2019!! Here we go!
Now that the Christmas holidays are sadly over, all we have left are a few extra kilos on our bellies and maybe some nice presents from our dear ones. Maybe a new microphone? or a new cymbal? or what about that vintage snare?
Any of the above gifts would fill me with so much joy, but I’m pretty sure that after a few weeks all that happiness would fade away and I would still be complaining about the lack of gear in my studio. In fact, starting the “RecordDrumsOnline” website last year was quite an eye-opening experience. I realised I didn’t have that much gear to impress my clients. I don’t own 200 snares, neither the best microphones nor the latest preamps on the market. Actually, the very first time I recorded remotely for someone (about 5 years ago), I didn’t even have a studio. I had to rent a room for a couple of hours to be able to record a song.
When starting something, there is always a bit of uncertainty that things are not going to work out the way we want. In music especially, there is this myth/illusion that having more gear would make us sound better. Since the old days, music ads have always grown in us this appetite to own the latest, best, top quality gear. Have a look at a few of these old posters for example.
If you don’t have that microphone, or these drums, or that plug-in, all of a sudden your considered mediocre, and not a top player anymore. “You won’t be able to sound good without the best gear.” To be fair, to anyone that thinks this latest statement is true, my reply is that the great John Bonham and Led Zeppelin producer Glyn Johns can teach us a thing or two in regard to this topic.
At the pick of their success Led Zeppelin could certainly afford any music equipment they desired. Therefore when listening to such impressive drum sounds on all these epic songs, one would think that master drummer John Bonham was using a countless amount of microphones. Surprisingly he wasn’t. Led Zeppelin’s producer Glyn Johns used to set up only 3 or max 4 microphones on Bonham’s kit. It seems absurd, but his mic technique is used everywhere today by numerous producers and it’s even studied in music colleges.
Here’s an example of the Glyn Johns technique.
This can show how simplicity can go a long way when it comes to gear. I’m not saying that if you place 3 microphones on a kit, it will sound as good as Led Zeppelin. Of course, a good performance is needed. In fact, I think that when you can’t rely on your gear (because that is lacking), your best bet is your performance. Start with what you have and make sure your playing is on point, then the gear will get better through the years.
I’ll leave you with this inspiring quote by Leo Tolstoy “Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them.”
‘till next time!