A gorgeous Epiphone electric hollowbody
Epiphone was founded in 1873 by Anastasios Stathopoulos, who initially built only fiddles and lutes in the Ottoman Empire (now Turkey). In the early 20th century, Stathopoulos and Epiphone made the move to Queens, New York, and expanded into building mandolins and banjos. Finally, in 1928 Epiphone built its first line of guitars, the Recording series. And in 1935, the company branched into the electrified world with the Electar Series (originally the Electraphone).
The Century model was introduced in 1939, and the 1953 model pictured here features a maple body with a sunburst finish, a rosewood fretboard and headstock, a New York neck pickup without adjustable poles, a Bakelite pickguard, a trapeze tailpiece and octagonal volume and tone controls with peaked facets.
It was rumored that the Century was used by Django Reinhardt during his only US tour in 1946 with Duke Ellington, but he actually used the bigger Epiphone Zephyr (also introduced in 1939) while in the States.
A special thanks to PG contributor Jeffrey Oâ€™Connor for this exquisite photograph.
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Guitars, amps, mics and three different studios: how Ace recorded tracks for his latest.
The JCM900 SL-X and 5150 II in the control room.
I kept thorough notes on what mics, amps and preamps were used on each song (as well as taking pics), so that if we came back to a song a month or more later, we could remember the setups. For most of the electric tracks, I used a Royer 122V tube ribbon mic or a Royer 121, along with either a Sennheiser MD 421 II or the classic Shure SM57. At first, we also used room mics, but they were rarely used in the mix, so we eventually just settled on close mics. Ace liked the mics to be right up on the speakers, which does provide some proximity bass and a very up-front sound.
Royer 122V and Shure SM57 up close on a Marshall cabinet.
When cutting acoustic parts, I’d use a variety of mics, from AKG 414s and Earthworks QTCs to a single AKG C 12 VR “The Tube” with a modified capsule. That was the primary vocal mic used on the record as well. We also used the DI output on any acoustics that had one, just to have the extra sonic options later.
Ace’s selection of ‘bursts.
Alex also recorded two tracks of drums with Anton in Ace’s live room. He used an AKG D 112 on the kick, a pair of the ADKs as overheads, an AKG 414 on bottom of snare, an SM57 on top, as well as Sennheiser MD 409s on the toms. He also tracked vocals with the AKG “The Tube” and a 414, using mostly the Focusrite ISA 428.
The AC15 used on “Genghis Kahn.”
I also asked Marty how the record was mixed, and how they did the guitars on “Fox on the Run,” and this is what he told me: “We mixed it all in Pro Tools, with things like the URS and SSL channel strip plug-ins. You know, we used all the good stuff that’s available out there! The whole approach was that he wanted to keep it as old school as possible. The fact of the matter is we ended up tightening a few little things, but it was pretty much all there. We didn’t put everything on the grid, but like most records, if something just needed a nudge here and there, we did it.
We used drum samples with the real drums, just to give it a big sound. That also helped tie up a long recording process of his and make it sound like one record.
“For ‘Fox on the Run,’ we went DI, using Digidesign’s Eleven. I played a little on that track as well, some rhythm and some bass, and Brian Tichy played drums. We really knocked that one out and did it in about a day. Overall, it’s a heavy, riff-based record with some great songs. He got to lay down some killer parts on all his songs without anyone telling him what to do. We kind of cleaned it up a bit, killed a couple of guitars if there was too much going on, but it’s all Ace. He’s a guitar hero, and I just felt we could help him tie it all together to make a cohesive- sounding record. It came out great.”
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