The song, followed by info about it.... https://soundcloud.com/mdenman/speechless From 1990 until 2005 I had a band called 8 day after. We did all the typical band things, but the big joy was writing songs. The singer, Dennis, and I have been friends since we were 4. We started our first "band" at 7, lol....Anyway, in 2005 he needed to devote more time to being a dad and the band dissolved. I moved on to other groups and continued growing as a player. Every now and then he pops up for a session - usually once a year/year and a half. We got together on Thursday night and hung out for a while. We shot the breeze, catching up on the last year, and then he presented a song. It was kind of odd, and not really happening - he didn't "know" where he wanted it to go yet. I asked him if he had anything else, and he mentioned one that had been floating around in head for the last year. It was called "Speechless". He sang it for me. I began strumming around his vocal. Ideas bounced, and within about 20 minutes the basic song was done. Our recording process is pretty simple. Once we work out the basics - chords and melody - we nail down the tempo. I will go into Ezdrummer and pull a basic groove and loop it. From there I set up the Protools session and we record the vocal, groove/click, and scratch guitar live. With Dennis' distance from me (he lives 2.5 hours away these days), whatever I get for a vocal is usually IT, lol. If it's bad enough, I'll have him redo it a couple of times. Ironically, he HATES using the LDC - he says it makes him sound "too smooth". ALL of his vocals are done with him holding a dynamic mic - usually a Sennheiser e835. I find it annoying, lol...I have a killer U87 clone and several ribbon mics, including a neat AEA.....oh well. So, once the "demo" is down, we discuss arrangements. Here is where Dennis tells me how he imagines the song in his head. I bounce back with what I am hearing, and we're usually pretty close - but if there are glaring differences (which is rare) we'll pay through a couple of parts to see which feels better. As I've gotten older, I tend to not feel the need for guitar solos, but Dennis likes me to do them. Once the arrangement is done, Dennis takes off. Thursday was no different, lol. I do all the instrumentation on our songs. I play guitar, bass, keyboards and drums - back in the 90's I learned to play "everything" because the musical landscape made in difficult for us to find consistent guys for the band - we have always just written SONGS, we weren't locked into a genre like so many "non-writers". It helped us record - and it's fun to listen the old stuff when I was a pretty crappy drummer. While I DO have a super-sweet Gretsch Brooklyn drum kit I don't use it very often. I use Ezdrummer - they have Gretsch kits and a selection of a lot of the same cymbals I use, so.... On the guitar end, this song is ALL SC245. My 245 has 57/08s with splits. I use the splits on the first verse, when the guitar is clean. Once the rest kicks in, it's full-on bridge pickup. The first lead is neck pickup. Middle lead is bridge, and the harmony leads at the end are a mix. Here's the guitar: For the bass I tried something different, and I really dig the outcome. Usually I just DI the bass and maybe process it via a modeler, or use an 1176 on the DI track. This time, I played two simultaneous rigs - an Aguilar rig and a Pearce rig and sent the signals to separate tracks. I blended them in the mix. I have a Warwick Jazzman FNA bass, and I used the neck Jazz pickup. I compressed the bass track with a Purple Audio MC-77 limiter. Guitar "amps" were varied. I use a Line 6 Helix these days, but I tend to stick to the amps I know/used to own. This tune has a lot of the Matchless DC-30 model. The clean at the beginning is the DC-30. The left side guitar is a driven DC-30. The right side guitar is a JCM800. Lead one is done with the DC-30, lead two the 800. The harmony leads at the end are the DC-30. These days I tend to like "Class A" amps best. Right before I went Helix, I had gotten a sweet Mark Sampson-era Matchless DC-30. It was KILLER. I didn't loose a dollar on it when I sold it, lol. I also had the Vox AC15 and 30 - LOVE those too. I was starting to get into Bad Cat, but I had to get control - so when I heard the Helix - and got to demo it - I realized modeling was at a place where I could be happy. Anyway, I guess I'll shut up. I could keep rambling about this stuff - I LOVE studio work!!!! I have a session tomorrow doing bass on a local artists record. It'll be fun!!