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The hottest tones....


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I have to admit, I was inspired to create this thread by an article I saw in the Riffs section of the 2-07 issue of Guitar Player Magazine on "The Top 40 Guitar Tones Of All Time".

 

So the question is, what are some of your nominations for "hottest recorded tones of all time?" It can be a guitar tone, or a sax tone or the overall drum tones or even just the hi hat tone - anything goes! But please list the artist, the song, and the specific instrument or vocal tone that you think is worthy of merit. :) If you know who the producer was, the engineer was, the studio it was recorded at, or even the details on how they got the tones, that's even better! :cool:

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robert fripp/brian eno, no pussyfooting, 1973. frippertronics. dont know much else past that.

 

any dickie betts solo.... that {censored}er could make a note sustain FOREVER.

 

any dave fridmann drum sounds, flaming lips [earlier like clouds taste metallic], also the entire album of sparklehorse 'its a wonderful life'...

 

god this list could be a mile long from me alone i just have to quit or the server would run out of disc space.

 

my favorite guitar tone is just about any good guitar into a Orange OD120 [vintage]> Orange 4x12 cab [vintage]...

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There's a lot of really great recorded tones, so this will likely be a loooong thread.

 

All guitars...

 

I'm going to mention an album that's probably not going to get mentioned here: Innocence Mission "Glow" Peris has a gorgeous guitar tone that just kills all the way through this album. Big, beautiful tones like bells. Absolutely gorgeous, and often overlooked.

 

Daniel Lanois, Jimmy Page ("guitarchitecture"), The Cure, Prong, Allman Brothers (as mentioned above), Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, AC/DC, Carlos Santana, and a bunch of others....what a beautiful list this is gonna be....

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Bass...this is sorta obvious, but the bass sound for a lot of those Motown songs (Jamerson, take a bow!) and "Another One Bites The Dust" are freakin' awesome...

 

Although dated, I really like Simon Gallup of The Cure...really very appropriate for the music, and super groovy.

 

Beatles, Kings of Leon.....

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Bill Frisell albums.

Joey baron drums.

Miles Davis albums.

 

I really find the best sounds come from jazz recordings because they have so much more integity with what they are doing, not all jazz but much more so than some other more popular styles.

Plus the players have the sound right at the source, from their instruments and hands and through years of experience, it just makes sense, the better musicians get the better sounds.

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The entire album of Superunknown by Soundgarden.

 

Produced by Michael Beinhorn. Brendan O'Brien was in there somewhere, but I don't recall if he was mixing or engineering. It was recorded all analog in 1994, when analog recording was soon to be challenged by digital.

 

First, the drums. The entire set is clear as a bell, warm, and organic. You can hear subtleties in snare work even with everything else playing, and with Matt Cameron playing drums there's a lot of subtle snare work going. He's a very tasteful and dynamic player, and he chooses cymbals that are full of character. Plus, the whole set simply sounds great. Tuned perfectly, and sounds like a very high quality set, plus he uses the wonderful snares of Greg Keplinger throughout the album which are a spectacular instrument in their own right.

 

The guitar tones were largely gotten through Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifiers, which is interesting to me considering their reputation these days as metal only amplifiers, and this album is certainly not metal. But they were newer at the time, and hadn't been pidgeonholed just yet. From what I've read, they would spend days getting a particular guitar sound, and recorded them using a variety of cabs and mics.

 

Adding to this is the fact that for this album Chris Cornell and Kim Thayil had decided not to layer guitar tracks like they had on previous albums, as they wanted a more organic feel and felt that being able to distinctly hear single guitar parts gave things more personality. So there is actually less guitar work going on than there could have been, and the mix breathes more because of it.

 

Also, Chris and Kim largely used their favorite guitars to record the album, which are a bit less common than some other instruments. Chris favored Gretsch solidbodies such as sparkle jets, and Kim almost exclusively used Guild S-100's for much of his career in the band. Both of these instruments had some unique pickups, and some really throaty Gretsch twang can be heard on the album, particularly on the title track.

 

I admit I haven't been able to find out much about the bass. Ben Shepherd seems to be a pretty supportive player, but he does often add counterpoint parts to the guitar work and his tones are very warm and full.

 

And of course, the vocals. Chris Cornell, one of the greatest vocalists in rock, captured at arguably the peak of his ability.

 

And one point that I personally really appreciate is that this album stands (and has been noted) as a exception to the Loudness Wars. They were starting to come about even in the early '90's, and I appreciate that the band and producer chose not to go that route. As a result, the album is pleasant to the ear, dynamic, warm, and stands up to repeated listening completely aside from it's actual musical content. It just sounds great.

 

One of my personal favorite albums, and what I personally look at as an example of great production, recording, and mixing technique. :thu:

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The bass guitar and bass drum on Morph the Cat. Impossibly perfect on every sound system. Sounds full in the car with the eq set flat. Sounds big yet never distorts with bass eq all the way up and volume cranked. Just unbelievable.

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Bill Frisell albums.

Joey baron drums.

 

I'm a huge Frisell fan, but there's a definite difference in his sound from the time he started making solo albums in the late 80's and the sound he has now.

 

Some of the earlier albums have these nasty fuzzbox guitar tones that are too up front. Frisell kind of made a name for himself using those effect sound in a jazz context, but they were used differently in terms of the overall arrangement in his sideman days. Those tones are too brittle when placed so prominently in the mix.

 

I also think the drums on his early solo albums sound too "slappy" for lack of a better term. And I've sat 10 feet away from Joey Baron during a club concert performance, so I know he doesn't sound like that.

 

Frisell's more recent albums have a warmer sound. I think from Nashville forward.

 

The best Frisell sound I can think of is his sound on the track "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall" from East/West. It's organic, and evolves with the tune. The track lasts some 9-10 minutes, but is so engaging it seems like three minutes that end too soon. :)

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I love the drum tones on 'Double Fantasy.' I think it's Andy Numark playing. Just big and round and perfect. Hit Factory was where it was recorded.

 

For bass, I really like 'Wings Over America' which is pretty wild as it's a live album. A Rick bass direct I think (he hid the head if he used one). Probably the fingers propelling the bass as much as anything.

 

Guitars have so many flavors. For singing tone you just can't hardly beat Brian May, check the 'Night at the Opera' album. I caught a show part way in on how it was recorded but don't have a clue about mics and such. Mostly May's fingers, home made guitar, treble booster, delay bank to 3 AC-30s.

 

For screaming clean listen to Albert Lee on Dave Edmund's 'Sweet Little Lisa.'

All I know about the recording is that Albert used his 53' Tele. I've been searching for that tone forever. Heard it once out of an early 60's tele in for repairs in a store. It was not for sale! Rats.

 

I'll have to think about it some more and get back. Cool thread idea!

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Page's solo in the outro of Stairway.

 

John Paul Jone's warbly good electric piano on No Quarter

 

Beck's guitar on Goodbye Pork Pie Hat

 

The opening drum fill from Grand Funk's American Band

 

Edit: The organ on Whiter Shade of Pale

 

The acoustic guitar on The Stone's Angie (Richards or Taylor? Keith probably)

 

Keith's intro to Brown Sugar

 

Edgar's Arp2600 work on Frankenstein

 

Pure Prairie League's harmony vocals on Amy

 

Dickie Betts solo on Ramblin' Man

 

The lapsteel from space in Telstar

 

Herb Alpert's trumpet on Taste Of Honey

 

The violin solo on Dylan's Hurricane

 

Norton Buffalo's muti-key harp solo on Bonnie Riatt's version of Runaway

 

The organ solo on Del Shannon's original

 

Billy Gibbons opening chord motif for La Grange and later harmonic squawks in the solo

 

The Linn Drum work of Prince in Doves Cry (first time I heard a drum machine have sex)

 

The acoustic guitar and mandolin opening motif in Shawn Colvin's Sunny Came Home

 

The omnipresent Wurly claw parts of Supertramp

 

The wonderful chromatic harp sound of Toots Thielman from Nilsson's Everbody's Talking At Me

 

The grand piano sound on Bridge Over Troubled Water

 

The bass sound on the Beatles Rain

 

The opening mayhem guitar on Sabbath's Iron Man from Iommi

 

The electronic organ on The Monkee's Stepping Stone

 

The out of tune upright piano of The 5th Dimension's Wedding Bell Blues

 

The compressed to hell piano from Lady Madonna

 

Johnny Winter playing the intro to Still Alive and Well (my face peeled off at 13 years of age)

 

The distortion on Levi Stubbs voice on The Four Tops' Sugar Pie Honey Bunch

 

Leslie West's guitar intro to Mississippi Queen

 

The B3 on Green Eye Lady made cool by the puctuating riff of guitar, bass, and kick

 

The cool vocal percussion effects from The Zombie's Time of the Season and the chamber on the lead vocal

 

The stairwell verb on Hal Blaine's snare hits for Simon and Garfunkel's The Boxer. Lie la lie... X

And the church reverbed sound of the pedal steel in the same song

 

The hyper compressed acoustic guitar stumming of Cat Steven's Peace Train

 

All grand and glorious tones.

 

etc.

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I didn't think I was gonna be able to play this one, as I'm kind of a contents-not-package guy...

 

... but then I thought about this album.

 

When I heard it walking into a Virgin Mega's classical section I went right up to the counter, asked who it was (which I'd already expected) and plunked down my $32 for the two disk set:

 

Yo-Yo Ma, J.S. Bach, The 6 Unaccompanied Cello Suites

 

 

Glorious notes played very well on a beautiful instrument and recorded with welcome restraint and respect.

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I didn't think I was gonna be able to play
this


Yo-Yo Ma, J.S. Bach,
The 6 Unaccompanied Cello Suites


 

 

 

Excellent call. One of my all time favorite sounds. I played it to death when it came out on vinyl. I've since bought other performances on CD and always intended to just go back and get the Yo-Yo Ma. Thanks for the reminder. Great sound of the ages.

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The snare sound on "Give it away" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

 

They always have a great rock snare sound, but on that particular song, it is just STUPID good. The kick sound is a bit weak, but that's because Flea needs a lot of the low end for bass. Mostly every RHCP groove is flea's bass and Chad Smith's snare.

 

The bass on Weezer's "Only In Dreams" is a great pop-punk bass sound. Present and cutting, but not unpleasantly so. I shoot for this sound in my own band.

 

The electric guitar on Brand New's "The Quiet Things that No One Ever Knows" it's a bit generic, but its never muddy and there's just a ton of clarity, even with dualling vocals, bass, and drums, both guitars are very clear. It could be the parts, but the tone suits the mood so well. The tones range from screaming distortion to this slight break up, to a warm clean without sounding forced. Overall great song (with the exception of the super bright snare in some places).

 

I also really dig the guitars on Muse's "Invincible." So weird, yet everything fits together so well.

 

As for vocals, my favorites always tend to be very "breath-y." Take Andrew McMahon on Something Corporate's "Ruthless." There are parts when he sounds like he's whispering it in your ear. Just a very intimate performance. While the tone of his voice isn't that great, its what they didn't do that makes it so good.

 

Same thing with Gerard's vocals on "I'm Not Okay" by My Chemical Romance. The lyrics are delivered with an urgency and leaving all the breath sounds in add to that. It takes a performance where the guitars sound a bit neutered and brings the life back into the song.

 

After going over this, I just realized that my favorite "tones" are typically ones that compliment the song and add something to the performance. Overall, I feel like a good tone adds to the song SOOO much, but a complimentary tone adds SOOO much more.

 

Tim

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hmmm lets see....

 

drums- In Utero haha!; bloc party's silent alarm- done at some odd looking studio in denmark i believe. The stones Parachute Woman, hell pretty much all of beggars banquet for that matter. zep of coarse. Tom Petty's Wildflowers. Queens of the stoneage- songs for the deaf. AC/DC Back in Black. im sure there's more but my cd collection or ipod is not readily available at the moment:D

 

bass- obviously motown as mentioned. the pretenders first album, mystery achievement in particular. Willy Weeks on David Bowie's Changes. Cliff Burton. Aerosmith's Back in the Saddle. Tom Peterson of Cheap Trick, those 8 and 12 string basses are nuts! The Buzzcocks-its that marshall amp many in that scene used.

 

Guitar- way too many to list. maybe later.

 

Lead Vocals- i kind of feel vocals either sound good or they dont. occasionally i'll hear a vocal thats in another league on its but there arent many. One such is Foriegner, hot blooded kills me. that dude can sing his ass off.

 

aisde from that, Queen. backups too. thats one instance where i definitely dont think a particular song or album is necessary ya know?

 

oh and while we're on vocals, id have to disagree about soundgarden. i hate them. primarily because of the vocals. im not a fan of cornell in the least. but hey, thats just me.

 

oh, Tony Visconti's strings. T Rex and Bowie baby!

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"Winwood's organ on Whiter Shade of Pale"

 

?????

 

Matthew Fisher played this part in Procul Harum's classic. Did Traffic or a solo Winwood do a remake that I wasn't aware of?

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"Winwood's organ on Whiter Shade of Pale"


?????


Matthew Fisher played this part in Procul Harum's classic. Did Traffic or a solo Winwood do a remake that I wasn't aware of?

 

 

 

You're right. I'm not thinking and typing as I'm not thinking. Procul Harum; Mathew Fisher. But yeah... that organ sound. Classic.

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Gilmore making his Strat speak out in the break of Crazy Diamond.

 

The fiddle and ac guitar trading licks in The Doobies Dirty Water.

 

The ska bass of The Beat's Twist and Crawl

 

The vocal sound of The Special's Ghost Town. Creepy chamber.

 

The edgy yet warm lead vocal tone of Sublime's The Wrong Way. Beautiful warts and all.

 

Jeff Lynne's voice on Telephone Line. Middy yet creamy.

 

Richie Blackmore playing the dancing bluesy licks of Lazy.

 

The vocal breathyness of The Bee Gees singing How Can You Mend a Broken Heart.

 

Chris Squire playing Roundabout

 

Ry Cooder playing slide on John Hiatt's Lipstick Sunset

 

McCartney's guitar solo on Taxman

 

The ambient drums of all of XTC's Black Sea

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trey anastasio's tone in the solo sections of Reba and The Squirming Coil

 

Grasshopper's solo in "The Funny Bird" by Mercury Rev.

 

Victor Wooten's live tone in Bela Fleck's "Live Art"

 

Any sound created by the Flaming Lips or Mercury rev in general.....

 

Lemmy's Ace of Spade's era bass tone.

 

Tina Root (Switchblade Symphony)'s voice.

 

Everything on Marvin Gaye's "Here my Dear". Especially his vocals.

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The cymbals on Miles' Kind of Blue. The kit is captured in such a natural and open way. When Jimmy Cobb strikes a mellow crash on the one it's almost gong-like in it's rich harmonics. A signal that something very special is coming up right now...

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I'll nominate AIR's "Talkie Walkie." It's a stunning sounding album. Even if you don't think you like "electronic" music (it's mostly live instrumentation), you should check it out. The atmosphere of the album is unlike anything I've heard in a long time, and you'll be struck by the beauty of the recording even if you don't care for the songs.

 

Credits say recording was done at Revolvair Studio in Paris and at Ocean Way. Engineered and mixed by Nigel Godrich.

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Steve Winwood's B3 on The Spencer Davis Group's Gimme Some Lovin' is probably my favorite organ tone of all time. Meaty, grindy and explosive. His vocals on that cut are also noteworthy. I have no idea of what organ stops he used, or what the signal path was for the vocals, but both are stellar. Hard to believe that was a 15 year old kid laying that magic down... :eekphil:

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