Jason Falkner On Orchestrating Gutars

June 14, 2011
<p><img style="width: 450px; height: 300px; float: left; margin-right: 5px; margin-left: 5px;" src="/Portals/0/gp0611_riffs_falkner2_nr.jpg" alt="img" /><strong>JASON FALKNER IS REVERED IN THE</strong> pop-rock world as a guy with a seemingly endless supply of catchy hooks and cool tones. Here he reveals how he employs some of those guitar sounds.</p> <p><strong>You seem to use different guitar tones in an almost orchestral sense, the way a conductor might use violins, cellos, or brass. Describe some tones and when you might call on them.</strong></p> <p>I do try to create most of my recorded textures with my various guitars, amps, effects, and mic techniques before I pursue other instruments. I love those damn guitars that much. My favorite guitar tone is straight into my Supro 88T 2x12 combo without any effects at all. It&rsquo;s the most intense, dark, sludgy distorted tone. It kills me every time with my early &rsquo;70s Tele Custom, because the bridge pickup is fairly bright and it pairs up really well with a darker-sounding tube amp like the Supro. I also use a 1966 Fender Super Reverb quite a bit for more chime. It sounds amazing with a vibrato pedal. I&rsquo;ll use that amp with my &rsquo;67 Hagstrom 12-string for a very aggressive &rsquo;60s 12-string tone. Those amps are really underrated in my opinion. The four 10" speakers have a really cool depth of tone and quad image, and they are freaking <em>loud</em>! I also love small, low-wattage amps. I have several, but one of my faves is a really rare &rsquo;60s Guyatone 1x12 that sounds very pissed off, like a Vox AC15 but nastier. I love having something like that driving the tune and then more esoteric sounds coming in and out of the arrangement.</p> <p><img alt="img" src="/Portals/0/gp0611_riffs_falkner1_nr.jpg" style="width: 450px; height: 675px; float: left; margin-right: 5px; margin-left: 5px;" /><strong>How would you say your approach to guitar tones changed from Jellyfish to the Grays to your solo records?</strong></p> <p>When we made the Jellyfish record, I was 21 years old and I didn&rsquo;t know that much about layering guitars. Even though that was the sound that was always in my head, I didn&rsquo;t have any experience with multitracking at that point. We also made a concerted effort to leave lots of space in the arrangements, so many of those guitar performances are one pass with no overdubs. I had two amps set up and an A/B box. I would perform the rhythm guitar and when the solo came up I would stomp on the A/B box. Then an AC30 that was about to explode would be kicked on, and I&rsquo;d do the solo on the same track. It&rsquo;s a pretty exciting way to record. After that experience, I wanted to make a record with all the little voices and noises I hear in my head. That was Ro <em>Sham Bo</em> by the Grays, which was a complete kitchen-sink record where every idea was recorded and usually used in the final mix. I think we got some incredible sounds on that album. Then, on my first solo record, I really started to get into a philosophy where every sonically amazing tone should have a counterpart lo-fi or crappy tone so that you can really appreciate both ends of the spectrum. I still work like that. If a recording only has the most beautiful tones on every instrument it leaves me a bit cold. Same with some of the &uuml;ber lo-fi things. I like a mix of both on my recordings.</p>
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