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Classic Metal Guitar Production

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by Son of Caladan, Jan 15, 2020.

  1. Son of Caladan

    Son of Caladan Metal Lover

    Jan 14, 2020
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    I am hoping the great Andy Sneap, who I know is a fan of that classic British metal sound, will reply, but anyone who has any insight is free to chime in.

    Basically, I am a home recordist and have been obsessively working on cracking the secret to the guitar tone on the Piece of Mind album by Iron Maiden, and on the Powerslave album, to a lesser extent. Below is an example from an isolated guitar track from the Piece of Mind album.

    I am not looking to recreate the exact tone, but to get something like it. What I like about that kind of tone is that it is very tight in the bass, mid focused, and clear. Unfortunately, Martin Birch was a very private man and left us no documented information on how he produced the guitars on those albums. After an exhaustive search, the only information I have been able to locate is this article, in which Adrian Smith is quoted saying, "The room is the most important thing about recording. We kept the guitars separate and put the amps up in a big wooden room and just put mikes everywhere." We also have this grainy video from a later period, from which it can be gleaned that Martin relied on close-miking (at that time), placing the mic roughly on-axis and somewhere near the cap edge. The video does not provide any reliable clues as to what role, if any, room-miking may have played.

    It seems to me that the guitar tone on Piece of Mind is quite distinct from today's modern metal tone and cannot be obtained with modern engineering techniques by simply placing an SM57 on the cap edge, 1 inch off the grille. I have experimented with different amp settings and single-mic placements, but have not been able to get close enough to crack the formula.

    If anyone has any general insights into what the ingredients are for that kind of tone, it would help point me in the right direction and thus be a huge help to me. It seems that this type of metal production is on its way to becoming a lost art. I hope this thread can serve as a reference for anyone looking to learn how to produce that classic British heavy metal sound on guitars.
    #1 Son of Caladan, Jan 15, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020 at 5:03 PM
  2. Pharaoh's Curse

    Nov 11, 2013
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    A huge parts of Iron Maidens tone is Iron Maiden.

    This might help a bit:


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