Skylines and the Horizon 2018: Spin

Ah, the albatross. Spin was the song that brought the progress I’d been making in 2018 to a screeching halt. There were things I just couldn’t get right, and it started with the opening solo. Any bend I recorded for the opening double stop bend just didn’t quite make it high enough and sounded flat.

For those of you musicians who are reading this, I bend the G and B strings at the 11th fret and pull towards the high E string. Perhaps I should be bending the 12th fret of the B string, but I simply lack the technique to do that at this point in time. What I ended up with sounds well and all, it’s just something that will always linger as a “what if” in the back of my mind when I go back and listen to “Spin”.

As usual for this EP, all guitar parts were recorded using my Fender Princeton Reverb Reissue mic’d by a Sennheiser e906 dynamic and MXL R144 ribbon mics.

The overdriven rhythm guitars were recorded using my 2011 Gibson Midtown in the neck position. I’m fairly certain I used the JHS Sweet Tea’s Angry Charlie side, but I might have used the Wampler Pinnacle Deluxe v2 that I bought at the end of 2018. I used to used an overdrive on the pre-chorus and I actually tried to use the Zvex Distortron I used to own, but I found that the tone discrepancies between the AC and the Distortron were too great, so I scrapped that idea and palm muted more during the pre-chorus.

The clean rhythm during the verses and outro were recorded using my PRS SC245 Ted McCarty in the middle position. I used a phaser algorithm I found that emulates the Boss PH-1R phaser for the Eventide H9 Max I used to own. Through the H9 app or PC program, you can set the BPM, and I believe the BPM for spin was 134. I love being able to set the BPM for modulation effects and have everything timed perfectly.

The lead guitar was recorded using my 1992 Fender Telecaster set to the bridge position, played through my Fender PRRI, and I used my EQD Black Ash fuzz. I picked the Black Ash up for my 40th birthday along with the Wampler Pinnacle Deluxe. The Black Ash cut right through the mix and added some wonderful clarity that punched through the distorted guitars.

Since at least 2004, I have been taking the clean part over the end, reversing it, and playing it as the intro the song. This time around, instead of taking the isolated track, I took the actual mix and cut it. The resulting part ends with a bit of the sustained note of the end solo increasing in volume until the initial solo comes in. In addition, the phaser effect makes for some interesting audio texture.

“Spin” is a song that I plan on revisiting with the new plugins I bought over the 2019 President’s Day sale that Waves Audio had. I picked up their Gold Bundle at a great price. I’d already picked up the free H-Comp compressor during their Black Friday sale. I need to get better with plugins and feel like doing so will enable me to breathe some extra life into the parts I record. The rhythm guitars on “Spin” came out a little muddy and a bit bass heavy, so I already see an EQ and high pass filter in the near future. I also need to bring the panning of the tracks in line with what I’ve done with “One and Three”

JD provided the vocals on this song. I’d originally wanted Matt and I to sing the “Whoa-oh-oh” parts, but after numerous listens, I believe leaving it as is works best. The vocal take is lower than JD normally sings and he described his take on trying to channel his inner Joy Division.

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