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View Full Version : What guitar did Paul Simon use to record the Boxer?


jox51
04-06-2005, 11:50 AM
Anyone knows.

nubjamin
04-06-2005, 11:55 AM
this doesn't answer your question, but it's the first thing i could find about the guitars he uses:

link (http://www.ckk.chalmers.se/guitar/simon.gearbox.html)

for some reason i want to say that he used martins back then, but i'm not sure where i got that.

nubjamin
04-06-2005, 12:02 PM
okay, i think i was right about the martins. here's their take on it. (http://www.martinguitar.com/artists/famous.php?id=32)

From his early "folk years," Paul Simon has been a universal musical traveler, student and collaborator. His music reflects many ethnic and cultural influences and, throughout his career, Martin guitars have played an important part in Paul's music. On Wednesday Morning 3 AM (Simon and Garfunkel's first Columbia album), Paul used a D-18 that fit perfectly with the duo's folk-based repertoire. On their follow-up album, Sounds Of Silence, the power of Paul's Dreadnought combined with his masterful jazz/blues approach made Davy Graham's "Anji" the instrumental highlight of the album. Paul later switched to a D-35S for recording and concert work. In recent years, he has gravitated to smaller bodied instruments, such as the Martin OM and now the shorter scale 000, which he has specified for the PS2 Martin Signature Edition guitar.

DJR
04-06-2005, 12:07 PM
When he came down to Jamaica in the early 70's I happened to be in his hotel room (long story), and commented on how many guitars he'd brought with him. He very graciously hauled them out of their cases and invited me to play them. I didn't know a lot about guitars at that time, and my memory is a bit foggy, but I seem to remember at least one Martin, a Guild, and a Dobro. I can't remember the others. So, if The Boxer was recorded before then, it might have been one of those guitars.

I do remember thinking, wow, these are a lot nicer than the piece of junk I own! (Hmmm...maybe I have Paul Simon to blame for starting my GAS.)

Fredmando
04-06-2005, 01:22 PM
Hey DJR, not to hijack the thread on this, but I'd love to hear this "long story" if you are willing to share. If not, you can kill me with words!! :D
I seem to remember reading that he played some Guilds in the early days like Neil Young--do I have that right? I think Young has gone through Taylors and uses Martins these days.
--Fred

DJR
04-06-2005, 01:44 PM
My stepfather was Leslie Kong, a Jamaican record producer whose artists included Millie Small, Desmond Dekker, Toots Hibbert (Toots and the Maytals), Jimmy Cliff, and Bob Marley (Bob Marley and the Wailers).

Paul Simon called my stepfather and arranged to come down to Kingston to record some local musicians for an authentic reggae sound (for "Mother and Child Reunion", I think). So we met Paul and his entourage at the airport (the doorknobs at customs almost didn't let him in; he looked pretty scruffy in jeans and t-shirt, and he couldn't remember the name of his hotel) and took him to the hotel, which was where I had my cosmic guitar experience. I remember Roy Halee (sp?), who produced some of Blood, Sweat and Tears, came with him, but I can't remember who else.

I missed out when the Stones came to Kingston; I was back in Canada. My mom was the lucky one who hung out with them at the studio. But she managed to get them to autograph an album for me (Sticky Fingers - Keith Richards signed it "Y-fronts Inc. Keith Richards" on the underwear inside the zipper).

jox51
04-06-2005, 02:01 PM
My stepfather was Leslie Kong, a Jamaican record producer whose artists included Millie Small, Desmond Dekker, Toots Hibbert (Toots and the Maytals), Jimmy Cliff, and Bob Marley (Bob Marley and the Wailers).

Paul Simon called my stepfather and arranged to come down to Kingston to record some local musicians for an authentic reggae sound (for "Mother and Child Reunion", I think). So we met Paul and his entourage at the airport (the doorknobs at customs almost didn't let him in; he looked pretty scruffy in jeans and t-shirt, and he couldn't remember the name of his hotel) and took him to the hotel, which was where I had my cosmic guitar experience. I remember Roy Halee (sp?), who produced some of Blood, Sweat and Tears, came with him, but I can't remember who else.

I missed out when the Stones came to Kingston; I was back in Canada. My mom was the lucky one who hung out with them at the studio. But she managed to get them to autograph an album for me (Sticky Fingers - Keith Richards signed it "Y-fronts Inc. Keith Richards" on the underwear inside the zipper).


SWEET MON :D

Bob Womack
04-06-2005, 02:07 PM
That mandolin-picked guitar solo in "Mother and Child Reunion" has an interesting technical story. Whether on purpose or by accident, it was mixed to sound like is was coming from everywhere. It felt like it was outside the speakers. Really cool. Back when I was a teenager, before I became a recording engineer, I happened to discover its secret: I was listening on my cheap stereo over the headphones. During the song, I think I rolled over on my bed and pulled the headphone plug halfway out. On some jacks when you do this, it combines the signal from the two headphone sides and sends it to both ears.

When I did this, the lead guitar WENT AWAY. Oh, the guitar's reverb was there in the background, but the guitar vanished. Huh? Plug in, everything is fine. Plug out and speakers on, everything is fine. Plug halfway out, guitar gone.

You know what caused it? The guitar was brought up on a couple of channels, one was thrown out of phase with the other, and they were panned outboard. When you do that, the center image disappears and the item appears to come from outside the speakers. Of course, if you combine the channels to make it mono, *poof* the item disappears.

Hah! Recording lesson #1!

Bob

Michael K
04-06-2005, 03:56 PM
That mandolin-picked guitar solo in "Mother and Child Reunion" has an interesting technical story. Whether on purpose or by accident, it was mixed to sound like is was coming from everywhere. It felt like it was outside the speakers. Really cool. Back when I was a teenager, before I became a recording engineer, I happened to discover its secret: I was listening on my cheap stereo over the headphones. During the song, I think I rolled over on my bed and pulled the headphone plug halfway out. On some jacks when you do this, it combines the signal from the two headphone sides and sends it to both ears.

When I did this, the lead guitar WENT AWAY. Oh, the guitar's reverb was there in the background, but the guitar vanished. Huh? Plug in, everything is fine. Plug out and speakers on, everything is fine. Plug halfway out, guitar gone.

You know what caused it? The guitar was brought up on a couple of channels, one was thrown out of phase with the other, and they were panned outboard. When you do that, the center image disappears and the item appears to come from outside the speakers. Of course, if you combine the channels to make it mono, *poof* the item disappears.

Hah! Recording lesson #1!

Bob

Huh? :confused:

Cool song though:D

Jeff M
04-06-2005, 04:13 PM
That mandolin-picked guitar solo in "Mother and Child Reunion" has an interesting technical story. Whether on purpose or by accident, it was mixed to sound like is was coming from everywhere. It felt like it was outside the speakers. Really cool. Back when I was a teenager, before I became a recording engineer, I happened to discover its secret: I was listening on my cheap stereo over the headphones. During the song, I think I rolled over on my bed and pulled the headphone plug halfway out. On some jacks when you do this, it combines the signal from the two headphone sides and sends it to both ears.

When I did this, the lead guitar WENT AWAY. Oh, the guitar's reverb was there in the background, but the guitar vanished. Huh? Plug in, everything is fine. Plug out and speakers on, everything is fine. Plug halfway out, guitar gone.

You know what caused it? The guitar was brought up on a couple of channels, one was thrown out of phase with the other, and they were panned outboard. When you do that, the center image disappears and the item appears to come from outside the speakers. Of course, if you combine the channels to make it mono, *poof* the item disappears.

Hah! Recording lesson #1!

Bob

Very cool. So, when out of phase does the non-reverb signal from the guitar cancel itself out?

nubjamin
04-06-2005, 04:37 PM
Very cool. So, when out of phase does the non-reverb signal from the guitar cancel itself out?

if you put the out-of-phase signal in the same channel as the original signal, they will cancel each other out - that's what happened when bob pulled out the headphone plug partway. but if you put the out-of-phase signal in the opposite channel from the original, the net result is that it just creates a different type of stereo image, where it seems as though the sound is coming from both sides separately, instead of from the center.

this isn't exactly a secret or anything - i've heard (and have used) this effect on a lot of recordings. it's done a lot in pop and electronic music to make certain instruments or vocals stand out in the mix. if done well, the end result can be quite subtle and cool. if over-used, it loses its charm a bit.

btw, for the life of me, i can't think of what the guitar solo in "mother and child reunion" sounds like. :)

ljguitar
04-06-2005, 05:10 PM
...if you put the out-of-phase signal in the opposite channel from the original, the net result is that it just creates a different type of stereo image, where it seems as though the sound is coming from both sides separately, instead of from the center...

Hi Jeff...this is a fun variation of what you shared...in fact may be the ''parent'' of it.

If you have a figure 8 pattern on a condenser mic, and a second condenser mic, you can use a stereo recording technique called ''Mid-side'' which is an old BBC device.

How to...
Set up a figure 8 mic going side to side in front of a group/performer and a normal condenser facing the performer with the 2 mics in a vertical line (one above the other nearly touching).

I usually record figure 8 with the upper mic upside down nearly touching the performer's mic which is right side up.

Record each mic mono. Later duplicate the figure 8 track, and reverse the phase of the copied track.

Then by panning the duplicated track and it's mirror copy in opposite directions, you will restore and control the depth of the stereo field. If you forget to pan them or set the pans together you will get the ultimate phase cancellation!

It is an amazing and simple live group technique...Works with folk singers, bluegrass bands, bands, orchestras, string quartets, choirs etc. I have been using it for several years, and don't know why it works. Somebody tried to explain it, but I'm just to dense to absorb it...but it works.

It is an easy way to record stereo imaging and still mic the performer with only 2 channels of recording. This means you can control the level of the performer versus the ''stereo field''.

This is an old technique (I think from the 1960s) with new application...since many modern digital stand alone recorders limit recording to two simultaneous tracks.

Andromeda
04-06-2005, 05:16 PM
I seem to remember reading that he played some Guilds in the early days like Neil Young--do I have that right? I think Young has gone through Taylors and uses Martins these days.
--Fred

He did play guilds. I have some pictures of him in a song book playing a nice jumbo body Guild. He was one of the artists that not only inspired my playing but also my love of jumbo guitars.

Bob Womack
04-06-2005, 05:22 PM
I think Young has gone through Taylors and uses Martins these days.
--Fred

Ol' Neil still uses a Taylor 12-string. He's one of Bob Taylor's longest-standing professional customers.

Bob

ronmac
04-06-2005, 05:27 PM
I read somewhere that Paul uses an old Gurian as his songwriting and recording guitar.

nubjamin
04-06-2005, 11:59 PM
thanks for the post ljguitar - i might just have to use that technique some day!

ljguitar
04-07-2005, 12:25 AM
Anyone knows.

Hi Jox...
I'd be interested strictly from an interest standpoint.

We own a small production studio, and the more professional the group, the more guitars they haul in for sessions. A very few use the same guitar for stage and record with it, but many guitarists show up with borrowed, rented or ''other'' guitars which they own but never take on the road.

They play different ones for different cuts and layered parts. They are often quite nice vintage instruments they would not risk on the road. One day I looked around the room and the newest stringed instrument was a 1942 Gibson J. There was a mid 1930s Martin D-18, and an old The Gibson Mandolin.

The owners knew how to play them, so we made some very nice recordings.

Fredmando
04-07-2005, 06:50 AM
DJR--Thanks for the great story. That's cool.
Also, thanks to Bob for the great story.
And, you gotta love the Taylor 12 strings. They are awesome.