A cover of the song Testify by Stevie Ray Vaughan.
2005 Fender Stevie Ray Vaughan Signature Strat
The guitar used in this demo is a 2005 Fender Stevie Ray Vaughan Signature Stratocaster. When I bought it (used), it was in very, very good condition with very little fretwear and almost no dings or dents. The pickups are the original Fender Texas Special pickups. I have no idea what strings were on it when I recorded this but they feel like .11s with very little wear.
Wampler Pedals - Ecstasy Overdrive
The only pedal used in this demo is the Ecstasy Overdrive from Wampler Pedals. This pedal is fantastic for giving your clean tone a bit of grit without giving that telltale midrange boost that indicates a pedal is on. I love it because I can run my amp cleaner and use the Ecstasy Overdrive to give me a dirty rhythm tone when needed. It might not make as good of a cutting lead pedal, but it’s not really designed for that. It adds smooth buttery distortion to the edges of your clean tone and does so in such a transparent way that you might forget you even have it turned on.
Samamp VAC 23
The amp used in this demo is my Samamp VAC 23, a 1x15 combo amp with a unique (and brilliant) way to lower the power level. For this demo, I had the amp set on the 11 watt setting. I wanted a somewhat cleaner tone in the low end so I couldn’t use the 3 or 5 watt settings, at those levels. I couldn’t get enough volume without the low end getting mushy.
The microphone, a Shure SM-57, was positioned just off center, pointed inward, almost towards the center of the cone but not quite. This provided a decent amount of low end with the firm high-end that you get towards the inner part of the cone. I usually position the mic farther outside, towards the edge, but with the Texas Specials I needed more clear high-end and the tone towards the edge of the speaker was too bassy with less defined high-end.
The microphone was connected to a Mackie Onyx 1220i mixer, connected to my MacPro via Firewire, and recorded into Logic along with a backing track I found online. The recording, mixing and mastering was done using Logic Express. I did 3 or 4 takes, keeping the final one. Logic allows you to record in looped fashion so as soon as one take ended the next one would begin, allowing me to warm up during the first couple takes.
I applied 3 plugins to the guitar track. First was a Waves Q4 EQ plugin. I identified two spots in the lower frequencies that sounded boomy and didn’t sit well with the backing track. I applied moderate reductions to those frequencies. The backing track had a fair amount of high-end cymbal noise, so I had to apply a gradual roll-off to the high-end of the guitar track to avoid interference with the cymbals.
Secondly, I used the Waves Doubler plugin to do two things. First to widen the guitar sound by panning two delayed copies hard left and hard right. These were mixed back in with the original at a very low level and the delay is very short so the net effect is a more defined sound for the guitar making it stand out from the backing track. The other thing this plugin accomplished was a slight chorusing effect by shifting the pitch of the delayed signals by +6 and -6 cents respectively. This created a very, very subtle chorus effect which can be heard more clearly on notes that are bent or held.
Waves IR-L Reverb
Lastly, I felt that the guitar track sounded a bit ‘up front’ so I added a tiny amount of reverb with the Waves IR-L Convolution Reverb plugin. Most times, it’s not even noticeable but when I A/B compared the sound with and without the reverb, there was a noticeable difference. I noticed that the actual recording of this song had a bit of reverb so I wanted a bit of that feel on my demo.