12 Aug AC/DC “Highway To Hell” (New Series)
Despite I knew this one – been knowing it for huh… decades – when approaching it yesterday I found out that I didn’t know much about it.
Ain’t it funny? I was astonished.
I had to completely re-learn not much the notes and stuff – and in a few cases, I had to! – but the rhythm nuances.
Several reasons for this:
– increased tempo on this live performance (Donnington Live ’91 multitrack files)
– nuances of the rhythm pattern I hadn’t digested yet, even after all these years.
– A couple of solo notes that I thought I was doing right previously, while I wasn’t.
I found out that this song really belongs to the legacy of the great rock and roll songs of all times. In the likes of – just to name one – Free’s “Allright Now”.
Yes, I know, it doesn’t seem relevant. It is.
This one has that exact, same sexy rocking nuances as All Right Now, and definitely, You Shook Me All Night long.
It’s not such a huge discovery, since AC/DC are the trademark for this type of rocking tunes. Still, it stroke me as an evidence only yesterday.
Despite the fact that the rhythm part for the verses seems relaxed, it ain’t. It’s a pain to get decently right. You’ll find out that you have to carefully listen to the drums at all times. Always. It’s question of milliseconds. Would you believe it?
I mean, would you believe it if I told you that the technical, timing reasons for a rock song to work properly is how you end up working on the millisecond details?
Please believe me.
I have been studying – once I got them rocking . the parts that I laid down on protools. It is something I have been doing for the past 10 years anyway, though back at the time we didn’t have the aid of such good (and affordable) technology as in today’s case.
Basically, you can do (you should) the following:
– take the drum track of a rocking song (you can do this with the multi-tracks widely available on the net for many cool songs). Just the drums ALONE, and possibly, a drum track where you have Snare Drum and Bass drum separation (i.e., you should have both tracks separated on two different tracks)
– do your guitar part trying to rock the heck out of it.
– Now, go back and see what you have done. You should be able to see the attack of many of your rhythm (and solo, too) strikes right after the bass drum waveform. NOT before. In case, just on the exact same millisecond the bass drum hits.
Fascinating, isn’t it?
Will be covering this whole theory (it’s not theory at all: if anything, this is an empirical method I worked out in time to learn how to do the rhythm groove to perfection) in a new, fully dedicated post for this.
– Played with this 1969 Gibson SG Standard
– Tone was made with the Eleven Rack (presets AND tone specifications to be available soon with images, etc.)
– Recorded and edited (audio) with ProTools 8.0.4
– Recorded (video) with a Canon 5DMkII, 50mm Lens f/1.2
– VIdeo edited and Sync’d with Final Cut Pro (I am hating Final Cut, too many bugs)
Notes: I have played the main rhythm, verse pattern twice (AFTER the video cut), dubbing the part for effect, as in the original studio recording.
Solo track was recorded separately.
HagusYoungPosted at 11:22h, 05 September
Great SG Mod, dude. To bad that Gibson engraved Maestros are rare and cost a lot. Try and get a ABR bridge, i personaly never liked the nashville style brigdes. Great looking Guitar!
SoloDallasPosted at 08:51h, 05 September
GREAT tone by the way. Good job, really well done, I’m impressed!
SoloDallasPosted at 08:49h, 05 September
Frankly, it’s pretty excellent. How the “groove” search going for you? Seems pretty well from what I hear! Congratulations, you’re REALLY making strong progress.
Jacob YergertPosted at 18:37h, 31 August
I know this is a little off topic, and forgive me, but I love how you recorded it in your boxers!
Hyce777Posted at 15:27h, 30 August
Hey fil. What you said about getting a backing track and just rocking with it is really true and important. I went to Justin Sandercoe’s website to find the shoot to thrill track, but I couldn’t find it. However he did have a 12 bar blues in A, so I downloaded that. It really is good training I think, the first couple run throughs my solos were terrible. And you know what the problem was? TIMING. (You weren’t lying, now were you!) I’m getting better with it, and it’s really fun. I’d recommend getting a backing track like that to anyone.
RyleyPosted at 02:55h, 26 August
hey Fil, u know, im stiilll iffy about the quick G chord played during the chorus on the “to” when i listen to the live version i hear them go straight from the A to the D with NO G in between… of course i may be incorrect but i just wanted to see if u had noticed??
rjofigPosted at 08:24h, 26 August
Same here; when I hear the transition it sounds to me more like a quick open A string that’s muted right afterwards when D is played.
DriesPosted at 18:11h, 25 August
Another nice one. Haven been trying for a long time to get this one right. Can you please comment this little recording I’ve just made? It’s only the solo, please give me tips and be honest.
SoloDallasPosted at 18:44h, 25 August
Well, good news is that you got it right. Notes are “that”, timing is there, you did well. I would like to hear some more vibrato here and there and definitely, less reverb. We have to be very careful with reverb, it has to be used wisely. I have often made mistakes and added too much. From the sound of it, seems like you are using “thick strings” or not much overdrive, so to say. You can use more than that if you want. I know I always stressed the fact that people use to much, but that is referred mostly to metal players. Not for us AC/DC folks. Though Angus said – recently – very many times that he plays “clean”, this is true only for his most recent albums. In the early days, the more he could get overdriven, the better it was for him. All in all, I’d say a sincere – I am always sincere 🙂 – well done. I look forward to hearing more from you.
DriesPosted at 19:06h, 25 August
I’m using .010 strings. Tricky question for you, what type of guitar do you thing this is made with?
+ Thanks for your’ advice, I’ll stay in touch
JimVibePosted at 19:10h, 25 August
DriesPosted at 19:26h, 25 August
I’ve just redone it one time.. Can’t get enough from it 🙂 With less reverb now, and a little bit more overdriven. It’s indeed an improvement ( to my ears at least ). A bit ( many ) more “retouches” and I will get there..
Thanks for listening !
JimVibePosted at 19:30h, 25 August
It needs a vibrato. Vibrato is not ‘few more retouches’ 🙂 It’s very hard work, and the point of most solos in my opinion.
DriesPosted at 19:35h, 25 August
You’re absolutely right. To learn those ‘nuances’, it takes huge amounts of time.
DriesPosted at 06:11h, 26 August
Also made a live version of it. Those Angus’ bends are so accurate! It makes, or destroys the whole solo.
SoloDallasPosted at 06:16h, 26 August
I find it excellent. Really good timing there. And yes, it’s exactly as you say: in this “simple” form of music – rock and roll – you either do it right or wrong and the whole song – the whole feeling – will immediately take you to the sky or precipitate you to horrible hell. One single thing can transform everything immediately. It’s just this that I try and tried to communicate always. It’s so subtle and yet, so amazingly important. BTW, I haven’t guessed what guitar you are using, I hear the thicker strings (which won’t allow you much to vibrate intensely imho) but I have NO idea of what you are using 😛 well done!
DriesPosted at 06:22h, 26 August
You may declare me crazy, but I’m using an Gretsch MY sig =) Had an SG ( 2008 ) a year ago, but it wasn’t my thing. To chunky neck and very little sustain. On this baby, I have to work hard, but I can get a lot more feeling into my playing – since I play also different music then AC/DC – But I will once buy again an SG, thats certain.
Thanks for listening man,
SoloDallasPosted at 06:24h, 26 August
DriesPosted at 08:03h, 26 August
The first solo of let there be rock is also kick ass ! Very difficult timing – in my opinion –
TylerPosted at 20:43h, 19 August
Fil, i remember you saying a while back about how to strike exactly on the beat, not before or after, that has stuck in head my head for a long time and I always try to apply that. Thank you for that.
JimVibePosted at 19:42h, 19 August
2:15 with the bend on the A string and 2:22 with the chord strumming — the most interesting places in the solo. Glad you nailed it and looking forward to seeing your tutorial on this 🙂 Again — just slow motion, NO words and explaining which notes exactly you hit. My opinion is that people who are able to play the solo will be also able to hear all notes in the slow version. So please — tell about small nuances and things that people don’t usually notice.
JimVibePosted at 18:25h, 25 August
Sorry, not A, but D.
prboydPosted at 19:10h, 19 August
Deffo mate on getting your AC/DC stuff up here. What you are known for!
You know me re collabs. Shits and kicks, a challenge and at times musically quite surprising. Great for cutting my teeth on the production side aswell.
If you are in I am, but ZERO pressure or chasing. I F*ing hate that…
I know now music is not on demand and have some projects good and bad that have just ambled along for 12 months before it comes together. Get enough on the go and there is usually something coming together every month.
Horizontal me Fil.
prboydPosted at 17:40h, 19 August
Hey Fil. Thought would be rude not to check this out. Good work mate as per other messages and interesting to see the setup. I am still using GR3/4 and Cubase, but it does ample for my needs. This is your tightest sounding tone you have going on now by a long way.
Re your vids, I can recommend Corel Videostudio Pro X3 for vid editing. I run a 1080 AVCHD cam and it takes and masters in that format amongst all the others. Really good editing toys, mask frames and chroma etc on it too. Runds 7 video tracks simultaneously too for the collabs etc.
Agree with you on All Right Now as a classic simple, but captivating beat. I was part of what we confidently think is the best cover on youtube out there so far and I LOVED learning the bassline. Made for the EB3!
Here it is if O.K to post up?
The video I am most proud of on my channel and production wise, a LONG way from my playing My Sharona badly on a mobile phone….!
Rock on fella and I shall pop in here from time to time and keep tabs on you if YouTube show you another red! 🙁
SoloDallasPosted at 17:50h, 19 August
It’s great to see you here! Of course it is okay to post up here. ANYWHERE you see fit is okay. When I’ll have a matching cover for that one, I will move it and post it right there. Thanks for the suggestion on the software, going to look into it right now. I always read your comments and by the way, I find the idea of going original – like I had already told you right then – very good. I would like to build up a bit more on covers – again – so that I feel I have a good backup for people uninterested in original stuff. I hope you come back soon here… Fil 🙂
JimVibePosted at 18:54h, 19 August
I’ve found this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mg2Nc178JIo
At 1:14 you can clearly see the right strumming pattern on the main guitar. And also we see that he uses a pick, not chicken picking like a guitarist in the cover above.
rjofigPosted at 11:54h, 19 August
Interesting thoughts – intrigued by the thought of just how many miliseconds, after a bit of searching I ran across this presentation – geek alert 🙂
It’s about Jazz, not rock, but some interesting observations from data they analyzed: see slides 7 and 8 – for downbeats, soloist delays can be tens of miliseconds and have more variance, for off-beats they are much tighter – on average in some cases not far from a few miliseconds.
It’d be enlightening if there similar studies for top rock rhythm and lead players.
sixstringsloverPosted at 05:52h, 17 August
This one definitely needs THE ultimate and definitive tutorial for both rythm and solo. A lot of things to discuss I think behind this so called simple tune.
You can check the poor video I made with all my rookie interogations !!
Hey LL, thank you. I allowed myself to edit your post and make it visible as a response video. No video is less, rookie or anything. It’s just “us” having a conversiation, discussing. This is the spirit of this place. Thank you mate 🙂
SoloDallasPosted at 06:14h, 17 August
Agree with you 🙂 (edited your comment)
Edit. remember what I used to say? “Simple, ain’t easy!”.
SchoolofRocknRollPosted at 16:01h, 12 August
did not really understood what you meant with the drums(im still a rookie in record music, just ’bout six month)
HagusYoungPosted at 15:49h, 12 August
are you using 2 fingers on the (verse?) a chord because ure trying to compensate the fretwear and to be exact or is it just a personal preference on this one ?
SoloDallasPosted at 15:58h, 12 August
Yes, two fingers only on the A chord. Reason: would also play – no way to avoid it, I tried – the flat D on the B string, unwanted during the verse.
JimVibePosted at 19:19h, 19 August
I was tought to use two fingers for the power chords at lower strings. But I didn’t like it and use 3 fingers (with pinky) — more control and you can vibrate chords (extremely difficult, but I think I’ve learnt to do this in 2 years).
RyleyPosted at 11:46h, 12 August
woww Fil thats a great idea with the mulittracks and the drums n wutnot, veryy good idea, thanks for the advice!
TheBrowlingPosted at 08:36h, 12 August
Great cover Fil, can I suggest you one song for your next covers? It will be Hells Bells, I love playing that song and love the studio version of it, the powerful, raw intro sounding alone while the heavy rhythm guitar enters it’s just… fucking awesome. What’s more, I think you just had a cover of it in your youtube account!
PS: Do you know stiff upper lip? Because it will also be great!
depuis1899Posted at 07:49h, 12 August
hey fil, sorry for what is happening to you on youtube…
but your covr here is great 😉
i wrote you a comment there too
SoloDallasPosted at 07:54h, 12 August
Thanks mate. Oh don’t worry for youtube. They have their own problems 😀
I am alive and kicking, and here too! 😀
AlexPosted at 06:26h, 12 August
I’m really annoyed of the record labels/publishers/youtube for killing fan interest and tributes. There’s a youtuber who pretty much has 100% note for note guitar covers on youtube (jun626), if he gets taken down, I will have lost all faith.
On a related note, great vid Fil! Hope you do a tutorial on this.
SoloDallasPosted at 06:31h, 12 August
Jun is a friend of mine. I had in mind to do a collaboration with him and he agreed to it months ago, but we go both carried away with other projects.
I think Jun is endangered – too – and he knows it.
AlexPosted at 06:34h, 12 August
I learn’t all my Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Beatle solos from watching him. I hope he starts a site as well! Though my hopes are not too high 🙁
SoloDallasPosted at 06:35h, 12 August
tjtristanPosted at 05:58h, 12 August
Another great cover! i’m still have to get used to responding here instead of Youtube :P. But the site is coming along great!