advice on how to play reverse/backwards guitar live..?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by coolhand78, Mar 1, 2015.

  1. coolhand78

    coolhand78 Supporting Member

    Oct 27, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia
    looking for any tips/advice on how to create backwards guitar solos live...
    Eric Johnson makes a fantastic job of the solo in Are you experienced here...

    clearly he's using his volume knob to remove the attack and swell up to the note, mostly on bends and notes he's already vibratoing...

    but has anyone else got any advice or tips on how to create this effect live?
  2. stevel

    stevel Member

    Apr 6, 2008
    Hampton Roads, Virginia
    Turn around and face away from the audience :rimshot

    Sorry, couldn't resist.

    The "envelope" of a sound is how a sound changes over time.

    Guitar usually has a quick attack and then fades slowly in volume over time - pluck an open string and just let it ring until it "dies out" and you'll see what I mean.

    When you reverse this, it means there's a long, slow buildup, then a quick cut off.

    So yes, using the volume knob or a volume pedal to "swell" into the note and then end it abruptly really makes it sound like that.

    The next most important thing for we guitarists is what happens when you bend a note then reverse it.

    Think about it...

    What happens?

    The note "scoops up" into the bent pitch.

    So when you reverse that - it starts at the pitch and the "dips down".

    So to emulate this "forwards", you would do all you bends as pre-bends - start with the note bent, play it, then release it.

    Coupled with the reversed envelope (volume swell/quick cutoff) this will go a long way to make it sound backwards.

    You could also use a Reverse delay set 100% wet so none of the forward guitar signal gets through and only the reversed delay gets played. Often with these you have to set the delay long enough to "record" plenty of material forwards (well, a couple of notes) before the delay kicks in and plays them backwards - and you set the feedback as low as possible so you only get the one audible backwards repeat.

    This method can be pretty tricky but I used in in "Give it Away Now" by The Red Hot Chile Peppers and the "effect" of the sounds coming in backwards worked really well even if it wasn't exact.

    A few loopers will let you record something and then play it back backwards. You can't really do this in real time though - you have to "pre-record" what you want first and of course you end up standing there while it plays back - but if you're adding other stuff to it that could work.

  3. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

    Dec 29, 2009
    Guitar Rig had a great backwards patch. I think the Boomrang could do it to.

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