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December 4, 2020
Pro Shop: Phil’s Production Techniques, Part II PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 03 February 2009 15:10
By Phil Keaggy - GJD Contributor
Little did I know that when I started on the guitar in 1961, I’d be here in 2009 writing to fellow guitarists on about my experiences in recording and production of music.  I have been fortunate enough to be directly and indirectly involved with dozens of recordings over these past decades.

One of my most recent endeavors involved me doing some guitar work for a friend of mine in Kansas City.  My signal path was as follows: I recorded my electric through a Line 6 Pod to a Line 6 DL4 rack mounted delay. I then ran stereo out of the DL4 to a Berring analog to digital converter. The final destination was to a stereo input into Pro Tools.  Doing this enables me to dial in a sound or delay on the fly, making adjustments as I select phrases to play. I also may change the various reverb, modulation and delay settings as I go.  Once a phrase is recorded, I may also tweak the wave file in Pro Tools using an Audio Suite Plug-in.

Also, old rack gear, as in delays and reverbs have been beneficial in my production techniques as well.  I will also record acoustic guitars with external microphones and simultaneously going direct to achieve a greater variety of sonic fidelity. In addition, my Olson and McPherson guitars have a built in microphone to give me even more options.

I was at a friend’s home studio recently and he had a portable sound Reflexion Filter for microphones. I need to get one of these as I feel it would cut down on ambient room noise, since my room is full of ambience and sometimes that’s not so good. Here’s a link if you are interested:

As a side note; when I record vocals, sometimes I sit—sometimes I stand—but mostly I sit and sometimes stand ;-)  Was that redundant? Good!

I am growing as an engineer and keeping my ears open to the great recorded sounds of the past and the present.  Often I will hear songs my kids listen to and some of these recordings are full and lush, but sometimes the music is very dry and intimate. I believe that it really comes down to communicating a song and an emotion to the listener. Another way I am moved through music is by hearing the message of the song through the melody.  That is one of the many ways that music can affect me.

Ultimately, as I continue to write and record, I hope to be in a good place both spiritually as well as musically. I’m planning to record some Psalms this year—inspired by both the Bible as well as my own expressions. I decided to “follow Jesus” in 1970 and I am extremely grateful to the Lord for all His blessings and the opportunities I’ve had with my music over the years.  I might add that a huge part of my development as an artist has been the influence of many great musicians; some of whom I have had the fortune of getting to know along the way.

Well, I know I haven’t said much here but it’s nice to say hello again and I will continue to pray that we would all have a blessed and creative 2009.  Remember… Create. Create. And Create.  Or as Fred Astair once said, “Get it ‘til it's perfect, then cut two minutes.”

Phil Keaggy


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