Thursday, August 20, 2015

How To Record Like Jimmy Page, And Why "Old School" Recording Techniques Like Jimmy Used Are Ones You Should Use, Not Silly Computer Technology

I was reading an old interview in Guitar Player that a well known writer Steve Rosen did in 1977 with Jimmy Page. What my article focuses on is one question and Jimmy's answer.

Rosen asked Jimmy, What about the guitar on "Communication Breakdown" off the first album, sounds as if it's coming out of a shoe box. This was kind of a statement and question all in one.

What Page actually did was very innovative for the time and more analog based as well. He put the guitar in a small vocal booth and put a mic outside of the booth. It doesn't go into intricate detail, but I'm assuming he opened the door to the booth just enough to put the guitar chord through and plugged into an amp and miked outside the booth.

Page didn't go into much detail other than saying "Distance Makes Depth" and he used that type of miking technique on various Zeppelin material. I don't actually know how far he had the mic away from the amp.
He, meaning Jimmy also went on to say that bands of that day used close miking techniques just putting a mic in front of an amp. But what Page did was not just put a mic in front of the amp, he put a mic at the back of the amp as well.

I'm assuming a lot of stuff here because of limited information at my disposal. But I would take it Jimmy then tweaked the guitar and amp to get the tone he needed for a particular song. But he did say he balanced the two mics to get rid of phasing problems. Basically meaning any tones from the back of the amp wouldn't impede on the tone and have to go in and record it again and change the mix.

But one thing Jimmy said that I just loved was that you really don't need to use an EQ if the instruments are tweaked right, and it should all be done with Mic's.

Now these next words are my words. "All players beginners and Old Pros should be recording with a guitar, amp and mic's to really learn how to record and be creative in the studio. But most players have gone by the original intentions of mic placement and amp tweaking to get their own sound and are using that dreaded computer and digital technology. Oh the horror!!

And using effects way tooooo much!

At least in my books.

So using your guitar amp and mic is the best way to get original tone all your own, a la' Jimmy Page. So figure out how to get that original tone with your band today, and please don't use computer technology or even a modeling amp. Jimmy would be proud.

Mark Grove
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