GP Flashback Joe Walsh October 1972

December 1, 2010

Pro’s Reply with Joe Walsh

Joe_Walsh_Zlozower_WEB_nrDid you use any special tuning when you played "The Bomber," "Bolero, " and "Cast Your Fate In the Wind?"

I didn't use any special tuning on "The Bomber," but I did use some strange techniques to record it. The chording was done with my Les Paul and a Fender Vibrolux amp. The first part of the middle was done through an Echoplex with maximum delay. I also used a steel slide through an echo device which really makes a spacey sound. I use an Echoplex a lot as it's the best echo unit I've come across, though not very good.

The next part is "The Bolero," which is a classical piece by Ravel. The entire work is about 15 minutes, so we just took the main theme. I played this through an Echoplex, as well. We ran an echo and a direct line to the recorder and mixed the two for the best sound. We later ran into some copyright trouble and "The Bolero" was taken off some of the later albums.

"Cast Your Fate to the Wind" was done with a Fender Telecaster through an Echoplex and into a Leslie speaker, miked in stereo and direct.

Where do you get all your ideas for the different sounds that emanate from your guitar?

I don't really know where my ideas come from. I spent a great deal of time experimenting with different stuff such as Leslie speakers. I love that sound. Our producer, Bill Szymczyk, and I go crazy in the studio trying all sorts of stuff. Here're some things we've tried: Extreme compression of guitar (both electric and acoustic); running guitar through reverb and compressing just the reverb return; running a microphone from an acoustic guitar into a Leslie, miking that and recording it; recording a track, turning the tape around, and adding echo to the tape forwards so that the echo comes before the note.

I guess these ideas come from long hours in the studio and having someone like Szymczyk who knows exactly what we want to do to hook things up right.

What guitars are you presently using? Have they been modified at all?

I can't live with anything but a Les Paul, because it gives maximum sustain to make a full sound. I took the chrome pickup covers off—I always use metal bridge parts—and screw the chrome butt just below the bridge all the way down to the body. It all helps sustain.

At home, I use an old Fender Telecaster—pretty much standard—except that I rewired it to select upper, lower, or both pickups. I also had to take out the capacitor connected to the upper pickup, as it ruins any chance of a good sound from the upper pickup.

For me, Telecasters play best when the strings are low. They buzz just a bit and it adds to the funk. "Funk #49" was recorded entirely with a Telecaster and Vibroplex. I also use a Gretsch Country Gentleman for recording. Try to find one with real f-holes, because the ones with painted f-holes are not as good. I love the Bigsby tailpiece on a Gretsch. "Midnight Man" was a good example of Gretsch sounds.

From the October 1972 issue of Guitar Player

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