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Author Topic: Anyone know what kind of guitar Al is playing...  (Read 2406 times)
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« on: October 08, 2013, 05:20:50 PM »

...in the fullcolor photo on the back of the "Warmth Of The Sun" CD booklet?  The shot is, of course, from the 1967 Hawaii concert rehearsals.  It's a thin semi-hollowbody, similar in style to a Gibson ES-335, but I find the headstock puzzling.  A fuzzier, black-and-white concert stage shot with Al playing this guitar is on page 123 of the Leaf book. 
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« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2013, 05:35:52 PM »



A Baldwin 712! The poster "HarveyW" nailed it in a discussion found here: http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,10736.0.html

Originally it looked like a Fender Coronado or Hagstrom of some kind, major kudos to HarveyW for getting it right.  Smiley

You don't see many of these floating around.
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« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2013, 06:09:40 PM »



A Baldwin 712! The poster "HarveyW" nailed it in a discussion found here: http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,10736.0.html

Originally it looked like a Fender Coronado or Hagstrom of some kind, major kudos to HarveyW for getting it right.  Smiley

You don't see many of these floating around.

So given that Brian was also primarily playing a Baldwin instrument at these shows, perhaps some kind of endorsement deal had been struck?  Apologies if this has already been discussed to death...
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« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2013, 06:24:59 PM »

I don't know if it's ever been confirmed, but since Baldwin gave that theater organ to Brian, which was very expensive at that time, I can only assume they were trying to either woo the band into endorsing their instruments, or a preliminary deal may have been struck. Why else would a company give a brand new expensive organ to a musician like Brian if they didn't plan on getting something in return? I'm assuming they provided guitars too, maybe more, yet I can't recall any other photos of them playing Baldwins other than Al in Hawaii, etc.

It was an odd time for the band's instruments of choice, wasn't it? In '66-'67 they were still appearing in Fender ads, including print ads (reprinted in LLVS), and radio spots (which I've never heard despite searching). Yet in Hawaii Carl and Brian played a Hofner McCartney bass, other shows had Bruce playing an Eko violin bass, Al with the Baldwin, then the usual Gibsons...very strange.

Usually when a company endorses a band, the deal says the band has to be seen playing that brand in public, which is the return for the company's sponsorship. Yet the BB's instruments were all over the map that year as shown in photos. Odd.
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« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2013, 06:32:32 PM »

There's an early '80s interview with Carl in which he says he has a red Baldwin 12-string, so this is probably the same one. Stevie Jackson from Belle & Sebastian played one of those for awhile too.
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« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2013, 06:47:19 PM »

There's an early '80s interview with Carl in which he says he has a red Baldwin 12-string, so this is probably the same one. Stevie Jackson from Belle & Sebastian played one of those for awhile too.

Really?!  I'd really love to hear or see that (I'm taking about the interview here), if anyone knows where it can be found.
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« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2013, 06:49:46 PM »

Usually when a company endorses a band, the deal says the band has to be seen playing that brand in public, which is the return for the company's sponsorship. Yet the BB's instruments were all over the map that year as shown in photos. Odd.

Maybe as 1967 wore on, these manufacturers began to realize it was no longer considered "cool" for their products to be seen in the hands of the rapidly un-hip Beach Boys?   Evil
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« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2013, 07:06:57 PM »

...in the fullcolor photo on the back of the "Warmth Of The Sun" CD booklet?  The shot is, of course, from the 1967 Hawaii concert rehearsals.  It's a thin semi-hollowbody, similar in style to a Gibson ES-335, but I find the headstock puzzling.  A fuzzier, black-and-white concert stage shot with Al playing this guitar is on page 123 of the Leaf book.  

Hmm, I'm no guitar expert, but that guitar pictured in Leaf's book seems to have different fret board inlays and larger cutaways than the Baldwin. The footage at the end of God Only Knows shown in American Band has a colour motion version of the still which bears this out.
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« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2013, 08:06:19 PM »

There's an early '80s interview with Carl in which he says he has a red Baldwin 12-string, so this is probably the same one. Stevie Jackson from Belle & Sebastian played one of those for awhile too.

Really?!  I'd really love to hear or see that (I'm taking about the interview here), if anyone knows where it can be found.

http://www.billyhinsche.com/story4.html
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« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2013, 09:12:33 PM »


Hmm, I'm no guitar expert, but that guitar pictured in Leaf's book seems to have different fret board inlays and larger cutaways than the Baldwin. The footage at the end of God Only Knows shown in American Band has a colour motion version of the still which bears this out.

The film footage and still photos from Hawaii are showing at least 2, maybe 3 different on-stage rehearsals, and Al can be seen with different guitars. From what I remember, the red Baldwin in question can only be seen at one rehearsal.

I've posted somewhere on this board a photo from each rehearsal, you can tell by the their clothing and by the stage decorations which rehearsal it was. But Al does change guitars - and the red guitar with the odd headstock is definitely a Baldwin.
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« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2013, 09:22:54 PM »

These shots show the difference: The first two seem to be from an earlier rehearsal - Al has the red Baldwin, there are no flowers or Leis atop the Baldwin or decorating the stage.

The second two seem to show a later rehearsal, the stage looks fully decked-out either for or from a show, and the Boys themselves look like they've just come in from enjoying fun in the sun. Shirtless Al, Carl with shades. etc. And here Al has the sunburst guitar he played for the actual shows.






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« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2013, 10:24:17 PM »

I always thought it was odd that in their earlier years the group tended to play some fairly "obscure" instruments, like Fender Jaguar, the Hofner and Eko Violin bass, the Baldwin 712, etc. By the mid 1970's they seemed to settle with the Fender Stratocaster's and Gibson's.
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« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2013, 10:33:33 PM »

Anyone know if Al's guitar is audible onstage...?
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metal flake paint
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« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2013, 10:50:14 PM »

Anyone know if Al's guitar is audible onstage...?

I reckon it could be Al playing the guitar figure in Sloop.
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« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2013, 04:04:06 AM »

Anyone know if Al's guitar is audible onstage...?

Yeah, I just listened to both shows, and it breaks down like this:  for two or three of the songs, Brian is playing bass and Carl and Al are both on guitars (these would be "Sloop John B.", "Hawthorne Boulevard", which was only performed on the second night, and possibly "Surfer Girl"...on the latter I hear no organ, and it kinda sounds like two guitars...there may be organ on the later in-studio taped performance at Wally Heider, but I'm not hearing it on the actual concert performances).  For the rest of the songs, Brian plays organ while the other two rotate guitar and bass duties.  On some songs, the guitar is fairly loud, and on others it's kinda low but still there...I think that's more a difference of which guitar is being used, in other words rather than switch guitars between the two of them they more likely switched amps, meaning the 6-string amp was louder than the 12-string amp.  Although on that clip at the end of the "God Only Knows" video, they both appear to be playing 12s...right? 
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« Reply #15 on: October 09, 2013, 01:16:43 PM »

Anyone know if Al's guitar is audible onstage...?

Yeah, I just listened to both shows, and it breaks down like this:  for two or three of the songs, Brian is playing bass and Carl and Al are both on guitars (these would be "Sloop John B.", "Hawthorne Boulevard", which was only performed on the second night, and possibly "Surfer Girl"...on the latter I hear no organ, and it kinda sounds like two guitars...there may be organ on the later in-studio taped performance at Wally Heider, but I'm not hearing it on the actual concert performances).  For the rest of the songs, Brian plays organ while the other two rotate guitar and bass duties.  On some songs, the guitar is fairly loud, and on others it's kinda low but still there...I think that's more a difference of which guitar is being used, in other words rather than switch guitars between the two of them they more likely switched amps, meaning the 6-string amp was louder than the 12-string amp.  Although on that clip at the end of the "God Only Knows" video, they both appear to be playing 12s...right? 

That clip at the end of AAB's GOK may be from a different song, as it shows Brian on bass. Carl is shown playing bass (at least until the first ..."God only knows..." part) in AAB and EH. 
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« Reply #16 on: October 09, 2013, 06:33:39 PM »

Anyone know if Al's guitar is audible onstage...?

Yeah, I just listened to both shows, and it breaks down like this:  for two or three of the songs, Brian is playing bass and Carl and Al are both on guitars (these would be "Sloop John B.", "Hawthorne Boulevard", which was only performed on the second night, and possibly "Surfer Girl"...on the latter I hear no organ, and it kinda sounds like two guitars...there may be organ on the later in-studio taped performance at Wally Heider, but I'm not hearing it on the actual concert performances).  For the rest of the songs, Brian plays organ while the other two rotate guitar and bass duties.  On some songs, the guitar is fairly loud, and on others it's kinda low but still there...I think that's more a difference of which guitar is being used, in other words rather than switch guitars between the two of them they more likely switched amps, meaning the 6-string amp was louder than the 12-string amp.  Although on that clip at the end of the "God Only Knows" video, they both appear to be playing 12s...right? 

You've hit on an issue here which goes into another part of the Hawaii '67 story that's been puzzling me for some time. I'd like to hear you thoughts on this.

The part about the switched amps, and Al's guitar sometimes not being heard: The band had contracted what was at the time the finest available recording equipment to record this show. Beyond that, they had some truly great engineers who either had years of experience and respect under their belts (Lockert) along with those who were assisting who would later go on to do some all-time classic recordings and become respected in their own right. And again, they were using what anyone in the business would envy in terms of gear for recording a live concert.

I wonder then why are there such issues with sonics and details like Al's guitar when we hear the recordings? The band's performance is one thing, but if a full concert was allowed to be recorded where one guitar amp was lower than another and no one bothered to either adjust that, or fix it at the board, or fix it when the tapes were given the mixes we hear on the recordings of the shows, what did the band pay for?  Smiley  To put it bluntly.

Even having the capabilities that live setup afforded them in terms of mic'ing individual amps and close-mic'ing instruments doesn't seem to translate to the end results captured on tape. Some parts sound distant, off-mic, too "roomy" and spacious and not having enough presence or detail.

The question is why? The band's stripped-down setup in Hawaii could in theory have been captured on stage with maybe a dozen or so mics, up to maybe 15, counting vocals for everyone. The custom board they were using could handle that easily. Compare the sound to even the "Lost Concert" closed-circuit setup from '64, when they were even micing the wrong part of a Fender piggyback amp and the results still have more presence than parts of Hawaii.

I never understood that. If we look at the tech and the gear and the people manning it, parts of it should have sounded better than it does. IMO.

With Al's guitar, could it have been a case of him being "off" those nights and they simply mixed him down on the recording?
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« Reply #17 on: October 10, 2013, 04:14:54 AM »

All valid points, Craig...afraid I have no answer; I'm just as baffled!
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« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2019, 01:16:23 PM »

Anyone know if Al's guitar is audible onstage...?

Yeah, I just listened to both shows, and it breaks down like this:  for two or three of the songs, Brian is playing bass and Carl and Al are both on guitars (these would be "Sloop John B.", "Hawthorne Boulevard", which was only performed on the second night, and possibly "Surfer Girl"...on the latter I hear no organ, and it kinda sounds like two guitars...there may be organ on the later in-studio taped performance at Wally Heider, but I'm not hearing it on the actual concert performances).  For the rest of the songs, Brian plays organ while the other two rotate guitar and bass duties.  On some songs, the guitar is fairly loud, and on others it's kinda low but still there...I think that's more a difference of which guitar is being used, in other words rather than switch guitars between the two of them they more likely switched amps, meaning the 6-string amp was louder than the 12-string amp.  Although on that clip at the end of the "God Only Knows" video, they both appear to be playing 12s...right? 

That clip at the end of AAB's GOK may be from a different song, as it shows Brian on bass. Carl is shown playing bass (at least until the first ..."God only knows..." part) in AAB and EH. 



Yes, the clips are not from the same song. We can be certain that the big shot of Carl is of GOK because we see his lips moving. But the rest could theoretically be of any songs.

BTW, as mentioned on the "Beach Boys Gear" thread, it can be helpful to look at the youtube channel of Norman's Rare Guitars. Here's a video with the Baldwin 712.


LEMMO DEMO: Baldwin 712 12 String Guitar for $1199 | "My Affordable Favorites"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iR8f0p9q_Ic
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« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2019, 03:29:09 AM »

Anyone know if Al's guitar is audible onstage...?

Yeah, I just listened to both shows, and it breaks down like this:  for two or three of the songs, Brian is playing bass and Carl and Al are both on guitars (these would be "Sloop John B.", "Hawthorne Boulevard", which was only performed on the second night, and possibly "Surfer Girl"...on the latter I hear no organ, and it kinda sounds like two guitars...there may be organ on the later in-studio taped performance at Wally Heider, but I'm not hearing it on the actual concert performances).  For the rest of the songs, Brian plays organ while the other two rotate guitar and bass duties.  On some songs, the guitar is fairly loud, and on others it's kinda low but still there...I think that's more a difference of which guitar is being used, in other words rather than switch guitars between the two of them they more likely switched amps, meaning the 6-string amp was louder than the 12-string amp.  Although on that clip at the end of the "God Only Knows" video, they both appear to be playing 12s...right?  

You've hit on an issue here which goes into another part of the Hawaii '67 story that's been puzzling me for some time. I'd like to hear you thoughts on this.

The part about the switched amps, and Al's guitar sometimes not being heard: The band had contracted what was at the time the finest available recording equipment to record this show. Beyond that, they had some truly great engineers who either had years of experience and respect under their belts (Lockert) along with those who were assisting who would later go on to do some all-time classic recordings and become respected in their own right. And again, they were using what anyone in the business would envy in terms of gear for recording a live concert.

I wonder then why are there such issues with sonics and details like Al's guitar when we hear the recordings? The band's performance is one thing, but if a full concert was allowed to be recorded where one guitar amp was lower than another and no one bothered to either adjust that, or fix it at the board, or fix it when the tapes were given the mixes we hear on the recordings of the shows, what did the band pay for?  Smiley  To put it bluntly.

Even having the capabilities that live setup afforded them in terms of mic'ing individual amps and close-mic'ing instruments doesn't seem to translate to the end results captured on tape. Some parts sound distant, off-mic, too "roomy" and spacious and not having enough presence or detail.

The question is why? The band's stripped-down setup in Hawaii could in theory have been captured on stage with maybe a dozen or so mics, up to maybe 15, counting vocals for everyone. The custom board they were using could handle that easily. Compare the sound to even the "Lost Concert" closed-circuit setup from '64, when they were even micing the wrong part of a Fender piggyback amp and the results still have more presence than parts of Hawaii.

I never understood that. If we look at the tech and the gear and the people manning it, parts of it should have sounded better than it does. IMO.

With Al's guitar, could it have been a case of him being "off" those nights and they simply mixed him down on the recording?



The early live outfits are interesting all the way to me.
Now that the '67 Hawaii shows have been released in better quality than the old bootlegs, what would you say? IIRC it has been said that the recordings of the two shows had technical difficulties and therefore the studio re-recordings needed to be done (not sure if this theory still holds up).

There are more examples where the guitars are not mixed properly, or at least it sounds that way on the recordings we got. Listen to the Michigan shows from '66. You can't hear Carl's guitar at times. His solo on "Surfin' USA" (first released on the EH soundtrack in '98) is more or less just Al's rhythm guitar. It takes a lot of energy away, obviously, if you can't hear the lead guitar. Also on the '67 UNICEF gala performance of "Barbara Ann" a.o.
I think the Boys had a great live sound that's why it's so unfortunate when you can't hear Carl.



On a completely different note: Al's outfit of striped shirt, jeans and sneakers absolutely rocks! Are the striped shirts still available somewhere btw?
« Last Edit: September 14, 2019, 03:40:22 AM by Rocker » Logged

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To sum it up, they blew it, they blew it consistently, they continue to blow it, it is tragic and this pathological problem caused The Beach Boys' greatest music to be so underrated by the general public.

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« Reply #20 on: September 14, 2019, 10:00:52 AM »

Anyone know if Al's guitar is audible onstage...?

Yeah, I just listened to both shows, and it breaks down like this:  for two or three of the songs, Brian is playing bass and Carl and Al are both on guitars (these would be "Sloop John B.", "Hawthorne Boulevard", which was only performed on the second night, and possibly "Surfer Girl"...on the latter I hear no organ, and it kinda sounds like two guitars...there may be organ on the later in-studio taped performance at Wally Heider, but I'm not hearing it on the actual concert performances).  For the rest of the songs, Brian plays organ while the other two rotate guitar and bass duties.  On some songs, the guitar is fairly loud, and on others it's kinda low but still there...I think that's more a difference of which guitar is being used, in other words rather than switch guitars between the two of them they more likely switched amps, meaning the 6-string amp was louder than the 12-string amp.  Although on that clip at the end of the "God Only Knows" video, they both appear to be playing 12s...right?  

You've hit on an issue here which goes into another part of the Hawaii '67 story that's been puzzling me for some time. I'd like to hear you thoughts on this.

The part about the switched amps, and Al's guitar sometimes not being heard: The band had contracted what was at the time the finest available recording equipment to record this show. Beyond that, they had some truly great engineers who either had years of experience and respect under their belts (Lockert) along with those who were assisting who would later go on to do some all-time classic recordings and become respected in their own right. And again, they were using what anyone in the business would envy in terms of gear for recording a live concert.

I wonder then why are there such issues with sonics and details like Al's guitar when we hear the recordings? The band's performance is one thing, but if a full concert was allowed to be recorded where one guitar amp was lower than another and no one bothered to either adjust that, or fix it at the board, or fix it when the tapes were given the mixes we hear on the recordings of the shows, what did the band pay for?  Smiley  To put it bluntly.

Even having the capabilities that live setup afforded them in terms of mic'ing individual amps and close-mic'ing instruments doesn't seem to translate to the end results captured on tape. Some parts sound distant, off-mic, too "roomy" and spacious and not having enough presence or detail.

The question is why? The band's stripped-down setup in Hawaii could in theory have been captured on stage with maybe a dozen or so mics, up to maybe 15, counting vocals for everyone. The custom board they were using could handle that easily. Compare the sound to even the "Lost Concert" closed-circuit setup from '64, when they were even micing the wrong part of a Fender piggyback amp and the results still have more presence than parts of Hawaii.

I never understood that. If we look at the tech and the gear and the people manning it, parts of it should have sounded better than it does. IMO.

With Al's guitar, could it have been a case of him being "off" those nights and they simply mixed him down on the recording?



The early live outfits are interesting all the way to me.
Now that the '67 Hawaii shows have been released in better quality than the old bootlegs, what would you say? IIRC it has been said that the recordings of the two shows had technical difficulties and therefore the studio re-recordings needed to be done (not sure if this theory still holds up).

There are more examples where the guitars are not mixed properly, or at least it sounds that way on the recordings we got. Listen to the Michigan shows from '66. You can't hear Carl's guitar at times. His solo on "Surfin' USA" (first released on the EH soundtrack in '98) is more or less just Al's rhythm guitar. It takes a lot of energy away, obviously, if you can't hear the lead guitar. Also on the '67 UNICEF gala performance of "Barbara Ann" a.o.
I think the Boys had a great live sound that's why it's so unfortunate when you can't hear Carl.



On a completely different note: Al's outfit of striped shirt, jeans and sneakers absolutely rocks! Are the striped shirts still available somewhere btw?

Well, some blue striped shirts were sold a few years ago by Robert Graham as Mike Love tribute shirts, as we found out during the Boys' Sirius appearance with Rob Reiner last summer. So if you don't mind rolling up the cuffs of your expensive designer striped shirt and seeing multiple images of Mike Love staring back at you, there's your shirt... Grin

I'm going to say in terms of these various "official" live recordings, yes the technology was limited and yes they often had random local union guys running the house mix prior to 1967 who didn't have experience (or the gear to be fair) to properly mix a live rock show...if they were music mixers at all...BUT the live recordings from '67 and prior which we're dissecting in terms of the flaws would have had what I assume were Capitol engineers. And Hawaii '67 had both the late great Jim Lockert who knew the band's music having recorded them that same summer AND a future engineering legend like Bill Halverson assisting among others...I never understood the decline in sound quality and mix, only to suggest the band themselves were to blame for a myriad of reasons.

Don't get me wrong, the Hawaii '67 material is some of my favorite BB's material to listen to, I love it. But it really doesn't sound as good as all the effort and equipment that went into making those recordings. And again I'll repeat for consideration, the Beach Boys had rented from Wally Heider what was perhaps the most advanced if not the best live recording rig available in LA at that time to record those shows. They had a custom Frank DiMedio built board with probably more inputs, sends, and returns than most pro studios at that exact time, along with closed-circuit TV monitoring and other expensive and forward-thinking options. Yet, listen to the tapes and it sounds so thin it's almost too thin. Well no, it is too thin considering what they were using. Again, more the fault of the band at that point I'd say.

It also make us appreciate just how much Stephen Desper brought to the band when he started working with them, especially with the live shows. They had a terrific live rig, a phenomenal engineer with a grasp on both the tech/science and the music itself, and the mixing of the shows became an art in itself rather than rolling into town and getting the local union guy to run the sound through equipment designed for things other than rock music. Hell, in some cases they were pumping sound to the crowds through PA horns like you'd hear at a baseball game! That's why someone like Stephen was so integral and so important to the band, he and a few of his peers approached live sound as an art rather than running lines through a mixer, and it changed the business.

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« Reply #21 on: September 14, 2019, 12:21:16 PM »


Well, some blue striped shirts were sold a few years ago by Robert Graham as Mike Love tribute shirts, as we found out during the Boys' Sirius appearance with Rob Reiner last summer. So if you don't mind rolling up the cuffs of your expensive designer striped shirt and seeing multiple images of Mike Love staring back at you, there's your shirt... Grin

I'm going to say in terms of these various "official" live recordings, yes the technology was limited and yes they often had random local union guys running the house mix prior to 1967 who didn't have experience (or the gear to be fair) to properly mix a live rock show...if they were music mixers at all...BUT the live recordings from '67 and prior which we're dissecting in terms of the flaws would have had what I assume were Capitol engineers. And Hawaii '67 had both the late great Jim Lockert who knew the band's music having recorded them that same summer AND a future engineering legend like Bill Halverson assisting among others...I never understood the decline in sound quality and mix, only to suggest the band themselves were to blame for a myriad of reasons.

Don't get me wrong, the Hawaii '67 material is some of my favorite BB's material to listen to, I love it. But it really doesn't sound as good as all the effort and equipment that went into making those recordings. And again I'll repeat for consideration, the Beach Boys had rented from Wally Heider what was perhaps the most advanced if not the best live recording rig available in LA at that time to record those shows. They had a custom Frank DiMedio built board with probably more inputs, sends, and returns than most pro studios at that exact time, along with closed-circuit TV monitoring and other expensive and forward-thinking options. Yet, listen to the tapes and it sounds so thin it's almost too thin. Well no, it is too thin considering what they were using. Again, more the fault of the band at that point I'd say.

It also make us appreciate just how much Stephen Desper brought to the band when he started working with them, especially with the live shows. They had a terrific live rig, a phenomenal engineer with a grasp on both the tech/science and the music itself, and the mixing of the shows became an art in itself rather than rolling into town and getting the local union guy to run the sound through equipment designed for things other than rock music. Hell, in some cases they were pumping sound to the crowds through PA horns like you'd hear at a baseball game! That's why someone like Stephen was so integral and so important to the band, he and a few of his peers approached live sound as an art rather than running lines through a mixer, and it changed the business.




Ah yes, those Mike-shirts. Now that you say it, I remember. They didn't look too shabby iirc.
Anyway, although the striped shirts were totally ridiculous in '66/'67 and later of course, but when I see pictures of them (like in the Sunshine Tomorrow booklet) I think they look beautiful; very vibrant colors. And again, Al's look totally rocks.


I agree about the thin sound. It's a shame. I would love to know how it sounded in person. The rcordings pale when you compare them to other acts of the time and their big sounds, and I can't believe that the Beach Boys - as the U.S.'s biggest band - couldn't keep up with that.
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a diseased bunch of mo'fos if there ever was one… their beauty is so awesome that listening to them at their best is like being in some vast dream cathedral decorated with a thousand gleaming American pop culture icons.

- Lester Bangs on The Beach Boys


PRO SHOT BEACH BOYS CONCERTS - LIST


To sum it up, they blew it, they blew it consistently, they continue to blow it, it is tragic and this pathological problem caused The Beach Boys' greatest music to be so underrated by the general public.

- Jack Rieley
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