It’s not the recording gear, it’s the musicians. I ran into a video on NoiseMakerNews where a kid was doing semi-sort / okay Zakk Wylde style pinch harmonics. Then I ran into a video where a Zakk Wylde was doing REAL Zakk Wyle pinch harmonics.
I sometimes get asked asked how I got this sound or how I got that sound. I keep trying to explain to people that usually I don’t “get” sounds. They are given to me!!
I’m always looking for ways to properly illustrate this to my readers. It’s usually very tough to put into words. Well, I’ve got a perfect situation that illustrates perfectly why recording gear is NOT NEARLY as important as the musician.
Let’s Take Amateur Zakk Wylde Fan:
Let’s Take The Real Zakk Wylde:
Make sure you listen at the 0:30 mark.
I’m not knocking Mr. Amateur Zakk Wylde Fan. I don’t exactly have Ozzy beating down my door to play guitar on his records either. In fact, Mr. Amateur dude doesn’t seem to be a bad guitar player at all. However, he simply does not have the feel that the real deal Zakk Wylde does.
You may be saying, “What do you expect from a kid in his bedroom?”. The answer is simple. I expect a kid from his bedroom to sound like a kid from his bedroom. I don’t expect him to sound like a REAL mega mega mega musician.
When it comes down to recording quality, everyone wants to sound incredible but both the musician and the engineer need to understand that the “incredible” part and the “magical” part occurs long before the mic. It’s the players hands. I think these crappy Youtube videos illustrate this as well as anything. Forget the preamps, room acoustics, and everything else if you don’t have the magic before the mic!
I want to point out also that the Zakk Wyle clip sounds pretty horrible while the guy in his bedroom sounds noticably better from a fidelity standpoint. However, even though the real Zakk Wylde video sounds horrible, I can’t help but get EXCITED when I hear that wicked vibrato and absurd pinch harmonic power. This intensity is totally obvious even with terrible video camera sound on Youtube.
I think all of us home recording guys are actually looking for THAT intensity. You won’t find it in knobs, capacitors, and resistors. You’ll find it in the hands of a human being…or at least in the hands of a super-human being.