Thanks for that. Decent piece. I have a terrific Dutch pressing of Les Paul's Greatest Hits, and the studio effects on that, including the echo and pitch shifting, are wonderful.
In the early days of recording, well before mixing boards, a musician's proximity to the one microphone was generally dictated by the intrinsic loudness of the instrument. Quieter instruments would crowd the mic, and louder ones would be positioned further back for volume balance. That also meant things like brass would have a certain amount of room ambience to them. I was surprised to learn that one of the reasons why John Philip Sousa's marches were so popular for their time was because of physics. Before there were tape recorders or master discs used to make "pressings", recording was direct-to-disc. A band would sit in the studio all day and play the same tune over and over. Because Sousa's brass marches were so loud, several disc-cutting machines could be set up in the studio, and multiple copies made at once. So, quite apart from the musical aspects, Sousa's oeuvre was simply more available because it was easier to generate many discs for sale. Weird stuff going on in the early days.
I look forward to the next installment. While we're waiting, I recommend this book to folks: http://howtowreckanicebeach.com/ While it focuses primarily on vocoders from their military development prior to WWII, it also covers other ways of making instruments "talk", including talkboxes and such, over the last 80 years. The title is a pun on the mis-hearing of the phrase "How to recognize speech". I found it an enjoyable read, covering a very broad range of topics you never really think of as connected, like Kraftwerk and Churchill.
I read a book on the history of Nashville a number of years ago and the first Fuzz/distortion sound was in one of the amps in the recording studio. They thought it was neat and used it on the recording. It took off from there and others wanted the same sound. Thus, the pedal industry was born.
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