Tracking Guitar Masters, Vol. 1

In 2006, Emmy Award winning guitarist/composer Brian Tarquin did something crazy and started a record label specializing in guitar instrumentals. Given the commercial health of guitar music these days, Tarquin is certainly no Clive Davis, but the New York-based studio owner is passionate about all things guitar, and his BHP Music label [] is debuting with Guitar Masters, Vol. 1—a compilation of tracks from Jeff Beck, Zakk Wylde, Allan Holdsworth, Will Ray, John Scofield Steve Morse, Joe Satriani, and others, including Tarquin himself.

What were you trying to achieve sonically with the guitar sounds for your track, “Jack Hammer”?
I wanted to do a rock-fusion song—along the lines of a modern day Jeff Beck and Jan Hammer—but with up-to-date grooves. I was going for an extremely saturated sound, so I used my ’78 Les Paul goldtop loaded with Seymour Duncan SP90-2 Hot Soapbars and three amps: an ’85 Marshall JCM 800 and Marshall 4x12 cabinet, a Marshall JTM 45 MKII and Fender Dual Showman 4x12, and a Sovtek Tube Midget 50H and Carvin Legacy 4x12.

To capture the tones, I positioned a Beyerdynamic M160 ribbon mic near the cone of one of the Marshall’s speakers, and then placed a Neumann TLM 49 five feet back, pointing directly at the Marshall insignia. On the Fender cab, a Sennheiser MD 421 was pointed directly at a speaker cone, with an AKG C414 set to its figure-8 pattern used as a room mic. The Legacy cabinet was miked with a trusty Shure SM57. The signals were routed to either the mic preamps in a Trident Trimix mixing console or to Universal Audio 2-610 tube preamps. Finally, everything was sent directly to an Ampex MM1200 24-track deck running two-inch analog tape. For effects, I used an Electro-Harmonix Memory Man—tweaking the Feedback and Blend knobs as I played—a Snarling Dogs Mold Spore Wah for creating textures, and an Eventide H3000 and GTR4000.