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Helping combat fatigue during the grueling multi-hour sessions — and tortuous emotions. Rumors The Rumours sessions were riddled with infidelity, awkward silences, and… well, rumors. The band had just come off of a six-month tour supporting their wildly successful self-titled album.
Of course, there was an underlying tension caused by adding new members. Shortly after returning home from tour, keyboardist Christine McVie and bassist John McVie filed for divorce after eight years of marriage. They quit speaking to each other outside of the studio, and only discussed music. Even drummer Mick Fleetwood was struggling with relationship problems.
Just before recording began he discovered that his wife was having an affair with his best friend. If art is suffering, then Rumours is a masterpiece. Living in the Moment A lot of the writing for Rumours took place in the form of jam sessions. Christie McVie was the only one in the band with any formal music training. Buckingham and Christine McVie worked together to lay down the basic structure of each song.
Fleetwood would set up his drum kit outside of the studio partition to keep eyes on Caillat and Dashut and gauge their reactions. John McVie played his bass inside the drum baffles to help lock in the groove. The Rumours sessions were all about capturing the magic.
Caillat wanted to recreate the vibe of a live performance, so he booked the theatre for the night. He even set the mood by putting a dozen roses and a spotlight on the nine-foot Steinway Christine McVie used. The session continued until seven o'clock in the morning because McVie had to do it in one take.
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In true Fleetwood fashion, they used 15 mics to record the song. Caillat : "I didn't like the sound in there. It had very dead speakers and a lot of padding — you'd walk into the control room and it was so still that you'd almost hurt your ears. Dashut complained that the windowless rooms disoriented everyone and caused them to lose track of time. The cocaine may have had something to do with that too though…. It was a different time. Caillat and Dashut spent over a week trying to dial in the right sound.
Caillat said the duo nearly got fired. Richard and I tried everything to make the sound bigger. We even taped two kick drums together out of frustration, trying to get some size and some beat out of them. But nothing would work. Finally I got pissed off. I said, 'Goddamn it, what the hell's going on here? Within about five minutes of doing this on a track we were trying to cut, it was sounding great. Caillat : "Once I did that, I started twisting knobs, and boom-boom-boom, it worked. The band walked in after we'd recorded this one song and they were like, 'Wow, so what was the last eight days all about?
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It just took you guys 10 minutes to get a killer sound. Recording After Caillat and Dashut got the sound they were looking for, the recording process was underway. Many of the tracks were recorded with the full band playing together.
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In an interview with Sound on Sound , Caillat recalls many of his micing techniques for the record:. Kick: Sennheiser MD Overheads: AKG s. Caillat : "I used to love that sound. I didn't think you could get any better than that. The amp got in the way most of the time. But we'd still record the bass on two tracks — direct and amp.
Probably mic'd with something like a And many times we erased the amp when we needed another track. Caillat : "I found that those two mics complemented each other.
If I put the 57 about an inch from the cloth, and the about two inches from the speaker, a little off to the side, and then moved the two faders up and down both together and independently, I could change the sound radically. It took a particularly long time to record the acoustic guitar for "Never Going Back Again. Caillat : "I wanted to get the best sound on every one of his picking parts.
I'm sure the roadies wanted to kill me. Restringing the guitar three times every hour was a bitch. But Lindsey had lots of parts on the song, and each one sounded magnificent. The worst part?
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They tracked everything in the wrong key , and had to do it all over again the next day. A variety of different keyboards were used when recording Rumours, including a grand piano, a Rhodes, a Wurlitzer and a Hammond B3.
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Each of them were recorded direct, and sent to different isolated amps for various effects. The guide vocals were recorded with "whatever mics were least susceptible to leakage — SM57s, SM58s , s.
The end was finally in sight. Rumours was recorded. It was almost finished. All that was left was mixing and mastering. Tape Troubles Working with a 24 track tape machine meant many tracks had to be bounced down to save space. Caillat recalls printing over 60 tracks to a single reel of tape.
Caillat : "Are my ears going or does this sound duller than usual? It seems like I'm adding more top end all the time. When he did this, I noticed there was a lot of shedding going on. Every pass we had to stop and clean the heads, but still we pushed on, trying to get the work done, until finally I said, 'Maybe there's a bigger problem here.
Maybe we're doing damage.
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After spending months recording and re-recording, writing and re-writing, arranging and rearranging — the tapes were so worn out from being played back they had lost all of their fidelity. Caillat : "At one point I even brought up the kick drum and the snare, solo'd them, went back and forth between the two, and asked anybody if they could pick out which was which. Without any other timing information or instrumentation you couldn't tell the difference between them.
So much character was gone from the kick and the snare that they just sounded like 'pah, pah'.