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Topic: Michael Jackson Guitar...Guitar Guru Needed!!!

  1. #1

    Exclamation Michael Jackson Guitar...Guitar Guru Needed!!!

    Working on a new project and I'm trying to capture that quintessential Jackson guitar tone off his and his brother's disco albums. Unfortunately, I am still coming up short. If you could, listen to the link to the excerpt from the Jackson Five's, "Can You Feel It." When the chorus comes in...the guitars in that passage are the sound im going for. Could any of you guitar guru's that have been around awhile help a youngster capture the flavor of a bygone era? Any suggestions in terms of recording techniques/effects greatly appreciated.



  2. #2

    Re: Michael Jackson Guitar...Guitar Guru Needed!!!


    Im in no way a fan of Jacko's music, but I think I can help you, sorta. A lot of my past music was guitar stuff, and a cheap ($$$) way to get this would be to get the Sonic Implants Real Strat Tones and Mutes. This would prolly get you really close, OR the Realsamples Electric Guitar Collection Vol.1 and/or 2. Both are Strats, and sound great, only diffrence is Price and Format. Hope this helps at all.


  3. #3

    Re: Michael Jackson Guitar...Guitar Guru Needed!!!

    Howdy! I am a bona fide guitar nut (and have played for 20 years) and am usually pretty good at being able to determine the kind of guitar and amp based on sound. While many people automatically think "strat" when they hear clean tones, the tone has the mid-range signature of a Gibson 335. I'm not entirely sure what the amp is, though...I would imagine a Fender amp of some sort, perhaps a Twin. Make sure that your compression is only used to keep the levels constant...try not to add too much sustain.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2003

    Re: Michael Jackson Guitar...Guitar Guru Needed!!!

    Yea, I'm with wes37 on this one. Guitar is also my main instrument (playing 35 years/26 professionally...ugh has it really been that long!!?)

    Anyhow, like wes said, it's got the characteristic "midrange bump" of a 335. It used to be my main axe (I'm a huge Larry Carlton fan). The amp would be hard to pinpoint, but again, I agree with wes it was probably a Fender of some kind.

    On that track, it sounds like obligatory chorus pedal was employed, as well as the short delay, which Sharmy already mentioned.

    Since I play, I'm not up on the latest guitar libraries available, but it's a semi-hollow body guitar model you're after.

    EDIT- I just read Sharmy's second post, and his advice about the pick-ups not being out of phase is spot on. It still sounds like a 335 to me though, because it has a thicker sound than a single coil, or even a humbucker in the bridge position.

  5. #5

    Re: Michael Jackson Guitar...Guitar Guru Needed!!!

    Thanks guys!!! Great info....I should have specified...Im using an Epiphone Riviera (which is a semi hollowbody) w/ Gibson Classic '57 pickups. I usually play through a Fender Deville 4 x 10, but on this, having just recently bought NI's Guitar Rig I am trying to do it DI and get a cleaner sound.
    As for the album...this particular track came off "Triumph" by the Jackson Five, released in 1980. I don't have the liner notes in front of me...but in doing research I came across this blurb...

    "This time the Jacksons played next to none of the instruments; musicians include Nathan Watts, Greg Phillinganes, Jerry Hey, Ollie Brown, Michael Sembello, Gary Coleman, Lenny Castro, and David Williams, and what pop record would be complete without the percussion stylings of Paulinho Da Costa?"

    I am not familiar with any of these players, so I don't know if that is of any help to you.


  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Central Point, Oregon

    Re: Michael Jackson Guitar...Guitar Guru Needed!!!

    And for 20 years people have been trying to cop the Jerry Hey brass sound via samplers. Sorry, ain't gonna happen.

  7. #7

    Re: Michael Jackson Guitar...Guitar Guru Needed!!!

    I figured the instrumentation was done by session players, which is one reason it's tough to pick out the right amp. Usually the Motown sessions had any number of instruments and amps at their disposal. Personally, I'm not sure NI Guitar Rig will get you the sound you're looking for. Realistically, the right guitar and amp will only get you 80% (or so) of the right tone...the rest comes from the mic, pre-amps, and effects (any player). While I appreciate where guitar simulations are going, right now there's nothing on the market that will capture the effect of a speaker "pushing air"....it just misses something....some of the depth of tone to my ears.

    With the Riviera, try playing clean through a Tweed simulation, with a little compression, slight delay, and plate reverb. Add a little chorus if it still needs a little thickness. Try each of the pick-up settings and make sure you cleanly pick every note (with the appropriate palm muting).

    One tip: If possible, use some sort of intermediary and do not plug straight from the guitar to the computer. If you have a DI unit, POD, or similar, these units are built to receive a guitar's input and can send data to the computer in a signal the computer is better configured to receive. Plugging 'straight in' will (to my ears again) take away from your tone.


  8. #8

    Re: Michael Jackson Guitar...Guitar Guru Needed!!!

    Thanks, Sharmy!

    I was able to tour A&M Studios when I lived in LA about 12 years ago....to me there's something 'electric' about the major studios....there's just something in the vibe that always gave me the goosepimples. I was also able to visit Warner Bros studios while they were recording th score for Lethal Weapon III...both tours were coordinated trips while I was a recording engineer student at USC. While the studios were impressive (to say the least), what always impressed me was the caliber of the studio musicians. In my opinion, the LA session A-list are some of the best players in the world.


  9. #9

    Re: Michael Jackson Guitar...Guitar Guru Needed!!!

    I really think it is a roland amp. I tend to think it is a strat. The sound can almost be directly imitated in Amplitude with a strat. I am sure NI can do about the same. It has a very characteristic Roland JC series sound to me. However, the sound is actually clean - without the chorus. Try using some roland amp sims in NI (if you can ). It is loaded with compression, with a mid boost.

  10. #10

    Re: Michael Jackson Guitar...Guitar Guru Needed!!!

    THANK YOU THANK YOU.....everyone's advice has been invaluable....another quick question...I have been getting good results by overdubbing two guitars playing the same part....panned left and right respectively....is this a common technique/is that an additional element being used in the Jackson Five track?

    Thanks again


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