Running The Gauntlet

I've been wanting to do a cover of this for ages. This lovely little track is from Les Claypool and the Holy Mackerel's 1996 album "Highball with The Devil", and I first heard it not long after the release when Alun Vaughan lent me a tape including superb bass tracks by Les Claypool and Victor Wooten. That tape properly switched my brain on to what bass could do when freed from the constraints of merely being in the rhythm section.

So anyway, I felt like doing an ukulele cover to try and break my mindset up a bit, and this popped to mind. I've been au fait with the bassline for ages, but only just decided that ukulele would work with it. And I think it really does. The bassline is the version played on Live Frogs, and the chords are pretty basic. I've done the verses as

D7, C, G

and then

D, E#, C, Eb, D, G

The drums were built in Hydrogen for Windows, imported into Audacity and a buffer added at the beginning. I then put down a scratch ukulele track to go with the drums, then put down a vocal, which I duplicated, adding reverb to one track and leaving the other dry, then splitting them slightly left and right. Muting the vocals, I then played in the bass track, trying a few different takes until I got a technique and an amp sound that seemed to fit. After that it was a matter of adding some extra ukulele tracks - two for the main body of the song, then an extra two overlaid on the last verse, including one on the banjulele - again splitting them side-to-side.

Everything went straight in via my big condenser mic, including the bass amp (a Roland Cube). I also put in some distorted electric ukulele but decided to leave it out for the final mix. The last thing I did was drive the drums really hard, to distort them a little and to lift them up above the main body of the track.

Et voila.

posted @ Wednesday, November 16, 2011 10:51 PM

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