Alan Reed Studio Report pt. 5

I’ve got gigs coming up. Been keeping a low profile on the live front for a bit so I could concentrate on writing and recording

But I’d agreed to open for French funsters, Lazuli, and the time is fast approaching. It’s a bit old-school, but it’s probably best to devote at least one day to a proper rehearsal with my acoustic partner-in-crime, Mark Spencer. Then at least the mistakes will be genuine, rather than just down to amnesia.

The acoustics have been sitting in their cases since my last live show in July, so it’s pretty certain I’ll need to change the strings. This is oddly fortuitous, because next on the to-do list is some repair work on the long-track on the album, which centres around lots of acoustic 12-string. I can get in some recorded jangle while the strings are still fresh. New strings, particularly on acoustics - and especially on acoustic 12-strings - are essential to get maximum tone and cut. On the other hand, too new and they’ll still be settling down and I’ll spend more time tuning than playing. A couple of short sets should see my guitars at optimum operating condition.

It’s also good to get my head into performance mode for a bit, savouring the joy of playing to an audience rather than the introverted focus of the studio. Might pick up a few interesting ideas from Lazuli too. I won’t be going as far as singing in French, but (and I shall say zis only wunce!) a wildly exaggerated accent may not be entirely out of the question! Back home in the studio after a couple of very enjoyable gigs, closer examination of my original 12-string recording indicates I’ll be better off replacing the whole thing. It’s some months since the original session, so it’ll take a bit of time to work out exactly what I was playing. I really should write things down. Muscle-memory’s a great thing. Muscle-amnesia not so much.

It’s also an opportunity to fill out the sound by working out complementary parts. There’s only one thing that sounds better than a 12-string guitar, and that’s two 12-strings working together. The trick is making them sound like one huge 24-stringed instrument. Accuracy (and lots of tight editing) are essential. What the hell, let’s throw in a third part towards the end! Jangle-tastic.