Wexford Carol (Live, Studio, & Tone Walkthrough)

For my newest piece, off of the remastered Christmas album The World in Green & Red, I thought I’d not only film a soundscape video, but also a live looping version, and a walkthrough/tutorial of the tones, pedals, techniques, and voicing arrangements.

This is one of my favorite carols, and it dates back to possibly 12th century Ireland.

Studio Version

Instrumentation: Amp’d and mic’d electric guitar & analog synth
Platform: Logic
Number of Tracks: 16
Main Gear:

  • Matchless HC30 amp (EF86 channel) mic’d with a Shure SM58
  • Certain tracks stereo’d with an Epiphone Valve Junior mic’d with a Sennheiser e609
  • Prairiewood Hardtop guitar
  • 1997 G&L S500 guitar
  • Strymon Blue Sky reverb
  • Arion SAD-1 delay
  • Strymon Timeline delay
  • Strymon Brigadier delay
  • Arion SPH-1 phaser
  • Neunaber WET reverb
  • Dave Smith Tetra analog synth

Camera: Canon 7D with EF 70-300 lens

For this piece, the trem-picking is the main focus. There are four tracks of the main line, each with a different guitar or amp setting. The harmony trem picking has two passes/tracks. There are also tracks of a picked melodic line, background strummed chords, chord swells, random ambience, picked harmonic line, and bass synth.


Live Looping Version

Instrumentation: Amp’d and mic’d electric guitar, live-looped
Platform: Logic
Number of Tracks: 1
Main Gear:

  • Matchless HC30 amp (EF86 channel) mic’d with a Shure SM58
  • 1997 G&L S500 guitar
  • Strymon Blue Sky reverb
  • Arion SAD-1 delay
  • Strymon Timeline delay
  • Strymon Brigadier delay
  • Digitech Jamman

Camera: Canon 7D with EF 17-35 2.8 L lens

On this version, the trem picking serves as a build so that the tempo is steadier and easier to hold in a live situation possibly without a click track in your ears. I broke it down to its base parts, and only looped those. For live looping, there’s a balance between how deep you want your mix, and how bored your audience will get watching you record all that depth for three hours. 😉


Walkthrough & Tutorial

I think I said most everything in the video, but a couple clarifications on this piece. We’re in the key of G Major, but loosely. For those keeping score, we also move to a D minor chord at times, but at other times we hit the regular D Major dominant. We also move to G minor at times as well. So this piece flows fluidly between the standard major scale, mixolydian mode, and the parallel minor. Or, in a word, it’s an Irish traditional. 🙂 That’s what I love about Irish music. It breaks all the rules so effortlessly.

What I did in the arrangement was to break the main chord progressions of G G/B G Dm to G5 D5, G G/B C D to G5, and Dm Gm Gm Dm to D5 G5 D5. This was in both the studio version and the looped version. The reason for this was twofold: I took the thirds out because the major or minor quality of each chord was already sounded in the lead lines, and I broke the structure down to two base chords so that the song moved less, which is more conducive to the type of ambience I was going for. When arranging, too many unison or octave thirds can start to bog down your mix.

I think that’s it. Thanks for listening, and I hope you enjoy the new piece and the newly remastered Christmas album!


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