30 Jun Well, Welcome Back!
Welcome back y’all! That’s the first thing I (we) want to say.
Do you remember when I used to say, “when I’m silent I’m working on something”? Well well. (more…)
Welcome back y’all! That’s the first thing I (we) want to say.
Do you remember when I used to say, “when I’m silent I’m working on something”? Well well. (more…)
Dear Rocking Friends,
Every one of us has a dream. A gear-related dream, to be precise. A Marshall Super Lead maybe? I think I just said something magical there. But you know, you don’t have to have that kind of equipment to achieve (or at least approximate) the tone you’ve always been dreaming about, as I shall demonstrate with this post. Now to be clear, the aim of this writing is not to say that expensive gear can be replaced, but rather to show you that you can squeeze out a somewhat decent tone – something you didn’t quite expect – even from cheaper gear. To sum this up in a sentence:You don’t know
So let’s jump straight into the setup I have for this demo:
Nothing quite special as you can see, it’s a very straight-forward setup. The only thing I did to the recording you’re about to hear, is that I applied some reverb via software. Other than that, this recording is raw, and has not been enhanced in any way. Have a good listen:
One thing to keep in mind while listening to this, is that the MS-4 has very tiny 3″ speakers inside of a plastic cabinet that barely has any air in it. This is the reason for the boxy sound, and the lack of bass. But once you get over that, it sounds very decent, especially the Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution part! That one sounds frighteningly close to the original in my opinion.
Now let’s take this experiment a little further – in case you’re not impressed already. I added the following items to the rig:
In order to plug the MS-4 into the external cabinet, a modification is required to the amp. This consists of bypassing a resistor inside the amp that limits the output signal to headphone levels. After that is done, the headphone jack now becomes a speaker output jack – but make sure you don’t plug any headphone into it anymore! If you need exact instructions on how to do this, please let me know in the comments.
So after the amp was prepared, I hooked up everything, and I was very impressed by the results. The amp sounded surprisingly dynamic, lively, rich in harmonics, and enjoyable. I even managed to get a nice sustained feedback! I mic’d up the cab to make a second recording, here it is:
Now let me ask you something at this point. Could you possibly tell (without reading the article) that the amp used in the recording is a $50 1W solid-state pocket amp? If this was a blindfold test, I guess you would bet for something way more expensive, wouldn’t you? That’s fine though, I would do the same 😆
Before ending this article, let me address one more thing… The whole point of this article is to give you an idea on how to get a better tone from your existing gear. The answer is very simple: take your time! When you’re setting up your amp, miking your cab, or even just setting the knobs on your stomp boxes, remember this: if you think you’re done after a couple of minutes, you’re not!
Let’s say you’re miking up your cab. What you shouldn’t do is to try out a few major mic positions, and pick what sounds the best for you, or either use a position that you used earlier. In many cases, tiny adjustments (I’m talking about millimeters here) can make a world of difference. When I mic up my guitar cab, I usually spend at least about 30 minutes setting up the mic position every time. Even if I marked a previously used mic position with duct tape on the cabinet, I only use that as a starting point. You should always absolutely geek out every possibility before recording. I find that spending extra time on the setup after you think it’s perfect is almost always beneficial. Of course the same rules apply to all the setup that’s required for playing, and not just miking.
Another very important thing is that you should always think of your whole rig (from your hands all the way to the speakers) as one big instrument! I cannot emphasize this enough. You’re not only playing the guitar, and having an amp that only makes it louder. The whole rig is one big instrument, but most importantly an instrument that has soul (not literally of course). Every piece in the rig is equally important. You have to spend time with your gear getting to know it, thus being able to use what is has to your advantage. A good rig is not just something you play on; it’s something that helps you expressing yourself, and also makes you feel good doing it!
I hope you find my thoughts useful, and will benefit greatly from them, just as I did. As the title says: never underrate your equipment!
Finally, here are a few pictures I took during the recording session:
Have a good day!
Guitars are supposed to be played – that is a given – but it also means that they will suffer quite a bit of wear and tear, no matter how careful or gentle you are.
The frets and the board itself are the parts which take most of the beating.
Obviously, the frets are under constant friction from the strings. All that grinding can leave the frets in pretty rough shape after a while, especially with a lot of bending and vibrato. You may start feeling like there is sand or something under the strings, making playing very uncomfortable. You can solve that by polishing the frets with a very fine steel wool. It’s a good idea to protect the board with tape before starting.
Hello Fellow SD Members. 06AngusSG here (Jon)
It’s been quite a while since my last article here but it’s that time again. Time for some more Do-It-Yourself (D.I.Y.) work articles. First off today we’ll look into some, scarce, history on the Nylon Saddles that we’ll be making. The reason I say “scarce” for the history is that when I started looking into the Gibson Nylon saddles there really isn’t much to be found.
So I’ll try to give a rundown of what I’ve discovered.
(I am not calling this a “definitive history” but only what I can find. If you have any better sources please comment and I will update info.)
In the beginning of the Les Paul, and other hard bodies, they did not have the luxury of the Tune-o-matic bridge.
They had a wrap around stop bar that was set in the body at an angle to achieve an unreliable degree of intonation.
While some people were able to come up with some creative ideas for the high action these tails created, there just needed to be something else.
Debuting on the 1964 Les Paul Custom came the ABR-1 Tune-o-Matic Bridge. This little piece of innovation changed the way that Gibson, and now many other brand, guitars functioned. The Tune-O-Matic allowed for a micro adjustment of the intonation and action height achieving a higher quality of performance.
So into the Nylon mystery. While there are varying, and no official, accounts to be found about these saddles I have boiled my research down to a single reason Gibson used them. Rattle dampening. Yep, that’s right, rattle dampening. While the ABR-1 bridge was a vast improvement over the wrap around bridge it also came with it’s drawbacks.
Due to the retaining wire running along the adjustment screws and the way the set posts were constructed with multiple pieces it seems that the ABR-1 had an inherent rattling problem. So much that it was audible through the pickups. Gibsons solution to this was the dampening quality of Nylon. While “official” 😉 accounts also vary in the years, it seems that the use of nylon saddles started somewhere from 1959-1961 and lasted up to at the latest 1970.
With the incoming of the newer (rattle free) Nashville Tune-o-Matic, the Nylon went to the wayside. And since then the tone arguments have ensued to this date. The major opinions are “tone sucking,” “tone fattening,” or “treble ping taming.” Even Joe Bonamassa uses Nylon on his unwound G B E strings to “tame” them.
Therefor comes the reason for this D.I.Y. With the Nashvilles being rattle free no one has ever produced Nylon saddles for them. Which leaves those of us with Nashvilles no way to try to form our own opinion (like or hate) on their tonal qualities. I being a tone nut, like a lot of you, do not accept this so I made my own.
The originals were constructed of Nylon 6-6 material. Fortunately this is the most produced and desirable type of Nylon made even today. I got ahold of the material to fabricate these from a hardware store 1/2 mile from my house. This in the form of a washer of the already correct thickness for saddles. ($2.40)
ON TO THE FUN PART!!! 😛 😆
(CLICK TO EXPAND PICS FOR MORE DETAIL)
Tools needed are pictured here. As with all my D.I.Y. Posts I’m not saying anything in here is the only way to do something. It’s just my way. I’m trying to do these tutorials not with “proper luthier tools” but what tools most people generally have or are readily available.
Obviously you’ll need to remove your bridge to do this. Simple…Take off strings remove bridge. These are the retaining spring for the saddle screws. You will need to push up on this to un-seat it from the retaining groove in the screw
As seen here: you need to make sure that it is pushed out of the retaining groove so you can unscrew the saddles.
First is to pre drill the hole for the screw threads. My bridge is a Gotoh so I’m using a 2.5mm pre drill for the M3 x .5 threads. I use a drill press for this part so the hole is straight. If you don’t have one just carefully use a hand drill.
Next is to tap the threads into the hole. Again: If you have to use a hand drill try to hold as square as possible to the material. A crooked hole or thread will affect how the saddle sits in the bridge!!!
Once the threads are tapped shave off the “puckered” material with a razor blade.
Take the saddle and screw you set aside earlier and attach it to the nylon with the intonation screw. Make sure to twist it tight so it won’t move around. Take a hobby razor knife and trace a groove around the saddle. Make sure to get all sides.
This is how it should look when you’re done tracing. (I rubbed ink into the groove for photo definition. Not a required step.)
After you use the fine cut saw to rough cut the outline, making sure to not intrude into the trace lines, use a flat razor blade to push down through the trace lines to get the final cuts. (a small jewelers type hammer lightly tapping the blade can help in this step)
Here is the true rough cut. Now comes the part where patience and detail come in. Go ahead and have a smoke break first…………
O.k. now that you’re done, here are the sanding blocks. They are just pieces of fir about 1/4″ x 3/4″ x 4″ long with sticky back sandpaper stuck to them. The grits are 120, 320, and 600. Here is the fit and finish. The razor cuts will not be prefect. use the sandpaper to file down the cuts and shape. Start with the 120 for the heavy lifting. Move to the 320 to smooth out the 120 scratches, and the 600 will more polish than remove material. Make sure to check the fit in the bridge often. It should be a tight fit but not be bound up. When using the 120 and 320 make sure to STOP sanding BEFORE you reach the desired finish point so the next grit will not take it down too far!!!!
(Otherwise your face will look like this 😡 when you realize you have to start this one over.)
DO NOT SAND THE TOP YET. THE NEXT STEP WILL EXPLAIN!!!
You need to measure the saddle height from where it sits on the bridge to the top where the string will rest. this is a critical number that has to be kept so that the strings will run correctly down the neck.
Here is the adjusted Nylon. Even though this measurement is critical, to be within a few thousandths of an inch is o.k.
Here is where you want to be VERY conservative with your sanding. Only use the 320 or 600 to sand here so you don’t go to far.
Here is where to put the “bevel” on the face of the saddle. I find the easiest way to achieve a consistent outcome is to clamp the saddle in a vise and hold the blocks at an angle and slide back and forth. Again not going to far with the 120 & 320 grits. If you don’t have a vise you can shape it by laying the block on a table holding the saddle at an angle in your fingers.
(Before you finish this step Check out the next one)
Compare your new Nylon saddle to your existing one on the top so you know how much flat area to leave on top.
Side by side of the final product. Just wash-rinse-repeat 5 more times and you’re done!!! 😆
(Insert Jeopardy Music here…..)
AHHHHHhhhhhhhh….. A little patience pays off right? For reference; this took me a good half of a Saturday to complete. So if you’re home and bored?????
O.k. now sit back and enjoy the mess you made. Or clean it up!!! You have more work to do!!!! Is you Guitar working yet?
So here we go. On to saddle slotting. Obviously I’m not going to tell you how to out your Guitar back together. You just took it apart. I would hope you remember. Anyway………..↓
After you’ve aligned the strings over the poles use a razor knife to mark their position on the saddle.
For the string slots use a very small “micro” file. Make sure not to file any deeper than half of the strings diameter.
Also, as in the picture, tilt the file down (doesn’t have to be a lot) in the back so the slot will have a high point on the beveled side. This gives a clearer contact point and will help maintain tuning better.
All right!!!! Now you’re actually done!!!!!
Alright guys (girls???? have we ever confirmed a girl member yet????) I hope you enjoyed this D.I.Y. edition from Solodallas.com
As usual any questions comments or corrections are welcome below.
Jon (06AngusSG) signing off……………..
Update is added to the end of the post!
Howdy Fellow members!,
Ant here writing up a brand new post…. for a while i have been brewing something special and i don’t mean in the flatulence sense!
First let me just put out there that i am not an audio engineer nor a hacker of any sort!! 😛 what i will be posting here is purely findings from my own research and experimentation with audio and various freebie software that’s on the net.
Tone searching, equalizing and listening is what i have been working hard on over the last year or two, searching ways, trying things out purely for the purpose of making decent original studio or live backing tracks from the original AC DC recordings and playing along with them. Of course in the beginning (not in 1955!) i was a complete newbie to the world of audio\listening and its theory but over time i came to learn more and progressed finding new techniques and using the tools readily available to me. Only recently (couple weeks) i stumbled across an amazing tool but i will cover this later on…… i know what your thinking so don’t even think of skipping the next bit!! 😛
Now i will leave you to have a quick listen to these two sound samples….
Angus (not Fil)
[jwplayer config=”Standard Player” mediaid=”10276″]
Malcolm (again.. not Fil :D)
[jwplayer config=”Standard Player” mediaid=”10244″]
Hi Welcome back!
Sound familiar? Now you’re either wondering what the hell was that!? some of you may think “WOW” and others “Meh” but this my dear friends is something that will aid us in the very depths of our reason for being here.. to debunk and break down what the Young brothers are doing on these great albums and recreate the very pleasure playing it!.
So! what DO! we have here, well we are hearing Angus and Malcolm’s guitars INDIVIDUALLY yes its in bold and caps ^^ this allows us to listen even closer than before to boldly go where *cough* got to stop its star trek! wrong place for it, originally we were just muting either channel and monoing the one we wanted to listen too but THIS is an extraction of the very essence in the tack. There are artifacts in the audio yes this is inevitable but only because that the very frequencies they are on are being shared with the other instruments and vocals.
HOW? Well that’s a good question, its quite simple really (i say this after months of searching Doh! same old story!)
First it was just 5.1 audacity..
initially for live i would whip out the DVDs imported the 5.1 tracks essentially breaking up the instruments/vocals to a certain degree and the re-piece them taking out either Angus or Malcolm and exporting in a stereo format. Didn’t always work as you can still hear them in the mix and of-course it didn’t work for studio albums either as they were not 5.1
Next we have Riffstation..
Now this is a great piece of software as it analyses in on both stereo channels, it lets you dynamically whip out a specific section of the stereo with additional filtration.. i wont go into to much details but i would suggest checking it out! this software works wonders on some of the Young’s live performances
Third Audacity Phase cancellation!
another method i used to use was phase cancellation..yep i used the idea of mic phase.. by inverting one channel (make both tracks mono) the frequencies that matched each other canceled each other out leaving both guitars in a mono state in a single track, i then used this mono dual guitar track inverted it and then placed it back on the original track mono-ed again and inverted to cancel out the guitars 😛 nifty eh? didn’t always work to well but it was better than nothing at the time.
Then GoldWave.. ever heard of this one?
Well this little bad boy just made my day…
First let me cast you back in time… one day i was walking down the street singing do a dee a dede dum *cough* listening to the usual back in black and my headphone cable popped out of my phone just slightly now what happened to my ears was beyond a miracle i could hear Malcolm’s playing as clear as you could say dede do! i was thinking oh crap why is this happening its incredible (for me). So i started experimenting, Google searching and fiddling with cables to try and record what i was hearing but just couldn’t get it to work so here i was with a set of headphones that let me into the track that most people may never have heard before! oh the irony!… time past i went through all my tricks mentioned above until phase cancellation it became clear to me that the headphones connectors were jumping over each other and the tracks were inverting on each other!
Back to GoldWave, this little gem lets me dynamically remove/extract sections that are played from left, Center and Right with the use of a plugin called Stereo Center.
Download it and then the plugin and have a play! its free… for a while 😛
I haven’t read about how it works but it uses some advanced processing technique called Fast Fourier Transform… its beyond me to so cant explain any of it ^^ (rocket science)
I’m sure from here on with these audio extracts it will bring us that little bit closer to solving the mystery’s behind these great albums!
again im no sound engineer of any sort but some of you may have already witnessed these tools or even have better ones but the difference is im sharing my findings here for the benefit of the cause
Sound is wonderful thing.. the more you listen the more you learn and enjoy it.
I will leave you with a couple more for listening, i hope you enjoy them as much as i do.
What do you do? Angus & Malcolm
[jwplayer config=”Standard Player” mediaid=”10268″]
[jwplayer config=”Standard Player” mediaid=”10270″]
Shoot to Thrill Angus & Malcolm
[jwplayer config=”Standard Player” mediaid=”10265″]
[jwplayer config=”Standard Player” mediaid=”10267″]
Until next time 😉
UPDATE: Goldwave additional detail and a few Solo Snippets
Couple of people have been giving it a go so i thought it would be good to update the post with a bit more support on the goldwave program to assist others venturing into doing it themselves
First off download Goldwave from there website
Open a track that you have from one of your CD’s or downloaded Albums (iTunes ect)
Click Stereo Center
This is what you should have.
Choose either side/center to remove/isolate and change the 4x to 16x (better quality) FFT leave as default and click OK
File SAVE AS
give it a name, save and Bingo your done!
Also been wanting to post these few solo snippets with added initial findings listening to them, Enjoy
Hells Bells – You can hear some sort of tape delay or re verb kick in part way though the solo.. hear it?
[jwplayer config=”Standard Player” mediaid=”10477″]
Shake a Leg – This particular solo is one of the solos that was partly redone at electric lady land without the SVDS… can you hear when it changes? 😉
[jwplayer config=”Standard Player” mediaid=”10479″]
Rock and Roll ain’t Noise Pollution – Those vibratos are killer! notice how its all one take for the solo track? truly amazing
[jwplayer config=”Standard Player” mediaid=”10478″]
Drop a comment in this post if you have trouble and i will respond
End of Update!
I know, we are all crazy about the Replica at the moment, but let’s not forget that this site is really about Classic Rock and playing guitar. And as often, the most struggle is in the beginning. So we (Fil, Andre, Franz) got the idea of a beginner’s section, dedicated to all those who have just started or started a while ago. This section will host Andre’s tutorial videos and should be a place where we discuss beginners related stuff. A place where “dumb” questions and mistakes are welcome and learning from each other on a lower knowledge level is on topic.
The Beginners section can be found in the top menu under “Tutorials” or right here: http://solodallas.com/category/tutorials/tutorials-how-to/beginnersection/
Now I’ll hand over the word to André:
The idea for the Beginner’s section actually started much earlier this year. We spent a considerable time planning and testing different video streaming methods until we found something that worked, followed by more planning, which because of the Replica and other unrelated things, had to be put aside for a while.
But now, here it is. The Beginner’s section.
As Franz wrote, this will basically be a place to share infomation with the people who are just starting, or those who also need assistance with their playing or the guitar in general. Videos, small musical theory write ups, many tips on guitar mantainance, Guitar Rig presets, tablatures, and so on. Anything that you need we’ll try to provide you with. A new forum category will be created specifically for this as well.
Before talking more about the beginner’s section, I’ll talk a little about myself, for those of you who don’t know me, and how I got here.
I started playing guitar back in 2007, when my mother brought me my late uncle’s old classical guitar. A few months later I got my first electric guitar (a Memphis MG-32 – worth about 100 dollars) and a little buzzy solid state amp. It was not much, but it was enough for me to start.
Although I did go to a music teacher for classical guitar training, as far as electric guitar goes, I’m mostly “self-taught”, if I can say so. I first started out with DVDs, video tutorials and tablatures from all over the internet. I used to play like a maniac, for hours a day, seven days a week locked inside my bedroom and strumming my (out of tune) guitar.
This is why I hold online tutorials and related material dear to my heart. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. Among my very first “virtual” teachers, I have to mention Farhat, Vanderbilly, Jun626 and, of course, Fil, A.K.A SoloDallas.
In 2008 I finally created my first Youtube account (JaiminhoPagina – a literal translation to Portuguese of – guess what – Jimmy Page. Yes, just a tongue-in-cheek joke), where I posted many videos of me trying to play a couple of tunes; it was all nice and fun back then (I really miss that time). One day, then, someone asked me: “Hey, can you do a video on how to play TNT by ACDC?”
I thought “why not?”
And that’s how it started. A few months later I’d be tossing out video lesson on Youtube nonstop (especially AC/DC – mainly because it was easier to teach, in a way) along with my occasional guitar covers. By then I had developed my particular way of doing the tutorials, with tabs on the upper part of the video and not saying a single word. I would let the guitar do that for me.
I was surprised to find out that these videos of mine would end up giving me a considerable number of viewers and subscribers. Soon, I found myself buried in messages and comments with requests, but with almost no time to do even half of them. But I just kept going. Sometimes I’d let a wrong tab escape, or teach a song somewhat “wrong”, but it was really working nevertheless.
Then, the first sights of a new era started to creep in, slow but surely.
I would look around me and see fellow musicians and youtubers being taken down video by video, one by one. SoloDallas was one of them. A few days later it was me.
Contacts, subscribers… Everything lost in the blink of an eye.
I must say that it was a very hard blow, but I didn’t give up just yet; a new account, a new start. A few friends and I got together and did our best to try to recover at least part of what we had lost.
Even though the situation lessened eventually and we carried on with our new accounts, things were never the same after that. There was always a sense of danger and eyes watching on us at every video we uploaded. Every video would have that same ominous message that could be our Achilles’ heel at any time without warning. It felt like we were criminals, outlaws. But if that was the only way to keep going, then so be it. Sometimes a video would be blocked, or muted. Sometimes the audio would come back; sometimes not.
But that was the time when we got closer than ever. Fighting for our right to play our favourite songs was the reason why some of us got together to do something about it. Fil came to me one day and said “Hey, they shut us both down, so we are in the same boat. What about playing a song together?”
The day I read that message I pinched myself to see if I wasn’t dreaming. 😛
Fil, from whom I learned so much, was asking if I wanted to play a song with him?! The feeling I had was similar to how someone would feel if Angus Young himself asked that person to have a jam with him.
The result of that first adventure was our “All Right Now” cover.
Before I knew it, I was a member here at SD.com and would be writing a few articles and write ups from time to time.
Copyright issues are another important topic for beginners (and maybe for everyone else as well) who want to post videos online. We shall look further into that in a near future. It’s really something that is worth a lengthy discussion.
Back to the main topic, I’m really grateful that Franz and Fil allowed me to have my own part of the site (it’s quite an honor, actually) and I also feel that we’ll be stronger together (I hope).
As for the first steps of this new section, I’ll be uploading all my old tutorials. Then, downloadable tablatures in either PDF or doc format will be available (still deciding, leaning towards PDF). Guitar Rig presets should come next.
Future tutorials are going to be posted here too. I really intend to take these tutorials to a different level. It is clear to me that I can’t keep doing them like I used to, but that doesn’t mean I can’t make them better somehow. The world is changing, so we have to change with it.
And for the first video post, I have a “gem” from my vault. One of my very first tutorials, with tabs upside down and many other problem (including some crappy playing by me! – which is my standard to this day anyway… Just a bit less than at that time – lol)
More to come later!
I remember telling myself (and everyone I talk to about this, been years) how I always though Angus’ guitar style was physical.
This struck me as an evident truth when I got better at it. It still strikes me when I have to play lead (try to) like his lead solo on “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” posted the other day. If you look at the beginning of the solo, there is a major (in terms of, intense) bend there, done on the D string. I am sure that that is how he did it on the album. It’s a freaking tough job and it’s completely physical.
Vibrato: a very difficult yet overlooked skill. You all probably know the importance of this technique while playing lead. A sustained note without vibrato can often sound bland and tasteless. On the other hand, a poorly executed vibrato can sound harsh and sloppy. There are many styles of vibrato, each of them reflecting the personality of the player. Slow, fast, wide, narrow…