Blog (Stories and Rants by Dan Alexander)

Uncle Jack’s Guitar

My dad had two brothers: my wonderful Uncles Bill and Jack. The oldest brother Jack and his family lived in Hewlett, Long Island. My folks moved from NYC to Buffalo when I was 5. I started playing guitar when I was 14. At some point soon thereafter, we were visiting...

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When the better mic isn’t better

  When The Better Mic Isn't Better....... I was trying to sell a microphone to a well known voice over studio in Los Angeles. They had numerous studios, all dedicated to recording voice talent. Their standard microphone was a Sennheiser long shotgun mic, maybe an...

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Anyone Want a Neve Part?

It never fails to impress me how much human labor went into building 80 Series Neve consoles. I am referring to desks built from about 1970 – 1978. Neve had 500 employees! They must have bought the tea in bales … Check this out: the wiring looms for the consoles went...

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Guest blog by Michael James, producer

The Hole Truth (from December 30, 2015) I recall the conversation as if it were yesterday: “You really need to produce this band. They’re going to be HUGE!” Bruce Pavitt, one of the two principals at SubPop Records, was calling me from Seattle, long-distance, back in...

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Guest Blog by Jon Rubin of The Rubinoos

Gotcha! This really pissed me off. When recording our first album we cut a track with a three-part harmony lead vocal. On playback, we realized that it was all slightly out of tune. We asked the producer to let us re-record it and proceeded to do so. Trying to be...

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Clapton’s Fool SG … Yeech!

I was 17 in 1967. My friend Dave Carpender, later guitarist for The Greg Kihn Band, turned me on to John Mayall's Beano album. Clapton was just ridiculous on that record. Cream was fantastic. I love their first album Fresh Cream. Clapton's Sunburst was stolen, and he...

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Multitrack Tape Recorders : Which ones are OK?

Multitrack Tape Recorders: Which ones are OK? Let's preface this with the understanding that we are discussing 2” multitrack machines. 16 or 24 tracks, it doesn't matter. OK ... The question is quite simple: Do you want a tape recorder that actually functions properly...

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The Larson Brothers and www.larsonguitars.net

The Larson Brothers Invented The Steel String Flat Top Guitar !                                                                                                Carl and August Larson immigrated to the United States from Sweden in the mid-1880s. They were skilled...

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The Mother of Necessity

Today, if you need a stand mount for a vintage microphone, there are numerous makers who provide just about anything you might require. Back in the late 70s, the choice was much more limited. There were virtually no mounts that would work with an M49 or M50, and they...

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Final Console Commissioning

SO … you have built a recording studio. You have nearly killed yourself and who knows how many others, building it. You have invested a ton of dough in a gorgeous classic recording console. The techs have charged you a zillion dollars installing it. It’s time to turn...

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Can I Testify?

I was speaking with my old friend John Nelson the other day. We both have been buying and selling vintage guitars since our teens. We each have had literally thousands of fine instruments pass through our hands. At the same time, we always had a guitar or two that was...

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Self-Indulgence

I drink tea. I drink a lot of tea. So I have a dedicated electric water boiling pot. My old one broke, and I got a new one. The problem is the new one has 4 buttons on it, and a temperature gauge. Do I need water that is 177 degrees? My old boiling pot had a single...

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Clean Your Gear

I see a lot of gear. It gets sent to me, or I visit someone's studio, or whatever. It never fails to astound me how people mistreat their beautiful equipment. I just cannot understand it. When I get a piece of gear, the very first thing I do is wipe down the front...

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Use A Damned Windscreen!

“I don’t like the way windscreens change the sound”....Seriously? Speaking strictly from technical jargon, exactly what frequencys does a typical nylon pop filter or windscreen affect? I gotta tell you, I think we are talking way way way up there...BUT in any case,...

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“Everything I Buy Is Mint Until It Arrives”

"It's all original" "it was all working when we took it out of service" "it doesn't need a neck reset" "The diaphram looks good" "The finish is original" "My tech just went through it" "My Dad (Grandfather, Uncle, Aunt, Cousin, etc) told my brother he bought it new in...

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Assistant Engineering: A Stiff Dose of Reality

TURN OFF YOUR PHONE!! I do not mean set it to vibrate! No texting, no phone interaction whatsoever. An Assistant Engineer never volunteers an opinion to the Artist or the Producer (ever!). You will be far better off to say "I don't know" if asked, even when you have a...

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Giant Microphone Stands

So. You took the plunge, and purchased a big heavy expensive condenser microphone. It cost as much as your car, maybe. So how do you feel about putting it on one of your standard mic stands? The ones you buy at the music store? What if someone knocks your sizeable...

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How to pack, move, tune, and clean an EMT Plate Reverb

HOW TO PACK AN EMT 140 PLATE REVERB FOR SHIPPING After damaging 14 of 21 plate reverbs that I bought from CBS in NY, in 1983 or so, I devised this packing method. It has proven to be very effective. However, no packing job can stand up to the determined assault of a...

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How to Pack a Guitar for Shipping

Packing a guitar for shipping requires a few essential items, and a bit of work if one actually wants the instrument to arrive without damage. Here is the method I have developed over the last 15 years. In that time I have shipped Many nice instruments,...

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Funny Stories

Funny Stories Here’s one for you….guy called me one time looking for a driver magnet for an EMT, because his ex took it when she left….can you picture her removing the side in order to get at it? The “creative moment” has always seemed magical to me. I don’t know...

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