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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-17-2012, 08:35 PM Thread Starter
 
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Vai Recorded Harmonies

Can anyone tell me more about Vai's techniques for recording guitar harmonies? Does he generally record them by hand or does he generate them digitally through the Eventide harmonizers, etc? Does he pan them on separate tracks or are they a single sound on the same track? How, when and in what specific ways (presets, etc.) does he use the Eventide harmonizers?

Thanks to all in advance.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-17-2012, 08:46 PM
 
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Re: Vai Recorded Harmonies

I don't know how Vai (specifically) records his harmonies, however there are ways of telling whether or not a harmony was generated by a harmonizer. Harmonizers will generally generate harmonies that are a consitent specific interval from the melody line (as chosen by the player/program). Thus if you hear a harmony that is consistently the same interval (say, a minor 3rd above) throughout the run, it is most likely a harmonizer. If, on the other hand, you hear a harmony that uses different intervals during the run, it is more likely that it was actually played rather than program generated. Also listen for subtle playing differences in the harmony such as note duration differences, slight bends or vibrato, etc. These are also great indications the harmony line you are listening to was actually specifically written and played and not just digitally generated.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-17-2012, 09:12 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Vai Recorded Harmonies

Thanks for the response, kfssdude. If you are referring to the Eventide harmonizer as harmonizing strictly in a single interval that is not the case. The Eventide will harmonize diatonically per the key that it is set. The Whammy pedal, on the other hand, only will harmonize as a single parallel interval. Perhaps were you thinking of that?
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-17-2012, 09:23 PM
 
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Re: Vai Recorded Harmonies

You are correct in both cases. My wording was unclear. Yes the Eventide harmonizes diatonically, and the pedal harmonizes "parallel". However, both of these harmonies are still very "predictable", if that makes sense? And they will also be identical in note duration, attack, etc to the melody. I have found that attack is a big give away... Even when an artist doubles their lines "identically", it is extraordinarily rare for the attack to be truly identical on each line. That attack is a dead give away that each individual line was actually played. Petrucci does a lot of actual playing his harmonies/doubles and you can really hear the subtle differences in attack if you listen through headphones. I haven't tried to pick apart Vai's harmony lines (I just play the lead lines) so I haven't listened for this on his work.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-17-2012, 09:45 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Vai Recorded Harmonies

Ah yes. Thank you kfssdude. I understand what you mean. Thanks for clarifying.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-18-2012, 01:04 AM
 
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Re: Vai Recorded Harmonies

I'm sure in some cases he has used a harmonizer but to be honest I can't imagine Vai doing this very often, he is too much of a perfectionist to "cheat"
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-18-2012, 02:27 AM
 
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Re: Vai Recorded Harmonies

There's a pretty clear recording of the Eventide between 41 seconds and 1 minute in "Love Secrets." Compare that to the various harmonies in "I Would Love To," which are much more organic and orchestrational.

Check out Vai's 'Naked Tracks' series of recordings without the lead guitar. You can really hear what's a manual harmony and what's digital when the lead guitar is stripped away from the soundstage. Those recordings are also really cool because they let you hear exactly how much detail he puts into his arrangements - and sometimes how sparse they are. "Liberty" is particularly interesting to see how the arrangement of the first verse is quite minimal at first, then becomes a bit more layers. By the second verse it's a huge cascade of sound. It's also really interesting to hear how little phrasing he puts into the rhythm guitars sometimes, which locks down the arrangement so more focus can go on the lead guitar.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-18-2012, 02:32 AM
 
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Re: Vai Recorded Harmonies

Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarnoize View Post
I'm sure in some cases he has used a harmonizer but to be honest I can't imagine Vai doing this very often, he is too much of a perfectionist to "cheat"
I thought he used the Eventide quite a bit on Passion & Warfare(ex. "Liberty"). On the flipside I think the harmonies done on Flexable were done "by hand" (ex. "Attitude song").
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