113: Your Guitar And Bass Tone Is In Your Hands

113: Your Guitar And Bass Tone Is In Your Hands

When it comes to guitar tone, we’re always talking about strings, setup, amps etc. This time we address the playing technique and specifically how it affects the sound of your recordings.


Things we cover in this episode:

Right Hand:

  • Chord definition 
  • Consistency
  • Power
  • Palm Muting Technique
  • Hand Position
  • Pick Angle
  • Finger/Pick (Bass)

The attack, definition, groove/timing and presence is all in the right hand.

Left Hand:

  • “Death Grip”(and intonation issues in general)
  • Chord definition
  • Sustain
  • Feel (vibrato, bendings, hammer ons, pull offs, etc.)

The Outback Recordings Podcast With Hot Water Music, That We Mentioned In The Episode:

Drewsif, The Artist We Mentioned On The Episode:

Book A Free Feedback Call With Benedikt:

This episode was edited by Thomas Krottenthaler.

Benedikt's voice on this episode has been recorded with the Antelope Axino Synergy Core.

Automatic Episode Transcript — Please excuse any errors, not reviewed for accuracy (click for full transcript)

TSRB 113 - Automatic Episode Transcript — Please excuse any errors, not reviewed for accuracy 

[00:00:00] Malcom: consistency, power Palm muting, technique, hand position, pick angle and pick choice, If you just play with those for an hour, you're going to come out A better sounding guitarist. What did like a quick way to level up your.

[00:00:13] Benedikt: A hundred 

[00:00:28] Hello and welcome to the self recording band podcast. I am your host Benedict tine, and I'm here with my friend and cohost Malcolm Owen flat. How are you, man?

[00:00:38] Malcom: Hello, Benny. I am so good, man. I had. It's like full weekend in a couple months, at least. And It was amazing was so good. It was so nice having some time off with my lady and, uh, just getting to be lazy. 

[00:00:52] Benedikt: Yes, it's the 

[00:00:53] Malcom: I mean we got like, we actually went for like a, like a couple runs and stuff, so we really weren't that lazy, but the times that we were lazy, [00:01:00] we were so lazy here. 

[00:01:01] Benedikt: Yeah. I mean, okay. Yeah, that, that, that, and I think that's so important. I think, honestly, that's so important because even like, like your, your sort of fun activities outside of work can sometimes be, I don't know, almost feel like work or like obligations or whatever it was stress, stress, you know, and sometimes you just don't have, you should just do anything. I think you should, you should just shouldn't do anything. Totally. 

[00:01:24] Malcom: need to sit and chill. 

[00:01:26] Benedikt: Absolutely. Absolutely. I'm doing great. I'm doing good as well. Um, pretty exciting. It's, it's, it's funny that you mentioned that you went for a run because we went for runs because, um, we haven't talked about running in a while, but I have some exciting things to share with you. And I don't, I don't think I should do that because it like puts pressure on me, but, but like, I like to do that, I think to push myself. So what I did Is I signed up this weekend. I signed up for my first ultra race. So, um, I did run a marathon in the past and I ran ultra [00:02:00] marathon distances and training just for fun in the past. But like, it was more of a combination of like walking and running and like, not really fast, but like, yeah, that's how it was typically are if this, if it's a trail thing, you know, but this time it's going to be the first event that I'm doing, like the first race at the ultra distance. And I haven't run a race in like, Four or five years now at the marathon that I did this like seven years ago. So I gotta get in shape and I signed up for a 68 K race. So 66 to eight kilometers. This is like a little over 40, I don't know, 42, 44, 3, 4 I know 

[00:02:35] Malcom: 5 3, 2 miles,

[00:02:37] Benedikt: exactly. 

[00:02:38] Malcom: Google, 

[00:02:38] Benedikt: Yeah. So, so a marathon, a marathon is 42 kilometers, which is 27 miles I think, or something And Yeah. And like I'm running 68 with like 2,500 meters of elevation gain. So, um, yeah, in the Hills here in the national park. So it is quite a challenging race. [00:03:00] It's going to happen on October 1st and now I have half a year to prepare for that. And I'm super excited. I'm more excited for the journey and the preparation than the actual race, to be honest, because I just needed something to push myself again, because I miss these long runs so much. And I, all I did the last couple of years of like weeks and months was like quick half an hour run here and there. Uh, but I really want to do the long stuff again. And now I have to, so.

[00:03:23] Malcom: Awesome. Well that makes my race announcement very lame. I am signing up for a seven kilometer trail run this weekend.

[00:03:32] Benedikt: Awesome. I mean, that's not lame at all. I think, I mean, depending on how you run it, you know, you can, if you go all out, like seven K on the trail can be Cru like really cruel, like, like it's like, grueling 

[00:03:45] Malcom: 68, sorry. Seven kilometers versus 68 kilometers. That is hilarious. Um wow. Good for you man. That's so amazing. 

[00:03:53] Benedikt: Yeah. I don't, I don't really know if it is. Let's see. We'll see. We'll see. So yeah, I try to, [00:04:00] I, I yeah, I'm stoked. I'm stoked. I'm trying to, to prepare myself well, and then we'll see how that goes. So, yeah, that's, uh, that's what happened here. And, uh, I went, I changed my routine already. Like I, I switched to running before work again, just to get the time, like to get the miles in the kilometers in early in the morning. And so, yeah, we'll see how that 

[00:04:20] Malcom: Yeah Good for you. That's that's so good. I, uh, okay. Here to segue this into for music people. I just finished an album with a band called Vogue villains and it took, uh, we pulled up the calendar. W we went over 12 months in the creation of this from initial pre-production chats to, uh, them having the master. And, uh, so that, to me, what, like an album is an ultra marathon. And I don't think bands recognize that. I don't think they realize that when they're starting one, they think it's a seven kilometer run. 

[00:04:51] Benedikt: Yep.

[00:04:52] Malcom: Um, but it's actually an ultra marathon. 

[00:04:56] Benedikt: Absolutely. Absolutely. Absolutely. Totally. [00:05:00] Totally. Yeah. I think so. And it's yeah. I mean, there's both ways, but yeah, for most people that's true for most people is true. They think it's a, it's the shorter one. And then it turns out to be an ultra marathon. And 

[00:05:11] Malcom: you haven't done 

[00:05:11] Benedikt: in both cases, I think it's, you just have to, at some point you just have to push through it, like yeah. Not, not quit basically, because I've seen that happen too with bands, like who spent a long time working on a record and then halfway through, they somehow lose the excitement or whatever, and then it kind of gets hard to finish the thing. Similar to, to race. Yeah. By the way, if you are listening to this right now, and you're planning your ultra marathon album recording, basically, basically I have a free guide for you, which gives you the 10 steps to successful DIY recording. Basically. It's like, it's like a mini PDF, like a mini ebook. It's a PDF with a couple of pages. It has. A framework for you attend step guide for, from like creating your, your song through demoing. Pre-production recording all the way [00:06:00] through to the finished thing. If you want that, go to the self recording band.com/ten step guide, and it's a great way to get started. It like shows you the whole process in order the right steps, what to do each step. Um, and I think it's a, it's a great, great way to start it in a good framework. So the self recording, bent.com/ten step guide, and you can get that for free. All right. So part of that whole 10 step thing, the whole process is something like, I think that probably the most important part of that actually is what happens in front of the mic. So before you even record anything like that, I think is always something that people also tend to skip because we all love to talk about Mike techniques and about mixing and about all of these things, but it actually starts before the mic before you hit record. Part of it is the, the writing and the arrangement of course, but also part of it is how you actually play it. And that has such a big impact on how it sounds. It's true for almost every or like for basically any instrument. [00:07:00] And today we want to talk about specifically, we want to talk specifically about one instrument or a category of instruments, which is guitars. Because we believe that the tone, when it comes to guitar recordings and bass recordings really is in your hands. And yes, there is my technique. Yes, there is amps there's gear and there's mixing techniques, but you can only do so much if the recording, if the performance is not there and I've seen people. Grab the same exact guitar with the same exact rig, like two different people. And it sounds drastically different just because the tone is in the hands. And I remember Yuma Kim, you shared a story in one of our earlier episodes. I don't remember the name of the guitar player, but you were talking about somebody who, who was playing in a way. Um, I don't, I don't know if you and I can remember the name, but you were, I think we were talking about strings. The extreme gauges and thin string gauges. And I remember you talk about one or at least one person who had like, such a sound when he was playing. Um, I think you played live with [00:08:00] him. I can't remember the name, but maybe, you know, who who, I mean, 

[00:08:03] Malcom: It was probably Jessie Roper 

[00:08:05] Benedikt: Yep, yep, exactly. That was. Yeah. I've had a couple of, uh, people like that, uh, that I've seen play and it was just incredible how they make their instruments sound. And that's what we're going to talk about today. Like what it is that you can do with your hands and what it is that you should avoid and why that all matters.

[00:08:21] Malcom: Right, right. yeah. To make that make sense for listeners of what happened is that he has a guitar that I could barely find playable

[00:08:30] Benedikt: Oh Yeah.

[00:08:30] Malcom: and sounded like junk when I touched it. And then he picked it up and it sounded like stuff like he's got like Stevie Ray bond hands where it's just like, oh my God, that's so fat and awesome. And it's all in his hands. It's not the guitar I can guarantee. It's not the guitar. Nobody else can play it. 

[00:08:45] Benedikt: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I've witnessed that a couple of hands. It's fascinating. And, uh, yeah, two different people sound completely different. Every time I'm in the, I was in the studio with a band and I was sitting next to them when we were tracking, every time I grabbed the guitar to just show them something or [00:09:00] like, if they couldn't play a part in it, I gave it a shot maybe or something. I often. w it was fascinating and shocking. How is it? Sometimes it worked, but sometimes I just couldn't do it. Like I could play it, but I just couldn't do the part for them where I could barely show it to them because with their guitar, the way it was set up and there's like, I didn't sound anything like them. So it was like, I had a couple of times I had that happen and it's it's yeah. It's always fascinating to me. So, so, yeah. Are there things that you. In particularly think that the, that you think are particularly important or, or, or, or problems that you see all happen all the time when it comes to that. Because I can think of a couple, but I want to ask you first.

[00:09:41] Malcom: Right. Yeah. So I think. I'm sure we've mentioned this before, but there's kind of some skills that I feel like guitarists only develop in the studio or, or at least notice sooner and start developing faster in the studio and The main thing for me, I think is going to be I'm between [00:10:00] two. But I think the one I'm going to go with would be like the death grip hand on the left hand or the, I should say the frat in hand because not everybody's right-handed. Um 

[00:10:10] Benedikt: Yeah.

[00:10:11] Malcom: but, uh, but Yeah, so the death grip, um, that is when you are. Sure. You're, you're holding the right fret and the right string, but you are bending the string all over the place and your guitar is like never in tune because you were always pulling it out of tune. Um that is, that is I think the most common and, and potentially the most destructive technique issue that I've come across frequently and people. People can become really good guitarists without learning this skill, which is amazing because it just doesn't matter that much live. And it doesn't matter that much when you're playing by yourself without other instruments where intonation is much more. Important. So again, that's why the studio seems to bring this to focus because all of a sudden you're hearing it under the microscope for [00:11:00] the first time potentially. And you're like, why doesn't it sound right? Why is that chord sound at a two? And it's like, oh, because you're, you're super out of tune. You, you can't play guitar in tune. And that is like a super hard lesson for people to get. And unfortunately way too common and pretty tricky to solve. It's not the kind of thing where I can just play like, oh, you're playing out of tune. They're just used to holding that same. Like grip all the time. So really tricky. And probably public enemy, number one for guitar recordings, I think 

[00:11:28] Benedikt: Yeah, that I can think of that in the second one that I'm going to, I'm going to say it when we get to it, but I agree. I read that's also at least. Top three or top two, probably for me to this thing. And the death grip is there's even more nuance, nuance to that, I think because there is the bending, but then also depending on the guitar, you have some guitars like fender guitars, for example, some of them have these jumbo jumbo frets that like these bigger frets. And if you have a guitar like that, And you just press too hard. Like you don't even have to bend the strings, like just threading too hard. Can [00:12:00] make the notes go sharp and a lot, like, not just, it's not a subtle thing. So there's also that balance, like how hard you actually fret and, and there's, it's, it's, it's subtle. It's nuanced. Like there's this sweet spot, but if you go a little too hard, it's. And some people sort of comp you can sort of compensate for that, with your tuning, if you know that and stuff, some people just play like that. But like, if you are not aware that this is happening, it's really tough because you you're going to tune your guitar and you're going to intranet it and just set it up. And you're like, this is in tune. And then as soon as you play, it's not. sometimes it's even in tune if you listen to the guitar itself, but then with the other guitar or the bass, it's sharp because you're like pressing everything too hard or, you know, there's all these subtle things. So yeah, I absolutely agree that the whole intonation thing, but in particularly how what'd you do with your left hand is, is one of the most challenging thing when it comes to recording guitars. So what do you do? What do we tell our listeners? What, what can, what can they do to avoid that or to, to make sure this is not an issue?

[00:12:58] Malcom: Um, I really do think that [00:13:00] awareness is like the first crucial fix is like learning that you are doing it, pulling out a tuner, like a good, accurate tuner and fretting a note and seeing if it's into. And then, and, and how much little changes change that tuning. Um, so I'm really glad you just brought up that it's not necessarily pulling the strings, like bending them. Um which if you picture like a typical, like major bar cord, your middle fingers, common, the one that is. Throw in that whole thing out of tune that like that's an example of it being bent. Like you're, you're pushing at it on an angle. So it's bending the string. Of course it's going to be sharp. But what Ben is talking about is just pressing directly down. So you're not like bending the string, you're not pulling it, but by pressing it down, you are again bending it just in a microwave, but it really adds up. And if you're doing that differently across each string, you're like relative to, it's going to be bad as well. So, so Yeah. getting used to it and aware of it and seeing it, [00:14:00] I think really will help your like mind kind of lock onto it and your ear start to pick it out as well. Um, and practicing like, okay, what do I need to do to get it there? Um, this will also bring to the forefront that actual intonation issues with your guitar, which sometimes you need to learn. And. And then just, Yeah. you just got to practice now. One of my favorite fixes to this to make it easier is just going to bigger street. There are much harder to push down too hard and bend. So you just do it less. It's it's wonderful Uh, it, you know, it's, it's more work to play them, but this like really, cause you can't go too soft. That's a, maybe a misconception people might be managing. Okay. So I just need to hold softer. Um, yes, to an extent, once you go too soft, it starts buzzing, right? Because you've all remember trying to learn guitar and you press down and you can't press hard enough and it starts buzzing. That. That will happen. So you, you either go too far perfect or it's buzzing, 

[00:14:57] Benedikt: exactly 

[00:14:57] Malcom: to worry about going flat. Like that's not going to [00:15:00] happen.

[00:15:00] Benedikt: Yeah. And you know, your fingers don't have to touch the fretboard. Like the string just has to touch the fret, you know, and then it's fine. So okay, so that is one thing, um, let's, let's say with the left hand, um, I think w w while we read it, so the death grip is one thing. Now you've already touched on it with like two. Frightening, not hard enough is where it starts to buzz, maybe. So I think the court definition, like how clearly can you hear each of the individual notes and strings on the, in each court? That's also something that, that is in the left-hand because you might be slightly muting one of the strings without really noticing, or you might. Not be fretting consistently. Like maybe three of your fingers are right. And then one is just a little too light and it buzzes or mutes the string. So the definition, like how solid the cord is, how the sustain, like how it, how the, the, the notes ring out and how well you can pick out the individual notes in the. That is [00:16:00] something I think that is, unless you don't do weird things with your right hand, I think that's in the left hand as well. Like just a solid clean way to, to like fret the courts. This is something that's hard to do then you would imagine sometimes. So I don't play guitar often. To be really good at it. And I struggle with that sometimes. Like, I don't really notice when I practice, but when I, sometimes I like to capture ideas with an acoustic guitar, for example, or I'd like to just play at home with my kids or something. And whenever I record that with my phone or just like, yeah, capturing ideas or capturing a fun thing that I did with my kids, and I listened back to those. I'm always shocked at how bad my playing actually is. Like how bad those courts sounds like I'm constantly muting things and things are buzzing. And like, I just have a hard time playing clean guitar chords. Sometimes it's, it's really, really not, not that easy. And I've been playing guitar for quite a while now. So so I think that's, that's something to be aware of with your left hand. Would you agree with 

[00:16:56] Malcom: Yeah totally I, I absolutely agree. And I want to [00:17:00] actually jump to the right hand equation

[00:17:02] Benedikt: No. 

[00:17:02] Malcom: core definition too, because I think, um, that? that, Like, it's, it's a problem on both sides in recordings. And, uh, th the reason this came, this episode's happening is because we, we both mixed music for people. And sometimes we get requests like, Oh, like, can you make. Like the I can't hear the hammer ons going on in this part kind of thing on like, on this like Stromae hammer on riff kind of thing. It's like, well, it's because, and now here's my example, the right hand plays a huge role in core definition too, because if you're not hitting only the strings you intent, even if they're muted It just starts cluttering shit up. I don't know why I swore there, but I passionate about this. What the hell guys?

[00:17:44] Benedikt: absolutely.

[00:17:46] Malcom: Um, I hope that Thomas just puts like a big beep, so nobody knows what swear. I said,

[00:17:51] Benedikt: Yeah.

[00:17:53] Malcom: it's like, whoa, Malcolm's pissed. Uh, uh, so but like, yeah, if you're, If you got like an open [00:18:00] string ringing out, that's not meant to be there, it's gonna muddy, cover up all this stuff that is intentional. And there's no fixing that in mixing. Like what happens, what gets played on the guitar is what's going to be there. You can't just remove like, oh, I wish they didn't hit that string. It's gone now. It's not, it's not possible. So making sure the chord is like articulated in both your left hand and the right hand is only giving the performance what like exactly what strings and notes you want. Totally crucial.

[00:18:32] Benedikt: Yeah. Agreed. Absolutely. I'm glad you added that. Totally. Right. So, yeah. And that sort of goes ties into the next thing here, which is the sustain. I have that on the left-hand again. Again, if you, if you don't fret, right? If you, if you pressing down too softy maybe, or, um, yeah, it's been mainly that, then the note just will not sustain long enough. It like, or, or you, you, you, you might not be aware that you might fret the core correctly, but you may be lift your fingers too early, [00:19:00] or you kill the sustain with some movement you'd make in your left hand. Sometimes people just don't keep it there solid and consistent until the next court. And they move it too early in their killing the sustain. Sometimes if the whole court sometimes have individual notes, Um, if you play a solo or some single notes, then also like how you change to the next note and how you sort of kill the last one is so important. So the sustained at the transition to the next note, this is all in your left hand. And, um, so I really think, and there's these, these types of guitarists, I don't know what they do with somebody. It just with the same sort of setup. It just, they just make that guitar sing. They just have a sustain, they just make the thing resonate. I don't know what they exactly do, but it's crazy compared to others where the note just seemed, the notes just seemed to die. 

[00:19:42] Malcom: It just dies off. Yeah. Yeah. Um, the, another tricky one to learn, I just gotta say, uh if this podcast gets released in a video format, you got to go watch it. Benny, just do that spiel. He was the air guitar. And with his left hand the entire time, I don't think he was even aware 

[00:19:56] Benedikt: didn't even notice. I didn't even

[00:19:57] Malcom: He was 

[00:19:58] Benedikt: know what I was doing Yeah 

[00:19:59] Malcom: like,

[00:19:59] Benedikt: [00:20:00] Yeah.

[00:20:00] Malcom: I could see the sustain cut 

[00:20:02] Benedikt: Shit Yeah Sorry for that. 

[00:20:07] Malcom: that. was awesome. It's awesome. But, uh, but yeah, this is another thing that, uh, so much of a good guitar technique is isn't learned until you end up in the studio, unfortunately. So recording yourself early and, and seeing how your performance sounds when you listen back on via recording is super, super valuable. And, uh, the sustain being one of those things. This is what makes a guitar so hard is that there's no sustained pedal like a piano. Imagine if there was how great that would be, but when you take your fingers off the change chords, the chord stops, right. And we often need to create the illusion that, that isn't the case. So it requires being really, really quick. And, um, until you think about that and are listening for it, you might not even realize that you're taking your hand off, like an eighth to even a quarter. Like in advance of the next chord, just to like, make sure you get there. And then you're losing so much [00:21:00] musicality. If the, you know, the ref calls for that, it's, it's always circumstance like circumstantial, but, uh, totally worth drawing attention to, uh people are definitely sometimes shocked when they listen back and they're like, oh, weird. It's like, so choppy. It's like, yeah, you have to. Get better at making that transition there. And especially if it's a tricky one and like the middle of the riff has the longer pause to get to the next court, then the other ones. Cause you're good at those, you know they have to be consistent and, and it just takes practice, intentional practice. I should say. 

[00:21:32] Benedikt: Absolutely. Yeah. And then the final thing you kind of, you mentioned the hammer ons. Um, so I put a thing there, um, bullet point there that I called fields. So I think a lot of like, yeah, the, the, the signature sound of like guitarists is also in the left-hand of course, of course, for me, like, because I mean the right hand too, but I don't know particularly how, how the Viper auto sounds, the hammer ons, the fi the nuances and the playing the, I don't know. Everybody has a different feel and everybody has [00:22:00] sort of a signature way of playing guitar, especially when it comes to two solos. And I don't know. Uh, and so that to me is also in the left hand. And I, I really think that there's an art to that. It's not just about hitting the right notes at the right time, but like, you know, the tasteful vibratos and, and all that. It's just a field category for me, that's just all in the left hand to me, it's the right hand is more about the consistency to me and about the power. And we get, we get to all of that, but like the feel, especially with longer sustained notes, solos and stuff like that is in the left hand. I think.

[00:22:32] Malcom: You're right. I think. most of the personality lives in the left hand. You know how people like let notes running until they get to the next one. Um, uh often intentionally or sliding between stuff, you know? Uh, does their hand fully lift off while they jump around or does it slide across like there's all these little things that generate your, your sound. And if there's something that's important about it, you need to try and recognize this. This is [00:23:00] another tricky thing to self-diagnose because you don't really know what makes you sound like you you're just doing it. But if you do hone in on what it is, that's like making your plan unique, unique, you can at least monitor that it's being captured in the recording process. it's because of all these things we've said that it's like, Oh, you're pulling too hard or you're lifting off too early. Um there's a string buzzing. That's not meant to buzz kind of thing. People tend to get really safe and careful while recording guitars and just wanted to be very surgical about it. And. Possible and easy to lose some of that feel and uh, and like personality that makes your play in you because you're just focusing on like having the perfect power cord and you're like, you know, screw the bar chord. I'm just gonna play a power chord. Now it sounds more in tune, um, stuff like that can come at a cost. So you, you almost need to know what it is. That's important and about the weird, the oddities of your plane and make sure that you don't lose. 

[00:23:59] Benedikt: Oh, yeah, [00:24:00] totally. That's such a big one. In fact, I get, I get quite a lot where I get revision notes, like mix notes, revision requests from bans, where suddenly, when, when everything's mixed and things are more clear, they pick out. I don't even hear these things because I'm so focused on the art, on the music, on the impact. I don't care about like slight string noises and stuff, unless it's like really annoying, you know? But like, that's just part of what it sounds like to play a guitar to an extent, you know, but like they, people tend to pick that stuff out and like really. Get hung up on that. And instead of like making notes on the stuff that actually matters, there'll be like, Hey, here at like two minutes and 57 seconds, there's this one little metallic string noise. Can you please cut that out? Or there's this squeak here and there, like, I always find it fascinating how, as you said, like how surgical and careful people get when it comes to that. When I don't even, I don't even care about these things often, unless it's like very, very super annoying. So, yeah, we want to have some of that in there in favor of the, the feel and the, your [00:25:00] signature way of playing and that the way you sound. But if, if it's obviously too much, if it's buzzing and squeaking all the time, you've got to do something about it. It's not the most important thing for sure. And I had an interesting conversation on my other podcast. If you want to listen to that, it's called the Outback recordings podcast. And sometimes I do the most of the interviews and most of the interviews there are in German, but I sometimes do interviews with international bands and I had just recently did one with hot water music. So if you're in the punk rock in these sort of, um, yeah, the punk rock world, more or less, this is a pretty well-known big band from the U S. A big punk band. And they've been around for a while for like almost 30. No, not 30 it's 25 years now at this point, I think so. Anyway I listened to their latest record and I think it's really, really amazing. And I had an a, had the bass player on the show, which was super exciting for me. And I listened to the record and I, in fact, I spotted, this was one of the rare occasions where a spotted some, some really obvious string noise stuff that came from the base, but it didn't [00:26:00] really bother me. I just found it interesting that it was so obvious and it was in there in this. Very well done production and I was talking to him about it. I was asking him about it and he was like, oh no, no, please tell it like, listen, like, this is a whole thing. We've been talking about that all the time when we were making this record, like, I don't care about these things. It's just the way I play and it's my sound. But my drummer, like, he kept telling me about this like full weeks and we had arguments about it and like the producer thought it's sick. Like, it sounds like a human being and it's retinol and the basis doesn't mind, but the drummer like couldn't stand it. And it was this whole thing. And it was funny enough. It was the first thing that I spotted when I listened to the record. So, but again, it didn't bother me. It was just something that I thought is just part of the character. And I actually enjoyed that because it sounded like a human and it was a small imperfection that made it even better for me, but there's this fine line, you know? So, but stuff like that yeah. Is in the hands though, this, this in the hands like you, how careful you are, how, you know, you got to define that for yourself, but you got to be aware of that. I think.

[00:26:59] Malcom: Yup. Yup. [00:27:00] And, uh, and on the same page, cause like you just pointed out it's subjective and your drummer might hate you for it. 

[00:27:07] Benedikt: Exactly. Exactly. So, yeah, he was actually like, okay, now I've ordered a pack of flatwoods. Now they're like, babysat me. Not like I'm going to try those just to see how that 

[00:27:17] Malcom: but the exact opposite of what we want to flat rock.

[00:27:20] Benedikt: Yeah. exactly. It was that I was the same thing. Like, I don't think he was too serious about it, but he's like, okay, now I ordered a pack, a flat one because I never want to hear them complain again. Like, 

[00:27:30] Malcom: Uh, 

[00:27:31] Benedikt: so yeah. So that's about it for the left-hand for me, at least let's go to the right hand because it's just as important.

[00:27:39] Malcom: Yeah. So when I mentioned death grip, I said that's probably my number one. If it wasn't consistency would be my, my, my other, um, and its right-hand consistency of just plucking at a. Uh, very controlled dynamic, um, that is intentional. So there there's two levels of this there's people that are entirely [00:28:00] intentional and doing exactly what they intended with their consistency, and that is the best. And then if you're not that I just hope, at least you're hitting hard and, uh, beginners are either hitting hard or soft. And that's like, if I'm working with somebody that's not experienced in the studio, I just start pushing them to hit harder. And figuring out ways to make that happen. And at least by trying to be hard, you end up with more consistency, I find. Um but eventually you want to build some intentional habits and skills in how things sound depending on how hard you hit them. Um, and how hard you hit them. We'll change the pitch to varying degrees as well. So it's important on the tuning side. Um, and. it's not only dynamics, I guess it's also the ankle to pick. And where on the string you're, you're picking, um how your Palm mute, how consistent your Palm mute is. and, and all of that, it's, it's really like the other half of the, of your sound is coming from your right hand and making that a very consistent [00:29:00] thing is, is going to give you. I don't even know how to explain it. It's just everything it makes the recording sound like what, what was meant to happen, opposed to just like this weird mess of like, why is all this other stuff happening? And why is the note getting quieter or sound different every time he hits it? We don't want that. We like the more consistent your right-hand is the more we can focus on the riff. Rather Lynne, the performer. 

[00:29:24] Benedikt: totally the whole group, the whole impact. Everything is like isn't the right hand. The consistency is super important. Just imagine if you play. An amp with any sort of distortion or overdrive, like even even soft, like slightly overdriven sound. If you hit, like you can change the sound of your entire rig of your entire AmTrust by, by hitting hard or hitting soft. Like it totally changes. And imagine if you play a Palm you'd part, like if you, if you're chugging away and you, if it's not consistent, all of your individual hits are going to sound different. It's like it can get a mess really quickly. It's, it's all about consistency. And when it [00:30:00] comes to base, like how solid the foundation is, how well it locks within with the drums and stuff, that's all in the right hand. It's all about this, this consistency that. So it's the overall power, like how hard you hit in general. And then it's like also how hard you pick in general, but then it's also the consistency. Once you found the right sort of the right way to play the song, you got to stay consistent with it. Absolutely. Yeah, and I, there's a reason for like even professional guitarists and in basis, like in, in big let's, let's stay with the guitarist for now, like in, for example If you, if we talk about Metallica, Metallica has two amazing guitar players and both of them could pull up, could pull up the rhythm guitar. They could both do it, but like Hatfield is playing the rhythm guitar because he is a monster of a right hand. Like if he plays the, the Palm Utes and the, the, the, the rifts and stuff, it just sounds different. So, uh, there's a reason for why he does all the rhythm guitars and not just one, but like the double all of them, because his right hand does, it sounds like his right hand [00:31:00] and nobody else sounds like him. So, and there's a couple of examples like that because there's so much of the sound in the right hand. And then I have it again. I have to count the, to, to, to say that again. Um, this is also something I get with revision notes a lot where. I just had this last week where somebody was like, yeah, sound, this part sounds good. But could we bring out the, the transcends a little more the attack? I feel like it's not defined enough. And I was really having a hard time doing that because it was a, a problem you'd part, but it was like 16th, 16th notes. So it was. Up and down strokes, alternate, um, sort of, um, picking. And, uh, it was just pretty sloppy, I guess. Also there was like a weird pick angle. So it had this long scratchy attack type of thing and not like a consistent, solid sort of attack. And it's, this is a mix between the Palm muting technique, the consistency, how hard you hit, and then the pick angle, as you said, all that goes into that. But the end result was like a pretty undefined. [00:32:00] Thing that if you only listened to the DEI, it was kind of okay. But with a high gain sound like the one that we used, it gets really difficult to make that sound, to find. So all that to say, this is why all this is so important because there's only so much you can do with engineering and mixing. If the performance is not right. Like none of these things that we mentioned today can be solved after the fact they have, they all have to be taken care of before. Anything like hits the mic. So, um, this is why this is so, so, so important. And, uh, so awareness, as you said, it's like the biggest thing. People just need to know that this is what, uh, what is affecting their tone. And oftentimes I think people, people think it's just because they don't have the right amp SIM or whatever, and they don't realize that it's actually they're playing.

[00:32:41] Malcom: Yeah. Yeah. It, uh, yeah, I'm just gonna read through the list of what because it's all inconsistency. Really. It was. There's Palm muting technique. There's hand position. So that's like how far forward or backwards you're playing. Um, and actually, you know, where you rest your hand can't even change the [00:33:00] sound of things I'm like on an acoustic guitar. How you touch the instrument, like rest your arm on it is good to actually change how the tone of the instrument sounds. Uh, pick angle. And then, um, I guess this one's kind of unrelated, but also related to is, uh, talking about finger or a pick on the bass guitar. Um, so, so before we jump into that, yeah You really have to consider everything right hand is doing right. and experiment with it. Um a really great recording guitarist is going to be changing this dependent on the riff song, everything like that. They're, they're very intentional. And I really do believe that recording. This is the best way to get good at being a recording and guitarist, because you finally actually hear these things back. Um it's just different when you're in the zone, playing guitar for fun or with a band when you're recording and, and focusing so micro on just like what's happening, what's being captured. You really start to spot all this stuff and see the differences. 

[00:33:57] Benedikt: Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah, [00:34:00] totally. So the. The groove, the timing, and also the presence. This is all in your right hand. Uh, the presence. I just wanted to touch on that real quick. I think. How hard you, you hit the strings. It's not only gonna affect the transients and like the power and the consistency and the groove, but it also, it's usually brighter also. And like the tone changes, depending on how hard you hit things. Just to give you a couple of examples of each of these things. Just one simple example per thing. I think that is, is, is more than enough you to just just get, tell you what it actually does or what changes. So we talked about consistency and power. When it comes to Palm muting technique, just do the experiment. Try for yourself. If you haven't yet just play some Palm mutes and then press down on the strings a little harder or a little lighter, move your hand a little bit and, and mute the strings and diff at different positions. And you'll see how drastically the sustain changes, how much low-end buildup you get, how much movement or how like flat and two-dimensional things can sound. So the Palm muting technique makes such a [00:35:00] big difference on how it and how it feels and sounds. Um, the hand position, even without Palm muting, if you. Closer to the neck pickup or closer to the bridge pickup, or like really close to the bridge. It's going to be sounding drastically different. Like if you picking very close to the bridge, like it's a very bright, thin sounds. Sometimes if you get closer to the neck pickup, it's going to be a little fuller, but less, maybe less transient heavier or whatever. Yeah. But it changes. And to just do the experiment, if you haven't done this before, if you've never thought about this, just to try that while you're recording and, um, do it with intention because some part might be, might be, might sound better in one position. And for another part, you have to change things up a little bit and really good guitar players do that. Intuitively I think they just like a vocalist would have a mic technique where the. Ultra the different, the, the, the distance to the mic, a good guitar player would know where to pick for certain parts in order for it to make it sound like they want to. 

[00:35:56] Malcom: Yep. Yeah. You're, you're, you're, you're dead on with that. [00:36:00] You maybe think of one more thing and it's kind of like Palm muting, but it's just muting in general. This is a very hard to fix thing after it's been recorded too. And what I mean by that is when you are trying to meet. Uh, and stop the sound of the guitar. How do you do it? Do you use your right hand? Do you use your left hand, you just lift off your fingers a little bit, or do you flatten all your, your left hand fingers on the, like across the strings? Are you meeting that way? Uh, there's all these different ways of trying to shut a guitar up. and I mean, they can all work, but you actually really need to monitor that and see how clean and how quick it's happening. And does that timing work for what you're trying to accomplish? If you think about like modern. Metal where it's better, all that kind of stuff. Like that's super hard. I mean, that's usually artificial editing to get it, that tight kind of thing. But those, those players, if that drawn, there are so good at shutting their instrument up. Like they're there. So. Quick at clamping down and, and that's part of that skill. And, uh, I think honestly, [00:37:00] a lot of, uh, more rock guitars could learn a lot from metal guitarists about controlling the opposite of making their guitar loud enough, how to make the guitar shut up cleanly. Cause there's a total art to it. 

[00:37:11] Benedikt: Absolutely. If you've ever watched a video Dina. That, that guy who makes 

[00:37:15] Malcom: I, don't think so. 

[00:37:17] Benedikt: I, I mean, I don't know his real name. He's an, I don't know. I just know his Instagram name. He's I think he's called extrusive like D R E w S I F um, he's a metal dude. He's been even doing it for a while. He has a pretty big following. He's doing metal covers and like super insane things. Like he's doing a lot of the. Uh, review videos now for a couple of software companies, amp, Sims and stuff. And it's it. His playing is insane. It's really, really insane. He does exactly what you just described. Like it's a dude sitting in his basement, playing guitar all day. I think like, at least that's what it looks like, but he like real, literally like baddest mastery. That is insane. Insane. So, Uh, and there are a couple of people like that, like John Brown, like the [00:38:00] monuments sort of guitars. He's also very good with the right hand that has just some people like, yeah. Uh, I think people can learn from that. And I'm glad you mentioned it cutting a cord off in the dark and like doing a quick fade on something or something will never sound like actually muting your guitars with your hand. It's totally different. Like a lot of people think you can just have the S the court ring out and then you cut it whenever you want. It will not sound like you're meeting your.

[00:38:24] Malcom: Yup. Yup. Same with drums. I just want to say right now. Cause cause it's just came up in my can't just like be like, oh, I like the, I wish the symbols just cut off and it's like, well, he didn't grab them. It's not happening. 

[00:38:36] Benedikt: Yeah,

[00:38:37] Malcom: Unfortunately that doesn't work. It sounds very stupid. 

[00:38:42] Benedikt: Yeah, totally. I was thinking of the same thing right now. Yeah, totally. All right. Good. I think, and then the final thing is like the pig angle where I dunno. Um, that's also something, I feel like people don't experiment enough. Not just the pick choice. This is something for different episode, but like the pig angle, it, it totally changes [00:39:00] the way the, the transients are shaped in a way or a feel to me. Like if you have, if you minimize the, the point of contact, basically to the strings, it's going to be very precise and you can have a very short defined attack. Angle it a little bit and sort of, um, have more of the pig, be in touch with the strings. You can have this longer scratchy sounding attack, which can be cool sometimes, but can be really bad other times. So, you know, there's the difference between a "cht" attack and a "tk", a click, you know and you can play with that. And it makes a difference, just again, be aware of that. And you might not notice that over time during a riff or something, your pick is slightly shifting and towards the end of it, like during a palm mute part or whatever, towards the end of it, you have a different angle and then all of a sudden it starts to sound sloppy, you know? So these types of things.

[00:39:47] Malcom: Totally. Totally. Yeah. Uh, you know, do your homework and figure out how to improve each one of these. Yeah. You know, that's actually such A quick way. Like if you burn through this list with the right-hand consistency, power [00:40:00] Palm muting the technique, hand position, pick angle and pick choice, we'll just throw in there as well. If you just play with those for an hour, you're going to come out a better sounding guitarist. What did like a quick way to level up your.

[00:40:10] Benedikt: A hundred 

[00:40:10] Malcom: Just a little bit experimenting, just like you'll, you'll learn so much about your playing and your instrument. Different instruments need to be played differently. You know, you figure out where the sweet spot is on a tele. You'll be a happy guy. okay Yeah, we should, we should probably stop talking about this. We got another episode to do. 

[00:40:27] Benedikt: Yeah, exactly. No, I think that's that's enough. That's enough for people. I think, uh, we, I think we got the being point across. You can do so much without doing anything engineering or mixing wise, like, you know, it will be so much better off that mixing will be easier. All of that, your answer will react better. You have so much more control over everything. And, uh, probably I'm pretty sure. At least one of the main issues that you're having me to guitar tunnel right now is actually in like, can be solved with one of these things. Actually, the cause of that is probably one of these things and not your emperor or something. [00:41:00] So I'm pretty sure everybody has, can improve there. Cool. All right, let's wrap it up. Thank you for listening and talk to you next week. 

[00:41:09] Malcom: See you next week. Thanks. Bye.

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