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662276 Posts in 26545 Topics by 3797 Members - Latest Member: Ruby Go Home September 29, 2020, 06:58:56 PM
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Author Topic: Episode - The Wouldn't it be Nice Introduction. Streaming Now.  (Read 3201 times)
guitarfool2002
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« Reply #25 on: March 09, 2020, 06:28:34 PM »

Thanks for the replies and quotes! Very interesting and informative.

I don't want to clog the discussion too much, but - and I'm probably missing something - the control Larry is describing sounds very, very much to me like the circuitry and basic controls of the Fender Reverb tanks, as I mentioned before. That "mixer" control pot combined with the "dwell" to actually control the depth and sound of the springs' reactions to the signal, seems like the same kind of control Gold had designed for that board. It's why those Fender Reverb tanks - in my opinion - sound so much better and richer than on-board spring reverbs on Fender amps of the 60's. It was how the circuitry did what it sounds like Gold's design did, only for the guitar signal going in...the more you made that dry signal "wet", i.e. increasing the volume of that signal *after* hitting the springs, I think it also made the dry signal go down...but I digress and am probably wrong lol.

Thanks again for the info!
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« Reply #26 on: March 09, 2020, 08:43:34 PM »

7 years ago, I told you that your WIBN research amazed me. This opinion hasn't changed.

Thanks for all of the work you've done and the inspiration you've provided.
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« Reply #27 on: March 10, 2020, 03:33:28 AM »

Here's my contribution, that clip EQ matched to the original WIBN mono mix in RX7: https://voca.ro/7op9ZFTSDbO

Think it makes a subtle difference?
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« Reply #28 on: March 10, 2020, 10:12:53 AM »

All the discussion regarding tone and possible echo effects is fascinating! Yes, Gold Star had a "special" sound that lent itself to a very dreamy, far-away kind of effect, resulting in a very "music box" quality on this guitar intro.

Regarding the instrument in question - I've been having a back-and-forth discussion with Scott Totten regarding this, and he raises some good points that lead me to think we can't yet discount the Gibson Mando-guitar as a possibility!

Namely:  aeijtzsche's demonstration lacks the extreme slackness and poor intonation that we hear on the record and in the outtakes, even with the quarter-tone slowness of the bootleg presentation. In the master take, Barneyís fretting hand is pulling those strings subtly out of tune in a way that reminds one of a toy piano.  When listening to all the outtakes, we hear that Barney spends a lot of time tuning, working on the riff, sometimes not cleanly fretting and even overshooting the high fret (unusual for a pro like Barney). Also - early in the session Barney plays the high A note and when he goes to tune the open E-string (which is the string he plays that note on), the open E sounds at EbÖthatís how bad the intonation was on that instrument.  Any current guitar would have adjustable bridge saddles to correct thatÖeven the Bellzouki has a slanted wooden bridge that would render the E string in tune while sacrificing the G and D string intonation somewhat. The Mando-guitar, on the other hand, apparently had a non-adjustable bridge. And, on the session for "My Childhood"/"You Still Believe In Me", we hear Barney struggling with intonation, as well (leading me to think it's the exact same instrument as what he used on "WIBN").

Not totally discounting the Bellzouki, but the Mando-guitar possibility is worth pondering some more, I think.
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« Reply #29 on: March 10, 2020, 10:54:13 AM »

Revisiting the earlier discussion when Barney's original 12-string "Mando-Guitar" came up on the auction block, I was also for years a proponent of the theory that Barney played the Gibson Mando-Guitar 12-string on the track. I was also told in a personal conversation in summer 2015 about how they got the props and staging for the 1966 studio scenes in Love & Mercy, where after researching and consulting they thought he most likely played the Gibson instrument, but a substitute wasn't found and the producers went with the Bellzouki instead, for the "Barney" character to play in the control room for the WIBN scene. As an instrument it had a more futuristic, forward-thinking look as well, which matched the pastiche of PS session scenes at that point in the movie.

However, and again repeating earlier discussions here, when Barney's actual Gibson instrument came up for sale more recently and we got to see detailed close-up photos of both Barney's and Tommy Tedesco's Gibson instruments as offered for sale, one *major* issue stood out that still serves to change my opinion that Barney played the Gibson.

It's a 100% purely acoustic instrument. There are no signs that a pickup was ever mounted or installed in any professional way to "electrify" the instrument. Usually, especially for studio sessions, if an instrument was given a pickup, it would be mounted more permanently to avoid noise and rattles, rather than being taped on, or otherwise stuck on temporarily. And the pickup would have a wire hanging off the side of the instrument, plus would or could be quite noisy or buzzy compared to a permanent installation. If you're playing a mid-July gig for 800 people in lawnchairs at a bluegrass show, it didn't matter if it buzzed, hummed, and rattled through a PA. In the studio, it did.

So again, for my own opinions only, seeing no signs that Barney's mandolin was modified or electrified in any way tips the scale toward him *not* using it on the session, when almost all evidence including the actual session audio points to exactly the scenario described for decades, how Barney was plugged in direct to the board to record the part.

Something hit me about Brian's own wording describing what Barney played. If you look at a Bellzouki, the original body shape of them, it has a look of a larger mandolin, with the teardrop style cut. It could be taken for a blown-up mandolin, in a solid-body form, with a mandolin-like sound thanks to the doubled octave strings. Maybe Brian saw the Bellzouki and it resembled a hybrid mandolin, moreso than a 12-string guitar, could it be as simple as that?

It would also explain the intonation and playing difficulties above the 12th fret.

The Bellzouki has a single block of wood used as the bridge, the same wood block style bridge seen on most Danelectro instruments from the 50's and 60's and a bridge which I was told and heard how the "pro" session players would take their Danelectro to a shop to get that spotty bridge modified or replaced by something that would be more stable and easier to intonate.

Factor in 12 strings riding on that wooden block on the Bellzouki, and you simply could *not* get a good intonation on that guitar. Rickenbackers suffered similar fates, but at least had a little better intonation because they didn't use a wood bridge and saddle mechanism. Leo Fender nailed it and solved the issue with his Electric XII design which allowed individual string saddles to be adjusted, rather than resting all 12 strings on a single wooden block like Danelectro.

Factor 1: The Gibson mandolin owned by Barney was 100% acoustic, the instrument heard on the track is plugged into the board.
Factor 2: The Bellzouki was impossible to intonate across the board and ultimately as a 12-string guitar foundation was not designed to be played above the 10th fret or so anyway. Can anyone name any tracks featuring an electric 12-string from the 60's era besides WIBN which are played above the 12th fret? They just didn't play well above the 10th fret or so, and weren't designed for that anyway.

Just my refreshed take on the how's and why's I'm no longer thinking Barney played the Gibson Mando-guitar and why I lean toward the probability of the Bellzouki instead...or a comparable 12-string electric.
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« Reply #30 on: March 10, 2020, 11:28:32 AM »

Anybody thinking it's the mando-guitar has a lot more to things to overcome.  The acoustic thing is a big one.  If they put a pickup on it and sent that to the board, why can't you hear a mandolin playing when Brian is talking back?

The second major obstacle is the tuning.  I played devils advocate for this idea real hard hoping that someone would convince me, and while I have no doubt that Brian might have convinced Barney and Chuck to tune it down an octave and temporarily electrify it--why do that? 

And yes, the Bellzouki and most Danelectro instruments are, in one sense of the word, crap.  You hear this from all the major players.  They were basically unusable for studio work without heavy modification, which they only did because producers liked the weird, "crappy" sounds they got.  You bet the Bellzouki is going to have trouble "speaking" up there.  Most mass produced 12-strings will.  All guitars have serious problems with tuning because of physics, (and a Danelectro wooden bridge does not make that easier.)

I think if that photo of Barney hadn't been printed in the PS box booklet, we never would have gone down that road.  There really is too much evidence and too much procedure working against it.  If you listen to when he plays lower on the session--the Star Spangled country lick, etc--that's a guitar.

Anyway, I am working on a video now to follow up.
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aeijtzsche
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« Reply #31 on: March 10, 2020, 11:55:07 AM »

Follow up here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzCNC4o_a_Q

Working on rounding up a Bellzouki and a 12-string mandolin.  Feel free to donate to the cause.  I think putting this question to bed forever is worth paying for.  God only knows I have paid dearly to get this far.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2020, 11:55:43 AM by aeijtzsche » Logged
guitarfool2002
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« Reply #32 on: March 11, 2020, 07:00:10 AM »

My gut tells me that in early 1966 when WIBN was tracked, Gold Star did not have an EMT plate reverb unit. Of course that same gut has been wrong before, but I'm running on the most basic of logic short of finding an interview somewhere to confirm it.

Gold Star had - especially in 1966 - built its cache and reputation in many ways on Dave Gold's echo chamber, with a string of hit records being pumped out of there regularly. Some were calling it the best echo chamber in town, and for decades people were trying to figure out how it was designed and exactly what Gold had done to make it sound as it did, to the point of asking him directly. I don't know if he ever revealed the recipe.

But when you factor that in, Dave Gold was obviously proud of what he had built and protective of it years after the fact to where he wouldn't say how he designed and built it - Why would he as of early 1966 spend literally thousands on a EMT plate unit which was designed essentially to do what real "live" rooms like the one Gold designed at Gold Star were doing to create reverb effects? And at a time when clients were coming in to access and use the sound of that amazing echo chamber which they weren't able to get elsewhere?  The EMT was essentially built to offer studios with less available real estate in their facilities a replication of real room/chamber reverb in a package the size of a mattress which could be placed anywhere space could be found.

If Gold Star was not known by 1966 for their chamber echo, I'd say maybe they would have gotten an EMT plate, or maybe they did eventually for more control over the sound, but for a place whose calling card was that chamber and the hit records that were using it...my gut says they did not have one when WIBN was tracked.

On the video, I think the formula is the more "wet" you made the signal, the more "distant" it got because a lot of the high-end frequencies got rolled off from the plug-in simulating the actual physics of distance and sound. I've found that sometimes plug-ins and simulations of *other* gear can capture what you're looking for better than the named gear plug in! lol. Maybe in this case the EMT Plate plug-in did a better job rolling off those key frequencies to better nail the sound than the actual "live" chamber simulations, even though the EMT Plate itself, as in the real units, were able to better preserve the high-end frequencies better than the real live chambers where they'd get lopped off.

It definitely sounds closer to the original though, on the latest video.
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« Reply #33 on: March 11, 2020, 09:47:56 AM »

Oh well - your demo got so close that I'd definitely buy it as a Bellzouki plus a standard electric 12-string on the original recording. The part on the session tape where both of them riff on the Star Spangled Banner is a good highlight for that difference in sustain you were talking about.

I just listened to the entire session as presented on the SOT U.M. boot, and I'm not hearing where both Jerry and Barney riff on "The Star Spangled Banner" - I'm only hearing Jerry's guitar doing that. Maybe I just missed it - if so, can you point me to the specific spot (track number, timing)?
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« Reply #34 on: March 11, 2020, 10:31:08 AM »

Itís one right after the other, Jerry plays it then about 5 seconds later Barney echoes it.

See!  You thought it was a guitar!!
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« Reply #35 on: March 11, 2020, 10:33:36 AM »

Itís one right after the other, Jerry plays it then about 5 seconds later Barney echoes it.

See!  You thought it was a guitar!!

Which track of S.O.T. is that?
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« Reply #36 on: March 11, 2020, 10:50:07 AM »

Iíll find it when I get home from work, but I want to say itís around take 8, 9, 10 ó somewhere in there?  Have I memorized the sea of tunes yet?
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« Reply #37 on: March 11, 2020, 11:41:11 AM »

Oh well - your demo got so close that I'd definitely buy it as a Bellzouki plus a standard electric 12-string on the original recording. The part on the session tape where both of them riff on the Star Spangled Banner is a good highlight for that difference in sustain you were talking about.

I just listened to the entire session as presented on the SOT U.M. boot, and I'm not hearing where both Jerry and Barney riff on "The Star Spangled Banner" - I'm only hearing Jerry's guitar doing that. Maybe I just missed it - if so, can you point me to the specific spot (track number, timing)?

Track with takes 1-6, about the one minute mark.
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« Reply #38 on: March 11, 2020, 11:46:18 AM »

https://voca.ro/jx1bSF9eaaZ

Latter is clearly whatever Barney's playing, but in the lower range it basically reveals itself as a wonky 12-string guitar!
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aeijtzsche
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« Reply #39 on: March 11, 2020, 12:28:55 PM »

Oh well - your demo got so close that I'd definitely buy it as a Bellzouki plus a standard electric 12-string on the original recording. The part on the session tape where both of them riff on the Star Spangled Banner is a good highlight for that difference in sustain you were talking about.

I just listened to the entire session as presented on the SOT U.M. boot, and I'm not hearing where both Jerry and Barney riff on "The Star Spangled Banner" - I'm only hearing Jerry's guitar doing that. Maybe I just missed it - if so, can you point me to the specific spot (track number, timing)?

Track with takes 1-6, about the one minute mark.

Whops, I guess I haven't memorised it!

Yeah, there it is.  What a great study in the subtle difference in Timbres--you can really tell how much more trebley Barney's is than Jerry's.  And you can hear the sort of natural swing in Barney's iteration vs Jerry's, too.


As far as Gold Star's situation - I really would love to get the inside story.

Yes, their chamber was famous--but realistically going forward into the late 3-track era and 4-track era, wouldn't some clients want to not send every echo buss to the same chamber?  I was under the impression that it was standard (elsewhere at least) to send one echo buss to one chamber, one to another chamber, and maybe a third to a plate or even a spring.  Then those three discrete reverbs would get fed back into their respective program busses.  It was just a way to have a little tighter control on the overall feel of the reverb balances (even when monitoring in mono.)

It seems like good business practice for a studio to have more than one or two reverb effects at the ready.  Reportedly Gold Star originally had two chambers, but later added a few more.  And of course, Capitol has at least 8?

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« Reply #40 on: March 12, 2020, 09:43:29 AM »


As far as Gold Star's situation - I really would love to get the inside story.

Yes, their chamber was famous--but realistically going forward into the late 3-track era and 4-track era, wouldn't some clients want to not send every echo buss to the same chamber?  I was under the impression that it was standard (elsewhere at least) to send one echo buss to one chamber, one to another chamber, and maybe a third to a plate or even a spring.  Then those three discrete reverbs would get fed back into their respective program busses.  It was just a way to have a little tighter control on the overall feel of the reverb balances (even when monitoring in mono.)

It seems like good business practice for a studio to have more than one or two reverb effects at the ready.  Reportedly Gold Star originally had two chambers, but later added a few more.  And of course, Capitol has at least 8?


Yes, a more complete rundown would be great to have - However, that rundown of what an indie studio like Gold Star or Western had could change by the month or year. I think that's my focus with WIBN, what did they have in early 1966 when WIBN was recorded there. Just my gut feeling, to restate that again, but if Dave Gold's personally designed live echo chambers were one of Gold Star's main calling cards in early '66, and as you said there were more than one...why would Gold and Ross shell out thousands for an EMT plate unit when they already had those amazing chambers?

Not saying they didn't have an EMT plate in early '66, as I have seen no confirmation or listing of the sort on that topic, but it wouldn't make as much sense considering what they already had in-house, which were being touted as the best in town. And as you said, they even added *more* chambers later - Why not just cart in some EMT's instead of adding more live chambers?

I've also seen it said that some engineers and producers were not as keen on the EMT plates in those early years, and may have even considered it a gimmick that didn't have as rich of a sound as a simple empty room. But of course as more hit records started featuring the EMT plate and capitalizing on the high-end EQ boosts it provided, they started to appear in more studios and on more records to where it became almost ubiquitous as an effect. But again, we're talking early '66, not 1970 lol.

I also think one *major* element to factor in was how Brian's assembled group of instruments and diverse sounds on the WIBN session filled that room and interacted with those walls and ceilings at Gold Star.

One of my favorite bits of audio is on the SOT WIBN sessions, when Brian had the accordion players play their part solo and he gets all excited about the frequencies interacting and filling the room. There, on that take and that segment, you can really *hear* Gold Star as you hear those accordions bouncing all over that room filled with musicians. It really was a "live" room, even without adding extra reverb or echo. It's a pretty glorious piece of audio to be able to actually hear that room in action, and also fortuitous that Brian's part for the accordions had them playing in shorter staccato bursts which made the room react even more than if they were doing legato lines.

Really, really essential listening to hear how vital these classic rooms themselves were to the overall sound of a finished record.
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« Reply #41 on: March 13, 2020, 09:47:18 AM »

Anybody thinking it's the mando-guitar has a lot more to things to overcome.  The acoustic thing is a big one.  If they put a pickup on it and sent that to the board, why can't you hear a mandolin playing when Brian is talking back?

Well, for that matter, I find it odd that we can't hear the unamplified sounds of Barney's and Jerry's noodling in the background when Brian is using the talk-back. They were supposed to be there in the control booth, within a few feet of him, right? Sure, it wouldn't be as loud as a fully acoustic instrument would be, but I'd expect to hear something, yet we don't.  How big was that freakin' Gold Star control room?
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« Reply #42 on: March 13, 2020, 09:54:55 AM »

Anybody thinking it's the mando-guitar has a lot more to things to overcome.  The acoustic thing is a big one.  If they put a pickup on it and sent that to the board, why can't you hear a mandolin playing when Brian is talking back?

Well, for that matter, I find it odd that we can't hear the unamplified sounds of Barney's and Jerry's noodling in the background when Brian is using the talk-back. They were supposed to be there in the control booth, within a few feet of him, right? Sure, it wouldn't be as loud as a fully acoustic instrument would be, but I'd expect to hear something, yet we don't.  How big was that freakin' Gold Star control room?

Look at our old blog Classic Studio Sessions for more info on that...if the photos haven't all been blurred out by Photobucket. The area where the board was positioned did not have much room behind it, but there was seating both in front of the board (like Columbia) and off to the one side not having the tape machines (Larry Levine's left for perspective), for various electric players going direct to sit. They also used the space between the control room and the studio live room as an iso booth when needed.
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« Reply #43 on: March 13, 2020, 10:32:43 AM »

It would make sense that if they were in front of the board, we might not hear them, since that talk-back mic would be extremely directional. But the between-rooms ISO booth is an even more intriguing possibility...and in order to go direct to the board from that ISO booth, they would've needed direct boxes, like what we have today. I assume those were available in L.A. by '66, since IIRC, Geoff Emerick had Paul going direct from the floor of Abbey Road Studio Two around that time?
« Last Edit: March 13, 2020, 10:35:39 AM by c-man » Logged
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« Reply #44 on: March 13, 2020, 11:37:31 AM »

That is an interesting question about DI boxes. I'd have to say the methods of "going direct" by 1966 may not have involved commercial DI boxes as we know them today since they caught on a few years later, but more like the engineers at whatever studio was doing it putting something together with what they had available. Of course Emerick and The Beatles at Abbey Road would go direct for the sonic reasons like overloading the board preamps on Revolution and sometimes Macca's bass, but for all intents and purposes if they wanted to balance the line they'd just have to wire something together to balance the Hi-Z and Lo-Z signal, like those cheap adapters you can buy that go 1/4" to XLR plug. Or they had some 1/4" inputs that fed right into the board?
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« Reply #45 on: March 13, 2020, 12:22:22 PM »

That is an interesting question about DI boxes. I'd have to say the methods of "going direct" by 1966 may not have involved commercial DI boxes as we know them today since they caught on a few years later, but more like the engineers at whatever studio was doing it putting something together with what they had available. Of course Emerick and The Beatles at Abbey Road would go direct for the sonic reasons like overloading the board preamps on Revolution and sometimes Macca's bass, but for all intents and purposes if they wanted to balance the line they'd just have to wire something together to balance the Hi-Z and Lo-Z signal, like those cheap adapters you can buy that go 1/4" to XLR plug. Or they had some 1/4" inputs that fed right into the board?

Anecdotal mentions tend to point towards a crude re-jiggered mic transformer.  Essentially just reversed.  Sounds like it was pretty rare for them to even be in a "box" form, although this is as I said anecdotal.

Picture something like this, with a 1/4" jack crudely soldered to it...

https://reverb.com/item/23859021-utc-a-11-audio-input-transformer-vintage

I definitely think that Jerald and Barn could have been sitting in front of the board.  It's a shame nobody took pictures of that happening at GS.  Thankful we have the shots of Carl and Billy Pitman at Western.  And indeed, at Western, you CAN hear guitars in the Talkback.
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« Reply #46 on: March 13, 2020, 12:23:05 PM »

Well, probably not crudely soldered--probably soldered really well.  But certainly a home-brew setup.
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« Reply #47 on: March 13, 2020, 02:52:21 PM »

Also, regarding the room sound of Gold Star -- it is indeed magical, and also indeed quite a bit more live sounding than a lot of comparable rooms. 

As far as I know, the Accordions would likely have the same reverb on them as the guitars do, although of course less could be send down the echo buss.  They are on the same track as the guitars so it seems like that's how it would work.  You can get a great feel for room sounds often through the horn track on any given outtake.  Some of them isolate the room better.  But if you listen to the little girl I once knew sessions and pan all the way to the left, anything that's not a sax is coming in off mike and you can hear the room, because they generally used little to no reverb on the horns.  You can hear this very clearly in other places too - the clarinet mike on IJWMFTT is great, as is the percussion mic on Caroline, No.  It's almost bizarre and shocking to hear Brian Wilson flutes dry!
« Last Edit: March 13, 2020, 02:56:34 PM by aeijtzsche » Logged
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