I recently wrote a song – not even sure I shared it here – called “Love Is More Than What It Seems.” It’s kind of a fast-moving, “happy” rocking tune. I originally recorded it with my Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister 18. Gorgeous little amp that’s totally versatile. I love it. I used the silent recording option with it, and for the initial recording, it worked great. But as I got into mastering it, I was less and less satisfied with the electric guitar sounds. They just didn’t sound “right.”
So I switched to my beloved DV Mark Little 40, and that got me closer. But I was still not really digging the electric guitar tones. Then I realized that what I love the H&K and Little 40 amps for is their live performance versatility. But for recording, they just don’t quite cut it for me. For the biggest strength happens to be their weakness in a recording environment.
So… being a vintage Marshall fan, I pulled out my Aracom VRX18, based upon the classic Marshall Plexi 18. I’ve got NOS Pre- and Power-amp tubes in it, and this amp just oozes classic rock tone. Combined with my ’58 Historic Les Paul, and outputting through an Aracom Custom 1 X 12 equipped with a Jensen Jet Falcon, it was the exact tone I was looking for! Methinks I should’ve just used it to start out with, but hey! Live and learn right?
Here’s the song:
The interesting thing about that amp is that it doesn’t have the sustain, nor even touch-sensitivity of my other amps. But that works to its advantage because it makes me work a lot harder on the fretboard, and that makes my playing much more expressive as I have to work every note. But best of all though, the “bloom” I expect from any of my Les Pauls is right there; it just decays a little quicker than my other amps. But who cares? It works…
By the way, I also used the wonderful Aracom DRX attenuator to record the electric guitars at just a little louder than bedroom level. I was a long-time user of the PRX150, but with the dual-level attenuation, at least for live performances, I can get a nice volume boost at the press of a footswitch button.
Guitars: Yamaha APX900 (acoustic, direct-in); 1958 Les Paul Reissue
Amp: Aracom VRX18
Cabinet: Aracom Custom 1 X 12 Jensen Jet Falcon
Bass: Fender Jazz Bass (direct-in)
Note: Guitars were not EQ’d, though to bring them out in the mix a bit more, I used a stereo spreader.
Everything was recorded in Logic Express 9.