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On this section you can ask Jay about music! E-mail Jay's Webmaster and I will pass it on and publish your question + Jay's reply on the page. Just bear in mind that he is a busy guy so he might not be able to answer right away. After a while these questions/replies will be moved to the archive.


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The Recording of "A Nightingale Sang..."

Can you tell us how you recorded the song "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square" by Manhattan Transfer? The vocal sound is superb.
Stefan Olofsson, Chania, Crete

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Hey Stefan,
Regarding that song, here's how I recorded it. I had a tuning note sustaining for like 10 seconds. The mic is a U47 in OMNI mode with the singers grouped around. After getting a good blend, the singers marked their feet with tape as to return to the exact same position after a break. I had Clair Fisher play the changes on Rhodes (for a pitch reference) while the Transfer sang. After Clair played a pass that was "in the pocket" as to the Transfers phrasing, I kept those tracks. I muted that vocal track, monitored the Rhodes part and had the Transfer sing about 18 more passes. I then did a vocal comp. The next night, I had them sing the double using the same method of recording like 16 tracks and then comped. I then muted the Rhodes track. Major work but it was worth it.

As to room ambience, my studio in those days was very small and the studio did not have reflective surfaces. The reverb was a BX20 (I think) and I think made by AKG.

Later Bro, Jay



Question About Amp

Jay,
What amp were you using during the live recording of Pamela on you tube with Bill on Keys? - Anthony Garcia

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Hey Anthony,
Not sure what video but easy to figure out. If there are three amps that are blond, that is the RIVERA RAKE HEAD. If not, a Bogner Ecstasy. - Later Bro, Jay

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Sorry Jay, It's this one, the performances are damn Incredible, and your solo's are inspiring even to the next generation.......My Son Aaron loves it, and turned to me and said you can't as good as that Dude can! I love that my 20 year old loves music at displays musical talents, and not foul mouth Rap Idiots. He Loves Fusion Jazz the most.

Here's the Video....... PAMELA - live in Japan 1994

Anthony

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Hey Anthony,
That would have been the Bogner amp with 2 separate bottoms using green backs. - Later Bro, Jay



Subject: Re: Ted Greene Book Editions

Thanks Jay,
I will send your story via e-mail to my webmaster in Russia, at which time he will input your story along with your web site address. I hope that is ok with you.

Hey Dale,
Go ahead and use.

By the way, I really enjoyed your site.

Kerstin does a great job with the site!

I think of Ted on a daily basis. It was not only his playing but the person he was. Never met any one like him.

I think about Ted often as well and feel the same way you do about him! - Later Bro, Jay

Thanks Again Jay,
Dale Zdenek

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Hi Dale,
Nice to hear from you!

Here's a Ted story for you.

When I was taking lessons from Ted, during one lesson, Ted started playing jazz blues chord changes along with a walking bass line! My jaw dropped to the floor as he sounded like a jazz trio consisting of guitar, bass, and snare brushes! I could not believe this was possible!

It is sad he is no longer with us but the good news is his books are still available noting so much important information. - Jay Graydon

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Hello Jay, Please go to www.msn.com and type in the search field ---Ted Greene Book Editions --- and check out Ted Greene and Dale Zdenek's new site. This site is still under construction and new material is being added every day. If you have any questions, or material that you would like to add to the site, please feel free to call, or send me an e-mail. Check out "You and Ted Greene Stories." (Which can be found in the menu bar.) Maybe you have a story that you would like to share with the world?

We will always love you Ted.

Musically Yours,
Dale Zdenek

P.S. I have not spoke with you since you were taking lessons from Ted at my guitar store. I did see you at Ted's memorial. I remember after your lesson's with Ted, you would come to the front of the store and play for us. You were so excited about playing guitar that you would say hey, what do you think of this, check this out, or how does this sound?

If you have anything that I can add to the site please contact me. Also check out "You and Ted Greene Stories" maybe you can share a special story of you and Ted.

Hope this letter finds you in good health. - D.Z.

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Hello Jay, I would like to add the following on your web site in the comment section. Just Wanted your approval first since I mention things when you were very young. If it is to long I can shorten it up. (I thought I saw a comment section the other day, but can't find it now!) Maybe you don't have one! If not, I apologize for taking up your time.

Hey Jay, What a site! I spent hours listening to all you music and live performance. You are truly gifted, but more importantly, you have the God given desire. I first met you at my guitar store when you studied from Ted Greene. I think it was in the late 60's or early 70's. What I remembered most about you during that time is the excitement and energy that you had.

( Sure hope you don't mind me mentioning the following). After your lesson with Ted you would come out of Ted's teaching room and would open your case and pull out your guitar. You would play some chords and melody and you would say "What do you think of that? "How does that sound?" "What do you think of this new song I'm working on?" Your energy would bring us all up. We loved it. During that time, we never knew that you were going to write and compose some of the most beautiful melodies and lyrics of our time.

I feel confident in saying that we all know you have a lot more to give this world. Besides your music, you are a unique and laid back kind of guy. I can say this because it is evident in your music. I do appreciate the story you wrote for our new Ted Greene site. Not everyone in your position would have done the same.

Thank you Jay and rock on.

Musically Yours,
Dale Zdenek



Hi,
I'm a big fan of Jay's work, particularly the timeless stuff he did with Al Jarreau back in the early '80s. I have just one quick question for him (if he remembers), which is this: what were the synthesizers being used most of the time on those records (This Time, Breakin' Away, Jarreau), particularly the synth that produced that beautiful string pad? Some 25 years later and I still haven't heard a more rich string sound come from a machine! thanks in advance.

Phil Boucher


Hi Phil,
The synth is an ARP 2600 and probably an OBERHEIM EXPANDER (just used for two more ocillators as to patch in the 2600 for a total of 5 ocillators).

Very easy to program the patch using sawtooth waveforms with simple filtering and ADSR settings per taste. The key was playing one part at a time as the synth only allows one note at a time.

Here's a twist. Check out the song FOR YOU on the Dionne Warwick album I produced. I hired Johnny Mandel to arranging the strings. He did a great job as usual but I did not like the chorus section so I muted and came up with a violin line I played on the 2600. It works well. That may have been the last time I used the sound. I still have the synth but I bet it needs major repairs. Maybe someday I will get it in working order and use it again.

All best, Jay



To Jay,
I've spoken to Peppe about the song "The Ending" on Knock down the walls, and we would both like to know how you did the vocals during the solo (whitch I must say is awesome).

It is just too long to be a "real" take, did you use a Tape loop, or anything similar? Would it have been done today, I would say you just sampled the vocals and made a loop, but given the date it was recorded and the very good quality we're both stumped. So we would both like to know.

Thank you very much for all the wonderful music, and all the best to you and your family.

Kindest regards
Magnus Lassila (And I guess peppe too)

Magnus and Peppe,
Your question is very good. There were 4 vocal parts for the vocal pad and I first wrote out the vocal harmony parts. I then played/recorded a synth (a simple boring sawtooth patch) for the high part. Steve would learn the part and sing along with the synth line (I had it fairly loud in his headphones) as to keep the pitch as in-tune as possible.

Now for the trick. After he ran out of breath, I will back up the tape a few bars and "punch in" just before the point where he ran out of breath. The punch point was random since when adding the other parts, I never wanted the punch point in the same spot. Since analog recording, the punch point can be heard BUT if punching in randomly, since 4 parts and also a synth pad (I think), you can't hear the punches with all parts in.

If a punch sounded strange (obvious pitch change), I would back up and punch in a beat earlier. This was major work for Steve and me but the result is cool.

Yea, in this era, no problem punching and fixing.

A joke. The singer sings on pass and asks the PRO TOOLS engineer what he thought about the performance. The PRO TOOLS engineer said, "It sucked, but you are through singing the vocal".

Later, Jay



Hey Jay,
I've been a fan since the early Dan days, but was totally floored by the Twilight Tone solo for the Transfer. At the time, I had a Transfer-ish cover band in New York State and I had the thankless job of trying to replicate that insane solo every weekend on stage - without harmonizing gear.

I'm sure somewhere on your site you've discussed the solo, but I'll be darned if I can find it, SO, here are my questions

Yo Gus,
Thanks for the kind words! I will answer your questions.

1 - Did you use a harmonizer or double-track the harmony? (please don't say you played both parts simultaneously).

For 15 years starting around 1980, Tommy Tedesco and I did a yearly rap at GIT. One year, I made a mix of the total process of the recording of the song. It started with the full mix and then I broke it down from the track and then adding overdubs as they took place. After the guitar solo section, Tommy shit thinking I played both parts together. Man, I told him that is impossible! The bends alone can't be played in one pass. The answer is two passes. I played the solo and worked out the harmony.

2 - What equip was used?

63 335. Early 70s Fender Deluxe amp modified by Paul Rivera. At the console, the odds are good a harmonizer (set slightly sharp) was bussed from the mic module and returned to another fader bussed to the recorder solo track. Also, I might have added in a 45 millisenconds dealy from a dealy in the same fashion. I can't remember.

3 - How long did it take to achieve, and how many eyes were on you while you worked through it?

It probably took about 4 to 6 hours. I probably spent about an hour shaping the concept and then started recording. Probably a few punches. I do remember that the last lick took some time to realize. The harmony is always a time burner as to figure out fingerings. They never lay well in full. That must have been the major time burner.

4 - What is the Wire Choir?

Typically, three or more harmony guitar parts. The key is to work out the parts before recording as to not get caught up in intervals that do not make sense. If just playing down or up a third, following the scales for the second part, you may find out a 2nd is needed from time to time. So much more on this for another time. It would take 20 pages to explain in full.

In closing, I just want to say that the Tone solo is one of my all time favorites - the rare gymnastic solo that fits the song perfectly.

I just played what I thought was good for the song.

Congrats. - Gus Russo

Twilight Tone - (Again) Gus Russo
Forgot to mention - I see where you like Ed Wood etc. FYI, I wrote the scores for low budget horror flicks you may have heard of "Basket Case" and "Brain Damage." If you like Wood, you should like these; both out in DVD.

Will do! - Later, Jay



hi jay,
Your studio is really really great . I am 17 years old , and i have a little home studio I just want to know... How do you buy all this stuff !!! It is my dream to have a studio like that !

I play music since I have 8 years old and i will continu all my life When I see all this stuff, I am very jalous but I say to myself that one day, i will have this kind of stuff. Im sorry it is not really some questions , but It is my only interest.


Yo Robert,
When I was around 10 years old, I dreamed of having a professional studio just like you. Here is the good news. In this era, great sounding recording gear is not very expensive. Work hard and save your money. Read the trade magazines reviews as to see which gear they recommend in your price range.


i love music and i have made a lot of compositions. I would like to know , how do you become popular !? I think that I have a big capacity of succes but i really dont know how to distribute it thanks jay

(im sorry , Im quebecer and i speak juste french hehe )


Keep practicing/writing, and recording. Listen to all of the music you love. Play with all the musicians you can find. All along the way, you will grow and hopefully, you will achieve success.

Later, Jay



Hi Jay,
You have been my no.1 "guitarhero" and producer ever since the first time I heard Al Jarreau "This time" (20 years ago ?). Your melodic lines, and also your creative rhythmplaying is, and has been a great inspiration for me as a guitarplayer.

Then the question:
On some records your rhythmsound is VERY clean and "glassy". (with Sheena Easton for instance). How did you get this "glassy" sound, and

what kind of guitar/pickups did you use.

Greetings from the cold north
Torbjorn Alfsen
Norway

Yo Torbjorn,
Thanks for the compliments! Regarding the clean glassy sound, a few possibilities for the set up.

1. Most likely, it was a 63' 335 with stock humbucking pickups switched to the middle position (both pickups active) and both volume and tone controls full up. I most likely recorded direct through an Eddy Reynolds direct box into the mixer. The mixer EQ would include serious boosts in the 3 to 5 kHz area and 10 kHz area.

2. In a few cases, the guitar may have been a Valley Arts Strat. I would have used the front and middle pickups. Again, I must have recorded direct. Less mixer EQ would be used since the Strat is much brighter sounding.

In some cases, I may have used a Fender deluxe amp instead of recording direct. If so, the sound would not be as bright and thicker in the upper mid area.

If the sound included pitch effects, it would be a harmonizer set slightly sharp. I seem to remember using a delay line from time to time set to a very short delay (probably around 45 milliseconds).

Hope this helps.

Later, Jay



Dear Jay,
I was the one who wrote you that you were an outstanding musician. Anyway, I would like to ask you:

1. What does it take to be a studio musician, what "level" does it take?

Yo Mike,
To be an all around studio musician, you need to play all styles of music. You also must have a specialty area. Rock, Pop, etc. You need to read music. How well you need to read depends upon the area of music played on a daily basis. If Pop, Rock, etc., in that area, reading can be average. If playing on film, TV, jingles, etc., where reading lines is important, you must be a good reader.

2. How do you find yourself and your contemporaries: Mike Landau; Dan Huffs & Steve Lukather, what are their (your) strengths & qualities?

All great players! Regarding strengths, words are useless — listen to the recordings and you will surely realize.

Thanks Jay ( If I could get music lessons from you, I would in an instant!! Hope to see you soon.) - Mike Vigano

I do not teach. If you are in LA, you should study with Ted Greene. Later, Jay



Hi Jay!
Quick question: From which airport is the picture on the cover of the "AIRPLAY" album ? (Van Nuys? Burbank? Santa Monica?)

Please keep on making the best music !!!! magnus@canogawest.se

Yo Magnus,
The picture was taken at Burbank airport. It was around 100 degrees which is why my hair seemed to melt. No mirror as to check. The photographer should have realized this fact! After I looked at the picture, I should have demanded another session but too busy working. Oh well.

Later, Jay



HI JAY
- THIS IS ACTUALLY MY 2ND EMAIL TO YOU FOR A 2ND LOT OF QUESTIONS. I RECENTLY FOUND YOUR AIRPLAY ALBUM WITH DAVID FOSTER AND TOMMY FUNDERBURK. WHAT A SUPERB UNDER RATED AND UNDER APPRECIATED PIECE OF WORK IT IS!! CAN YOU GIVE ME A LITTLE BIT OF BACKGROUND ON THIS ALBUM AND HOW IT CAME ABOUT AND WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENED TO WHY IT WASN'T SUCH A HUGE COMMERCIAL SUCCESS ( THERE WERE HITS ALL OVER THAT LP!) . IT HAD KIND OF A CHRISTOPHER CROSS MEETS TOTO

Yo Dan,
I thank you for your kind words! I am very busy so my answers will be short.

David and I got signed quite by accident. We wrote many songs and would typically demo them up. One such song was "WHY SHOULD WE CARRY ON" and I sang the vocal. David played the demo for Tommy Mottola and he got us a deal on RCA. Again, we were not looking for a deal - just trying to get the song placed with an artist.

Hard to say why the album was not successful - probably because not serious promotion and we did not tour.

ANOTHER QUESTION IS: WHY AREN'T YOU PICTURED ON THE FRONT OR BACK COVER? TOMMY AND DAVID ARE STANDING IN FRONT OF A PLANE FOR THE FRONT COVER AND THEN FLYING IN A PLANE FOR THE BACK COVER BUT WHERE ARE YOU?

On the front cover, I am on the left. With that in mind, easy to find me on the back cover.

WAS THIS ALBUM EVER RELEASED ON CD? I THINK IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN IN JAPAN BUT I'M NOT SURE.

It is still available on CD in Japan.

I AM A HUGE TOMMY FUNDERBURK FAN AND HIS VOCALS REALLY SHINE THROUGH ON THAT AIRPLAY RECORD! I KNOW HE HAS DONE ENDLESS SESSION WORK LIKE YOU! - BUT DO YOU AND TOMMY STILL TALK EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE?

Yes.

BY THE WAY WHAT WERE YOU USING TO GET THAT GREAT TONE FOR YOUR SOLO'S ON THAT ALBUM?

A Gibson 335, Fender Deluxe amp, orange squeezer compressor, and a harmonizer.

WELL, THANKS FOR ANSWERING THESE IF YOU CAN! I KNOW YOU ARE A BUSY GUY! DO YOU EVER GO TO THE NAMM SHOWS?

Yes. I typically just go to a few booths for business reasons meaning no time to hang out with anybody else.

ON A SIDE NOTE - I SIGNED WITH WARNER CHAPPELL PUBLISHING IN NASHVILLE THROUGH TIM WHIPPERMAN ABOUT 6 MONTHS AGO AND THE TRIO I AM IN ARE ABOUT TO START RECORDING AN ALBUM IN NASHVILLE IN ABOUT 5 WEEKS WITH ANDY BYRD PRODUCING AND MIKE BRIGNARDELLO ON BASS WITH EDDIE BAYERS ON DRUMS."LAKOTA STEELE" IS OUR NAME AND I HAVE A TWIN BROTHER WHO IS ALSO IN IT.
ANYWAYS , I WAS JUST WONDERING IF YOU WERE GOING TO BE IN THE NASHVILLE AREA AROUND THAT TIME?

I have not been to Nashville for many years and do not have plans to go in the near future.

THANKS ALOT FOR ANY RESPONSE YOU CAN GIVE ME REGARDING THIS EMAIL!! AND THANKS FOR THE INSPIRATION AND THE SUPERB MUSIC YOU HAVE PUT YOUR SIGNATURE ON OVER THE YEARS. I HOPE GREAT MUSIC WILL BE "IN" AGAIN SOMEDAY!

ALL THE BEST - DAN MCCASLIN (LAS VEGAS)

Good luck with your album! - Later, Jay



Hi Jay,
I Own your 93 Solo Cd with Bill and Joseph and and 2 guys i never heard of but should have... wow, and this is gonna sound funny but i never heard of you either till the folks at Thoughtscape mentioned you and Bill in the same sentence, and i know bill doesnt release poor material so i was curious...

I just want to say that there are only 2 CD's i've ever considered to be Perfect. Brian McKnight's 2nd cd and your Solo 93'. I consider that Cd to Have 10 winners on it, and i mean, 10 High Quality- Stand the Test of Time Songs that absolutely embodies the Definition of First Class Music.

My Question is... have you heard from Sherwood Lately, the reason i ask is ... i was talking to Danny at Thoughtscape the other day and he has said that the singer, Sherwood Ball on "Holding onto Love" *the best song IMHO on the album* has 2 solo Cd's but his homepage link where you can buy them is Dead. I'm Wondering if you are planning to do more work with him in the future and am trying to support that wonderful voice by buying his solo stuff but to no avail... he is MIA and am wondering if you can track him down for us fans! Thx for your time and lets have some more "Airplay" Please!!

James Martin

Yo James,
Thanks for the kind words! Regarding Sherwood, the last time I spoke with him he told me he was producing a movie. Regarding recording another pop album, probably but not sure when.

Later, Jay



Dear Jay,
I think the web-site devoted to your music is wonderful. I have admired your work for so long (my favourite it the 'Friends in Love' album by Dionne Warwick). Could you tell me how you got the keyboard sound at the beginning of 'A Love So Right'? Also, sorry to sound nerdy, but can I have a signed photo please?

Thanks!
Jim - England

Yo Jim,
Unfortunatly, I do not have promo photos these days.

Regarding the song, "A Love So Right", I do not remember that song on the album - maybe it is under a different name? In any case, if the song has a FENDER RHODES sound, that is what it is with a BOSS CHORUS on one side of the stereo split.

Later, Jay



Dear Jay,
I own a Neve 1272 Mic Pre and a Summit Compressor and an Apogee A/D going into PT3. I want to get a vocal sound like SEAL. Do you know what mic and other equipment he records with?

Yo Mike,
I do not have a clue. I guess best to see if there was an interview with the engineer.

How can I try out a bunch of top quality Mics without renting them all.

Set up a mic "shoot out" with all the local studios and engineers.

Hope this helps.

Later, Jay



Hi Jay,
You have been a significant influence on my life (in music), and that includes most of the musicians associated with you, some of whom I had the pleasure of meeting.

I recently ordered "Future Street" by Pages (import) from amazon.com, but they did not have the other(s) that you produced. Where can I get them ?, I feel ashamed that it's been nearly 20 yrs since then, however, music with this class is timeless.

Thanks
Kerry B. Pierce - (Former Drummer)

Yo Kerry,
Thanks for the kind words. Regarding "Future Street", I did not produce this album but I think it is outstanding! That album was the reason I went after the gig!

Regarding the PAGES album, I have no idea how to find it, my adopted Sister and web master Kerstin may know where to look.

All best, Jay



Hi Jay,
Chris Dimella here I'm going to be in the L.A. area March 7-14 and was wonering if you were playing anywhere. I'm finaly moving out there as you might rember I moved out to Nashville and my friend it was the biggest mistake of my life but you did try to tell me this and I wish I can thank you some how. I also wanted to know if you ever played a strat on Al Jerreau or any other recordings the reason I ask is because you get strat sounds out of your 335 how did you do that.

Thanks for everything you have done for me.

Chris DiMella

Yo Chris,
I rarely play live in LA. If you want to see the hip bands, Check out both Baked Potatoes (Studio City and Hollywood) and LA Va Lee (Studio City).

For the Jarreau records, I seem to remember just using the 335. For the rhythm or single muted note stuff, I used both pickups.

This sound was not enough like a strat meaning I always wanted to come up with a practical way to pull this off with humbucking pickups but to no avail. When designing my BOSSA signature guitar, Toshio came up with a way as to pull this off. When in coil split mode (using both pickups), the neck inside coil is active and the inside coil of the rear pick is active. This is ass backwards for the normal way of splitting!

Since the scale is 24 fret, since the pickups are closer together then with 22 fret scale, since just the inside splits are active, this is like using the middle and rear pickup on a strat (a great sound)!

Later, Jay



Dear Jay,
I've been a fan of your for many years and I appreciate the opportunity to ask a question about equipment. What did you use on the wonderful "Peg" solo:
  • Guitar and pickup(s)
  • Stomp boxes(s)
  • Amp
  • Speaker Make/Model
  • Effects in mix


Thank you very much for you inspiration, your courtesy about sharing your experience, and your huge ongoing contribution to the world of music.

Sincerely, Ed. Wool


Yo Ed,
Here the answers to your questions. The guitar was a 1963 335 using the rear pickup. I used an ORANGE SQUEEZER compressor. The amp was a early 70's Silver Face Fender Deluxe highly modified by Paul Rivera. The speaker was an Eminence 12". No effects were used when mixing.
Later, Jay



Can you answer a quick qustion for me what gtr and efx did you use on Al Jarreau's Morrin'.

Thanks,
Chris DiMella

Yo Chris,
I used my main 335 and my fender Deluxe reverb amp for Mornin'. The guitar part is two part harmony. I played each part seperately and doubled each - a total of 4 tracks which I later combined to two recorder tracks. No effect was used as far as I can remember. - Later, Jay



Subject: The solo no one is talking about!
Okay Jay, here's the thing... Alot of your music education sounds alot like mine in terms of relative pitch, basic chord structure, theory, etc. I have been playing guitar since about 1983 and have been a formally trained musician starting in the 5th grade with a year at Berklee in Boston on alto sax in '84-85. On guitar I mostly play rock and pop right now but I want to take my guitar practice and playing to a higher level in terms of chord voicings, solo ability, etc. (I graduated H.S. in '83 to give you a timeline)

NOW! The big question: Everyone on your web site seems to forget your solo in "On The Boulevarde" on "Mecca For Moderns". ????? I LOVE this solo. (How about the notation for this one?)

The sound was slightly different than other solos, sounding most like the guitar sound you had on the solo-fills on the "Jarreau" album in "Black and Blues".

What did you use for the "Boulevarde" sound?

Guitar:
Pickup (single or double coil):
Amp(s):
Effects:
Other:


Guitar: GIBSON 1963 335
Pickup (single or double coil): Double coil and back pickup
Amp(s): 1973 Fender Deluxe
Effects: Orange squeezer compressor.
It has been a few years but I will guess that I used an 949 Eventide Harmonizer set to 105 and a delay line set to 45 milliseconds. These effects were bussed from the guitar mic signal and added in. The guitar book will show this set up in full.

In general, this sound was similar to aggressive distortion solos on other albums. Each time I plug in and play solos, things vary from a "clean sound" (no distortion) to full distortion.


I also appreciate very much how your interact with others here. You make it obvious that whether or not someone has reached your level of ability or success you treat them as if they had anyway. Very nice. You convey the message very much that people who play music should just keep on playin' and that first and foremost music should be fun. Work hard, yes, but have fun.

How about a solo jazz or fusion album soon?! Some tasty intrumentals to let us soak in your cool sound and style?

Thanks tons and keep playing! - James Kusler

P.S. I like your father's story about you at KABC when he did a television show. I am in television as a newscast director in Boise, ID when I am not messing with my guitars. Did a little TV and plays guitar too! Very cool. :)


I keep thinking of doing a jazz album but have not yet made this a reality. Maybe someday.

Thanks for your questions and kind words James.

Later, Jay



Hi Jay,
Last time I spoke to you was in Sweden/Stockholm 96 at a seminar (the gym where you rehearsed). You told me how you would trigger the gates via the sync head so that they would not cut the signal.

Lennart Reinander


Yo Lennart,
I remember that day since when doing the seminar, my guitar amp had a blown fuse. Fortunately, I brought extra fuses. A "road" note: We bring all kinds of spare parts but usually the part you need is missing! The Swedish and Norwegian people we met on tour were great! All concert audiences were as good as it gets! Most important to say that when the audience is into the music, the band plays better! This is a human/musical fact!

Regarding your question. For analogue recorders, as you know, the record head is used for a playback head when overdubbing. This means that the record head can be used as a playback as well. There are three heads on the tape recorder. From left to right, erase head, record head (sync head for overdubbing), and playback head. Keep in mind that the record head is positioned before the playback head. What this means is the tape passes over the record head before passing over the playback head. Since the record head can also be used as a playback head, this allows us to do a trick meaning we can hear recorded audio in the future. This is the key to the following information.

Unless you have a Studer multi track recorder that offers separate "sync" outputs, you need to wire off the audio from the sync card as to pick up this audio when in "playback" mode.

Now that you have a hard wire output from the sync card of one track, record an audio signal on this track. A CD or any random waveform generating source will do. After recording, patch the output of the wired sync output into a delay line. Patch the output of the delay line into an unused module on the console.

Put the recorder into playback mode. Monitor the normal output of this track in "playback mode" (on the original track module) as well as the output we patched into another module (patched from the sync head wire to the delay and then into a console module) and reverse the phase on the this module (delay module). Pan both tracks to full "left and right".

Now while playing the tape, adjust both levels so they are the same. You will be hearing a "slap back" delay so do the volume setting by looking that the stereo VU meters meaning even up both sides as to look the same. Now pan both to both to "center". While playing the tape, move the delay time on the delay line to around 70 milliseconds if running at 30 IPS. If 15 IPS, try 140 milliseconds as a starting place.

What we are doing is trying to find the exact distance (in milliseconds) between the record head and the playback head. As the tape plays, move the delay time until you hear total cancellation. When doing this, while changing the delay time, if you hear more delay between the two signals, you are adjusting the delay time in the wrong direction.

The Fine Points.
The reason to reverse the phase on the sync head signal is to cancel the audio signal at the point when the delay setting allows both the playback head and synd head to be sending out sonic information at the exact time.

Note: Whenever two signals are identical and being heard at the exact same time, reversing the phase of either (inverting hot and netural (3 wire) or hot and ground (2 wire), will cause cancellation if the levels are identical. After finishing the test, flip the phase back to normal on that console module.

As mentioned, if the levels are not even for both signals, it will be difficult to know when the cancellation is happening. Your delay line may not allow for individual millisecond increments as well as 10ths of milliseconds. For our application (a gate) it is not important to find the exact delay time between the heads. After arriving at a point you think is perfect or very close, notate the number on a piece of artist tape and place somewhere on the recorder as to remember when needed.

So now that we know the delay time between the heads, back up the delay time 5 milliseconds. If it was 73 milliseconds, set to 68 milliseconds. This allows the signal to be in the future by 5 milliseconds.

So lets say that we wanted to gate the bass drum when mixing the song. Patch the bass drum tape recorder return into a gate. Patch the audio output of the gate into the recording console. This covers the audio path of the bass drum.

Now patch the sync head signal that is running through the delay line into the "key" input of the gate. Set the gate to the "key" mode. The key input is opening up the gate 5 milliseconds early compaired to the playback head. This process allows the gate to be opened "in the future" which is so much more sonically friendly. If the bass drum signal was not open in the future, when the bass drum opens the gate on its own, it will chop off the front (transient) of the signal.

By the way, knowing the distance between the record (sync) and playback head will allow you to perform real phasing (flanging). Check out the books (when released) for major input on this subject.


When you are using Adats, do you have any cool tricks up your sleeve or should I just give it up and gate the "normal way"?


This is an easier process if you have two or more ADATS and a BRC. Again, let's use a bass drum track. This can get complicated since there are a few options but I will explain the easiest way.

You will need one open track on ADAT #2. Offset ADAT #1 machine to be 5 milliseconds in the future. Bounce the bass drum to ADAT #2 using either analogue or digital. No matter since the in the future signal does not care about hi fidelity as it will just be used to key a gate.

After bouncing and checking the playback, get rid of the offset meaning both ADATS should be tracking "in time" meaning no offset time. Now patch the bass drum recorder output (origional) into the gate. Patch the output of the gate into the console module. Patch the in the future bass drum track on ADAT #2 into "key input" on the gate and set the gate to key mode.

Regarding gate settings for either application, use a fast attack and fast release in this situation. This is a guide line since you may want a slightly slower release for a proper cut off time. Most important to set the threshold to not open the gate when the bass drum is not being hit. Again, so much to say on this subject since the bass drum may open that gate o account of leakage from other drums. The books will explain in full.

This input is assuming you know at least a fair amount regarding the recording process. The books that Craig and I are writing will explain this and many other situations in detail. As to run down the basics that go along with this scenario, it would take 50 pages.

I hope this helps Lennart.

Later, Jay


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