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Typical Early Beatles Recordings
Old 27th January 2009
  #1
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🎧 15 years
Typical Early Beatles Recordings

Those who read recording the Beatles book , what was the usual method on the Beatles early albums when they played more as a band ?
I read they would do multiple takes , like 15 for a song and even combine 2 different takes . Would they record the music then overdub all the vocals on to another track ? Would the lead vocal get its own track ?
Old 27th January 2009
  #2
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🎧 10 years
Sometimes they would record everything live, sometimes they would overdub vocals. Overdubs were done without headphones up till about Revolver. They would use a speaker for playback.
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by junkshop ➑️
Sometimes they would record everything live, sometimes they would overdub vocals. Overdubs were done without headphones up till about Revolver. They would use a speaker for playback.
Thanks ,heh

Would they use dynamic mics for vocals to help with bleed ? Was lead and background vocals recorded at the same time ?

Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #4
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hobson's Avatar
 
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i've only really seen Neumann U48 ( modified - card & fig8 ) for vocals - backgrounds and leads usually cut at the same time - figure eight used with null space facing band and/or playback speaker (the "white elephant") - fig8 also used for background vocals ( w/ 2 vocalists ).

every once and awhile, you might find a KM54? 56?
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #5
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Waltz Mastering's Avatar
 
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They also used the U47 a lot. Modified to act like a U48 usually with a lot of 660 limiting.

TW
Old 27th January 2009
  #6
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScumBum ➑️
Would they record the music then overdub all the vocals on to another track ? Would the lead vocal get its own track ?
They started out as a very live band and gradually began overdubbing more and more as time went on. So basically, the earlier the recording, the more simply it was recorded.

In the earliest recordings, the entire band played at once -- including lead vocals. They might get it right in two takes or it might take 15. And George Martin didn't mind having Norman Smith splice together the best parts of different takes. And then the Fabs got a second overdub pass in which were done vocal doublings, harmonies, percussion, and possibly lead guitar or piano -- all overdubbed simultaneously using the entire band and even George Martin on piano.

From their fifth album, "Help!" on, it was common to fill up four tracks of a four track machine, then bounce that down to one track on a new four track tape, giving them three more tracks to fill -- a total of seven tracks. Prior to that, the entire band played all at once, including lead vocals.

When they switched engineers with "Revolver", Geoff Emrick greatly improved their recording techniques. So began the now-commonplace practice of close-micing instruments, and heavy use of compression and EQ. And they started adding the bass last, keeping the last empty track reserved for bass so that by giving the bass its own track, they could get a deeper more powerful bass sound.
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #7
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DeepSpace's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
It's fascinating the way the process changed and evolved through their career, from what were well established traditional techniques to what became the modern multi-track standard that's prevailed pretty much ever since (and that even digital mirrors).
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #8
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by deeper ➑️
They started out as a very live band and gradually began overdubbing more and more as time went on. So basically, the earlier the recording, the more simply it was recorded.

In the earliest recordings, the entire band played at once -- including lead vocals. They might get it right in two takes or it might take 15. And George Martin didn't mind having Norman Smith splice together the best parts of different takes. And then the Fabs got a second overdub pass in which were done vocal doublings, harmonies, percussion, and possibly lead guitar or piano -- all overdubbed simultaneously using the entire band and even George Martin on piano.

From their fifth album, "Help!" on, it was common to fill up four tracks of a four track machine, then bounce that down to one track on a new four track tape, giving them three more tracks to fill -- a total of seven tracks. Prior to that, the entire band played all at once, including lead vocals.

When they switched engineers with "Revolver", Geoff Emrick greatly improved their recording techniques. So began the now-commonplace practice of close-micing instruments, and heavy use of compression and EQ. And they started adding the bass last, keeping the last empty track reserved for bass so that by giving the bass its own track, they could get a deeper more powerful bass sound.
hehThanksheh

I'm dieing to read the book !!!! I just haven't had extra money lately to buy it
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #9
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vernier's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
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This is how they did it . . .

Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #10
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Alright some more questions ........................................





What mic is that in the picture ?




They have acoustic guitar and drums in some songs , how did they do that live ?



Whats the story about the white elephant ?



hehThanks guys , I'm getting the book soon but can't wait
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #11
JSG
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🎧 10 years
Hey Scumbum,

Just yelling hello from another Beatle fan across the Bay in Vallejo!

My band, in 1966 won a Battle of the Bands in Concord, Ca. We won tickets to the last live performance of the Beatles at Candlestick Park. I still have the ticket stub.
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #12
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hobson's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScumBum ➑️
What mic is that in the picture ?
again, i'm going to state those were either U47 or U48 - i'll reference it again, but i'm fairly sure that EMI - Abbey Road used the modd'ed U48 more than the U47.. i'll double check the book again - i don't have it at home anymore.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ScumBum ➑️
They have acoustic guitar and drums in some songs , how did they do that live ?
Lennon's guitar had a pick up system... if you're referring to live performance - in the studio - they tracked drums and acoustic together during basic tracks - nulling i'm sure in some cases - in other cases i'm sure efforts were made to keep the leakage to a minimum.



Quote:
Originally Posted by ScumBum ➑️
Whats the story about the white elephant ?
the book will have explicit spec's on this - basically a large (!) rolling speaker system used for playback in the tracking room - it's worth noting that the "white elephant" was also used as Paul's bass amp mic (rewired) for "Rain" and "Paperback Writer".



lastly - GET THE BOOK - you won't regret it !
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #13
JSG
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I've got to get that book also!
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #14
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Aisle 6's Avatar
 
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They definitely used to splice different takes together. You can hear the ambience change dramatically on some of the early songs and some of the spicing was a little crude. But hey, they could do no wrong.
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSG ➑️
I've got to get that book also!
I asked my wife for it for Christmas, and she got it! It's real heavy. Reading it is actually a physical endeavor. lol.

I'm finally getting to dig into it though, ignoring the back pain, neck strain, and other side effects.

It comes with a lot of cool stuff as well, posters, postcards, etc.

Lovin' It.

If you look at my J. Kip Count on MySpace Music - Free Streaming MP3s, Pictures & Music Videos page, you can see the Recording the Beatles book under the rack on the right side of my desk. For me, it's like a piece of gear. It deserves racking.
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #16
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScumBum ➑️
Alright some more questions ........................................
What mic is that in the picture ?
They have acoustic guitar and drums in some songs , how did they do that live ?
Whats the story about the white elephant ?
The mic is probably a modded U-48 (looks just like a U-47, but it's bidirectional). The white elephant you are referring to was the huge playback monitor they had out in the studio. They didn't overdub using headphones until late in their career. Instead, John and Paul would face each other as they sang into both sides of a bidirectional U-48, with the null side pointed at the huge speaker that was giving them the playback to sing along with. When people try to analyze the specifics of the Beatles "sound", they usually neglect this aspect.

They didn't do much acoustic guitar when performing live. If any. The amplification technology at that time just wouldn't permit it. Heck, they couldn't even hear their electric guitars and drums over all the audience screaming. So any acoustic parts would be performed on electric.

As for spending all that money on the Beatles Recording Book, I did, but I'm a first-class Beatles freak. For most people who are trying to make better recordings, I would say their are better ways to spend your money. And for dyed-in-the-wool Beatles fanatics like myself, I think you would be happier owning Mark Lewisohn's "The Beatles Recording Sessions" which has much more in-depth details about the way EVERY Beatles song was recorded (although it does contain some stupid errors made simply because the writer was ignorant of guitar gear/equipment and didn't have a background in recording nor the ears to determine who was doing what). The book you are considering buying is a glorious book, but its focus is Abbey Road and the gear they had, whereas Lewisohn focuses on when and how the Beatles recorded each song.
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #17
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My wife got me Recording the Beatles for my birthday last Sept. With help from many judicious hints from me, but I love it. Yeah, it's a beast but I'll curl up with it and read lots of sections over and over...
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamm7215 ➑️
My wife got me Recording the Beatles for my birthday last Sept. With help from many judicious hints from me, but I love it. Yeah, it's a beast but I'll curl up with it and read lots of sections over and over...
You have to be careful readin it in bed... can put creases in your belly!
Time to go back and re-read it. I have copy number 85! (or is it 185? Gotta get it out again.)

<L>
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #19
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ScumBum's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSG ➑️
Hey Scumbum,

Just yelling hello from another Beatle fan across the Bay in Vallejo!

My band, in 1966 won a Battle of the Bands in Concord, Ca. We won tickets to the last live performance of the Beatles at Candlestick Park. I still have the ticket stub.

HELLO back at ya

On the ticket , how much did it cost to see them ?
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #20
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ScumBum's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by hobson ➑️




Lennon's guitar had a pick up system... if you're referring to live performance - in the studio - they tracked drums and acoustic together during basic tracks - nulling i'm sure in some cases - in other cases i'm sure efforts were made to keep the leakage to a minimum.




Sorry , I use the word LIVE sometimes when I refer to bands playing together while recording , which is rare these days .




On the track "I should Have Known Better" there is acoustic guitar and drums . So they track both at the same time ? I have the hardest time recording drums and acoustic together .
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #21
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ScumBum's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by deeper ➑️

As for spending all that money on the Beatles Recording Book, I did, but I'm a first-class Beatles freak. For most people who are trying to make better recordings, I would say their are better ways to spend your money. And for dyed-in-the-wool Beatles fanatics like myself, I think you would be happier owning Mark Lewisohn's "The Beatles Recording Sessions" which has much more in-depth details about the way EVERY Beatles song was recorded (although it does contain some stupid errors made simply because the writer was ignorant of guitar gear/equipment and didn't have a background in recording nor the ears to determine who was doing what). The book you are considering buying is a glorious book, but its focus is Abbey Road and the gear they had, whereas Lewisohn focuses on when and how the Beatles recorded each song.

I'm more interested in who played what instruments and HOW it was recorded , like what instruments were recorded together and on to how many tracks and did instruments get their own track ? That type of stuff . Learning the gear they used is cool but I'm never gonna use that gear .

The info I'm after is understanding how they captured their music so that you never get sick of it , the process they used so the vibe and life of the song is not killed in the recording process .

I'm started to realize its all about playing together when recording .

Everyone I record wants to track one thing at a time and overdub a million takes and comp everything together . Which equals a perfect track but it has no life and you don't want to listen to it over and over , one listen is enough .
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #22
JSG
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🎧 10 years
Scumbum,

The price of admission for the Beatles last live concert at Candlestick Park was..... $ 4.50. And we were down in front! What is interesting to me looking back is how low tech the set-up was. There was a rather small stage set-up in the middle of the field. No sound reinforcement that I can recall, just their big VOX amps sitting on the stage. They only played approx 15 to 20 minutes and you could not hear a thing over the crowd's screaming. Except for the excitement of seeing the Beatles, I was disappointed that I could not hear the music.

If I knew how to post a pic of the ticket I would.
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #23
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loujudson's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Beatles Concert Tickets - San Francisco 8/29/66

a bunch of pages about the memorabilia, and pix of tix:
Attached Thumbnails
Typical Early Beatles Recordings-beatles-tix.jpg  
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #24
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ScumBum's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSG ➑️
Scumbum,

The price of admission for the Beatles last live concert at Candlestick Park was..... $ 4.50. And we were down in front! What is interesting to me looking back is how low tech the set-up was. There was a rather small stage set-up in the middle of the field. No sound reinforcement that I can recall, just their big VOX amps sitting on the stage. They only played approx 15 to 20 minutes and you could not hear a thing over the crowd's screaming. Except for the excitement of seeing the Beatles, I was disappointed that I could not hear the music.

If I knew how to post a pic of the ticket I would.

Thats how I imagined it would be . They said they couldn't hear themselves play . But 15 to 20 minutes ? You'd think they'd play two sets . I wonder why so short ,
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #25
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScumBum ➑️
I'm more interested in who played what instruments and HOW it was recorded , like what instruments were recorded together and on to how many tracks and did instruments get their own track ?
This kind of info is partly covered in Lewisohn's book, but as I said, he didn't have the ears to hear who was doing what. He had no studio experience, so he was confused and sometimes wrong about things that you and I would have grasped instantly. If you have questions about one or two songs, I may be able to provide the info you need.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScumBum ➑️
The info I'm after is understanding how they captured their music so that you never get sick of it , the process they used so the vibe and life of the song is not killed in the recording process . I'm started to realize its all about playing together when recording.
Playing all together at once is an important part of that. Because the individual performances inspire each other and feed off each other and create a sum greater than the parts. But they also had genius songs, great voices, etc.

Another factor is the speed and intensity of their recording process. Many of their greatest songs were recorded in one three-hour session! Most were recorded in one or two sessions. There was very little time spent second-guessing, and there was no cut and pasting of individual drum notes, no digital editing of single notes.
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #26
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mamm7215's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScumBum ➑️
Thats how I imagined it would be . They said they couldn't hear themselves play . But 15 to 20 minutes ? You'd think they'd play two sets . I wonder why so short ,
Almost ALL the Beatles "Concerts" were really more like modern "appearances". I've also got the Beatles Anthology 5 DVD set and on it Ringo mentions this talking about the shows up 'till they quit in '66. He says all the shows were basically 20-25 minutes, 1 song after another without much talk in between.
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #27
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ScumBum's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by deeper ➑️
If you have questions about one or two songs, I may be able to provide the info you need.



How about the album "A Hard Days Night" . Was it mainly them all playing together for the takes or was it music then the vocals overdubbed ?
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #28
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vernier's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
What mic is that in the picture ?
There's no mystery to the early recordings. A few mic's, tube desk, tube limiter, and tube four track. Vocals and guitars were captured with tube mics.

Eq was what everyone had back then ...passive bass and treble.
'
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #29
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malaclypse's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
as far as the acoustic guitar thing goes, it says in the book that john would sometimes record acoustic guitar in a colapsable isolation booth.

also it says that the abbey road techs converted all or most of their U47's into U48's, since they preferred the bi-directional pattern.
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #30
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ScumBum's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by vernier ➑️
There's no mystery to the early recordings. A few mic's, tube desk, tube limiter, and tube four track. Vocals and guitars were captured with tube mics.

Eq was what everyone had back then ...passive bass and treble.
'
There was THAT many tubes in the chain? I need more tubes.................
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