AC/DC “Highway To Hell” (New Series)

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.



Technical Information:

– 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.

Fil "SoloDallas" Olivieri

We Are Rock 'N Roll People.

  • avatar
    Posted at 00:56h, 21 October

    Fantastic video Fil, love the flashing horns by the way 😀 My favorite AC/DC song

  • avatar
    Posted at 18:26h, 24 September
  • avatar
    Posted at 18:26h, 24 September


  • avatar
    Posted at 15:51h, 15 September

    AC/DC – Big Gun

    There you go, your next challenge 😉 Awesome solos in that song

  • avatar
    Posted at 16:43h, 05 September

    HA. I remember when it stroke me. It was like an “illumination”. My whole world (of music) became different. I even listened to the music in a different way. It wasn’t anymore me sitting down and listening, it was finally understanding HOW MUCH needs to be down to kick a guitar part to make it sound “moving”. It means much to me to know that you got there.

    • avatar
      Posted at 04:29h, 06 September

      I know it’s hard to describe. What do you think I have been trying to do for these last 5-6 years? 😉
      Basically, you start feeling like YOU are into the music.

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