Lyle Workman on Getting Strange and Beautiful Tones

April 1, 2010

gp0410_riffs_LW_nrANY OF US CAN PLUG A STRAT INTO A MARSHALL AND stick an SM57 on the 4x12. Here, soundtrack star, composer, and guitarist Lyle Workman details some slightly less orthodox methods for getting cool tones.

“One of the best guitar sounds was when I was working with Bill Bottrell and he put a ribbon mic fairly close to the cabinet in a traditional location, then had a Shure SM57 three feet in front but pointing away from the amp. I’ve had my amp miked from behind the open-back cabinet and that sounded great. For a solo, producer Todd Rundgren ran my guitar through a vocoder and was tweaking it in real time while it was being recorded. Once I miked the pass through—a tube in the studio wall to allow cables to pass between rooms. My amps were in the tracking room and I placed a microphone at the opening of the pass through tube in the control room. Another time, an engineer swung a mic on a cable around and around over his head, rodeo fashion, while I soloed. I put a large wooden spoon near the bridge and under the strings to produce a sitar-type effect. I’m also not against putting masking tape on certain strings to prevent ringing on heavily gained-out parts. While playing through a chord progression, I’ve had my engineer put a finger or two on the neck to achieve a chord voicing that would be impossible otherwise.”

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