Getting a 1960s sound

Goldilox

New member
I'm trying to create a late 60s west coast vibe on a track (Byrds, Steppenwolf, Mamas & Papas - the acoustic rock sort of stuff on the Easy Rider soundtrack). I've played with EQ and compression, phasers and even some 'tape saturation' effects, but I can't seem to quite nail it.

Any one got ideas on what it is gives that stuff its distinct sound?
 

Bonafide

New member
For this to be excellent / authentic you will need to consider the whole production:

Acoustic guitars will be slightly dulled with the top rolled off (think dead strings) and a bit 'plucky' versus 'shimmery'.
Bass guitar: P-bass with flatwounds. This is a must. The sound is 'defined' but without much body. Or at the very least use foam for dampening the strings.
Drums: Dampened to a large degree (think 'thuddy') but not nearly dead as the early 70's drum productions.
Electrics Guitars: Consider Strat / Fender tones (single coil twang with dead strings) and/or Les Paul/ Marshall tones. Any type of FUZZ face distortion or overdriven tube amp will get you close tonally as a starting point.
Reverb: Has to be shorter plate for the vocals/ acoustic and drums and spring for the guitars.
Hard L/R stereo panning.

Best with it!
 

mjbphotos

What?!?
Steppenwolf didn't use any acoustic guitars, but the distorted leslied Hammond organ was a big part of their sound. The Brds )ROger McGuinn's) 12-string Rickenbacker dominated their sound. Mamas and Papas were plain old small-bodied folk guitar(s).

Record live in the studio with no more than 8 tracks and a few sound baffles.
 
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Goldilox

New member
Just to clarify - this is mostly tracked already. It's a 'client' with a slightly peculiar way of working - we've multi tracked over his demo, but he just sends me lots of musicians and then I need to make sense of the resulting mess (lots of editing where everyone has played at once). So what we have on there is 2x acoustic guitars (a twangy 60s arch top & a modern acoustic), electric lap steel, violin, flute, acoustic bass guitar, jazz organ, drums (standard kit plus a track of orchestral cymbal swells), a single track of backing vocals over the chorus and a different one over the verse. I've been playing around with building a 'bridge' by adding a (1964 hofner 335 copy) electric guitar behind the instrumental break.

It's been useful on other songs to have an idea in my head - and I think the feel that this has developed over the sessions lends itself to a 60s sound in the mixing and editing. I hope that makes sense, I'll upload a rough mix shortly if I get the time.

Thank you for the responses so far - you've given me some new things to try.
 
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R

RAMI

Guest
Getting "that 60's sound" is all about how it was recorded, not which plug-ins to use. Find out how some of those bands actually tracked their songs and try to do it as much like that as you can. I realize the song you're talking about is already tracked, but if this guy's sending you musicians to record, he should have told you what vibe/sound he was looking for and it was up to you to track the musicians with that goal in mind.
 
R

RAMI

Guest
His instruction was "let everyone do their thing, like, man, and see what they come up with" :facepalm:

Well, there you go. The use of the words "do their thing", "like", and "man" in this context should have made it obvious he was looking for a 60'groove, baby.

:D
 

Goldilox

New member

Just had a play with it and it is extremely good, but I'm not sure where I'm going to find £579 to pay for it in 30 days time!

RAMI said:
Well, there you go. The use of the words "do their thing", "like", and "man" in this context should have made it obvious he was looking for a 60'groove, baby.
Possibly, although that is just how he talks. We've got a sleazy 70s thing happening on one track, and all out strings on another. It's just finding ways to give each of his songs their own feel, as his demos of them are all a bit the same.


FWIW this is what I have so far Walk that Road. I still feel like it needs a bit more shape hammering into it before a final mix of the levels.
 

bdenton

New member
Don't know if it will help any at this stage of the game, but back in the 60's we used felt strips to muffle and kill the ring on our drums. About 1" wide on snare and toms, 2" wide on the bass drum. You put them across the drums, under the head, beside the first set of "off center" lugs.

A lot of us used a ride cymbal with rivets (if we could afford one) or with a bead chain laying on the cymbal from the center to just above the edge (if we were poor). In addition to doing rides, we also used a hard felt percussion mallet to do our swells.

Hope this is of some use to someone...
 

aaronmcoleman

The truth is out there!
I've started using darker mics for recording acoustics because I don't like the modern highs on most. so maybe you could roll off the highs on the acoustics to darken them up a bit.

I've also always thought a lot of that sound was the bass. I can't describe it, but it doesn't seem to have as much low end as modern bass, and the notes are more distinct.
 

miroslav

Cosmic Cowboy
***WARNING*** SHAMELESS FORUM PLUG TO FOLLOW ***

:D

You know...we have an audio/recording pro coming here on May 2nd to answer any/all questions in this forum:

https://homerecording.com/bbs/special-forums/bobby-owsinski-q/

Soooo...anyone looking for a simple, one question, one answer to something they've not wanted to toss out here on the open forums...this is your chance! ;)

Bobby Owsinski has written a lot of books on audio/recording (Google him)...and I bet many of you have read at least one of his books at some point, so now you can get a few questions in without concern about lengthy debates-n-arguments.

HR is trying to make this type of thing a repeating event, with new pros coming in from time to time...but if few of us members take part, then it won't be worth the time/effort to bring other pros in...so don't miss out on it.

:)
 

leddy

Well-known member
I record jazz, and I tend towards making my recordings in a similar style from the 60's as much as I can.

The closest I have come is using some older mics (though not from the 60's, mine are from the 70's - Neumann KM86's, RE20, Beyer ribbons, etc) and a Sebatron tube pre. Pan everything hard over or center. Let mics bleed and use the room, don't record everything so isolated. I have tape machines, but honestly most of the sound comes from the mics and tube pres.

If your tracks were done with modern condensers, transformerless/tubeless preamps, total isolation, etc., it's going to be an uphill climb.

If so, I'd find some good reverb that sounds like a small-ish room and some plate reverb, roll off the highs, pan LCR, etc. Put on some vinyl records from the era and listen for how else yours sounds different.
 

bdenton

New member
I've started using darker mics for recording acoustics because I don't like the modern highs on most. so maybe you could roll off the highs on the acoustics to darken them up a bit.

I've also always thought a lot of that sound was the bass. I can't describe it, but it doesn't seem to have as much low end as modern bass, and the notes are more distinct.

Keep in mind that much of the bass recording used a Fender Bassman cabinet, which had 4 x 10" speakers, although bass was often DI'd to the console. And remember that back in the vinyl days the level of the bass had to be constrained to prevent the cutting head from jumping out of the groove or from cutting grooves that were too "wide", which limited the length of the material that could be recorded on one side of a record...
 

Justsomeguy

Quiet is the new Loud
FWIW this is what I have so far Walk that Road. I still feel like it needs a bit more shape hammering into it before a final mix of the levels.

had a listen and, to my ears, you're pretty dam close to that 60's vibe already! good work! :listeningmusic: the only thing my ears that give it away as being more "contemporary" are the acoustic guitar sounds to "clean" and the cymbals sound to....well, hard to explain but i'd try and soften them up somehow. maybe roll of some of the high end on the acoustic and some tape/valve saturation on the overheads
 

JakeGangstaFolk

New member
This is reaaly cool! I really dig the vibe. I would try some more of panning things far left and far right like they did in a lot of mid-sixties recordings. Maybe add a little bit of echo in some places for a little bit more psychedelic sound.
 
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