Re: [Harp-L] Harp-L] Toots
Your are Correct Martin…it's the 'Player' if your a beginner,-) But with many years of experience you STILL are at the Mercy of The Engineer as Slim so nicely laid out for us! Yes, hats off to Frank Laico and the Mastering by Stew Romaine just brings out the great work of the Engineer and of course Toots,-)
"Tone" in the studio is a huge challenge for us harpers, especially if the engineer doesn't quite "Get" what we are after……and again Slim is on the Money, the CBS NY Studio in 78' probably had some SUPER warm analog gear which is getting hard to come by in the digital world…….my best advice is make a CD of your favorite recordings get them to your engineer at your local studio and give them time to work on shaping or trying to get close to the sonics and nuances of the tone your going for…..
Regarding the post that said Toots uses a Fireball for the last 10 years I disagree, as it hasn't been out that long….I helped Audix design that mic a few years ago but not 10 yrs…..I do know he's been using Greg's Ultimate 58….The Audix is good Mic tho I use it a lot live n' in the studios.
To my ears I'm hearing the SM 58 on "Affinity" w/ Bill Evans but the analog pre-amp, reverb and room acoustics are what is pleasing your ears the engineer on this session sonically was able to capture Toots' tone……..
One of my Biggest Challenges in the studio was actually a dumb Karaoke session! They wanted me to play on a few Billy Joel songs…no problem, I figured Piano Man some dumbed down chord diatonic licks…'piece of cake',-)….ahhhh but when I finished that they said, "Rob we have one more before you go"…it was "Leave a Tender Moment Alone"…..oh boy I wasn't getting off THAT easy!!!!!
Luckily the Engineer set up a Mic he thought would capture that Phil Ramone session from the early 80's in NY…..I had my work cut out for me learning the Toots solo on the spot as it wasn't written out and my reading isn't THAT good even if is was charted! The Original session had some sweet sounding Toots and at the time I hadn't a clue what mic it was…..for this session we used a Neumann 87 and I stood about 6 inchs back it was a large wood walled studio and he configured the patterns just so…..
But Having a great engineer made all the difference…..here are the results….the original and my version….let me know if I got close,-) Why couldn't they just call Toots!!!…….session work like this can be frustrating but you use the tools you have and hope for the best……
As my friend and Boss in the Original Blues Brothers Band, Sax Player Lou Marini always sez……"Strive for Tone!"
Toots w/ Billy Joel
Me Faking Toots w/ a Session Singer,-)
On Dec 5, 2013, at 9:56 AM, Slim Heilpern <slim@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Hi Martin -
> Of course it's not _all_ in the player (although I would argue that's a lot of it) but the mic is only one part of the chain, which at NY's Columbia Studios in 1978 probably included some wonderful warm-sounding preamps and a very acoustically well-tuned room (I'm guessing, but that would only come into play if Toots isn't cupping around the mic like he almost always does).
> In this case, a lot of what's not attributable to the player can be attributed to the recording engineer, Frank Laico, who's apparently had quite a distinguished career (worth googling if you're interested).
> As for the mic, it's very plausible to me that Toots is using his standard SM58 configuration. There's a lot of reverb applied, and the harmonica sits beautifully in the mix (which I would attribute 100% to Mr. Laico), and a great mix it is.
> Just my 2 cents...
> - Slim.
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