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Foreplay: Gear & Tone

 

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The electric guitar tones on display here in this song are the stuff of legend. They were very unique sounding for the time period of the mid to late 70s. An additional graphic EQ is a really big part of the tone shaping, so, that said, the choice of guitar here matters a bit less.

For Guitar 1, a Les Paul guitar was used on the recording. There is debate as to whether P90 pickups or humbucker pickups were used. The good news is that these pickups sound very similar. A P90 can be described as a clearer but noisier version of a humbucker. Either pickup in the bridge position will do the trick.

Guitar 2 can be any electric guitar with a humbucker pickup in the bridge position, and it must have a whammy bar such as a Floyd Rose for some crazy bar work during the chaotic crescendo of the tune.
As far as amps go, a Marshall style tube amp is the best choice. Crank up the preamp gain to full for a big crunch sound. Roll down the bass control, crank the mid control to halfway, and set the highs to around 3/4.

As I mentioned earlier, the tones are EQ'd even further using a 6 band EQ pedal. The general approach here is to emphasize the lowerâ€"mids (500-800 Hz) and pull down everything else. This effectively "slots" the guitar somewhere between the bass and the vocals. Beware though, that radical EQ-ing like this makes the guitar sound rather thin if you are playing by yourself. However in the context of a dense mix, it sounds very cool. The EQ pedal is placed between your guitar and the amp.

Guitar 2 uses heavy compression, chorus, and lots of delay for lush and gigantic spaceship-landing effects.

Add some reverb to all guitars for depth. Here are the settings I used:

Marshall Plexi Model:

Drive: 100% Bass: 10% Mid: 50% Treb: 75% Presence: 65%

7 Band Graphic EQ:

100Hz: -25% 200Hz: -25% 400Hz: +50% 800Hz: +100%
1.6kHz: -25% 3.2KHz: +40% 6.4KHz: 0

Compressor:

Input: 50% Sustain: 85%

Chorus:

Rate: 20% Depth: 70% Wet/DryMIX: 65%

Delay:

Time: 325ms Feedback: 50% Wet/DryMIX: 55%

Plate Reverb:

WetDryMIX: 40%