Plug and Play: Record Deconstruction

The Beatles – While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Performance Equipment

  • Gibson J200 Acoustic Guitar, Neumann U47s and U67s

Production Equipment

  • REDD .37 & REDD .51 Desks, Modified 3M Eight Track Recorders

Production Technique

  • Close Miked Acoustic Guitar

Hardware/Software Processes

  • Eight track recording hardware was modified to record in four track

Red Hot Chilli Peppers – Dani California

Production Equipment: Three synchronized 2-inch, 24-track machines, running at 30ips, and mixed to analog tape as well.

Neve 8068 with 31102 mic preamps, and that Neve 1057 and 1073 mic preamps were also used for some tracks.

Shure SM57 positioned on axis a couple of inches from the cone.

Royer R-121 ribbon mic, positioned about 15 feet away, in order to capture some of the room sound.

We used a Telefunken Ela M 250 tube condenser mic on the acoustic guitars.

Guitar Gear:

Fender 1962 Stratocaster

Boss DS-2

Doepler Modular Synth

Moog MF-105 Murf

Delta Labs Effectron II – Solo

Marshall Silver Jubilee 25/55 100W Head


Notible Techniques – To get the highest harmonies, we slowed the tape down and recorded them at a slower speed, so that they would be pitched above the range of the guitar when the tape was sped back up.


Mellotron – String part behind guitar chords. “You can hardly hear the Mellotron, but it’s what makes it feel like something really big is about to happen.”


The basic tracks, including most solos, were cut “live” in the studio, with everyone playing together in the same room. For a lot of it we even had our amps in the same room with the drums, and we allowed for bleed, as I was really into trying to capture some of the atmosphere of ’60s recordings, and also have that extra push you get when you know you’ve got to nail the take because you’re all in the same room.


Fender 1962 Stratocaster clean tone on the first section of the first verse, and on the second section the guitar signal is split and panned in stereo, with the original part on the left, and a part processed using my Doepfer modular synth on the right. Basically, the signal from the tape is used to trigger an envelope generator (or ADSR), which responds to playing dynamics, and uses that information to dynamically control a low-pass filter.


Moog MF-105 MuRF (Multiple Resonance Filter Array) pedal six times, and recorded the results on individual tracks. The MuRF is very unpredictable, and sounded different on each pass. I kept going until I got a take that I really liked, though we actually wound up using all six takes in combination. Otherwise, the processing is the same as on the first verse.

For the bridge, the rhythm guitar is processed with the Doepfer’s LFO (Low-Frequency Oscillator) controlling its high-pass filter, so that the filter opens and closes rhythmically. The drums are also filtered, so that they are small and panned to one side at the beginning, then gradually get bigger and pan out across the full stereo spectrum, which lets you hear the guitar treatment more clearly.

On the third verse I overdubbed an additional rhythm guitar track. Then, on the buildup to the chorus, I added some diminished chords along with several harmony parts. To get the highest harmonies, we slowed the tape down and recorded them at a slower speed, so that they would be pitched above the range of the guitar when the tape was sped back up. There are lots of additional harmony guitar parts on the second half of the third chorus, positioned in two groups panned to either side. Also, Eddie Kramer came in and showed our engineer how to do ’60s-style tape phasing, which we used on an early mix, and we wound up splicing a section of that mix into the part transitioning out of the chorus.

I played the original solo when we recorded the basic tracks, and then doubled it later, except for the super-fast wah part at the end, which was too difficult to double perfectly, so I put that section through a Delta Labs Effectron II digital delay set to a quick delay with just a touch of slow modulation.






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