Arlen Roth on Rhythm Tracks
I started off today by cutting a really hot rhythm track for a song Johnny Winter and I will overdub on tonight. It was such a pleasure since the band was so eager to dive into it that when I got there, they had basically already finished recording it! It was “almost” to my liking, and they certainly got the tempo right, but I needed to be more a part of it from the “get go”, and so I re-cut the track with me singing a reference vocal and some rhythm guitar of my own. As it turned out, we ended up nailing the correct feel and tempo even more so with me leading the session………
Another thing was that the song has a quirky arrangement despite being what most folks would think of as a typical 12-bar Blues, and all those little blues “ins and outs” had to be ironed out correctly before Johnny and I could rip into the tune! And “rip” into it we will….this is going to be a high energy slide guitar “extravaganza” and I expect it to be quite a treat to play on!
As long as all the distractions don’t get the better of us…. apparently he has a film crew coming to work on his “life story” movie, and I’ve got my own crew ready to film it for my “Slide Guitar Summit” documentary that will come with the CD when folks buy it! (Maybe one day I can get it aired someplace on TV such as PBS or one of the other “cool” channels!)
But I digress….we’re here to discuss rhythm tracks, and I have a lot of thoughts about the process. First and foremost, I always try to go for as “live” a sound and vibe as possible, especially since it’s a great performance that I really wish to convey on the recording. The factor of its ‘spontaneity” is far more important to me than everybody simply “getting all the notes right”, because that can certainly happen any day! It’s the real “intangibles” that one wants to capture on the recording, such as the fun we may’ve been having, or the particular interaction between all the players. These are the sorts of things that it’s hard to quantify, yet which really make or break the song in my opinion.
For me, this is a very historic event; actually recording with a hero of mine, who I even saw play from the front of the stage at the Woodstock Festival in 1969, and a chance to once again make some really lasting and meaningful music that hopefully will turn into a legendary event! More reports after we are done doing all out slide guitar parts!
Gibson.com’s Arlen Roth, affectionately known The King of All Guitar Teachers, is music lesson pioneer and the quintessential guitarist. An accomplished and brilliant musician — and one of the very few who can honestly say he’s done it all — Roth has, over the course of his celebrated 35-year career, played on the world’s grandest stages, accompanied many of the greatest figures in modern music and revolutionized the concept of teaching guitar.