Vern's Verbal Vibe

Singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist and purveyor of folk 'n' roll: spirit-filled sad songs made better.

June 17, 2015

If Less Is More, Think How Much More MORE Would Be

If that's not the first rule of rock 'n' roll, what is? It certainly came to mind as I was finishing up a song last month. I'd just laid down an electric guitar solo—not the easiest task for someone who's really a rhythm guitarist—but on playback it was clear a little reinforcement was called for. I decided to double the part by overdubbing the same solo with a different sound, panning the two guitars left and right. The result sounded better and a bit "thicker" as we say in the music biz, but still, something was lacking. So, following our first law, what's the logical next step? Double the double, of course! This was strictly a copy-and-paste job; playing it twice was hard enough, never mind four times. Anyway, now I have both guitars wailing away on the left and right.

We'll see how the quadruple-guitar onslaught sits in the mix or indeed, if it will. Sometimes, less really is more, and I'm pleased to say that I put that dictum into operation a few times while making the album as well: one song has a solitary vocal—no double, no harmonies—with no reverb. (Those of you who, like me, came of age in the '80s know how drastic that feels. I'm truly proud.) Or, as my faux-doc compatriots in Spinal Tap would say, "It's such a fine line between stupid and clever." Maybe that's the second rule of rock 'n' roll.

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