Need early 60s sound

MrNiosy

Junior Member
Hi there,

I just got a call for a recording job from a friend. He needs some drumming for his bachelor thesis (in music production), and he decided to compose, arrange and produce a song like the Beatles did in the early 1960s. It needs to sound as authentically as possible. Luckily, my brother works at a professional recording studio, so I have access to real old mics.

Do you have any idea or suggestions, how I can get the best sound for this out of my gear?

I have a variety of equipment, but I do not know exactly, how to combine those parts to get to the sound I need.

Here are some pictures of my equipment: https://www.dropbox.com/sc/c8xmx52askykr94/Onbst82-3I


Thanks for your help!
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
Most of the drum sounds of the day,were supraphonic snares,,Ludwig 3 ply mahogany(or maple)..poplar/mahogany,,snares and toms with rerings Gretsch 6 ply maple/gum.

The same with Slingerland,3 ply shells,mahogany/poplar/mahogany(or maple).Some steam bent maple Radio kings.

I would say COB or COA Ludwig supraphonics,5x14 with a wallet on the batter head.Yes a wallet.or pack of cigarettes.

I know you think I'm kidding,but I'm not.There's a Book written by Beatle sound engineer Geoff Emerick called "Here,There and Everywhere,My life Recordeing the Music of the Beatles.

This guy was a pioneer in the field and the book would have info that you could certainly use.The beatles recorded almost everything live,with a scratch vocal,then re recorded the vocal later.as an example.

Take everything you know about modern recording techniques........and forget it.Good luck

Steve B
 

larryz

Platinum Member
I know you think I'm kidding,but I'm not.There's a Book written by Beatle sound engineer Geoff Emerick called "Here,There and Everywhere,My life Recordeing the Music of the Beatles.

Steve B
By far the best Beatles book ever written. And I've read over 100 by now. Very interesting. Though the writer has it out for George Harrison and Ringo to a degree, in the early years. Like they brang little to the table as far as playing, and that it was largely a Paul show and John to a less degree.

Anyway, super book. Get it.
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
By far the best Beatles book ever written. And I've read over 100 by now. Very interesting. Though the writer has it out for George Harrison and Ringo to a degree, in the early years. Like they brang little to the table as far as playing, and that it was largely a Paul show and John to a less degree.

Anyway, super book. Get it.
Sour grapes to a degree I think Some people think that if you aren't shredding every 30 seconds,you're doing it wrong.

No doubt about it being the Paul show.Every Beatle book I've ever read has pretty much said the same thing.Paul could play 5 different instruments,well.

Steve B
 
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RockNGrohl

Senior Member
I think the sound was a combination of warm old tube mics, the drums of the time being thin shelled with reinforcement rings, and rounded bearing edges. Coated heads of course, dark vintage cymbals, and lots of rattles and noise picked up. A little Ludwig Speed King pedal squeak in there too!
Early Ringo was wide open (no muffling with distant mics), later Ringo was wallet or ciggies on snare and open front (no reso head) bass drum with the mic right inside.Close micing was just starting happen for Geoff Emerick. A little after that was tea towels on top of everything for a dead, dead, dead sound.
Plus note that most drummers of the time had some swing or flair in their playing, a holdover from jazz, but Ringo kind of played it straight, with nice quick little fills. Later on he got into slower fills that explored more space.
 

lsits

Gold Member
Check out the Glyn Johns microphone technique on Youtube. He was responsible for the majority of the drum sounds of the British Invasion.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
Less microphones. The best '60s sounding recording I ever got was a single 57 overhead, centered on the snare. Granted it was an old Ludwig Holiday kit as well, but I could probably recreate that sound with my kit today.

They also didn't play very hard back then. Most of the session guys were jazz drummers and could blend with the rest of the rhythm section live. For instance, in the Motown days, the electric instruments were monitored through a single speaker under the control room window. The drummers were at the other end of the room with a single microphone out in front of their kits. Jamerson would lay on the floor close to the speaker but Pistol and Benny would have to play quietly enough to hear from the other end of the room. That playing softly affects the tone.

Remember, the drums weren't dominant in those days. Often the back beat was a tambourine or some other added percussion from a couple of folks closer to the mics.
 

poika

Silver Member
They also didn't play very hard back then.

This makes a huge difference!
We're pretty used to playing harder nowadays, even with easier types of music.

Forget about Kenny Aronoff backbeats, just carefully pull those tones out of the drums
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I think alot of it was the ambient miking they did. Listen to Led Zeppelin and it's three mics stretegically placed around the kit (or the famous one ten feet up and another 20 feet up while the drumset was in a stairwell). But I would think just like engineers think today - it was the same back then - it's just tools to use, and those guys used the best gear as best they could. I would think these days, just get a nice big open room, with wide open drums and you should be good!

But in terms of the drums themselves - white ambassadors on everything since that's all you had (or it was calfskin), and the bearing edges definitely help. The 30-degree edge or rounded edge was used alot back then, and there was also a quality control issue as well. Today it's super-modern 45-degree bearing edges and the drums just kind of jump out at you. Maybe you should get a Ludwig Club Date kit (or the Gretsch equivalent - I thought I read somewhere they're producing a Club Date-like kit too).
 

MrNiosy

Junior Member
Many thanks to all of you for your advice!

Do you think my Gretsch Catalina Club Jazz (the yellowish one on the pictures in my dropbox) would do the job? I got another reso head for the bass drum with a huge hole in it for inside micing.

I only own the three stock snares of my drum sets, one (the premier) is made of steel i think, and my Sonor SQ2 snare is kind of vintage, with reinforcement rings. In addition to that I'll try to get some old vintage cymbals from one of my many drummer-friends.

When it comes to hard hitting, I'm not the guy for this kind of stuff. In the last years I nearly played only jazz in small combos. As you can see here
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Since he's the one with the school project, it's going to be his job to figure out how to get the sound. You can help him by bringing a normal instrument, with A. Zildjians, coated Ambassadors. No die cast hoops on the snare drum, and nothing too deep. Otherwise I'd be listening to whatever Beatles song he's copying, and try to match Ringo's touch, and be ready to assist him in matching that sound in the studio.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
Nothing wrong with the jazz Cats for this. Do you have the original snare? Coated Ambassadors or G2s if you can, or a bit of moon gel. Don't need a ported kick reso, wasn't done back then. Later Beatles had the head off but the early stuff has a higher tuned kick with a bit of sustain. It just isn't hit very hard. It's cymbals and snare. Smaller thinner rides that washed a lot, and Ringo used to slosh the hats a fair amount. Leaving them partly open and letting them slosh around. Look up some live videos. He also used the push-pull ride technique a lot. Getting a second tap on the way up. So there is a in and out pulse to the ride. Very few rim shots, he sat up high and smacked down in the middle of the snare.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
API would be too bright. A Neve would be more like it although the pre's used were way older. A friend has an old Telefunken tube pre that would be more period correct. But the trick pieces used were the Fairchild compressors. There are some plug-ins that are supposed to simulate these.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
It has to be in mono or it will be nothing like early 60s sound. Listen to the early Beatles stuff that was originally recorded in mono and it sounds awesome, the vocals jump from the speaker. The faux stereo stuff is very poor in comparison.
 
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