Published On: Fri, Jun 12th, 2009

Richard Hawley | How to sound like Richard Hawley | Lady’s Bridge

Learn how Richard Hawley created the sounds from the self produced Album ‘Lady’s Bridge’. Read about his rockabilly stlye and the guitars,Amps and Pedals that made songs like ‘Serious’.

The Sound
Hawley’s sound covers an awful lot of ground; a bit of rockabilly, a taste of country and much lush orchestration being only a few elements in the mix. “There’s loads of players that’ve influenced me: Jimi Hendrix, (Elvis Presley’s guitarist) Scotty Moore and (soul legend) Curtis Mayfield among them. You’ll learn more from them than from a modern fuzzbox stomper because they deal in a lot more detail.”

The Gear
“’Serious‘ was done on a Gretsch Electromatic, but if you were going to be me you’ll need a Gretsch 6120 with a P90 pickup. You also need a Gibson ES-335 with a Bigsby tremolo, a 12-string electric and a baritone guitar (a guitar tuned lower than a normal one).” Richard rates Peavey Classic 30/112 Tweed valve amps highly, and among the weird’n’wonderful amps he uses are Fender Prosonics. For effects you’ll need an echo pedal, such as the Boss RE-20, and a quality reverb unit in an Electro-Harmonix Holy Stain.

In The Studio
Along with bassist Colin Elliot, Hawley co-produced latest album ‘Lady’s Bridge’. “When you’re producing yourself, especially when you’re the songwriter, singer, guitar player and chief bottle washer, you’ve got to be brutal, and objectively decide whether you need that third verse or whatever. Another important part of my sound is layering. There a lots of differences in frequencies between different instruments and different guitars. Never get a guitar to sit on the same spot as another, as you’ll lose power. I use baritone guitars because I don’t like to rely on distortion. If you go straight for the jugular with a fuzzbox you’ve nowhere to go dynamically. One other useful tip is to move mics closer and further away from the speaker, depending on where you want it in the mix, rather than relying on the mixing desk to do the work for you.”

The Technique
“One thing I do all the time to double up my rhythm parts is Tennessee High String,” reveals Richard. “Take the high strings off a 12-string, put a capo on it and then play your normal chords in a different position – usually further up the neck. I’m also a big fan of major seventh chords –you get a beautifully mournful sound. I don’t write in minor keys as it would be too much. I write dark lyrics with a major chord feel. The way I write songs is strange. I never sit down to write something: words and melodies just appear in my head. It’s then a race to get them down onto a dictaphone before I lose them.”

Best Trick
Reverb and tremolo are the key to dreamy guitar sounds. You can never have too much reverb, and if you add a bit of wobble when you feel the time is right you’re onto a winner.”



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