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Zeppelin riffing, room rock, hard panning and mudbucker-like bass

I put this one together in about 20 minutes. Just a simple Zeppelin-style riff (which they stole from someone else originally). 🙂

Okay, this one takes a bit of explanation, because a few of you are going to listen to the above and say, "YES! That's IT! That is THE SOUND I've been looking for!"

Here's how I went about it.

The two guitars used in this are the Epi P90 and the Squier Bullet. The P90 is the lead guitar panned hard left and the 'buzzy' Strat on hard right. The bass used is my RBX170 and the drums just a simple pattern on the DR-3.

The Epi was purposely used for the lead because it has a 'darker' character than the Strat's single-coil does. In fact, to the untrained ear, it almost sounds like a humbucker. More in that in a moment.

The Strat was used as the supporting guitar here.

For the bass I purposely distorted it, and in my "P/J" pickup setup in gave the split-coil (the "P") more volume than the back pickup (the "J"). The end result was a "loggy"-sounding thing that's reminiscent of late 1960s bass tone where psychedelic rock bands of the time over-distorted the hell out of everything. A crappy pickup used in bass guitars back then was called the "mudbucker" (a.k.a. Gibson Sidewinder). Sounded like total crap - except when distorted, which at that point sounded cool.

I gave the drums a good dose of room reverb, because that's how John Bonham's drums were usually recorded.

Now for more on the lead guitar sound, because that's what you're probably interested in.

To get that Zepplin-esque thing going on, three things are needed.

First, a lazy playing style. Simple, straightforward riffs with single-note lines, some seventh chords thrown, and slow picking. Yeah, you hear mistakes. Picking noises, string drag, it's all there. But it works.

Second, overdrive - meaning no distortion. Amp drive + pedal overdrive.

Third, and this is the key thing - turn the damned treble down on the EQ. The end result is a very "midrangey"/"bassy"/"muddy" lead sound. And it's awesome. Makes a P90 almost sound like a humbucker but still has that single-coil spank to it.

The guitar player's natural tendency is to crank up the treble. Well, that doesn't work for Zep tone. At all. You gotta turn that treble down and let the midrange and bass frequencies blare the tone right through, mud-style.

You want that classic sound? Then don't be afraid to "mud" it out; it works.


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