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Love In Vain: Gear, Tone, and Tuning

 

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Love In Vain

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On this recording you hear a steel-string acoustic and an electric slide guitar. For the acoustic part I'll be using this Martin-style "VKV" acoustic, and I'll be using a medium pick. I'll be getting the tone that you hear in this video from a combination of this built-in L.R. Baggs pickup/microphone and the overhead mic that I'm also talking through. One thing that's very noticeable on the recording is the very intense "compression" that you hear. Compression is an effect you often add when you record that basically evens out the dynamics by lowering the volume of the loudest things you play. It doesn't sound very natural when it's as heavy as it is on this song, but it's an interesting sound. I'll be adding this effect for the final performance with this BOSS compressor pedal. On this pedal you can adjust the "sustain" which is the amount of compression and I have that set to 1'o clock. Then you can boost the level to make up the volume so it's as loud as the bypassed signal- in this case that's right at 12'o clock. You can also adjust the overall tone and the "attack" of the compression, but for this song it worked best to just leave both of those at 12'o clock. This is a fun sound to experiment with, but don't worry if you don't have access to this effect. The parts will sound great without it as well, and it's really only relevant if you record this song or perform it through PA. The most important thing is, as always, to learn the parts and play them well.

For the electric slide part I'll be using my Telecaster on the neck pickup, and I'll be running that through a modeled version of a VOX AC30 amp with quite a bit of reverb added. This part is very ambient so you can get away with adding a lot of reverb and even some delay as well, if you want to. Other than that I've rolled off about 30% on the tone knob to get that muffled sound that you hear on the recording. This is to avoid the bright slide guitar getting too upfront in the mix and distracting from the vocals and the acoustic guitar. Because when you remove treble, things tend to sound further away, and that's exactly what we want for this part. I'll be using a ceramic slide, because it again gives me less treble than a metal slide for example. But please remember that you can use any kind of slide if you just compensate by rolling off some treble on your guitar or on your amp.

The electric slide guitar is played in an open G-tuning, but apart from just a few notes, the parts mainly stays on the D-, G- and B-string, which are the same in both tunings. So if you don't wanna tune your guitar you can just stay in standard tuning.

For the full open G-tuning you tune your low E-string down a whole step to D, your A-string down to G. Again, the D-, G- and B-string stay the same and finally the high E-string goes down a whole step to D.