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Author Topic: Guitar Sound on "Little Bird"  (Read 3414 times)
c-man
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« on: July 16, 2018, 03:23:49 PM »

Hey, wondering what guitar players here think might produce the somewhat unique guitar sound on "Little Bird" - could it be the mic'ing, the tuning, or the guitar itself? It sounds almost cello-like in its quality. Kinda like it's being played arco-sytle (with a bow).
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Stephen W. Desper
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« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2018, 08:13:29 PM »

Hey, wondering what guitar players here think might produce the somewhat unique guitar sound on "Little Bird" - could it be the mic'ing, the tuning, or the guitar itself? It sounds almost cello-like in its quality. Kinda like it's being played arco-sytle (with a bow).

COMMENT to c-man:
It's a 17th century cello played by Igor Horoshevsky. Igor played on several Beach Boy productions and traveled with them on a European tour.
~swd
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« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2018, 08:19:14 PM »

Hmm...I was just reading today about the "baroque violin" - violins from the 17th century were set up differently than modern day violins, to the point where a "baroque violin" is considered an instrument unto itself...I wonder if the same is true of 17th century cellos?
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Stephen W. Desper
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« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2018, 04:45:15 AM »

Hmm...I was just reading today about the "baroque violin" - violins from the 17th century were set up differently than modern day violins, to the point where a "baroque violin" is considered an instrument unto itself...I wonder if the same is true of 17th century cellos?
COMMENT to c-man:  Musical instruments have changed through the years or rather centuries. Look at woodwinds and horns.
Igor's cello was quite valuable. Just the bow was valued at over $4,000. When he traveled with us his cello had to have its own airplane seat and was strapped in like a person.
Igor was 1st cellist of the Glendale Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Carmon Dragon. The Orchestra was quite popular in its day and Mistro Dragon's arrangements were much in demand. The orchestra was part of the Baby Snooks show, a radio show long before TV. One of his son's was Daryl Dragon who, when the Boys needed some string accompaniment, ask Igor, from his father's orchestra to record. Igor was a Russian immigrant and quite a character. Being classically trained he knew nothing about Rock music, but the Beach Boys took him under their wing to form a lasting friendship and recording/touring relationship. They encouraged him to do studio recording, which he knew nothing about. They got him some gigs and soon he was in demand, playing on commercials, and movie sound tracks. They opened a whole world of professional cello playing to him where he made lots of money and enjoyed every moment. Straight-laced Igor and flamboyant rock drummer, Dennis became the odd couple when we toured and pal-ed around a lot -- Igor always taking movies with his 8mm camera. When Igor died, Mary, his wife, and I tried to locate the many reels of The Beach Boys in Europe, but in vain. Now they are lost to antiquity. But Igor lives on in song -- such as Little Bird.
 
~swd
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« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2018, 11:33:54 AM »

Hmm...I was just reading today about the "baroque violin" - violins from the 17th century were set up differently than modern day violins, to the point where a "baroque violin" is considered an instrument unto itself...I wonder if the same is true of 17th century cellos?

It is--but many of the finest extant instruments from the "early music" eras have been altered to suit the needs of the modern performer.  Most existing Stradavarii and the instruments by similarly sought-after makers have been disassembled and put back together to accommodate modern strings and more vigorous playing.  Horoshevsky's cello would similarly been dismantled and adapted for modern use.  Interestingly, Celli were just starting to become commonplace in the 17th century, replacing earlier bass instruments from the related viol family.  Some have argued that the cello started life as an instrument played "da spalla", ie, on the shoulder, like a violin, and that it was that instrument that Bach wrote his cello suites for.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2018, 11:35:13 AM by aeijtzsche » Logged
JK
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« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2018, 01:05:54 PM »

What a fascinating topic. Thanks folks!
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« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2018, 06:54:37 PM »

Hmm...I was just reading today about the "baroque violin" - violins from the 17th century were set up differently than modern day violins, to the point where a "baroque violin" is considered an instrument unto itself...I wonder if the same is true of 17th century cellos?

It is--but many of the finest extant instruments from the "early music" eras have been altered to suit the needs of the modern performer.  Most existing Stradavarii and the instruments by similarly sought-after makers have been disassembled and put back together to accommodate modern strings and more vigorous playing.  Horoshevsky's cello would similarly been dismantled and adapted for modern use.  Interestingly, Celli were just starting to become commonplace in the 17th century, replacing earlier bass instruments from the related viol family.  Some have argued that the cello started life as an instrument played "da spalla", ie, on the shoulder, like a violin, and that it was that instrument that Bach wrote his cello suites for.

COMMENT:  Question for aeijtzsche. Would the older cello be more like a viola size? I can't imagine anything larger used da spalla. And by the way, I misspoke about Igor's cello. It was made in the 1700s, which would make it an 18th century instrument. Still had a beautiful bloom. ~swd
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guitarfool2002
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« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2018, 09:30:41 PM »

For anyone interested, and my interest was stoked by a music history professor who had the unenviable task of lecturing for two hours at a 9am lecture class when half the class would either be absent or asleep (and he was *excellent* which is why I am recalling all this 25 years later)...check out the various attempts through the years to create a "period correct" orchestra to perform various works as they would be performed and heard in the era of the composers who created them.

The time before trumpets had valves, when materials used on familiar instruments was not as we know it, when sizes and scales of instruments could vary based on the region in which the orchestra was based, and in some cases the temperament or tuning standards in general, which also could vary by region and definitely by era.

So you'd have a very familiar piece as of modern times that might not sound the same if we traveled back in time to the period when it was "new" and when the orchestras in that composer's region may have had differences from an orchestra 500 miles away.

It's fascinating to hear, and with the power of YouTube and the internet it's as easy as searching for these types of orchestras and recorded examples.

But to my younger and developing musical mind, hearing that professor describe how different an orchestra playing a familiar piece may have sounded vastly different in their original era versus hearing the Philly Orchestra or whoever playing it in modern times, it was really something to think about.
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« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2018, 05:44:40 AM »

Hmm...I was just reading today about the "baroque violin" - violins from the 17th century were set up differently than modern day violins, to the point where a "baroque violin" is considered an instrument unto itself...I wonder if the same is true of 17th century cellos?

It is--but many of the finest extant instruments from the "early music" eras have been altered to suit the needs of the modern performer.  Most existing Stradavarii and the instruments by similarly sought-after makers have been disassembled and put back together to accommodate modern strings and more vigorous playing.  Horoshevsky's cello would similarly been dismantled and adapted for modern use.  Interestingly, Celli were just starting to become commonplace in the 17th century, replacing earlier bass instruments from the related viol family.  Some have argued that the cello started life as an instrument played "da spalla", ie, on the shoulder, like a violin, and that it was that instrument that Bach wrote his cello suites for.

COMMENT:  Question for aeijtzsche. Would the older cello be more like a viola size? I can't imagine anything larger used da spalla. And by the way, I misspoke about Igor's cello. It was made in the 1700s, which would make it an 18th century instrument. Still had a beautiful bloom. ~swd







Also, watch this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XD4kNY34AoE

And here's a Brandenburg played with Celli da Spalla:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEbkxYfk0Go
« Last Edit: July 20, 2018, 05:47:03 AM by aeijtzsche » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2018, 12:15:33 PM »

Hmm...I was just reading today about the "baroque violin" - violins from the 17th century were set up differently than modern day violins, to the point where a "baroque violin" is considered an instrument unto itself...I wonder if the same is true of 17th century cellos?

It is--but many of the finest extant instruments from the "early music" eras have been altered to suit the needs of the modern performer.  Most existing Stradavarii and the instruments by similarly sought-after makers have been disassembled and put back together to accommodate modern strings and more vigorous playing.  Horoshevsky's cello would similarly been dismantled and adapted for modern use.  Interestingly, Celli were just starting to become commonplace in the 17th century, replacing earlier bass instruments from the related viol family.  Some have argued that the cello started life as an instrument played "da spalla", ie, on the shoulder, like a violin, and that it was that instrument that Bach wrote his cello suites for.

COMMENT:  Question for aeijtzsche. Would the older cello be more like a viola size? I can't imagine anything larger used da spalla. And by the way, I misspoke about Igor's cello. It was made in the 1700s, which would make it an 18th century instrument. Still had a beautiful bloom. ~swd







Also, watch this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XD4kNY34AoE

And here's a Brandenburg played with Celli da Spalla:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEbkxYfk0Go

Surprised that no one in the world of overly theatrical prog-rock and metal has tried to mount a pickup on that instrument and plug it into a massive rack and a Marshall stack just for the visual impact alone.  LOL

Or surprised that Nigel Tufnel didn't strap one of those on at some point...
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Stephen W. Desper
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« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2018, 07:36:40 AM »

COMMENT to aeijtzsche:

Thanks for answering my question with good examples.  I see the strap and watched the videos. The instrument looks like a small cello or a large viola. It's a hand full. Sounds like it's hard to be expressive with such a mass of wood to contend with.

Then there is no connection of the instrument's resonance with the floor, through the "floor pin" (don't know proper name).  I can see why, over time, the cello developed into a larger instrument held between the knees, rather than with a shoulder strap. Then I'm thinking, what if you needed five of these small cellos. They would take up twice the room as the floor-mounted model.

It's all quite interesting.
~swd

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MyDrKnowsItKeepsMeCalm
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« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2018, 09:02:00 AM »

Hmm...I was just reading today about the "baroque violin" - violins from the 17th century were set up differently than modern day violins, to the point where a "baroque violin" is considered an instrument unto itself...I wonder if the same is true of 17th century cellos?
COMMENT to c-man:  Musical instruments have changed through the years or rather centuries. Look at woodwinds and horns.
Igor's cello was quite valuable. Just the bow was valued at over $4,000. When he traveled with us his cello had to have its own airplane seat and was strapped in like a person.
Igor was 1st cellist of the Glendale Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Carmon Dragon. The Orchestra was quite popular in its day and Mistro Dragon's arrangements were much in demand. The orchestra was part of the Baby Snooks show, a radio show long before TV. One of his son's was Daryl Dragon who, when the Boys needed some string accompaniment, ask Igor, from his father's orchestra to record. Igor was a Russian immigrant and quite a character. Being classically trained he knew nothing about Rock music, but the Beach Boys took him under their wing to form a lasting friendship and recording/touring relationship. They encouraged him to do studio recording, which he knew nothing about. They got him some gigs and soon he was in demand, playing on commercials, and movie sound tracks. They opened a whole world of professional cello playing to him where he made lots of money and enjoyed every moment. Straight-laced Igor and flamboyant rock drummer, Dennis became the odd couple when we toured and pal-ed around a lot -- Igor always taking movies with his 8mm camera. When Igor died, Mary, his wife, and I tried to locate the many reels of The Beach Boys in Europe, but in vain. Now they are lost to antiquity. But Igor lives on in song -- such as Little Bird.
 
~swd
Really cool! Thanks for sharing; I never knew it was a non-Beach Boy making that unique sound on the recording.
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« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2020, 06:50:06 PM »

Do we know any more about who played on this track?

Drums, bass, banjo?
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c-man
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« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2020, 06:57:11 PM »

Do we know any more about who played on this track?

Drums, bass, banjo?

Jim Gordon, Lyle Ritz, Al Vescovo
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« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2020, 06:59:21 PM »

oh wow.. that was fast.  thank you.

is there any place online with this kind of info or do we just ask here and cross the fingers?

i see this info isn't included in liner notes.
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aeijtzsche
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« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2020, 07:00:40 PM »

oh wow.. that was fast.  thank you.

is there any place online with this kind of info or do we just ask here and cross the fingers?

i see this info isn't included in liner notes.

Asking here is best.
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All Summer Long
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« Reply #16 on: June 13, 2020, 08:16:10 PM »

oh wow.. that was fast.  thank you.

is there any place online with this kind of info or do we just ask here and cross the fingers?

i see this info isn't included in liner notes.

I try to take whatever I can from here, ESQ issues, c-manís website, etc and post it to Wikipedia. There are a couple of editors there determined to remove it though. (I also have been saving as much of it as I can find on my iPad too.)

Do we know any more about who played on this track?

Drums, bass, banjo?

Jim Gordon, Lyle Ritz, Al Vescovo

Interesting. I was hoping Al (Jardine) would have played banjo on this. Was this recorded in the home studio?
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aeijtzsche
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« Reply #17 on: June 13, 2020, 08:26:31 PM »

oh wow.. that was fast.  thank you.

is there any place online with this kind of info or do we just ask here and cross the fingers?

i see this info isn't included in liner notes.

I try to take whatever I can from here, ESQ issues, c-manís website, etc and post it to Wikipedia. There are a couple of editors there determined to remove it though. (I also have been saving as much of it as I can find on my iPad too.)

Do we know any more about who played on this track?

Drums, bass, banjo?

Jim Gordon, Lyle Ritz, Al Vescovo

Interesting. I was hoping Al (Jardine) would have played banjo on this. Was this recorded in the home studio?

'Twas, and was 100% session players.  (Well, the basic track, at least, lest I speak wrong.)

Oh or was Carl on there...  Ugh, memory.
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« Reply #18 on: June 13, 2020, 08:41:49 PM »

Yeah, Carl's there playing guitar on the basic track. There's a harmonium overdub that is likely Dennis. EDIT: Al Jardine apparently plays banjo on the various live versions heard on the '68 downloads. I had Howie ask him once, and he said that he didn't remember, but added "Who else would it be?".
« Last Edit: June 13, 2020, 08:43:29 PM by c-man » Logged
SaltyMarshmallow
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« Reply #19 on: June 14, 2020, 01:05:34 AM »

Yeah, Carl's there playing guitar on the basic track. There's a harmonium overdub that is likely Dennis. EDIT: Al Jardine apparently plays banjo on the various live versions heard on the '68 downloads. I had Howie ask him once, and he said that he didn't remember, but added "Who else would it be?".

That the acoustic or electric guitar?

Would I be right in thinking Al is behind the banjo on early Transcendental Meditation?
« Last Edit: June 14, 2020, 02:12:29 AM by SaltyMarshmallow » Logged
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« Reply #20 on: June 14, 2020, 07:06:35 AM »

Yeah, Carl's there playing guitar on the basic track. There's a harmonium overdub that is likely Dennis. EDIT: Al Jardine apparently plays banjo on the various live versions heard on the '68 downloads. I had Howie ask him once, and he said that he didn't remember, but added "Who else would it be?".

That the acoustic or electric guitar?

Would I be right in thinking Al is behind the banjo on early Transcendental Meditation?

There is an electric guitar on the basic track, evidently played by Carl - banjo is on the basic track for the first few takes only, but then Vescovo switches to what sounds like an archtop acoustic guitar. He then apparently overdubbed the banjo in the end - the track sheet has one track allocated to "Gits" (plural), which makes sense, as Carl's and Vescovo's parts are definitely together on one track -  and another track allocated to banjo by itself. The AFM contract indicates he was the only musician who stayed all the way until 7:00pm. Lyle definitely played electric bass on the basic - and although the cellos are present on the basic track, it seems they were replaced on an overdub which also included Lyle playing an upright bass (possibly arco, making it blend with the cellos?) - the contract indicates Lyle and the cellists all stayed until 6:00pm. The first overdub, though, was apparently the trumpets, as they are not on the basic track, and the contract indicates those players only stayed until 5:00.

Correctomundo on Mr. Jardine playing banjo on the early "Transcendental Meditation" - seems the original intention was for the BBs themselves to play most of the instruments on the Friends album - Wild Honey style - or at least for several of the songs. Brian apparently rethought this approach, and hence for most of the final tracks, it's the pros (usually with Carl and sometimes Brian).
« Last Edit: June 14, 2020, 07:09:45 AM by c-man » Logged
SaltyMarshmallow
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« Reply #21 on: June 14, 2020, 07:37:04 AM »

Yeah, Carl's there playing guitar on the basic track. There's a harmonium overdub that is likely Dennis. EDIT: Al Jardine apparently plays banjo on the various live versions heard on the '68 downloads. I had Howie ask him once, and he said that he didn't remember, but added "Who else would it be?".

That the acoustic or electric guitar?

Would I be right in thinking Al is behind the banjo on early Transcendental Meditation?

There is an electric guitar on the basic track, evidently played by Carl - banjo is on the basic track for the first few takes only, but then Vescovo switches to what sounds like an archtop acoustic guitar. He then apparently overdubbed the banjo in the end - the track sheet has one track allocated to "Gits" (plural), which makes sense, as Carl's and Vescovo's parts are definitely together on one track -  and another track allocated to banjo by itself. The AFM contract indicates he was the only musician who stayed all the way until 7:00pm. Lyle definitely played electric bass on the basic - and although the cellos are present on the basic track, it seems they were replaced on an overdub which also included Lyle playing an upright bass (possibly arco, making it blend with the cellos?) - the contract indicates Lyle and the cellists all stayed until 6:00pm. The first overdub, though, was apparently the trumpets, as they are not on the basic track, and the contract indicates those players only stayed until 5:00.

Correctomundo on Mr. Jardine playing banjo on the early "Transcendental Meditation" - seems the original intention was for the BBs themselves to play most of the instruments on the Friends album - Wild Honey style - or at least for several of the songs. Brian apparently rethought this approach, and hence for most of the final tracks, it's the pros (usually with Carl and sometimes Brian).


Brilliant. Friends session details are my nectar. If you phase invert the original stereo mix to get rid of the bass in the centre, it doesn't sound like there's a string bass with the cellos for most of the track (so I don't think those would be replacement parts) EXCEPT for in their brief 'solo' towards the end, where you can hear Lyle playing jagged arco lines underneath. That sounds like it could be the overdub they stayed for. One last thing - were the tinkly bells/triangles following the bridge an overdub or live?

Early TM and some of those other things on the CE set threw me for a loop. The different versions of I'm Confessin'/YACACB, early Be Still, Rock and Roll Woman and Time to Get Alone... the liners only list vague Feb-March dates and I can't wrap my head around where they'd go in the timeline. It's almost like they were working on a sequel to Wild Honey, if those tracks do precede Little Bird and the others rather than coming from somewhere in the middle. Also, not my discovery but: "I'm Confessin'" is a weird cover of the song "I'm Confessin' (That I Love You)". "I'm Confessin' / You're as Cool as Can Be" is a medley of that with new material, while "You're as Cool as Can Be" is entirely new. Really cool evolution.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2020, 07:40:49 AM by SaltyMarshmallow » Logged
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« Reply #22 on: June 14, 2020, 09:04:33 AM »

<<One last thing - were the tinkly bells/triangles following the bridge an overdub or live?>>

Can you give me a time stamp for that part? For some reason, I'm not hearing it...
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« Reply #23 on: June 14, 2020, 09:16:05 AM »

<<One last thing - were the tinkly bells/triangles following the bridge an overdub or live?>>

Can you give me a time stamp for that part? For some reason, I'm not hearing it...

Right after "if I keep singing he'll come back some day".
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« Reply #24 on: June 14, 2020, 03:56:19 PM »

<<One last thing - were the tinkly bells/triangles following the bridge an overdub or live?>>

Can you give me a time stamp for that part? For some reason, I'm not hearing it...

Right after "if I keep singing he'll come back some day".

Sorry, I don't hear tinkly bells or triangles there, either on the released mix or the instrumental track from the 2018 CE download...maybe something to do with my ears being over 40 years old? I used to be able to hear the "hidden tone" (for dogs) at the end of the Sgt. Pepper album on CD, and the tambourine on Boston's "Peace Of Mind", but now not so much...Anyways, my notes do indicate that a bell could be heard between takes of "Little Bird" on the tracking session tape - I would've made that note because Jim Gordon is credited on the AFM contract with "bell and block" as two doubles, and this rationalized the bell, at least, in my mind Smiley And, there's no notation of any kind of bell or percussion overdub on the track sheet - so basic track it is!
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