitar, a fresh set of uncoated phosphor bronze strings, 2 RODE mics, and a DI, into Garage band. (For more detailed CD-type recording my setup varies slightly.)
I recorded this song about 25 times in my home studio the day prior as practice.
I searched, listened, and allowed magic to pop up, I discarded ideas that did not work, and I voiced the same chords “umpteen” ways until I found just the “right” way.
This was not an analytical process….it was intuitive, creative, and gut level. Right and left brain had to work together to realize the overall sound I wanted.
During the practice session, I had a myriad of tones, dynamics, grooves, tempos…
Each practice recording sounded totally different from the next in color and timbre. Of course, I worked on technical things, but it was all in the service of the sound.
When one practices a performance or crafts an arrangement it requires searching for “just the right sound.” The small changes made over time are like the low flame that turns a pot of chopped vegetables and water into a “savory soup”.
This “savory soup” does not come only from a Maton guitar, a fresh set of uncoated phosphor bronze strings, 2 RODE mics, and a DI, into Garage band. It comes from listening and undergoing the process I have described.
Looking back, I can remember 20 years ago asking my mentor about the sound of my guitar. At the time I was trying to decide whether “flat wound” or “round wound” guitar strings had a better tone.
He told me “the tone you seek is inside.” 20 years later I see what he meant!
Until next time….Enjoy!
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