Friday, 17 March 2017

Guitar Vinci Guitars #6

Track 6: Trail Of Dreams

Trail Of Dreams, the album closer, was also the last piece to be written and recorded, and is a play in three acts. The main guitar used was my trusty GG6, there being some acoustic (Taylor 412CE) in the first two sections. The chords and arrangement for the first section was originally written as part of an earlier effort that went nowhere, so I started there with a fresh approach and everything took off from there. I say took off, because the second section followed in a creative rush, and as I was completing that, ideas were forming for the main body and grand finale. The thread of the tune fell in to place seamlessly, and as the melodies and orchestration came together I knew I was doing something good. I was almost disappointed when the track was finished and I had no more to add.

The GG6 played beautifully on Trail Of Dreams, and I enjoyed using different pickup configurations to get the different chord and solo tones for the three separate movements. Perhaps a little bit of guitarist playing guitar/guitar playing guitarist went on, because there was some alchemy afoot. The EP felt complete once I'd finished, and the afterglow lingers as of this entry. It was good to get back to guitar basics and just work with my main axes, because I feel that it helped me to focus on what I was creating with them. I'm glad that Ormsby kid made himself known to me all those years ago.

The Ormsby Graham Greene Signature Series

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Guitar Vinci Guitars #5

Track 5: The Odd Dervish

The Odd Dervish was the first track written for The Guitar Vinci Code, and came at a time when I was feeling a bit sick of all the extended soloing. I had spent a year playing AC/DC songs with Hells Bells (which was solo city), and was kind of over the guitar hero thing. I had also really enjoyed holding down those Malcolm Young rhythm parts, so decided to write a piece that had no soloing, but cool chord work with suggested melodies and additional instrumentation to help things move along.
Messing around on the GG6FG (yet again), I happened across the altered-5th D chord pattern that forms the main theme of the track. The Eastern-flavoured theme consists of three bars of 6/4 followed by a bar of 7/4 - a pattern that continues through the second section that shifts to E before returning to the main theme in D after a clever little additional bar of 3/4. Even with all the timing changes, the groove still held together and made musical sense, with the drums playing off various Eastern percussion instruments to create a solid foundation for the guitars, bass and strings.

The main guitar sound for The Odd Dervish is the single coil neck pickup of the 'FG. This pickup is one of the finest single coil units I've heard, and it was great fun to find a thick but chiming tone that suited the track perfectly. I hadn't used the pickup for a recording before, so was happy to find somewhere to use it. With some tweaking and stereo spreading, it came up huge, and is the tonal mainstay of the track. It even held its own when the feel breaks out of the odd-time section into a breakneck rock section in common time, and the more ambient middle section cleaned up beautifully to compliment the piano and bass parts that come to the fore.

The 'FG never ceases to impress me with the variety of tones it can produce, and The Odd Dervish is a perfect example of this. Just before getting into mixing, I added a dirty track using the bridge position humbucker to double all the sections except the middle, which took the track from big to huge, beefing up the bottom end while the clean guitars and strings took care of the sparkle.
All in all, a very satisfying piece to write, record and play. Reaction to the track has been very positive also, which always does the heart good!