Published On: Fri, Jun 12th, 2009

Guillemots | How to sound like Guillemots | MC Lord Magrao

Learn how to make the sound of Guillemots Guitarist MC Lord Magrao. Find out what Guitars,Amps,Pedals and Typewriter he used to record “Who Left The Lights Off, Baby?”

The Sound
“That’s a hard one,” ponders MC Lord Magr㯮 “As for the band… I don’t want to say ‘fusion’, but it’s a kind of a classical, experimental pop. The biggest guitar influence on me was John Frusciante, but my sound is actually a dark, derelict city.”

The Gear
While MC does employ a Fender Jaguar to righteous effect on heavier songs such as ‘Go Away‘ (a Gibson SG, a Fender Jazzmaster and an electric mandolin also get called into service at various times) his main guitar is a Fender Telecaster because of the clarity and general loveliness of its clean sound. The Guillemots guitarist goes through a “really nice and warm” reissue 1957 Fender Twin Amp, “I wanted that feeling of 60s and 70s amps,” he explains. “Modern digital stuff is too bright.” He goes on to state that, although he has 20 pedals, a Magr㯼/strong> wannabe can get by with three: a tape echo delay, a Bigmuff and a wah. As for the typewriter? It’s true, MC uses one for the recording of ‘Who Left The Lights Off, Baby?‘ and a number of songs live. The typewriter is amplified through an acoustic pickup stuck in its innards and put through a distortion pedal.

In The Studio
“My guitar playing on the record is not about the chords, more about the sounds and the atmospheres,” he declares. “I spend a lot of time experimenting with sounds, but once I get the sound I try to get it done in one take to keep it exciting. But the percussive ‘chicken bit’ I do in ‘Through The Windowpane‘ took ages because I couldn’t get the right timing – until I realised that I was playing it back to front!”

On The Stage
“We go to different places with the songs when we do them live,” states MC. “The pressure is on, though, to make sure you don’t fuck up, otherwise people wish you’d stuck to the version they like on the record! I love playing ‘Red Wings‘ but I relax more after it’s done because I switch from this gentle part on the mandolin to guitar and I get scared it’s not going to kick in. And you always get the crowd’s attention when you play a typewriter; it has a great rhythm sound.”


The Technique
“Coming from Brazil, I heard a lot of traditional music as well as rock and alternative. Chorinho music, where the main instrument is a mandolin, teaches you to have very quick fingers, so you can play cleanly in exactly the way you want without moving your hands a lot, which improves your accuracy.”

Best Trick
“Get three good analogue pedals, put them on maximum and then turn them all on at the same time. Don’t be scared about the sound.”

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