Exploring unique and interesting
sounds in the studio is one of the pleasures of
getting down and recording new material, and
as Young the Giant recently completed album
number two, Mind Over Matter [Fueled by
Ramen], we asked guitarists Eric Cannata and
Jacob Tilley what they considered the important
tonal lessons they learned during the sessions.
“One of the most memorable lessons I
learned from our producer, Justin Meldal-Johnsen, and our engineer, Carlos De La
Garza, was to find the exact tone you want
before laying a part down. Never leave the
magic until afterwards. That goes for anything
you record—not just guitars—and it
seems like common sense, but, for me, it
was an ‘Ah ha’ moment.
“I also learned the importance of segregating
our tones on each song. For example,
if one of the guitars we used was a
bright-sounding solidbody, then the other
guitar had to be a thicker-sounding hollow-body.
Or if one guitar was very clean and
shimmery, the other needed to be dirtier
and darker, and so on.
“Of course, space is one of the most
important parts of a record. When there
are two guitar players in a band, it’s very
important to know when to stop playing.
That way, when you re-enter the song, your
part becomes that much more noticeable
“While recording, Justin introduced us
to the Roland JC-120. Growing up, I was
told tube amps are the be all and end
all, so I may have written off this amp
without Justin’s guidance. The JC-120 is
responsible for many of the classic ’80s
chorus tones heard on the Smiths and
Police albums, and it pairs nicely with
digital effects. I found that going with
a good solid-state amp is a great way to
diversify your sonic pallet. We also borrowed
a ’65 Fender Jazzmaster from our
good friend, Jason Soto, and it became
both my and Eric’s go-to guitar for the
record. It has plenty of character—especially
when plugging it into surf-y, dreamlike
reverbs—and it can cut through any
mix for guitar solos. Speaking of reverb
and other effects, [producer] Joe Chiccarelli
introduced us to Eventide when
we were making our first record, and,
now, both Eric and I always have the H9
by our feet because it gives you endless
possibilities with ambience, delays, pitch
shifting, and modulation.”
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