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636208 Posts in 25441 Topics by 3620 Members - Latest Member: Mike1965 August 15, 2018, 11:35:03 AM
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Author Topic: How much acutal tape splicing did Brian do himself?  (Read 485 times)
CenturyDeprived
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« on: August 13, 2018, 03:11:03 PM »

Was splicing tape something that was rarely actually done by Brian himself (and just done by the engineer), or was Brian sometimes doing a bunch of the actual tape splicing and knob twiddling in the studio? I know there are posed photos of Brian by the mixing board (around '66 and '76), but not sure how indicative those pics are of actual hands-on activity he may or may not have done, such as splicing, hitting rewind, record, etc.

And curious to know what the timeline would be when he might have last done stuff like that (has Brian even recorded analog since BW88?)
« Last Edit: August 13, 2018, 03:11:33 PM by CenturyDeprived » Logged
c-man
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« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2018, 04:17:40 PM »

Can't speak to the tape splicing, but there's footage and anecdotal stories of Brian doing plenty of knob twiddling. As for analog recording - my understanding is that's how the Wilson/Paley stuff was tracked, and also certain elements of Imagination (like the bass and drums) - although in the latter case, that was probably Joe Thomas' call more than Brian's.
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Stephen W. Desper
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« Reply #2 on: Yesterday at 07:20:24 AM »

Was splicing tape something that was rarely actually done by Brian himself (and just done by the engineer), or was Brian sometimes doing a bunch of the actual tape splicing and knob twiddling in the studio? I know there are posed photos of Brian by the mixing board (around '66 and '76), but not sure how indicative those pics are of actual hands-on activity he may or may not have done, such as splicing, hitting rewind, record, etc.

And curious to know what the timeline would be when he might have last done stuff like that (has Brian even recorded analog since BW88?)

COMMENT to CenturyDeprived:  Tape splicing is not just mark and cut. It's more complex and requires some expertise to get it right. Capitol used scissors for cutting, whereas other studios used the block. Splicing a multi-track tape requires an applied strategy before enacting any surgery.

In my experience with Brian or any Beach Boy, no one ever spliced tape. Union rules at many of the studios he used would dis-allow him handling the tape itself. Otherwise, the engineer would do any splicing at Brian's direction, but not hand the blade to Brian, who I doubt would want to actually cut the tape or even know the difference between the recording or playback head location. Like the selection of a microphone or its placement, or fixing a broken piece of equipment, tape splicing is the domain of the engineer.

  ~swd
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yrplace
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« Reply #3 on: Yesterday at 08:22:45 AM »

The sessions Brian did with Andy around 1995 began on analog tape with some overdubs done on digital.
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hideyotsuburaya
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« Reply #4 on: Yesterday at 10:36:10 AM »

for the more tricky tape edits - was a visual aid ever resorted to in identifying the precise point at which to make the (blade or scissors) cut?

for a tape traveling @ 15 IPS, there is some latitude

the visual aid might be a magnetic fluid that's lightly wiped or sprayed onto the tape oxide - one brand I recall the name of was 'Magna-See' (but there were a couple others, maybe FerroSheen).  With judicious application it momentarily lets you see the recorded waveforms of the track, to identify peaks/valleys the engineer can tie into what is heard at the playback head (at that moment).

the Beatles SHE LOVES YOU is said to have 7 splice points, editing back and forth between several song takes.  Most people should be able to take an educated guess where one or two of them maybe giving it a critical listen - Ringo's high-hat cymbal seems to come and go arbitrarily at a probable edit point.  My long-standing belief is that's the true reason a stereo mix of that song was never released, i.e., those 7 edit points are tolerable in a dense mono mix, but when a more discrete stereo was attempted they called too much attention to themselves for public consumption
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 10:37:48 AM by hideyotsuburaya » Logged
CenturyDeprived
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« Reply #5 on: Yesterday at 11:04:12 AM »

Thanks very much for the replies, c-man, Stephen, and Mark.

Due to union rules and just general comfort and ease, is it safe to say that Brian always utilized a separate person as an engineer (other than himself) for every single studio recording he ever did, either recordings done at an outside professional studio or at Brian's own home studio (aside from possible home "bedroom" recordings that he might have done with a handheld tape recorder)?

Amazing what a different world it was then when compared to today.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 11:07:47 AM by CenturyDeprived » Logged
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