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Best way to get that 60s British Invasion tambourine sound?

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Best way to get that 60s British Invasion tambourine sound?

Postby alexis » Wed Jan 16, 2013 7:02 pm

Hello - I'm looking for any tips/tricks to record an energetic cymbal for verse, and for chorus, something like on this track: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lzCtwYG00E

at these times:

1) All out for chorus: 28:48
2) More subtle for verses: 00:31, and 33:15 .

In particular, I'm looking for the following two cymbal sounds:

1) having it sound by rhythmically swinging it back and forth (the cymbal makes the sound when the direction changes).

2) A more complicated one, where the first three beats are like above, but the 4th one is accompanied by the thud of hitting the cymbal's drum-like diaphragm (sorry, I don't know the real name) with the palm of other hand.

Unless I buy and learn new software to do this (which I don't want to do, if such software even exists), I'm going to have to record this analog (Cubase 6.5) which I am OK with.

My mic is an AT4033 tucked inside a reflexion filter, and I'm in a large somewhat irregularly shaped room with 12 ft ceilings, with a duvet behind me.

Some questions I might have are:

1) What kind of tambourine should I buy to get that 60s sound ... the round kind that is "closed" by what looks like leather or plastic acting as a drum head for the palm? Would the newer crescent shaped kind that are "open" be better? Is the type of "jangle" on the tambourine a variable I need to consider as well (sorry, I don't know the word for the little noise-making metal things)?

2) Recording and production techniques ... not even sure what questions to ask here - distance, eq, compression, etc. ... but if anyone has experience doing this, I'd love to hear any words of wisdom.

(Oh, and I'm not exactly looking forward to cutting and pasting to get them on the beat ... maybe it's time to learn Cubase's new audio quantize feature ... but one has to do what one has to do!).

Thanks for any thoughts!
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Re: Best way to get that 60s British Invasion tambourine sound?

Postby alexis » Wed Jan 16, 2013 7:23 pm

OH! I just thought of something ... maybe one of those "sample libraries" that are in SOS, with various recorded sounds, would do the trick ... off to Google!
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Re: Best way to get that 60s British Invasion tambourine sound?

Postby Beat Poet » Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:13 pm

alexis wrote:1) What kind of tambourine should I buy to get that 60s sound ... the round kind that is "closed" by what looks like leather or plastic acting as a drum head for the palm? Would the newer crescent shaped kind that are "open" be better? Is the type of "jangle" on the tambourine a variable I need to consider as well (sorry, I don't know the word for the little noise-making metal things)?

Image

That's Ringo during the recording of Revolver I think, so that's a start at least!
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Re: Best way to get that 60s British Invasion tambourine sound?

Postby Dynamic Mike » Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:18 pm

You might want to take a look at this http://ronansrecordingshow.com/2010/01/drum-programming-tips/ in relation to the cymbal sounds. I think there's also an episode in which he gives advice regarding recording tambourine in which he recommends hitting it with your hand (rather than hitting your hand with the tambourine) to avoid phasing & keep it an even distance from the mic. It's not instinctive but it's easier than it sounds & I got some passable results with a cheap crescent instrument for a Kinks cover I was doing. I've also recorded it taped to a stand & played with 2 rubber coated paintbrushes (1" from Wickes, not even arty brushes) which sounded...different!
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Re: Best way to get that 60s British Invasion tambourine sound?

Postby alexis » Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:25 pm

Not even a hole for his fingers to hold the tambourine comfortably ... and he's a Beatle!! In any case, thanks for that pic, if I DO wind up recording, that's what I'll buy.

(By the looks of his eyes, I'd bet he'd had another kind of smoke not too long previously!).

In the meantime, I've googled for some sample libraries, and came across this: NoiseFirm "Complete Shaker and Tambourine" thread on GS Forum

Anybody here have any experience with that sample library? There seem to be some pretty happy customers over there ...

Thanks!
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Re: Best way to get that 60s British Invasion tambourine sound?

Postby Richie Royale » Thu Jan 17, 2013 9:28 am

I would suggest you just buy a tambourine, you can get more expression out of it and it isn't that complicated to record (although there is a bit of an art to playing it). I don't know how much difference a skinned one versus one without makes, but go to a music shop and try them out. There will be some tonal differences between different types.
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Re: Best way to get that 60s British Invasion tambourine sound?

Postby Billum » Thu Jan 17, 2013 9:57 am

I'm not a percussion expert, but I think the only difference between a skinned and an un-skinned tambourine is that you can make the thuddy/jangly hit noise when it has a skin on it. The other sounds are practically the same (a little bit of reflection/masking of the jangles by the skin if close miking perhaps?). I use both a skinned tambourine if I want that thud in the playing, and a much smaller (4"-ish) open tambourine just for shaking/hitting the frame, which is as bright as it gets and adds a load of high end energy to tracks.

For sample libraries, I've had a lot of success with the EZDrummer Latin Percussion library, which contains nearly a dozen tambourines and several articulations on each of them (as well as shed-loads of other wonderful percussion, all for about £50!).
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Re: Best way to get that 60s British Invasion tambourine sound?

Postby tomdot » Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:05 pm

Alexis, you want this link

It should answer most, if not all of your questions in some way shape or form. It's not the be all and end all, but a little goes a long way.

EDIT : Buy a tambourine or two and a capacitor mic, stand about 10ft away and jangle like youve never jangled before. It's fun and you can articulate better. Remember - 60s British Invasion bands did not have a Cubase audio quantise function, nor a sample library of perfectly recorded tambourines. They played it themselves as overdubs, and in the Beatles case it was sometimes quite bad and out of time. This is what gives it the flavour, not perfect 16ths on the grid.
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Re: Best way to get that 60s British Invasion tambourine sound?

Postby alexis » Thu Jan 17, 2013 3:22 pm

tomdot wrote:Alexis, you want this link

It should answer most, if not all of your questions in some way shape or form. It's not the be all and end all, but a little goes a long way.

EDIT : Buy a tambourine or two and a capacitor mic, stand about 10ft away and jangle like youve never jangled before. It's fun and you can articulate better. Remember - 60s British Invasion bands did not have a Cubase audio quantise function, nor a sample library of perfectly recorded tambourines. They played it themselves as overdubs, and in the Beatles case it was sometimes quite bad and out of time. This is what gives it the flavour, not perfect 16ths on the grid.

Tomdot - absolutely no fair of you, preying on my weakness, "You can be like ... THE BEATLES!"

Now I will spend hours of time actually recording rather than just using samples. Darn you!

To be fair, it would probably have taken me hours of time to figure out how to use a sample library, and this will be lots more fun. What a cool site ... what a labor of love to put that together! I am looking forward to this, will buy a backed one tomorrow (hmm, how does one actually take the jangles out, I wonder), and go to town.

Were you serious, by the way, about some Beatles songs having very bad tambourine playing? Not that it matters, as I'm hooked on the idea anyway, but which ones did you have in mind?

Thanks for that link, and the motivation!
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Re: Best way to get that 60s British Invasion tambourine sound?

Postby tomdot » Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:01 pm

Oh my God - 'We Can Work It Out' is the prime example for me and there are probably loads more. It wavers all over the place (prominent right at the start). Whoever plays it doesn't know whether he wants a shave or a shower - there's a huge missed couple of beats (0:19).

Quite honestly, the Beatles tempos are all over the place generally because they did not play to clicks in those days. I heard a story that Pink Floyd were the first to do that and they did it by getting the drummer to watch one of the old mechanical metronomes (I have a more modern story about our old drummer having to watch the blinking light on our keyboard because his in ears went!)

But anyway I digress - just sit and listen to a ton of early Beatles and you'll clock that not only did they play slightly out of time, and not only did they drop a beat here and there, they also actually crafted tambourine parts. They were notoriously complex at times and they weren't embarrassed to put simple yet dodgy parts right at the front of the mix a la 'We Can Work It Out'.

I'll also go on record to say that I absolutely love tambourine parts!
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Re: Best way to get that 60s British Invasion tambourine sound?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Thu Jan 17, 2013 7:49 pm

alexis wrote:(Oh, and I'm not exactly looking forward to cutting and pasting to get them on the beat ...

Why would you need to do that? If you're recording a real tambourine with a mic, play it on the beat you want. If you mess up, try again. It's called "playing music". I recommend it.
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You don't have to write songs. The world doesn't want you to write songs. It would probably prefer it if you didn't. So write songs if you want to. Otherwise, dont. Go fishing instead.


Re: Best way to get that 60s British Invasion tambourine sound?

Postby alexis » Thu Jan 17, 2013 8:08 pm

tomdot wrote:Oh my God - 'We Can Work It Out' is the prime example for me and there are probably loads more. It wavers all over the place (prominent right at the start). Whoever plays it doesn't know whether he wants a shave or a shower - there's a huge missed couple of beats (0:19).
Can't wait to get home to listen!

tomdot wrote:Quite honestly, the Beatles tempos are all over the place generally because they did not play to clicks in those days
.I remember once mapping out a few of their songs, and saw that for sure. I also did that with my band once, and we were spot on, metronome-like. NOT! I figured their timing variations were as much for emotional/artistic purposes as they were inaccuracies. (Unlike ours).

tomdot wrote:I'll also go on record to say that I absolutely love tambourine parts!
Me too!!

Thanks again -
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Re: Best way to get that 60s British Invasion tambourine sound?

Postby Billum » Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:59 am

Of course most will know that on the single recording of Love Me Do, all Ringo got to do was play the tambourine! Andy White, a session man, was the drummer, brought in by George Martin because he wasn't impressed with the drumming at the audition session.

...but now we can hear those old original Beatles songs re-recorded how they're *meant* to sound: http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2013-01-16/stereophonics-and-mick-hucknall-to-re-create-beatles-album-please-please-me-

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Re: Best way to get that 60s British Invasion tambourine sound?

Postby alexis » Sun Jan 20, 2013 10:31 pm

Billum wrote:Of course most will know that on the single recording of Love Me Do, all Ringo got to do was play the tambourine! Andy White, a session man, was the drummer, brought in by George Martin because he wasn't impressed with the drumming at the audition session.

...but now we can hear those old original Beatles songs re-recorded how they're *meant* to sound: http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2013-01-16/stereophonics-and-...


Wonder what GM didn't like about Ringo's drumming? I think I heard it on Anthology years ago, sounded OK to me at the time. Maybe I should relisten to see if I hear anything different.

PS: bought a tambourine!
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Re: Best way to get that 60s British Invasion tambourine sound?

Postby Richie Royale » Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:20 pm

alexis wrote:
PS: bought a tambourine!

Hallelujah!


Image

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Re: Best way to get that 60s British Invasion tambourine sound?

Postby MarkOne » Mon Jan 21, 2013 1:41 pm

alexis wrote:Wonder what GM didn't like about Ringo's drumming?

My favourite witty quote from John Lennon was, when asked "Do you think Ringo is the best drummer in the world" he retorted: "He's not even the best drummer in the Beatles"

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Re: Best way to get that 60s British Invasion tambourine sound?

Postby Billum » Mon Jan 21, 2013 4:01 pm

alexis wrote: Wonder what GM didn't like about Ringo's drumming? I think I heard it on Anthology years ago, sounded OK to me at the time. Maybe I should relisten to see if I hear anything different.

PS: bought a tambourine!

Yes, GM had heard Pete Best playing Love Me Do, and then Ringo playing it, so maybe he thought third time lucky with a trusted session drummer would do the trick (which of course it did!). Ringo's version is still available on the Past Masters compilation, and Pete Best's version on Anthology 1 (which does sound like a dirge in comparison).

Funny that George Martin did go on to say that he thought Ringo was one of the best drummers in the world - *after* the Beatles had sold 48 squillion records of course! Possibly not the best tambourine player though - that accolade has to go to Motown supremo Jack Ashford, n'est-ce pas?

Glad you've got your tambourine now!
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Re: Best way to get that 60s British Invasion tambourine sound?

Postby _ Six _ » Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:14 am

I'm from Liverpool so can buy you the real deal, drive it past Sgt Peppers Cafe, Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields and The Cavern before dispatching it off to the States for you.

All for a nominal fee of course. Genuine doesn't come cheap you know!
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Re: Best way to get that 60s British Invasion tambourine sound?

Postby alexis » Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:37 pm

_ Six _ wrote:I'm from Liverpool so can buy you the real deal, drive it past Sgt Peppers Cafe, Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields and The Cavern before dispatching it off to the States for you.

All for a nominal fee of course. Genuine doesn't come cheap you know!

Been there, done that, got the tea shirt! Had drinks in Ye Crack, entertained by some scruffy guy who swore he was John's art school chum. Bought him a pint just because! Also (as this was in the 80's, before there were commercial tours like now) I took buses to all their childhood homes (even Ringo's in the "Dingle" - in daylight only!), Strawberry Fields front gate (in significant disrepair at the time), Penny Lane, the Cavern (faux, of course, as the original is under a car park), etc. etc. The only thing I wished I had done was a "venue tour", of all the little halls (and big) they played in '61 and '62. Next trip!

But the reason I revisited this thread was to report that **I got my tambourine on tape (on DAW?)!** Sounds pretty good in isolation, haven't done any EQ etc, as I've made a resolution to forevermore do all tracking before ANYTHING to do with mixing (suffice it to say that after two months of doing the other way I have very little to show except a bunch of automation and bad plug-in choices, all of which I plan to trash as I start fresh).

FWIW, I resisted the temptation to quantize it. On the DAW the timing is not spot on the grid, but I'm fine with how it *sounds*. If I get some complaints related to the timing I'll revisit it, but until then, it is decidedly a "lo-tech" recording in that way!

So thanks to peeps for talking me out of a "library" for the tambourine sound.

Two things:

1) It was fun!
2) My forearms hurt
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Re: Best way to get that 60s British Invasion tambourine sound?

Postby G-Doubleyou » Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:51 pm

To get an authentic sound and technique, you MUST drop acid FIRST.

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Re: Best way to get that 60s British Invasion tambourine sound?

Postby alexis » Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:35 pm

G-Doubleyou wrote:To get an authentic sound and technique, you MUST drop acid FIRST.


No need, I use Cubase!
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Re: Best way to get that 60s British Invasion tambourine sound?

Postby G-Doubleyou » Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:03 pm

But cubase doesn't have the Purple Haze plug that's contained in Logic!

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Re: Best way to get that 60s British Invasion tambourine sound?

Postby mjfe2 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 2:39 pm

alexis wrote:2) Recording and production techniques ... not even sure what questions to ask here - distance, eq, compression, etc. ... but if anyone has experience doing this, I'd love to hear any words of wisdom.

I've found that playing the tambourine too close to the mic results in unpredictable level changes that are hard to compress evenly, and also difficult to balance because the part always sounds 'immediate' even when mixed low. So recently I've been leaving the mics where they are (on say the drums and guitar) and then just standing elsewhere in the room, where I might have stood if I were playing live with myself (!), and overdubbing the part there. Obviously this depends on the room but it does help even out the level and provides a sort of automatic mixing function.
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