Larry Van Fleet – Getting the Led Out
When putting together the Guitar Masters How did you record the guitars?
series, I discovered a terrific unknown guitarist
from the Midwest by the name of Larry Van
Fleet. He had a song called “Hummingbird
Rag,” which showcased an incredible acoustic
fingerstyle. As it turns out, he had done a fair
share of gigging, as well as studying Master
Classes with Miguel Rubio and Charlie Byrd
(which explained his flawless approach to
guitar playing). Unfortunately, the lineup was
already filled for Guitar Masters, but I knew
he would be perfect for another CD I was
producing called Get The Led Out! A Led
Zeppelin Salute. He agreed to do a song for
the compilation and delved into the
project immediately, resulting in an
amazing instrumental version of the
song, “D’yer Maker.”
The PODXT lets me dial in every parameter
of a particular sound and in the end gives a
pretty convincing impression of a mic’d amp. I
have several user-defined presets that I tweak
and save, which generally helps me to overcome my audio engineering limitations and
proceed with the music. For this track, I modified the presets for each of the three guitar
sounds. I had intended to use a Hamer, but it
was in need of adjustment at the time of the
recording so the Gibson got the call. In the
The 347 is unadjusted and in standard tuning
for the slide track. I used a slap back echo
with flange and threw caution to the wind.
The one plan that I did follow was to have the
slide guitar “reply” to the lead in the B section. I wanted to use the volume pedal on the
lead guitar, but once I played with adjusting
the auto-swell, I was hooked on the way it
made me phrase the lines and I just let it flow.
What’s on the horizon?
What was your recording setup for
I recorded my interpretation of Led
Zeppelin’s “D’yer Maker” on a ‘ 79
Gibson ES-347TD. All three guitar
tracks, rhythm, slide and lead went
through a Line 6 PODXT via USB to
a Carillon AC- 1 PC. The PODXT is
equipped with the Effects pack, Bass
pack and the FBV Shortboard pedal
controller. I recorded the bass track
using a Peavey Millennium bass also
through the PODXT.
Recent projects from late-2007 and early-2008
included two pieces recorded for Bohemian
Productions: a Jeff Beck tribute for which
I interpreted “Water Down the Drain”
from the ‘ 69 release, Beckola, and a
Jimi Hendrix tribute where I caught up
with “You Got Me Floatin” from the
‘ 67 Axis: Bold as Love. I make ongoing
contributions to [film music libraries]
Spider Cues, Editor’s Choice and DSM
Producers of New York, and was recently featured in two independent films by
D. Sawatski, The Grove and Running.
What’s your studio like?
Karaya6 Studio is a small den in
my house in Omaha, Nebraska.
The room is 9’x11’, carpeted, with
bookshelves and no acoustic treatment. “D’yer Maker” was recorded
entirely within this studio using the
PODXT into the Carillon AC- 1. I mixed the
tracks on a pair of Alesis M1 active monitors
and A-B’d the mixes with my car stereo and
an old component system at home. Since this
recording was digitally “in the box,” I had the
advantage of working late at night or during
the day without household and neighborhood
noises destroying takes. I recorded without
headphones, referencing the tracks through
the M1s. Later, I checked the tracks and mix
with a set of Sony MDR7506 headphones.
I used drum loops from Siggi Baldursson’s
“Drum Sugar” (Sony-Acid Loops). A particular
intro loop caught my ear and the rest of the
groove had the feel that I was looking for.
A Gibson 347 was a terrific choice for
the song; I never would’ve guessed
that he used a semi-hollowbody on the
track. Coming from an old analog dog,
it amazes me that artist like Larry can
make a simple den into a functioning
recording environment with just a computer and software. It’s just a sign of
how far we’ve come; musicians can now
create and record their ideas and tracks
on such a full palate of options.
end I was pleased with the warm, attractive
tone it imparted to the mix.
Check out some great performances
from Larry on the Led Zeppelin Salute
CD, Get The Led Out! and the Jeff Beck tribute CD, El Becko from NuGroove/BHP Music
on Sony distribution.
How did you plan the sound?
I was attracted to the song “D’yer Maker” by
the slightly reggae vibe and the over-the-top
delivery by Zep. Basically, the song is a ballad,
and they sing and play it as an angst-ridden
parody. I liked the tongue-in-cheek approach
and the groove. Since I couldn’t get lost in the
arrangement, and being a firm believer in the
happy accident, I laid down the drum loops,
bass and rhythm guitar and got my slide out.
Emmy Award winning guitarist Brian Tarquin scored a
Top 20 hit in the nineties with “ The Best of Acid Jazz,
vol. 2 ” on Instinct Records and enjoyed several top 10
hits on the R&R charts. Founder of the rock/electronica
band, Asphalt Jungle Tarquin has scored TV music for
such shows as CSI, Smallville, MTV, Alias, 24, All My
Children and many others.