Wednesday, March 28, 2012

1st Album Gear Part 1: Drums and Guitars

Fellow musicians and audiophiles, I’m posting a rundown of the gear used for the recording of “Within a Reverie” for all interested parties. Our first album was completed on what many would consider a shoestring budget when compared with so-called “pro” recordings. Despite that, we got a pretty good sound, and managed to keep it simple, clear, and not compressed to all hell. On the flip side of this, we artists are always our own worst critics and we admit that there is room for improvement in several departments. Hopefully on subsequent records we can reach those goals in quality of sound that egg us on from the perfect symphony we hear in our minds.

Recording quality aside, I am intensely proud of the individual sounds we got for each instrument, and am happy to share our gear specs with you.

Drums:

Yamaha Beech Custom - Lime Green,
10", 12", 14" Toms,
22" Kick,
13" Tama Steel Snare Drum

14" Meinl Byzance Extra Dry Medium Hats,
20" Meinl Byzance Sand Ride,
18" Sabian Hhx Studio Crash,
18" Zildjian Oriental China Trash,
19" Zildjian K Custom Hybrid China,
24" Dream Contact Ride,
15" Zildjian K Custom Dark Crash

We also used Superior Drummer 2.0 for triggering. This was mostly used for kick and snare. When we started, Andy and I discussed to what degree we wanted to use this for quite some time, and we both agreed that his cymbal setup shouldn’t be messed with. In my opinion, he has one of the most original cymbal combinations I have come across (so happy he has good taste!). Specifically speaking, I love his Zildjian K’s and Dream Ride (the Dream Ride is one of the most beautiful cymbals I have ever heard, period), and the Sand Ride is amazing as well.

I've included a video of Andy giving a rundown of his kit here for your viewing pleasure:



Guitars:

I used my 7-string Schecter Diamond Series Hellraiser guitar for most of the album, switching over to my late 70’s Gibson Marauder for clean sections. I love Schecter guitars and, in my opinion, they have made amazing strides in quality in the last 5 years. One of the things that I find peculiar (but not bad) about Schecter guitars is that they seem to not have a “brand sound.” For example, when you hear a Les Paul, it sounds like a Les Paul colored by the amp it is being run through. When you hear a Strat, it sounds like a Fender Strat. These are good things, and if those guitars didn’t sound so good, they wouldn’t have lasted as both trusted instruments and cultural icons. Schecter guitars, on the other hand, seem to fully don the sound of the amp they are going through. So, on this Within a Reverie album, my Schecter sounds like a mid-grade Marshall head through a late 70’s Traynor cab…and I love it! I find this to be a whole new reason to love Schecter guitars. If I had to describe the Schecter sound alone, I would say it is an extremely balanced, modern sounding guitar that makes up for its lack of an identifiable “brand sound” with its chameleon-like sonic versatility. A Schecter guitar can fit in anywhere. Pop, metal, jazz, blues, you name it. The Marauder has a really versatile sound as well. If you know the history of these guitars, they are kind of a Frankenstein-style marriage of a Gibson with humbucking pickups and classic Fender single-coil pickups. Although not really considered a high-quality instrument, the middle pickup setting is one of the most beautiful tones I’ve had the pleasure of playing with.

For bass tracking I used only one bass. I call him “Sasquatch” because of his foresty color and imposing stature, but you may know him better by the name of Ibanez Soundgear. This bass is 6 strings of nasty awesomeness. Active pickups/EQ, Bartolini MK1 pickups, and lots of other tone options made this indispensible for our project.

Stay tuned for the next blog post, where I’ll be covering amps, microphones, and software/DAW.