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Old 5th September 2019
Gear Nut
Ed Driscoll's Avatar

"Indian Summer"

Hi all,

This was a song I originally wrote in 2018 after acquiring Toontrack’s Superior Drummer 3 software, which has among its many drum sounds a kit called “John” that really nails the sound of Bonham’s kit in the big room at Headley Grange on “When the Levee Breaks” and “Kashmir.” I had used Sony’s Acid loop drums almost exclusively prior to that for my demos, but most of their loops started to sound pretty mushy and unusable below 100 BPM, and I really wanted to explore that slower, heavier, Zeppelin-ish territory. So I wrote this song basically to learn how to program Superior Drummer 3.

Originally, the track had my 2007 Gibson Everly Brothers acoustic on the right-hand channel, recorded with an AKG C414 large diaphragm condenser, and Roland’s VG-99 guitar modeled version of the Nashville-tuned guitar on the left. In recent years, I’ve increasingly enjoyed using the Roland Nashville tuning patch a lot to add some unique colors to my recordings, but the actual guitar sound was quite digital sounding – a bit like an acoustic guitar with a piezo pickup. So last month, I finally bit the bullet, and bought a Nashville-strung Taylor GS Mini from Sweetwater. When it arrived, I had a very happy evening replacing the Roland modeled Nashville-tuned guitars with the real deal, mic’ed with a Neumann U67 reissue large diaphragm tube condenser aimed at the 12th fret. I also used the U67 on my lead vocal. All of the mics went through a Chandler Ltd. Redd.47 tube mic pre, and a little bit of Warm Audio’s WA-2A opto-tube compressor.

The electric guitar solo is a 2000 Gibson Les Paul Historic 1959 reissue via Radial Engineering’s J48 direct box into a Fireface UFX+, run through Overloud’s TH3 amp modeling software, and given just a hint of Eventide H949 Harmonizer plugin as a slight thickening effect.

When the electric comes in, some additional percussion enters as well. To record these (a couple of different tambourines and a cowbell), I deliberately chose a very echo-y room -- my two car garage, with an AKG 414 close-up, and a Rode NT5 small diaphragm condenser aimed at the opposite corner of the room to record the reflection. By taking these stereo tracks and converting them to two mono tracks, I could place each instrument and its echo exactly where I wanted them in the mix.

The bass track is a 1983 Fender Precision Bass, recorded into the J48 direct box, and then processed with Eventide H9000’s #1209 Bass Room FX Chain. It reminded me of some of the bass sounds on Guns & Roses’ Use Your Illusion albums. I also added just a little bit of an 1176 compressor plugin in “all buttons in” or “British mode” to add some overdriven harmonics to help it cut through the mix.

The pad is a Roland VG-88 organ patch, which I ran through the H9000’s SpaceTime algorithm for a slow Leslie organ effect.

For the last verse, a guitar playing harmonics enters. These were simply open-string 12th fret harmonics on a clean VG-99 electric patch, which I “tuned” into melodic patterns with Melodyne’s pitch-correction software (which can be a great sound mangling tool as well). This part was enhanced with the #1157 Mirrored Raindrops FX chain on the H9000.

And the massed backup vocals came from my lead vocal heavily processed with TC-Helicon’s VoiceLive 3 unit.

Let me know what you think!