Saturday, June 12, 2021


I actually rather loathe advertising, so the following is not meant as an endorsement of any of these products at all. That said, if you like what you hear and want to do something similar, I thought I'd share a few of the instruments that were instrumental (and yes, the pun is absolutely intended. I mean, it's right there, like low-hanging fruit, so of course I'm going to grab it. It's perfectly ripe, after all, so I'd hate to see it go to waste) in the making of this album.

Honorable mention goes to my Telecaster for providing the lead part in Plastic Flowers. The neck pickup, which I replaced with a reissue of a 1963 model, is great for getting round, glassy tones. This thing can cut through a wall of sound with laser precision, like a supervillain carving his face into the moon. This guitar is also responsible for one hundred percent of the guitar and bass tracks on my 2019 album Better Days

An additional shout out (pun also intended) goes to my microphone, which has recorded just about every vocal track on all of my six self-produced eponymous albums that I have released in the past four years. It is a MXL-9000 tube mic with a vacuum tube from Latvia, leftover from a Soviet military stockpile at a time when solid-state transistors rendered them mostly obsolete. I get a clean, warm sound out of it, and when I use other mics, I never end up keeping those takes. Besides, if I set the noise gate to -27db or so, I can record vocal tracks in an open room with my kids playing video games close by and the only thing that comes through is my voice, for better or worse. There may also be some Breath of the Wild in there somewhere, if you listen very closely.

Runner-up, or SMVP, goes to the latest guitar in my arsenal, a semi-hollowbody Gretch, which is largely responsible for the week in which I wrote and recorded four of my favorite songs that bear my name, at least for now. A special thanks also goes to this instrument for providing the mid-range guitar riffs in the background of Rat Race. I couldn't have done it without you. It really does make the song, like that C# in Weezer's Say it Ain't So.

Second runner-up, because I almost forgot, goes to my daughter's Casio CTK-6250 keyboard, which provided all of the Rhodes tracks, as well as the upright bass parts (which usually accompany the Rhodes parts). Incidentally, this instrument is also all over the place in Embers, including about fifty percent of Original Miles.

The star of the show, however, is my Danelectro baritone. Every song with a punchy bassline came from that instrument. Prior to this, the only song where I ever used it was Quicksand from Embers, where it pretty much carries the song (and was extremely difficult to mix with my voice, as I recall). 

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