14 Mar Thin Lizzy’s “The Rocker” SoloDallas Cover
Always loved this one, used to cover it with the band.
One thing I had never tried was to add more guitars.
Some tech details:
Had had this song in mind for years (to cover in video, that is). So went on.
Initially, I had only played one part with the Gretsch. But then the idea of “AC/DC-ing” it came to mind, and went for it (added the SG part, same as the Gretsch, same as the original Stratocaster part in the centre position).
Had to re-EQ a bit the original track, it was slightly dark. And added a bit more bass boost to it, too.
Guitars were both recorded with the 1959 and the G12Ms (pre-rola) cabinet, the one on the bottom. The song is from 1973, so G12-65s didn’t exist. I really wanted to re-capture that flavor ( love the tone of the Strato here) though with the inner characteristics of different guitars, such as the Firebird and an SG.
It definitely sounds a bit more “modern” in approach (soundwise) with two guitars on the sides, a-la AC/DC. Though the sound is pure crunch.
The ’63 Firebird (identical to Malcolm Young’s main Gretsch, same production year, all original) settings were presence 7, bass 0, mids 1-2, treble 6, volume 6. At these settings, the Gretsch is just breaking up from true-clean. And you can hear the amp compressing. Very nice feeling.
The rhythm SG was similar settings, but with presence 0, bass 4, mids 4, treble 6 and volume 5. This SG has an original Di Marzio Super Distortion, powerful PU. This SG is a 1966 Standard, heavily modified prior to my purchase. I left it as I found it, since it has a magic vibe. Butter-like playability, really easy to play. Feather-weight guitar. Some trivia about this one: I brought (and played) this very guitar to Air Recording Studios for the training in November 2011, and this guitar was noted and briefly played by legendary guitar player Phil Manzanera (Roxy Music, Brian Eno) who told me “they don’t make them like these anymore, this is a fine guitar”.
The solo came to mind as I wanted to add something of mine to the song, but something that would still fit. Tried random stuff and all of a sudden, I had that phrase in my mind, wouldn’t leave me; so I played it.
Took me quite a few takes to play what I had in mind! Felt very strange. We come to a point where we “hear” things (and sounds) in our heads, and one would think that since it’s our creativity, it would come as-it is on the instrument.
Untrue. You still have to give it some time just like it was someone else’s solo. Very refreshing experience, it was the same as on the “Gimme a Bullett” solo. And it taught me – reminded me actually – that this “cover” thing is very good for learning.
Not that I didn’t know, but these are further confirmation of my theory and approach: we study history.
The solo guitar is my older 1964 SG Standard, that i had bought from a poor man in the USA, who had used it (and abused it) for many years. It had a broken headstock (split in two) and a broken heel; sent it to Germany years ago, came back after a month and it sounded and played excellently. Original bridge PU, a patent number.
Days ago – since I was never going to that guitar despite good sound and excellent playability, decided to re-install the Vibrola. The guitar had come to me with a stopbar already installed, Vibrola removed. No vibrola was sent: I installed an old one I had laying around here. It was instant love, now I haven’t been leaving that guitar alone.
The solo was played with beloved SVDS System. And by the way, Thin Lizzy were one of the several rock stars at the time who actually owned the SVDS. Played through the rear output, no boost, compressor only.
Microphones were one SM57 on one cabinet “hole” in the grill, probably in a very good spot on the outer edge of the dustcap; close up. The other one is a vintage Neumann U87, center of cab: wanted to capture a part of the sound of 4x12s I really like lots, which is off axis sound, weird harmonics, woody “hollow” tone. THAT I like a lot. So went for it. Not sure the result is what I wanted, it’s kind of a strange sound here, but it seems to more or less fit in the mix, so kept it.