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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 the day when long-distance was enough of a big deal that folks jockeyed for position to be the recipient, not the originator, of the phone call. Long distance was expensive enough that I have a hazy...

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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 clever and prove we were wasting time, the producer had the engineer play us the first out of tune track. Thinking we would say “yeah that’s good,” he could then tell us ‘gotcha’ and that we were wasting time....

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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 got his iconic SG painted by “The Fool,” some Dutch hippie artists. Fast forward to the early ‘80s. I am at Todd Rundgren's home studio in upstate New York, delivering a Fairchild 670. I’m waiting by...

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Multitrack Tape Recorders : Which ones are OK?

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 and consistently? Or do you want a refrigerator sized hobby that you can tinker with for days on end? Have you ever heard the sound of your 2” tape being folded in half and stretched? (I have ...) Or...

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The Larson Brothers and www.larsonguitars.net

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 cabinet makers and went to work for Robert Maurer, who built Champion brand guitars and other instruments. In 1900, health issues forced Maurer to sell his company. The Larsons became the owners and began...

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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 rarely came with their original Neumann yoke mounts. In fact, for a while, we had no idea what it a stock mount looked like. After receiving several complaints from customers, I was forced into action. I...

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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 it ON … This is what you do.... Remove every module that you can from the frame and set them aside in an orderly fashion. Perhaps you might want to put a number on the side of each module so you can return...

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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 “our guitar," the one we played. We were talking about what an incredible collection it would be had we simply kept them all. They were always great, because we had access to so many incredible examples....

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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 lever switch: you push it down, and when the water is boiling, it turns off automatically. The new one requires that you push several buttons before the damn thing works. So, being self-indulgent, I went...

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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 panel with a damp cloth. You should see what comes off! Yecch … Now, not only do I object to this on a purely aesthetic level, because clean gear is often lovely, whereas gross dirty scummy gear is just butt...

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