Friday, August 17, 2007

Eclectic Guitars

The worst is behind us. The tracking, the lead vocals, the acoustic guitar parts--the foundation of the album--have been recorded. Glory be.

John asked about tips on doubling a guitar part. I don't know many tips, so this'll be short. The main thing is to know exactly how you play the part, because recording in general, and doubling in specific, is like a magnifying glass on your performance. Sean Watkins once told me that they call the studio the "humilifier", and that's no exaggeration. If Nickel Creek is humilified, then I'm downright repulsified. But it makes you really figure out what you're playing, and why. I remember at the first show Jamie, Gabe and I did after recording Carried Along back in 1999 we were surprised at how good we sounded, and it was because of months of zeroing in on the minutiae of what we're doing in every song.

With the doubled guitar part, I put the original guitar in one ear and played along, stopping when something didn't line up (pretty much) exactly. You'd be surprised how easy it is. The nice thing is that with a double you don't have to be quite so picky since it's basically providing an effect--the average listener won't even realize there are two guitars, but it'll sound warmer and intentional. I'm repeating myself.

Today was another thing altogether. We finally made it to electric guitars. We're planning on calling our pal Andrew Osenga to play the electrics on a few songs, but Ben and I decided that it was high time Gully started playing some on the road, so most of the songs will be electrified by Gully himself.

It was so satisfying to finally hear something to soften the tracks. None of the instruments played so far have any kind of pad effect, nothing to smooth things over and sweeten the feel, so hearing that guitar was like a cool drink of water.

"Hosea" is a song we tracked for The Far Country but didn't use on the record. I've liked the song for the last two years, and the theme of redemption in the great Old Testament story fits just right on Resurrection Letters. The electrics sounded so nice that I muted the acoustic strum track and I didn't miss it one bit as we listened through. Well done Gullahorn. Your dream of usurping me has finally come true.

The video isn't the most thrilling thing in the world, but you get a good look at how a part is created for a song.

Listening to: Glen Phillips - Thank You
via FoxyTunes


josh said...

Hey that's some sweet sweet electric guitar tone "Gully" is getting... What kind of amps and such is he using on this particular song? This blog is probably one of the greatest things that's gonna happen this year by the way... Can't wait to hear the new songs...

James Lee Younger III said...

did you just line in from the guitar to the recording pre amp, or did you mic a guitar amp?

it seemed like the first... and if so, do you do all your electric effects later with pro tools plug ins?

Rebekah said...

The thing I love best about the video is that at the end you can hear part of the vocals to Hosea. I can tell it's going to be a favorite already - you know how that goes sometimes? You hear a tiny little snippet of a song and it just tugs at your gut?

I. Cannot. Wait. For. Ressurection. Letters.

That is all.


b.j. mumford said...

these are really fun videos, boys. really fun.

if nickel creek calls it the humilifier, and you call it the repulsifier, then when i record it's the earthwormifier. or something.

Shannon said...

I'm loving this blog :)