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Author Topic: Strings on Beach Boys records  (Read 1977 times)
mikeyj
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« on: March 11, 2007, 05:54:28 AM »

I'm not sure if Im correct in saying this, but Im sure theres plenty of Beach Boys freaks (most people on this board are freaks Razz) who can tell me. But did the Beach Boys ever use fake strings (ie: during M.I.U. era and even previous/afterwards of that?) Im pretty sure they did.. but when did it start? thats if it did at all
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the captain
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« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2007, 06:55:02 AM »

Brian played a string-sounding synth on 15 Big Ones ("Just Once in My Life"). That is the earliest one I can think of.

On MIU and LA, there are string arrangers listed, and several of those songs sound like they might be real string parts as opposed to synths. (If they are synth, some of them sound really authentic for the time.) In fact, I was thinking Lady Lynda had to be synth when going from memory, but at least through my laptop speakers, it sounds like it might've been real.
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mikeyj
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« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2007, 07:03:45 AM »

Brian played a string-sounding synth on 15 Big Ones ("Just Once in My Life"). That is the earliest one I can think of.

On MIU and LA, there are string arrangers listed, and several of those songs sound like they might be real string parts as opposed to synths. (If they are synth, some of them sound really authentic for the time.) In fact, I was thinking Lady Lynda had to be synth when going from memory, but at least through my laptop speakers, it sounds like it might've been real.

Thanks Luther. I just cant help thinking that some of the M.I.U. strings are done on synth. I mean I listen to Pet Sounds strings and then M.I.U. and the difference to my ears says that their not authentic strings on M.I.U. etc.. but now that I think of it maby its just the equipment and arrangement, production etc.. maby anyway?
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shelter
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« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2007, 08:04:12 AM »

I just cant help thinking that some of the M.I.U. strings are done on synth.

Were synthesizers already that good in the 70s?
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the captain
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« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2007, 08:13:03 AM »

but now that I think of it maby its just the equipment and arrangement, production etc.. maby anyway?

My thoughts exactly. I was thinking they had to be fake, too...until I listened again. Now I really think that on MIU and LA, it was more likely differences in production. After all, the decade before when the BBs were recording strings, it would've been completely different techniques. It is quite possible that the PS strings were done with just a few room mics. By the latter albums, there were more tracks to allow for better individual control and much more in the way of processing to sound "slicker" in the way much late 70s music does.
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mikeyj
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« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2007, 09:30:14 AM »

I just cant help thinking that some of the M.I.U. strings are done on synth.

Were synthesizers already that good in the 70s?

Well I wouldnt know, Im only young so I wouldnt really have a clue about the history of the synth. To be honest, if they were good at that time It wouldnt surprise me if Brian & The Boys were using them, they always seem to do a lot of 'firsts' in the pop industry.

but now that I think of it maby its just the equipment and arrangement, production etc.. maby anyway?

My thoughts exactly. I was thinking they had to be fake, too...until I listened again. Now I really think that on MIU and LA, it was more likely differences in production. After all, the decade before when the BBs were recording strings, it would've been completely different techniques. It is quite possible that the PS strings were done with just a few room mics. By the latter albums, there were more tracks to allow for better individual control and much more in the way of processing to sound "slicker" in the way much late 70s music does.

I think that another reason maby that the strings sound different from those two eras is Brian in the role of producer (PS) and him not the producer (MIU etc..). Brians records always seem to have something special about them in the way of production. To be honest, I actually like the strings on Pet Sounds better, I think they just have a warmer sound to them.
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Alan Boyd
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« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2007, 12:11:28 PM »

Most of the string overdubs on MIU were arranged by Gary Griffin and recorded up in Seattle, I think.  Those are definitely real strings on songs like "Matchpoint" "Sweet Sunday" and "Diane."

Dennis and Brian did use the Arp String Ensemble synth extensively in 76-77.   It's quite prominent on "Solar System," "Chapel of Love," "In The Still of the Night," the afore-mentioned "Just Once In My Life" and "Moonshine," among others. 
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« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2007, 01:00:28 PM »

Don't forget the Chamberlin, the mellotron-like instrument that provided "samples" of strings as early as Sunflower.
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Summer_Days
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« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2007, 04:31:27 PM »

Dennis and Brian did use the Arp String Ensemble synth extensively in 76-77.   It's quite prominent on "Solar System," "Chapel of Love," "In The Still of the Night," the afore-mentioned "Just Once In My Life" and "Moonshine," among others. 

Denny uses the Arp on 'Morning Christmas', recorded at half-speed, too. Pretty stuff.
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« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2007, 03:39:15 AM »

Don't forget the Chamberlin, the mellotron-like instrument that provided "samples" of strings as early as Sunflower.

What tracks would that have been used on? I'm quite into old keyboards so I would be interested to know.
The flute at the beginning of 'At my window' sounds like a mellotron, but are the strings on 'Our sweet love' real? They sound it, the mellotron has a more grainy texture, 'Cuddle up' has real strings though as well.
The ARP on 15 big ones is great, it has an icy tone to it and was used a lot inthe late 70s and early 80s on a lot of Synth pop and new wave stuff (Bowies Sound and Vision comes to mind, but its also on the Dave Edmunds version of 'Londons a lonely town'.
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« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2007, 05:01:03 AM »

Don't forget the Chamberlin, the mellotron-like instrument that provided "samples" of strings as early as Sunflower.
What tracks would that have been used on? I'm quite into old keyboards so I would be interested to know.

"Add Some Music To Your Day", for one.  In Steve Desper's book, he writes that there was a vocal line composed by Brian that Brian ended up not singing, so Carl added it as a violin line on the Chamberlin.

Also, Steve says the violins on "Forever" are Chamberlin.
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mikeyj
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« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2007, 02:06:25 AM »

Most of the string overdubs on MIU were arranged by Gary Griffin and recorded up in Seattle, I think.  Those are definitely real strings on songs like "Matchpoint" "Sweet Sunday" and "Diane."

Dennis and Brian did use the Arp String Ensemble synth extensively in 76-77.   It's quite prominent on "Solar System," "Chapel of Love," "In The Still of the Night," the afore-mentioned "Just Once In My Life" and "Moonshine," among others. 

Thanks for the info Alan Smiley
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