Professional Sound - October 2017 - Page 56

SOUND ADVICE The Secret of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Guitar Tone By Clifton David Broadbridge O ne of the most powerful musical influ- ences that I had growing up was Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble. Ste- vie’s guitar tone was clean, clear, loud, and soulful, with a huge soundstage. Although I was aware that he recorded with multiple amps, there was still something happening sonically in the studio mixes that went beyond EQ, compres- sion, delay, and reverb. Reading through some old articles I discov- ered that Stevie loved the sound of the Roland Dimension D and how its subtle chorus effect would give his guitar a thicker sound without changing his natural tone. He would actually add it to his solos himself with the console’s effects send and return. Apparently, Stevie came across this technique during the recording of David Bowie’s Let’s Dance album, which he played on. Thanks to Stevie Ray Vaughan, this has be- come one of the most useful techniques that I’ve learned that can give an instrument or vocal some- thing special in a mix. I use the Universal Audio Roland Dimension D plug-in on a stereo aux in Pro Tools and, like Stevie, add just enough of the effect to create a larger dimension without changing the source sound. This effect can be heard on the solos in Stevie’s songs “Pride and Joy” and “Mary Had a Little Lamb” from the album Texas Flood, as well as a majority of solos on Couldn’t Stand the Weather. Clifton David Broadbridge is a studio partner of Eddie Kramer and engineer at El Mocambo Productions. Miking Tips From Echoplant Sound Recording Studios’ Ryan Worsley My two favorite amps for this are a Fender Deluxe Reverb and a vintage Traynor YGM-3. Sometimes this will end up as a cool effect that I blend to the rest of the kit, and other times, it will become the entire close mic sound, replacing the original unprocessed track. I really like sending miked signals into guitar amps, especially with drums. When I’m tracking drums, I usually have an amp miked up in the bathroom, with an SM7 on it, that I can send any of the close mics to. Typically, it will be a kick or snare… or both. You can do this right off the console via sends, or back out of your DAW sends, but make sure that everything is in phase (especially when sending kick and snare together). Sometimes I’ll add a bunch of spring reverb from the amp, or keep it tight and punchy. I also like to do something similar but with pedals and a Radial EXTC. I’ll send the snare mic to the EXTC and send it through my guitar effects pedals. Usually I’ll have an overdrive, fuzz, delay, and reverb, and just pick and choose for whatever sounds right for the song. 56 PROFESSIONAL SOUND This next tip is a more advanced technique for finding the ideal guitar tone. It’s adapted from Michael Stavrou as described in his book, Mixing with Your Mind. One way I like to get guitar tones is by moving the mic around while wearing headphones. This can be tricky to do, because the volume of the amp is typically louder than the headphones, but there is a solution. I first put the mic in a place that I think will sound good. Once I’ve heard how it sounds with the loud guitar signal running through it, I’ll unplug the guitar from the amp. I then plug my phone into the amp via a headphone to 1/4-in. adaptor cable. I have a loop of pink noise that I play through the amp at a very quiet volume (so I’m only hearing through the headphones what is being picked up by the mic). Similar to white noise, pink noise contains all of the frequencies in the spectrum. One will need to be familiar enough with how it typically sounds. I crank the headphone volume and listen to the pink noise through them. Once I hear how the pink noise sounds in my first mic position, I adjust the mic placement to find a position that gives me what I’m looking for. For example, if the initial guitar tone sounded muddy, I change the position until the pink noise is more balanced and the midrange frequencies are no longer jumping out. This is great way to judge how the different mic positions sound. Ryan ]ͱ䁥́ɽՍȰՑȰձѤյхаͽɥѕ)ݡݹ́ЁMչIɑMՑ́Yٕȸ!́ݽɭݥѠ)ȁI՝=Mѡ] Ʌ51ٔѡ̸)ܹͽչ