About Rock Music

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1. Foreword 2.About music 3. About rock 4. About sound 5. About mixing 6. About guitarists 7. About tubes 8. About pedals
9. About digital 10. Ab. compression 11. About saturation 12. About filters 13. About delays 14. About chorus 15. About switching 16. Synthesis

"Let there be sound", and there was sound
"Let there be light", and there was light
"Let there be drums", and there was drums
"Let there be guitars", and there was guitars

"Let there be rock!"

Yes, rock is a show. A show based on guitars and drums.

And rock requires Sound. Sound with a capital “S”…

You can write the best songs, play guitar like a living god: if your band has no “Sound”, no one will be interested. On the other hand, it’s perfectly possible to produce a record with a Sound and nothing else: just turn on your radio if you need some examples…

Getting a good sound is easy when there is one instrument only: turn a few knobs with the help of you ear and you’re done. If you are a top rank player, the way you play will anyway be more interesting than the sound itself: you’re a lucky guy…

But rock music is played by bands, not by people sat alone on a tool. Mixing the various instruments is a complex and tricky operation, which goes much beyond adjusting volume pots.

Let’s take a classic rock band: bass, drums, keyboards, guitar and lead vocal, playing live in a club. If these people lack experience, the result is usually the following:

  • The drummer strikes louder and louder, cause he’s a drummer.

  • The guitarist turns his volume up, cause he’s a guitarist and is very proud of his own sound.

  • Everyone forgets the bassist, cause his round sound will be drowned in the global mess. Bassists being nice people, they don’t turn their volume up, and the bass part is reduced to a global hum in the background.

  • The keyboards are too loud if played in the high frequencies, and too soft in the lower range. Keyboard players being full of courtesy, they never complain about it.

  • The singer shouts as loud as he/she can, but never loud enough to be heard correctly. And if the singer was singing loud enough, the guitarist would play louder...

All in all, the audience gets a muddy and messy mixture of kick drum, screaming guitar and striking snare drum. A few people know there’s a bass playing, cause they have seen a big guitar with four strings on the stage. And if the singer is good looking, they will remember the gig, especially if the singer is a cute girl.

Yet, the sound of a record is different. You will say: a record is made in a studio, with expensive gear and a complete team around the musicians. Well, it’s hopefully perfectly possible to get a correct sound on stage, but it’s more complex cause it must be done in real time.

A friend of mine used to gig a lot in the eighties, in a local band. He’s a professional player, who has owned tenths of amps and guitars, and has played in many different contexts. In this local band, the drummer had an e-drums kit. The bassist had a Rockman Bass, my friend played with a Rockman X100, and the other guitarist had a Rockman Soloist. Nothing expensive, nothing impressive. But the result was “people always told us: you sound just like a record!”.

Sound is not a matter of gear, and is not a matter of cost. Sound is a matter of know-how. What you get when you buy a Rockman is a tiny bit of the know-how that was developed for Boston. And this know-how works both on stage and in a studio: you may want another approach of sound, but this know-how was made available to everyone, while the other bands and sound engineers usually keep their secrets for them…

Copyright Rockman.fr 2007