2004-2009 – A Story With Too Many Beginnings

I’ve been trying to “seriously” record music since 2004 when I bought my first M-Audio USB preamp and the Shure SM57 that I still own almost two decades later and sits just off center in front of my 1978 Fender Vibro Champ. Before that, Prior to that, I used cassette tape 4-tracks that I’d work up two-guitar tracks of songs I wanted to one day record.

Whether it was in the comfort of my bedroom, our extra bedroom that serves as an office, or in the house of friend, I’ve learned a lot about mic placement, track stacking, and getting as much “tone” as I can from the environment I record in.

Back in 2004, I recorded using an old solid state Fender Roc Pro 1000 head paired with old Sovtek 4×12 cab. It…well, it didn’t sound good. I thought loud and more distortion was the key to getting a great tone. Since then, I’ve used both vintage, boutique, and production amps before settling on the current trio I use. Like many guitarists, I’ve pursued a tone that I’m always a step behind, that I’ve rarely been happy with, spent far too much money on guitars, pedals, and amps, and I’m still chasing that mystical sound I hear in my head.

I’ve also used guitars that range from an $85 Squier Stratocaster my grandmother bought for me in a pawnshop (that I should have never gotten rid of) to my PRS SC245 Ted McCarty (it’s a pricey one). We all do our best to find “the one” guitar that speaks to and sparks something within our soul from the first chord we play. Interestingly enough, I finally found that…in 2018. Spoilers: It didn’t stop me from buying other guitars.

I’m not even going to get into the overwhelming world of guitar pedals. Goodness. I do love to see what guitarists are using, even if I’ve never listened to their music. Heck, since first posting the first version of this site I built on my previous host my pedal collection has grown.

I have long enjoyed tinkering on the sound I can get. Every time I made a significant change in gear, I’d record a new version. As you’ll soon see if you read more of my rambling, there are a number of versions of songs. Sometimes, you can even see the steps a song took to get where it was when I finally recorded these songs in 2011, abandoned those recordings, and started all over in 2017. Needless to say, I could probably write a blog about the gear I’ve used, write a lot, and it’d be a drop in the bucket compared to the knowledge and gear that a lot of gear heads have on me.

Only recently have I started to capture tones that I feel content with,,,that I hear and exclaim, “FINALLY!”. I’ve kept pushing, and will continue to keep pushing, because I know so little about the world of sound engineering, and yet there are times when I’m proud of what I captured.

Over the course of the story of Skylines of the Horizon, I’m going to discuss the journey of each of songs on this EP. The story begins with the my first serious attempts back when my wife and I lived in an apartment in Lewisville, TX with the help of my friend, JD. This was not only the first time I seriously sat down to record something, but it would also be the beginning of how that friendship began the healing process after too many years apart.

While I don’t expect anyone to read this, if that expectation is somehow defied, and you ARE reading this, I hope you find it interesting, even if I talk about the technical side about how something was mic’d, the signal chain I used, or whatever else I might write.

Thank you for taking the time to peruse my posts.

Be sound.