Well Flex.......here we go into the Def Lep gtr stuff.
The gtr sound you are talking about in "Hysteria"is a "Rockman" by Tom Scholz. Every guitar sound on that record is Rockman. The clean sounds and the distorted ones!!!!. We had tried to get a gtr sound with DL for so friggin' long.We had 100's of amps lined up in the studio and had tried almost all of 'em and we were sick of the "crunchiness" of the sound . Mutt didn't think it was commercial enough...especially when we started layering gtr sounds.......which was part of the idea for this record.
We tried the "Rockman"..which only really had one sound..as it was a very cheap box so we got in contact with Tom Scholz and asked him to modify the sound for us. So he sent us a version of the box that ZZTOP had been using on all their records and it was spot on for us also. Yes ZZTOP didn't use amps either !!!.We could layer sounds up and the sound got more interesting instead of more crunchy.
The clean sound in Hysteria and the attack you are talking about is simply the sound of the compressor inside of the Rockman on its clean setting..(still a hard sound to beat 'cos of it's space).that's it's sound...we also effected it with chorusing and delays and stuff in the mix but we did the whole album with that shit@y little box!!!
The Rockman has such a god awful sound but we would notch out certain frequencies with notch filters and such....put it thru Palmer speaker simulators ..anything to make it work cos it had no real balls to the sound but that also was half the point.When it was layered up....it was a very commercial sound ..
We had been working with AC/DC etc and those bands had a sound already....they could make their amps sound so damn good.....but give the same amps and setting to DL (which we did)and it was a horrible noise !!! "cos DL used so many 2nd's and odd inversions in their chords so we would re-tune the gtr so that each chord could be played "open" instead of fretted.,......especially for the clean sounds, so that the sustain and openness would stay for each chord , again no one in their right mind would do any of this , and we most certainly had lost our minds ages ago. It was a looong process and was an experiment . Even how we were gonna do the drums was an experiment. Literally up until we started to mix, there were no drums or bass on the tape.just gtrz and vocals......all the rest was put in in the mix!!!!..they had been using a linn drum to keep time and 'cos the arrangements kept changing all the time.....I mean ALL the time..even in the mix...there was no point putting drums onuntil last cos we would be changing parts everyday !!!.....The answer was to do them last with a Fairlight....it was all very "wobbly" conceptually because having listened for almost 2 years to songs with no Bass and no real drum parts on tape..you can imagine how the picture changed when we stated adding bass and drums to the picture......well we kinda freaked and couldn't get used to the difference (no shit !!) So I had to come up with Bass and Drum sounds that fit the heavily textured gtrs. Normal drum sound sounded boxy and small so we went into the whole drumsound fiesta.......that's another story.