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Author Topic: Overdub Take Numbers  (Read 1375 times)
c-man
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« on: December 10, 2014, 04:54:08 AM »

Here's a question for all the SOT and session tape fanatics: is there a discernible theme to the way overdub takes were slated in the early-mid '60s, and did it vary from studio to studio? For instance, "Instrumental Insert" would be the overdub of an instrumental piece onto the first-generation tape, whereas "Overdub" tended to always be a vocal overdub onto the first-gen tape - and the take number for these would be slated also ("Instrumental Insert, Take 3" and "Overdub Take 2")....and if you had more than one vocal o/d on the first-gen, it'd be slated as "Overdub Two, Take 4", etc. But, the use of letters (preceded by a take number) would indicate an overdub on a later-generation tape ("2A" would indicate the second take of the first overdub on a later-gen tape, "3B" would be the third take of the second such overdub, etc.). One question I haven't yet had the patience to determine the answer to would be: does the use of the letter "A" in such a slate indicate an overdub onto the second-generation tape, while "B" would always be an overdub onto the third-gen tape...or could overdubs "A" and "B" both be on the second generation tape? In other words, does the particular letter used correspond to the tape generation, or just overdubs beyond those on the first-gen tape?
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guitarfool2002
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« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2014, 08:44:04 PM »

Very interesting. I've thought it was something which could change not only studio-to-studio, but also between different engineers/assistants/producers and individual sessions too. Some of the 1967-68 Abbey Road session descriptions and slates simply make no sense, with some songs/takes/overdubs being given take numbers seemingly at random.

Wouldn't the best reference be what the assistant or the engineer wrote on the tape box or on a track sheet from the studio if those are available?

And this may seem like a foolish question, but if I were overdubbing a guitar part onto an existing set of tracks in the four-track format, let's say tracks 1-3 are full and I was going onto the open track 4 with that overdubbed guitar, what if I made a mistake...why would that "take" even be kept instead of the tape being rewound and tried again, taping over the failed attempt on the only open track left on the reel at that point? With so little tracks open, how and why would they be slating multiple takes of the same overdub, if it needed multiple takes to get the part down? You'd simply rewind and try again, there weren't extra tracks to hold multiple takes of a guitar overdub in those days, especially one with mistakes.
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Mikie
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« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2014, 09:13:36 PM »

I don't have answers to C-mans post, but I'm looking forward to hearing from someone who does. Man, it would be nice if Boyd or Linett posted here again!

Anyway, a quick question, and I don't think it's related, but I've heard it on the SOT's and/or Pet Sounds box. Brian says "Letter A" or "Letter B" when instructing the musicians what to play. Is he clarifying something by specifying "Letter" in front of A and B? I can tell it's not directed to Chuck Britz, so I don't think it's an instruction for a specific take or overdub. Can someone please explain what Brian means by this?
« Last Edit: December 10, 2014, 09:29:56 PM by Mikie » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2014, 09:22:48 PM »

Anyway, a quick question, and I don't think it's related, but I've heard it on the SOT's and/or Pet Sounds box. Brian says "Letter A" or "Letter B" when instructing the musicians what to play. Is he clarifying something by specifying "Letter" in front of A and B? I can tell it's not directed to Chuck Britz, so I don't think it's and instruction for a specific take or overdub. Can someone please explain what Brian means by this?

I'm not familiar with what you're referring to, but musical sections often have letters for names. Like, a verse can be "A", a chorus can be "B", a bridge can be "C", etc.
So, maybe that's it.
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c-man
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« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2014, 09:23:45 PM »

I don't have answers to C-mans post, but I'm looking forward to hearing from someone who does. Man, it would be nice if Boyd or Linett posted here again!

Anyway, a quick question, and I don't think it's related, but I've heard it on the SOT's and/or Pet Sounds box. Brian says "Letter A" or "Letter B" when instructing the musicians what to play. Is he clarifying something by specifying "Letter" in front of A and B? I can tell it's not directed to Chuck Britz, so I don't think it's and instruction for a specific take or overdub. Can someone please explain what Brian means by this?

The use of Letter A, Letter B, Letter C, etc. in this manner was Brian's way of indicating a different section of a song, when they were rehearsing or recording modularly. And when I say "Brian's way of", perhaps other producers did that too, at their sessions. But that's what it means.
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guitarfool2002
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« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2014, 09:26:24 PM »

They're rehearsal letters, depending on who the arranger or copyist is, you'll see either a letter or the measure number at the points where the sections of the music change, usually circled or boxed so the musicians can find those points.

The other definition is song form, as in jazz standards like I Got Rhythm which they call AABA form.
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Mikie
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« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2014, 09:32:05 PM »

Thanks for the answer, guys.  Always wondered what Brian meant by that.

« Last Edit: December 10, 2014, 09:33:26 PM by Mikie » Logged

I, I love the colorful clothes she wears, and she's already working on my brain. I only looked in her eyes, but I picked up something I just can't explain. I, I bet I know what shes like, and I can feel how right shed be for me. Its weird how she comes in so strong, and I wonder what shes picking up from me. I hope its good, good, good, good vibrations, yeah!!
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« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2014, 10:41:07 PM »

"What number is this, Jim?"

"7A!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nmxmJ3Fp0k

OK, that's not the Beach Boys, but a similar kind of numbering.
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Mikie
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« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2014, 09:50:59 AM »

Same as when Britz called "5A" on the 'Please Let Me Wonder' session. I think that's an overdub number.
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I, I love the colorful clothes she wears, and she's already working on my brain. I only looked in her eyes, but I picked up something I just can't explain. I, I bet I know what shes like, and I can feel how right shed be for me. Its weird how she comes in so strong, and I wonder what shes picking up from me. I hope its good, good, good, good vibrations, yeah!!
Mikie
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« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2014, 01:53:10 PM »

Just want to keep this thread on the forefront.  See if we have any knowledgeable entities that will address the subject at hand.
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I, I love the colorful clothes she wears, and she's already working on my brain. I only looked in her eyes, but I picked up something I just can't explain. I, I bet I know what shes like, and I can feel how right shed be for me. Its weird how she comes in so strong, and I wonder what shes picking up from me. I hope its good, good, good, good vibrations, yeah!!
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