I admit that I struggled to get the right sound for the Harrison guitar part on “This Boy.” But after some detective work, it was clear that I was barking up the wrong tree. I had tried various settings on the Country Gent, but I came across the isolated vocal tracks of the Beatles, and heard just the leakage of that guitar part into the vocal mic. It convinced me that it was the leakage from the Gibson J160, and sure enough, the Gibson going direct into the board got the sound I was looking for. I should have thought of that possibility, since I learned long ago that it was Lennon’s Gibson on “I Feel Fine,” which I never imagined was anything but an electric. But with the pickups, the acoustic/electric is a thing unto itself. Probably the guitar geeks were way ahead of me on that one, but it just shows me that there’s always more to learn.
I truly hope that musicians and singers find the same enjoyment as I have with these recordings. And until there’s a way to separate the original recordings to this depth, perhaps these tracks will be the next best thing.
Did I say “3 separate guitars?”
At one of the mix sessions this week, Dave Darlington (engineer) and I prepared the stems for “Ticket to Ride.” I remembered that I referred to “3 separate guitar parts” that would be completely isolated in my recording. Well, I counted wrong, because there are 4!
Buried under the iconic 12-string ostinato is a rhythm guitar part, which is more easily heard in the coda, but plays throughout. So the complete separation includes: • Ostinato on the Rickenbacker 360-12, • Rhythm on the Rick 325, • The low A’s on the Strat, and • My favorite part – the McCartney fills on the Epiphone Casino. Nice to be able to mute any one of them separately and play along.
We also re-inspected the guitar parts to “Taxman.” Dave pointed out that what I had thought was a volume pedal at the re-entrance of the guitar figure (before the third verse at 1:31) was rather the fader being brought up in the mix, while the guitar was in progress with a hammer from C to D, therefore the attack of the note is not heard. Whether intentional or not, it always sounded pleasingly psychadelic to me.
Speaking of “Taxman,” I had the good fortune to work with Sir Paul when he made his Broadway debut in 2010 (more about that soon!) – I asked Paul about the “Taxman” guitar solo, saying that after all these years, I still find it difficult to count – though I’ve since learned it very well – Paul’s only explanation as to how he did it was “too many stimulants!” In future posts I’ll tell you lots more about my 4-day episode with the master.