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  #1  
Old 03-11-2018, 05:22 AM
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Default Buzzing Fly Guitar Tone

Hey, I want to make my guitar sound like a fly buzzing around. mainly with single notes. I haven't had the time to mess around and attempt creating the effect yet, so I figured I'd ask on here.. for some advice or a starting point.

I was reading an article a while back about George Harrison's lead sound on Savoy Truffle. It mentions how his guitar was pitched to the register of a dentist's drill. Anyone know how this was done? It seems like that technique might work for what I'm attempting.

Thanks,
Adam

Last edited by adam79; 03-11-2018 at 03:04 PM.
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Old 03-12-2018, 05:12 AM
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Default Re: Buzzing Fly Guitar Tone

The Beatles were the first to go outside the usual usage of console hardware in the studios which really riled the white coats (yes back then the British recording engineers wore white coats) and they had strict rules about what could and couldn't be done. According to this article from 'The Beatles Bible' https://www.beatlesbible.com/songs/savoy-truffle/ they overloaded the front end of the console with not just one but two 'high gain' amps to get George's sound.

The Beatles were also one of the first to go outside the 'normal' bounds of eq usage as well.
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Old 03-12-2018, 05:32 AM
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Default Re: Buzzing Fly Guitar Tone

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Originally Posted by musicman691 View Post
The Beatles were the first to go outside the usual usage of console hardware in the studios which really riled the white coats (yes back then the British recording engineers wore white coats) and they had strict rules about what could and couldn't be done. According to this article from 'The Beatles Bible' https://www.beatlesbible.com/songs/savoy-truffle/ they overloaded the front end of the console with not just one but two 'high gain' amps to get George's sound.

The Beatles were also one of the first to go outside the 'normal' bounds of eq usage as well.
Holy ****e! Think I just found a new favorite website (well, you did actually)!

That website says the two high gain amps were used to distort the horn section.

I'm pretty sure the thing I read about pitching the guitar to a dentist's drill was a quote from one of the session engineers..

My favorite beatles, in the studio, story has to be the one about John wanting his vocals to sound like he was miles away on the peak of a mountian (I forget which song). To get this he asked to be put in a harness and lowered from said mountain. The insanity of the request, along with the liablility of hanging their cash cow off the edge of a peak, gave birth to the idea of recording his voice thru a Leslie cabinet.
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Old 03-12-2018, 05:54 AM
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Default Re: Buzzing Fly Guitar Tone

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Holy ****e! Think I just found a new favorite website (well, you did actually)!

That website says the two high gain amps were used to distort the horn section.

I'm pretty sure the thing I read about pitching the guitar to a dentist's drill was a quote from one of the session engineers..

My favorite beatles, in the studio, story has to be the one about John wanting his vocals to sound like he was miles away on the peak of a mountian (I forget which song). To get this he asked to be put in a harness and lowered from said mountain. The insanity of the request, along with the liablility of hanging their cash cow off the edge of a peak, gave birth to the idea of recording his voice thru a Leslie cabinet.
I listened to Savoy Truffle on my old studio monitors and could really pick out the saxes. Still the Beatles were the rule breakers when it came to studio work and overloading things, whether guitar/saxes/whatever.

Love the story behind ST - shows how close George & Eric really were. There was a point where they even referred to each other as husbands-in-law. Both loved the same woman and both found they really couldn't live with her.
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Old 03-12-2018, 07:44 AM
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Default Re: Buzzing Fly Guitar Tone

Adam:
Darn you - now you've gotten to me with digging out stuff on George's guitar sound on Savoy Truffle. I think I found where you read about 'pitched to the register of a dentist's drill' in this Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Savoy_Truffle
which footnotes to this book: Gould, Jonathan (2007). Can't Buy Me Love: The Beatles, Britain and America. London: Piatkus. ISBN 978-0-7499-2988-6.


Then I found a fairly complete article on the recording of ST here: http://www.beatlesebooks.com/savoy-truffle
where there's mention that up until this point all recording was done at Trident and there were technical problems with the tapes which were noticed when the tapes were brought to EMI for further recording. See paragraph 7 in the 'recording history' section. Perhaps this is what contributed to the sound of George's guitar. Also you'll read in the article that there were differences between the mono and stereo versions of the tune. Further mentioned was the tune was reworked for cd in later years as well as for the Beatles Cirque du Soleil show in Vegas.
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Old 03-12-2018, 01:23 PM
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Default Re: Buzzing Fly Guitar Tone

Yet more:
I listened to ST on YouTube and George's guitar sound is relatively to figure out - Les Paul bridge PAF pickup with a LOT of treble and some overdrive. Does not sound like one of his Gretsches.
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Old 03-12-2018, 05:56 PM
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Default Re: Buzzing Fly Guitar Tone

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Yet more:
I listened to ST on YouTube and George's guitar sound is relatively to figure out - Les Paul bridge PAF pickup with a LOT of treble and some overdrive. Does not sound like one of his Gretsches.
Ya, his lead on that is definitely treble heavy.

I'm not trying to mimic his tone tho. I'm trying to get my guitar to sound like a fly buzzing around.. just for a couple notes here and there, or a short solo. I just remembered reading about the pitch to drill register and thought that technique might work to achieve the fly tone.

I'm guessing that in this modern age of recording some kind of pitch shift plugin would get the job done.. vs speeding up the tape if it was the late '60s.

Any recommendations on a quality pitch shift plugin for this? I can't believe I'm about to write this, but I've been interested in demoing some of the pitch shifts for a while noe. I've read that they've been perfected to sound more realistic without that robotic warbled Cher effect on vocals.

One person recommended I try using an eBow. I've wanted one ever since I heard Heroes for the first time. A slide has also been suggested more than once. Both to be used with a Fuzz box.

Last edited by adam79; 03-12-2018 at 07:57 PM.
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Old 03-13-2018, 06:28 AM
musicman691 musicman691 is offline
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Default Re: Buzzing Fly Guitar Tone

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Originally Posted by adam79 View Post
Ya, his lead on that is definitely treble heavy.

I'm not trying to mimic his tone tho. I'm trying to get my guitar to sound like a fly buzzing around.. just for a couple notes here and there, or a short solo. I just remembered reading about the pitch to drill register and thought that technique might work to achieve the fly tone.

I'm guessing that in this modern age of recording some kind of pitch shift plugin would get the job done.. vs speeding up the tape if it was the late '60s.

Any recommendations on a quality pitch shift plugin for this? I can't believe I'm about to write this, but I've been interested in demoing some of the pitch shifts for a while noe. I've read that they've been perfected to sound more realistic without that robotic warbled Cher effect on vocals.

One person recommended I try using an eBow. I've wanted one ever since I heard Heroes for the first time. A slide has also been suggested more than once. Both to be used with a Fuzz box.
What I'm getting at is I don't think any pitch shifting was done to George's guitar. I think t hat comment about the 'pitch to a dentist drill' is just a saying and nothing really meant by it. You can't take literally everything British say as they have a way with words completely different than what we use here in the USA.

All an eBow will give you is smooth slides and a lot of sustain. You don't need a slide for what George did; slide guitar is a completely different sound then what is on ST. I know because I can play slide guitar if I need to. You want a good use of slide in a George tune listen to 'My Sweet Lord'.

Also be aware that there are different flavors of distortion/overdrive and those two are different from each other. You want vintage distortion listen to the Rolling Stones's Satisfaction. Completely different sound than the overdrive used in Savoy Truffle. Some amp models alone will give you a smooth overdrive - you don't need a stompbox to get that. If you have Amplitube try one of the Mesa/Boogie models for overdrive; an Engl Powerball in Amplitube will also do the overdrive as will the Engl 646VS from Plugin Alliance.
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  #9  
Old 03-14-2018, 05:33 AM
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Default Re: Buzzing Fly Guitar Tone

Quote:
Originally Posted by musicman691 View Post

All an eBow will give you is smooth slides and a lot of sustain. You don't need a slide for what George did; slide guitar is a completely different sound then what is on ST. I know because I can play slide guitar if I need to. You want a good use of slide in a George tune listen to 'My Sweet Lord'.
I think an eBow and/or slide might sound cool once I figure out the right guitar tone. Its only for a couple transition notes.
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Old 03-14-2018, 09:32 AM
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Default Re: Buzzing Fly Guitar Tone

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Originally Posted by adam79 View Post
I think an eBow and/or slide might sound cool once I figure out the right guitar tone. Its only for a couple transition notes.
Slide playing isn't that easy; you have to remember that you actually play between frets. Also you have to dampen the strings to not have things ring out too long. As I keep saying I don't hear any slide work going on in Savoy Truffle.
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