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Author Topic: Keyboard sounds on the "Wild Honey" LP  (Read 9536 times)
audiodrome
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« on: January 13, 2006, 08:42:37 AM »

Is there any info on how Brian got that great distinctive "chorusy" piano sound on the Wild Honey album? It's especially prominent on "Darlin" and "Aren't You Glad."

I have also been thinking about how many great keyboard sounds Brian utilized during the '65-'67 period - Pet Sounds alone has so many cool and different organ sounds. During this time, you mostly only heard the standard Hammond, Farfisa, and Vox sounds, but Brian was using the Lowrey, Baldwin and other distinctive organs to great effect (along with many other keyboard sounds) during this time.
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« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2006, 09:12:00 AM »

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Is there any info on how Brian got that great distinctive "chorusy" piano sound on the Wild Honey album? It's especially prominent on "Darlin" and "Aren't You Glad."

It is done by detuning the piano strings.  Each pitch on a piano has a few strings assigned to it, and if you take one or two of the strings in a pitch grouping down a few cents, it sounds chorusy.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2006, 11:07:40 AM by aeijtzsche » Logged
Evenreven
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« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2006, 10:54:53 AM »

I loved the sound Smajda got when he did that with his piano.

Smajda, if you read this, could you please upload your Smiley version of Wonderful again? That was rad.
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Chris D.
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« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2006, 11:02:52 AM »

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It done by detuning the piano strings.

From now on, can you please only use broken English when speaking of the technical aspects of recordings and the recording process?
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Joshilyn Hoisington
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« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2006, 11:06:58 AM »

I be please to use broke english as describe technology you for.
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Mitchell
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« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2006, 11:41:56 AM »

I love the cheesy organ in Wild Honey and How She Boogalooed it.
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Reverend Joshua Sloane
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« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2006, 11:54:40 AM »

I loved the sound Smajda got when he did that with his piano.

Smajda, if you read this, could you please upload your Smiley version of Wonderful again? That was rad.

I'd like to hear that.
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audiodrome
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« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2006, 05:27:51 PM »

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Is there any info on how Brian got that great distinctive "chorusy" piano sound on the Wild Honey album? It's especially prominent on "Darlin" and "Aren't You Glad."

It is done by detuning the piano strings.  Each pitch on a piano has a few strings assigned to it, and if you take one or two of the strings in a pitch grouping down a few cents, it sounds chorusy.

That makes sense because it seems Brian always arrived at his "cool" sounds organically rather than electronically like the Beatles.
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« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2006, 09:09:08 PM »

What's really amazing to me is that Brian did all these things manually, and it takes me hours to get a similiar sound digititally! :D
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Joshilyn Hoisington
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« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2006, 09:39:18 PM »

Keep in mind the detuned piano is not something he "arrived" at, but is simply a fairly standard-sounding tuning used in Hollywood at the time, and his piano tuner did it manually, not Brian himself.
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« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2006, 09:41:41 PM »

Close enough, though.
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« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2006, 05:56:55 AM »

I was just talking in general terms...
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Paul
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« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2006, 06:38:05 AM »

I loved the sound Smajda got when he did that with his piano.

Smajda, if you read this, could you please upload your Smiley version of Wonderful again? That was rad.

I'd like to hear that.
Looks like Smajda hasn't joined the new board yet. We can pm him when he does, I'm sure he will eventually.
Or maybe it's on my computer somewhere. I'll look for it.
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king of anglia
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« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2006, 07:22:39 AM »

He's on the Smile Shop board occasionally.
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Evenreven
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« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2006, 07:31:41 AM »

Good point. He rarely posts there, but he did less than a week ago I think.

(edit: pm sent to Smajda.)
« Last Edit: January 14, 2006, 07:34:18 AM by Evenreven » Logged
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« Reply #15 on: January 14, 2006, 08:46:04 AM »

There might be more to that keyboard sound on Aren't You Glad than the detuned piano. The detuned is giving it the chorusey sound, yes, but there is something else too. I thought it was uke for a while, but now I'm not sure.
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« Reply #16 on: January 14, 2006, 09:12:30 AM »

Keep in mind the detuned piano is not something he "arrived" at, but is simply a fairly standard-sounding tuning used in Hollywood at the time, and his piano tuner did it manually, not Brian himself.


Digital is too constricted, for me at least.  I don't care what digital software you throw at keyboards and other audio things when making music...you can't compete with Moogs loaded with dials, organs in a 60's BW studio or other things during that era.   Keith Emerson tried a million different things with digital to recreate his Moog early 70's sounds...couldn't do it.  Was much easier to rebuild the Moog and run it as he's always run it...like a 1930's patchboard operator at the telephone company.
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« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2006, 10:17:30 AM »

I read that Brian would hum the pitch of each note in the octave for the piano tuner to follow by.
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« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2006, 03:34:18 PM »

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There might be more to that keyboard sound on Aren't You Glad than the detuned piano. The detuned is giving it the chorusey sound, yes, but there is something else too. I thought it was uke for a while, but now I'm not sure.

Yeah, it's such a strange sound.  Palm Muted Ukelele, heavily damped Vibes, piano with string taped...lot's of possibilities.
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Mr. Smajda
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« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2006, 11:35:22 AM »

Oooo, here's the piano thingey I recorded.

http://www.savefile.com/files.php?fid=2894318
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Daniel S.
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« Reply #20 on: January 15, 2006, 11:53:20 AM »

This is amazing! It sounds exactly like Brian playing on the S0T 18 CD! So, Smadja, all you did was find a weird way to tune your piano like Brian had his tuned?

Are you playing a tack piano?
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Mr. Smajda
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« Reply #21 on: January 15, 2006, 12:50:11 PM »

It's really really really really extremely easy to make any piano sound like that.

One each piano for each note, you'll have one two or three strings for a single key.  Most of them are in ones and twos on the first twenty or so keys and from the middle and higher you'll have three strings for each note.  All of them have to be perfectly in tune with eachother in order to sound like a normal piano.  However, say on the note C, you have three strings.  Slightly lower or raise one of those three strings out of tune (you'd usually leave the middle string alone) and you get a sort of warped effect on the note (there's a better term for it); AKA the Smiley Smile/Wild Honey piano sound.  You can make any piano sound like that within five to ten minutes, however I only did the notes in the song so it took like five for me.  It's easy to bring the piano back to normal mode quickly too.

You don't really detune the piano, but you detune the unisons of the individual notes.
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Mr. Smajda
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« Reply #22 on: January 15, 2006, 12:52:27 PM »

I read that Brian would hum the pitch of each note in the octave for the piano tuner to follow by.
That's balogna stuff.
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Daniel S.
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« Reply #23 on: January 15, 2006, 04:35:23 PM »

I wonder what made Brian go for that sound? Maybe he thought it sounded more druggy?
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« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2006, 04:44:44 AM »

It sounds more old-timey. Remember, tack pianos were very much in vogue in 1967, and it was not really because of drugs. On the SMiLE sessions, it was likely part of the western saloon/cantina theme of Heroes & Villains (remember Van Dyke's description of SMiLE as "American quilt work") - and from there it spread to the rest of SMiLE.

In short, I believe detuned pianos having to do with drugs is a red herring. My two cents.
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