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Alex Lifeson: Limelight tutorial iVideo

hobbes1

Member
Messages
3,215
Some cool tips and a tutorial that Alex discusses some gear and settings for this song. I've been researching and working on building a patch that replicates this song's tone using my Helix.

The song specific tutorial starts around 17 minutes in and he goes through each section. There isn't as much detail on the actual FX settings but he talks about his guitar volume on 7-7.5 mostly and rolling up to 10 on solos. He demonstrates some fingerings that add to the overall tone of the song (open strings, etc).


Also, found this post from awhile back and am working on building a three amp Helix patch. I have yet to find the DVD reference below but seems interesting:

From TGP member @Smurfman256

Saw a video from the Classic Albums DVD for Moving Pictures. Surprise! Ya ain't gonna replicate this sound live easily. What they did was that one track was straight overdriven amplifier (probably a Hiwatt DR-503), the next track was an equally overdriven amplifier but with a chorus effect (by listening to it, it sounds like either an EH Electric Mistress set at the classic Andy Summers/David Gilmour settings or, more likely, a Boss CE-1), and the third track was a rather clean chorus tone (either a clean Hiwatt with the aforementioned chorus effects or, equally as likely, a Roland JC-200 with the chorus turned on). Each of the two chorused tracks was mixed back slightly and panned to left and right to give some stereo image. Only way that you're gonna replicate that sound live is by using three amplifiers; one OD'd British-voiced amp, one OD'd amp with chorus at about 2/3 volume of the main amp and one clean amp with a chorus at the same volume level as the second amp (either a Fender amp with a chorus effect or a Roland JC-200/40). Guitar, I'm 99% sure, was his ES-355.
 

Tmidiman

Member
Messages
3,836
Sounds like a good sonic challenge. I love those! I might put one together for the Zoom MS crowd.

Loved hearing Alex play it in its raw form. Lots of sonic value there. Very interested in trying the delay settings he mentioned.

Good luck!
 

hobbes1

Member
Messages
3,215
New thread bump! Saw a video from the Classic Albums DVD for Moving Pictures. Surprise! Ya ain't gonna replicate this sound live easily. What they did was that one track was straight overdriven amplifier (probably a Hiwatt DR-503), the next track was an equally overdriven amplifier but with a chorus effect (by listening to it, it sounds like either an EH Electric Mistress set at the classic Andy Summers/David Gilmour settings or, more likely, a Boss CE-1), and the third track was a rather clean chorus tone (either a clean Hiwatt with the aforementioned chorus effects or, equally as likely, a Roland JC-200 with the chorus turned on). Each of the two chorused tracks was mixed back slightly and panned to left and right to give some stereo image. Only way that you're gonna replicate that sound live is by using three amplifiers; one OD'd British-voiced amp, one OD'd amp with chorus at about 2/3 volume of the main amp and one clean amp with a chorus at the same volume level as the second amp (either a Fender amp with a chorus effect or a Roland JC-200/40). Guitar, I'm 99% sure, was his ES-355.
Sounds like a good sonic challenge. I love those! I might put one together for the Zoom MS crowd.

Loved hearing Alex play it in its raw form. Lots of sonic value there. Very interested in trying the delay settings he mentioned.

Good luck!
Yeah it's a challenge. Not sure I'll be any better with a multi amp setup than I would be with one amp and snapshots switching amp/pedal/eq settings. It's a fun way to spend some time on a cold, rainy day though! I've been playing Limelight for a long time but this lesson highlighted a couple of things I was hearing wrong and so it's nice to fix that, regardless of whether or not I can nail down the tones Alex used.

I like the Dual Delay with the 480ms and 680ms settings as Alex described. I think it sounds good with some chorus and flanging thrown in :)
 

Baba

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,922
I've seen this, but I'll throw a reply in to mark it for later listening.
 

burningyen

Member
Messages
14,659
Guitar, I'm 99% sure, was his ES-355.
For most of the song, maybe, but there's no way you're getting that solo with a 355. I'm 99% sure he used his Hentor Sportscaster for that and for the hyper-clean arpeggios during the choruses.

I gigged this song with my Helix with my old cover band. I'll post a demo soon.
 
Messages
17,941
May have been the Hentor Alexcaster, but I would swear that solo is a humbucker regardless of the guitar. I have played it on my Gilmour VM Squire, and the SC just doesn't have the warmth. The solo may have been his 355...

And I thought the Hentor was mainly Signals, and GUP?
 

burningyen

Member
Messages
14,659
May have been the Hentor Alexcaster, but I would swear that solo is a humbucker regardless of the guitar. I have played it on my Gilmour VM Squire, and the SC just doesn't have the warmth. The solo may have been his 355...

And I thought the Hentor was mainly Signals, and GUP?
The Hentor has a bridge HB, and the solo has big whammy dips in it.
 

jammybastard

"I'm losing my edge, but I was there..."
Messages
5,886
You want a great lesson from Lifeson?
Have you got Garageband?
GB has free and paid "Artist" lessons.
Lifeson has got 3 lessons in the "Artist" session and they are excellent.
$4.99 ea, worth every cent.

Here's what the "simple" lesson looks like, there is an "advanced" lesson as well:
 

Guitarzman

Member
Messages
617
Some cool tips and a tutorial that Alex discusses some gear and settings for this song. I've been researching and working on building a patch that replicates this song's tone using my Helix.

The song specific tutorial starts around 17 minutes in and he goes through each section. There isn't as much detail on the actual FX settings but he talks about his guitar volume on 7-7.5 mostly and rolling up to 10 on solos. He demonstrates some fingerings that add to the overall tone of the song (open strings, etc).



Cool video Alex Lifeson is a great guitar player for sure, here's a link of some of his gear over the years https://goo.gl/2oEOW8
We used to play a lot of Rush, mostly their earlier stuff and right up-to Moving Pictures.Their music is really complex but still great Hard Rock..
Like Lifeson we were also into Zeppelin, Floyd, Yes, Deep Purple, The Who etc...

Thanks for the post!
 
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TimeSnow

Member
Messages
3,151
This sort of guitar playing is so interesting and inspiring to me. I know he's no shredder, etc., but the riff sticks with you, and the variety of musical ideas is fun and quirky and... Signature.

I'll take a million more guitarist like this over even one more shredder....
 

hobbes1

Member
Messages
3,215
For most of the song, maybe, but there's no way you're getting that solo with a 355. I'm 99% sure he used his Hentor Sportscaster for that and for the hyper-clean arpeggios during the choruses.

I gigged this song with my Helix with my old cover band. I'll post a demo soon.
Just to be clear, I was quoting someone else on TGP who related that part about the 355. I don't think it was that one, I think it was his '78 Super Strat, or the Hentor. Definitely needs a trem on the guitar for the solo. CygnusX-1.net has a great repository of magazine interviews with Rush members. I've started sifting through them as I have time, around the 1980-1 time period looking to see if he details any settings, etc. there.

I'd be interested in checking out your Helix preset if you'd care to share.

Thanks
 

hobbes1

Member
Messages
3,215
You want a great lesson from Lifeson?
Have you got Garageband?
GB has free and paid "Artist" lessons.
Lifeson has got 3 lessons in the "Artist" session and they are excellent.
$4.99 ea, worth every cent.

Here's what the "simple" lesson looks like, there is an "advanced" lesson as well:
Thanks for the tip. Will check them out.
I've been playing a number of the older Rush songs for years and as I learned above, I would bet there are plenty of little nuances that I'm missing. Although, TBH, I'm not the kind of player that feels the need to obsessively worry about every detail and note for note.
 

Guitarzman

Member
Messages
617
Thanks for the tip. Will check them out.
I've been playing a number of the older Rush songs for years and as I learned above, I would bet there are plenty of little nuances that I'm missing. Although, TBH, I'm not the kind of player that feels the need to obsessively worry about every detail and note for note.
Agreed worrying about getting every note right isn't as important as developing your own technique and tone! But influences from great guitar players is an asset. So interesting just seeing how others interpret and play the guitar..
 
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jammybastard

"I'm losing my edge, but I was there..."
Messages
5,886
Thanks for the tip. Will check them out.
I've been playing a number of the older Rush songs for years and as I learned above, I would bet there are plenty of little nuances that I'm missing. Although, TBH, I'm not the kind of player that feels the need to obsessively worry about every detail and note for note.
I'm the same way.
One thing I liked about the Garageband lessons was he talks about feel, which is something that doesn't come across in tab.
Like the opening of "The Spirit of Radio" which I spent waaay too much trying to learn in HS, only to never really grok the feel of it.

This is what Alex said about the Garageband lessons, in an interview a year or so after they filmed it....

"... "The Apple thing was fun", he says by way of explanation. "They have this new thing on the Garageband software [the mini-home studio affair that is part of Apple's iLife bundle] where songwriters and musicians teach people how to play their songs. It's great, you'll be able to download me. I went in and they filmed me for four days doing a song a day: Tom Sawyer, Limelight, The Spirit of Radio and Working Man. It's really comprehensive stuff and you can slow it down to really watch what I'm doing.

"It was odd, you realize how difficult it is to play some of those solos slowly, especially on something like Working Man."

We imagine it's quite difficult to master at its normal pace.

"I guess," and there's another laugh, "I'm not sure how much time I spent on that solo originally, I didn't know better, I was a kid when I wrote that. But I loved doing the Garageband stuff, though, and the end result is just great. When you're learning to play with just notation it's not the same - what the right hand is doing is so important and you never get to see that stuff. ..."
 

hobbes1

Member
Messages
3,215
I'm the same way.
One thing I liked about the Garageband lessons was he talks about feel, which is something that doesn't come across in tab.
Like the opening of "The Spirit of Radio" which I spent waaay too much trying to learn in HS, only to never really grok the feel of it.
I saw there was a video online (not a lesson, per se, but the performance track from the lesson) and it's interesting watching Alex play this at speed. I never really tried to tackle the SoR intro...my ears just couldn't track it and I never wanted to invest that much time. This video gives a nice, steady view of him playing it.....but it's still too fast for me LOL
I might have to pony up for the lesson(s) and give it a real go.

 

jammybastard

"I'm losing my edge, but I was there..."
Messages
5,886
In the GarageBand lesson he says it's based on/influenced by a Celtic instrumental figure he was a fan of.
 

hobbes1

Member
Messages
3,215
In the GarageBand lesson he says it's based on/influenced by a Celtic instrumental figure he was a fan of.
I always wonder how many cool songs artists came up with because of a guitar exercise (dust in the wind) or some other influence like that. I always though Broon's Bane might be something along those lines that got turned into a song of it's own...
 

Baba

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,922
May have been the Hentor Alexcaster, but I would swear that solo is a humbucker regardless of the guitar. I have played it on my Gilmour VM Squire, and the SC just doesn't have the warmth. The solo may have been his 355...

And I thought the Hentor was mainly Signals, and GUP?
On the Exit Stage Left concert vid, he's using his white Hentor strat on Limelight, and that concert was right after Moving Pictures. In the official vid for that song, it's the '78 black strat. I'm pretty certain the solo is a strat-type trem and not a bigsby.
 

cap217

Member
Messages
3,227
Interesting how sloppy he is. Not that its a bad thing. It just shows that in the moment of the song and muscle memory the songs just come naturally.
 




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